Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 5, Episode 9, “Chapter Ninety”
“You never stop wanting to do whatever you can for your child.” Xiomara’s words to Jane as they wait for Alba’s wedding ceremony are really the uniting thread of the entire episode, directed by Gina Rodriguez.
When Jane Villanueva was wrecked with grief and it seemed as if publishing her first novel might be the only road out of it, Rogelio did what he always does — he overstepped boundaries. He called Jane’s editor directly and promised the publishing house that if Jane’s book didn’t sell ten thousand copies, he would pay for the remainder. He was beside himself watching his daughter in so much pain, and he thought that having this “win” in her professional life would help. Of course, now that the secret has come to light, it’s only caused Jane self-doubt.
It’s a compelling choice to hold off and wait to reveal this piece of behind-the-scenes plot until the show’s final season — knowing it recolors one of the biggest story points in Jane the Virgin’s history. Would Jane have ever become a published author, accomplishing one of the very first goals set out by the show, if it had not been for her father’s help? Now we’ll never know for sure. Still, with Xiomara’s words ringing in her ears, Jane finds a way to forgive Rogelio — in fact, the entire ordeal inspires her to write her next book about their relationship.
JR and Petra also find themselves dealing with the complications of parenthood. Stemming from last week’s episode, JR has been spending more time with Petra’s twins. Their therapist agrees that so far things have been going well, and the girls are warming up to her, so Petra decides it’s time to kick it up to the next level: the twins spending alone time with her girlfriend. Within minutes it falls apart, the girls start throwing ice cream and strawberries across the Marbella’s restaurant. Beside herself, JR yells at the twins and calls them spoiled brats — and to be fair, they definitely are! But calling your girlfriend’s kids spoiled isn’t the best way to make a good impression.
After the two cool off, JR admits to Petra that she’s finds the twins’ privileged entitlement to be hard to swallow. It’s a smartly understated way to bring up the underlying class and race dynamics in Petra and JR’s relationship. Petra agrees; she had so little growing up in the Czech Republic and, as a result, she’s overcompensated in her girls’ upbringing. She works with JR to find a way of disciplining the girls that works better for all involved. There are very few Latina lesbians on television, and it continues to stun me that JR and Petra are shown to be reasonable, levelheaded mature adults in their relationship. It’s rarely seen on prime time soap operas that derive motivation from romance drama, and honestly the couple is a grounding presence in Jane the Virgin’s otherwise telenovela format.
Speaking of grounded romance, when Jorge opened tonight’s episode by proposing to Alba — I worried that it felt a little rushed. At the same time, I recognize that we only have a few more hours remaining together, so I was willing to go along with it. Then, when it became clear that Alba couldn’t wait a second longer to, ahem, engage in the “physical aspects” of marital intimacy and moved their wedding up from three months in the future to the next afternoon — I was rolling with laughter. It’s not just about the physical, Alba tells her daughter. When you get to be their age, you don’t want to wait another second to be close to the ones you most love. Through the jokes of its set up, Alba’s wedding is full of all the heart-swelling moments that Jane the Virgin’s most known for (though having Alba be greeted with a pitch perfect third-wall breaking musical number encouraging her to “Go Have Sex” directly after the wedding, a nice callback to Jane’s second season wedding to Michael, certainly didn’t hurt).
Jane’s heart is still haunted by her feelings for Rafael. Whenever she’s around him — at Alba’s engagement party or alone in his apartment — it’s outlined in yellow and pink, almost bursting through her shirt. When Alba and Jorge exchange their vows, Rafael catches Jane’s eyes and the show’s iconic love anthem plays its harmony between them. Jane promised Xiomara that it’s better this way, with Rafael as a part of the family, even if not her heart. She can be happy just being around him.
We’ll see if Jane continues to feel charitable with Rafael as a part of her family once it comes out that she was right not to trust Luisa after all. Rafael begged for his sister to be able to meet Mateo, and finally Jane agreed, only for Raf to get a call from the police as the trio left for the beach. All of Rose’s criminal money? It’s been drained and put into an account with Luisa’s name. There narrator reminds us that there are five elements of classic telenovela storytelling — character drive, an obstacle, a complication, resolution, and a cliffhanger — and as far as cliffhangers go, this one promises to be a doozy.