Despite Its Shortcomings, Season 3 of ‘Jane the Virgin’ Never Failed the Villanueva Women

Photo: Scott Everett White. Courtesy of The CW Network

Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 3, Episode 20, “Chapter Sixty-Four”

The Villanueva women came a long way this season. Life and death played out before our eyes and – as this episode discussed – all of it is part of a grander plan. Did it work? Not really. Several issues frustrated audiences this season. The show could certainly use a breather. The CW’s plan to move the series to Friday nights next season is hopefully not a sign of disbelief in a series that’s vital to a diverse TV landscape. “Chapter Sixty-Four” left us with food for thought, a potentially fatal cliffhanger, and a beautiful wedding. There were also some complex moments, albeit brief, that showed glimmers of what continues to make Jane the Virgin so groundbreaking.

This week, Screenrant writer Terence Johnson joined me for the final season three Jane Chat.

Religion has always played a crucial role in shaping Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) personality. It’s unsurprising, considering the show has portrayed her as a modern-day Virgin Mary. As things have progressed, religion has taken a backseat to Jane’s frenetic life, an issue anyone hoping to keep their faith falls into.

Terence: One of my favorite things about Jane the Virgin is how it portrays religion and religious people. Having Jane get ordained and Abuela asking why the test didn’t even ask if she believed in God was hilarious.

Kristen: The show’s always done a great job of showing the changing face of Catholicism. I love how being ordained is something to commodify, with different options to enhance the experience. “Do I want a tote?” Jane’s moving on up from being the Virgin Mary in season 1. Now she’s running a church!

Terence: There are only a few places to go once you are a virgin mother, might as well go into ministry.

Jane’s visit to Father Gustavo (Alex Fernandez) was unique. Once Jane is ordained she goes to him for advice “as a colleague” before quickly rescinding the statement.

Kristen: The show isn’t commenting directly on it but it’s fascinating that Jane gets flustered calling herself a “colleague,” especially since Catholic Churches don’t allow lady priests.

Where the series has avoided the political context of being a Latinx in today’s landscape, it’s never been shy about breaking down stereotypes regarding minorities and parenthood. Justina Machado’s return as Darci Factor threatened to add a monkey wrench into Rogelio (Jaime Camill) and Xiomara’s (Andrea Navedo) wedding, but it also opened up questions about child custody.

Terence: This is perfect Jane the Virgin-type storytelling – a fairytale wedding, probably upstaged by a baby.

Kristen: This conversation between Xo, Rogelio and Darci is both authentic and a fantasy version of custody disputes. And the fact that we’re seeing these two people discuss custody, with so many assumptions about minority parents, is fascinating in and of itself.

Terence: I like the various versions of the blended family they do on this show. Such a far cry from how minorities with baby mothers are usually portrayed.

Kristen: The kids are all supported, parents and grandparents involved. Though the Villanuevas remain firmly high middle/low high class. For Jane, barely working on anything outside of her book, there’s no problems with bills.

Photo: Scott Everett White. Courtesy of The CW Network
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Speaking of Jane becoming more upwardly mobile in her economic status: Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and Jane returned to the latter’s original mode of transportation in season one, the bus.

Kristen: Since Jane’s become more middle-class, the bus was the first thing to go.

Terence: Seeing Rafael on the bus is funny.

Kristen: I miss the show making Jane the scrappy working class lady. She’s no Ivanka by any stretch, but she’s certainly elevated her circumstances for having a child and being Latina. And let’s give props to Jane for calling out Rafael’s class privilege: “I’m sorry. He doesn’t understand how public transportation works.”

Terence: Yes, Jane, talk about how you put in work to get where you want to go.

In the end, Jane the Virgin remains committed to what’s important: its female characters, and the Villanueva women coming together for Xo’s day was darling.

Terence: All of these women have come a long way since we first met them.

Kristen: I’d like to think Alba’s apologizing for the years of slut shaming against Xo.

Ultimately Jane the Virgin’s finale was just as messy as the season in general. But it is the little asides to the Latina experience that are worth remembering. Let’s raise a glass to the show getting back on firm ground in season four.