Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 5, Episode 17, “Chapter Ninety-Eight”
This was the first time I’ve ever been scared of Sin Rostro.
Over the last five seasons, Rose has stolen Jane’s baby, shot her husband, later poisoned that same husband to fake his death, and has emotionally broken and manipulated Luisa more times than I can count. Still, I’ve always thought of her character as being played for laughs. She’s a comedic villain. A nod to Jane the Virgin’s over-the-top telenovela roots. I never actually took her seriously.
That is, until she appeared out of nowhere in Rafael and Jane’s living room. Her voice barely an inch above a whisper, she takes Jane hostage and divulges her final evil plan. Chills ran down my back. Jane and Sin Rostro have been circling their big confrontation for ages now, and Bridget Regan and Gina Rodriguez soak up their moment for everything that it’s worth. There was nothing lighthearted about the gleam in Rose’s eyes as she forced Jane to call Luisa through a chokehold of tears and tell her that unless she returned home to Miami, Rose was going to kill the people that she loved most. There was nothing funny about the way that Jane’s nose turned red as she silently prayed for Mateo and Rafael’s safety – her panicked breathing was the only sound picked up by the camera’s audio.
Rose’s grand plan is to guilt and threaten Luisa into staying by her side. What makes it terrifying is that in Rose’s mind, these manipulations are acts of love – not abuse. Interrupting her big villain’s monologue from the rooftop of Rogelio’s premiere, Jane asks Rose how can she be sure that Luisa even wants her. With utter conviction Rose responds, “Because this isn’t your love story, Jane. It’s mine.”
The truth is that Sin Rostro isn’t wrong. Jane the Virgin is about dramatic, sweeping, grand romances: Jane and Michael; Jane and Rafael; Xiomara and Rogelio. But also, dating all the way back to the earliest episodes of the show, there’s been Rose and Luisa; the heiress stepmother turned serial assassin and her adult stepdaughter turned lover. Everything about them has felt wrong, and as Jane the Virgin progressed it became increasingly clear (if it wasn’t from the start) that their relationship had devolved into compulsion. They were toxic, but blinded by her own obsession for power, Rose never saw the difference. Before their final kiss, she looks Luisa in her eyes and declares, “Ours is the greatest love story ever told.”
Luisa then kills her. It’s only fair that Rose’s longest and most intimate victim be the one who gives her the final push. Rose tumbles back down through the roof before impaling herself on one of Rogelio’s set pieces. For extra measure, the set goes up in flames. She can’t escape her destiny this time, and finally, Luisa is free.
Speaking of great loves, did I mention that Michael came back? We got to say goodbye to Jane’s first husband and first love for the final time, comforted with the knowledge that he’s making a new family life in Montana with his former nemesis Charlie and a baby on the way. I’m not sure that his return added much to our current story, but still it’s nice to feel settled that even Michael gets a happily ever after, romantic ending of his own.
Meanwhile, Rogelio has been busy figuring out if its possible to move his immediate family to New York so that he can pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an English TV soap opera star in This is Mars. River Fields is moving the production out of Miami and to the Big Apple. Luckily, Xiomara was able to find acceptance at a new nursing school with little problem. Darci’s originally from New York, and would be happy to move back home with Baby. Esteban’s the sole holdout, but everything works out when Rogelio convinces him to take a supporting role as a major villain on the series. (Turns out that manipulating Rogelio into a larger television role for former telenovela heartthrob was Darci and Esteban’s plan all along. I’m so glad they got one last secret motive in for the road).
With that last hurdle cleared, Xiomara and Rogelio are set for New York. It then occurs to Xo that they’re leaving the rest of the family for real this time. How will they ever say goodbye?
Jane the Virgin has never lost track on how to speak directly to its audience, and with only the series finale two-parter left, I found myself asking the same question: How can any of us say goodbye? Just when the thought alone overwhelmed me, the narrator’s typewriter cut across the screen with Jane’s iconic ender – this time with a twist.
“TO BE CONTINUED … ONE MORE TIME.”
(Cue my best telenovela sobs. I’m not ready for this.)