Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 5, Episode 3, “Chapter Eighty-Four”

Now that we are three episodes in to the final season of Jane the Virgin, it’s hard for me to imagine it ending any other way. Bringing Michael back as an amnesiac who now goes by Jason is giving everyone (Jane, the show that is her namesake, and its audience) a chance to re-examine what we once took for granted – the very building blocks of the show’s narrative universe. Allowing space for that kind of exploration in the crucial final hours of a television series is bold. It’s striking.

Jane was raised by her mother and abuela as a woman of supreme faith. Yet, it’s hard to see the new vicious turns in her life as a part of God’s plan. She was fed a healthy diet of telenovalas, but it turns out that your husband coming back from the dead isn’t as romantic as The Passion of Santos made it seem. As an only child, Jane was the center of her family’s world. She grew up to be generous and kind, but also bossy and stubborn. Now, everything in her life feels out of her control. The world that Jane the Virgin spent five years building is turned upside down. How can our heroine recognize herself within it? How can we?

Jason still won’t give Jane a divorce. He wants to take his “wife” on a date and won’t take No for an answer (errr, ever heard of consent and boundaries, bro? Geez). Jane relents to the peer pressure and agrees to join him on a fishing expedition – as long as he will sign the papers the minute it’s over. Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what girl has to do, I guess.

Jane The Virgin “Chapter Eighty-Four” photo by Scott Everett White. Courtesy of The CW

Meanwhile, Rogelio is working through a few life lessons of his own. His white woman co-star, River Fields, is making TWICE his pay on the pilot for their show (an American adaptation of The Passion of Santos that Rogelio originally spearheaded). Early in the episode it’s touted as a win for feminism that for once a woman was making more than a man in Hollywood, but to keep it real with you – I was skeptical from jump. The fact is that white women still typically make more per dollar than Latino men (and both make more than Latina women, but that’s a critique for a different day). Thankfully the show addresses this dynamic outright, creating a more nuanced – though admittedly, clunkily delivered – discussion of pay equity than I originally hoped for.

Between the racial gap/pay disparity and the growing, ever present anti-Latinx sentiment in the US (Jane silently reads the headline, “Trump tells ICE, ‘Deport the illegals,’ Massive family reunification failure” on her laptop – a sobering way to root the show in our current political moment), Rogelio feels like it’s time to re-evaluate his career goals. Rogelio is often Jane the Virgin’s comedic foil, but there’s not an ounce of humor in his voice when he tells Xiomara, “It’s always been my dream to be famous in America, but I’m starting to wonder: Why I am so desperate for validation from a country that doesn’t value or accept me?”

Soulmates come in many forms. Rogelio and Xiomara perfectly fit together, though their personalities couldn’t be more different. Jane and Petra have found each other as chosen family. Rafael and Jane are finally settled together after weathering life’s many storms. Jane wondered if her soul might still reach out for Michael’s. Instead, even in their most intimate moments, she has found Jason to be a stranger. Alba reminds her granddaughter that there’s a difference between soul and soulmates. One is created by God. The other? A fabrication of storytellers and TV.

Jane The Virgin “Chapter Eighty-Four” photo by Scott Everett White. Courtesy of The CW

It’s in that moment that Jason returns to the Villanueva doorstep, divorce papers in hand and on his way back to Montana. Jane wishes him well, “You’re a good person. You deserve a good life.” They hug. A single tear falls down Gina Rodriguez’s face. A final, real goodbye with what’s left of her first love – the kind of goodbye that Jane wasn’t granted the first time.

The orchestration swells, playing Jane’s now infamous love melody in the background. She hands Jason back the fishing pole from their earlier outing – there’s no version of this Villanueva woman who is going to be spending her weekends sitting in quiet on a smelly boat. She closes the door. Jason turns away. The fishing pole scrapes the roof of Jane’s porch, causing paint chips to fall like makeshift snow.

The snow crests the top of Jason’s hair, the same way it first laid across Jane’s hair the night of Michael and Jane’s first kiss.

And he knows it. His eyes widen, brimming with tears. A montage plays of kisses, and “I love yous,” and camping trips, the way Jane used to tuck her legs under themselves and leap into his arms. Michael, our real actual Michael, comes back to us all at once and in disbelief. He slowly exhales.

There it is – Jane the Virgin’s faint yellow and pink heartbeat. The mark of true love. It pangs just below Michael’s flannel.

Our story? It’s far from over.

Jane the Virgin airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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