Jane The Virgin Recap: Book Signings and Bad Break-ups

By: Andrea Merodeadora

Jane The Virgin’s latest episode starts with an eerie reminder of the Narrator’s announcement; should you remember it from the very beginning of the season. Someone is going to die, and that death is inching still closer. Will it be our dear abuela, Alba? One of the Solano siblings? Petra? Or perhaps be one of her intolerable relatives?

There are few experiences that feel more relatable to 20-something bookworms than spending hours asking our local librarians for recommendations. For young Jane, her local bookstore’s owners were the ones to introduce her to magical realism in the form of Allende’s literature. This episode’s opening shows Jane through the years, reading with her back against a shelf while an imaginary Allende (played by Isabel herself) guides her from book to book. At the end of the montage, she walks up to the same shopkeepers that first showed her Allende’s work and comes away with a definitive location for her launch party. Back to the present; three months later, and our girl is finally a published author!

Rafael -now with just an arm sling and looking much better- jokes that Mateo can’t read yet, as Jane dedicates one of the books to him. Jane clarifies that Mateo isn’t allowed to read Snow Falling until he’s twenty five (though if he’s as precocious as his mom, we can expect that rule to be broken in a couple years.) This reminds Jane of Michael, but the phone snaps her out of memory land. Petra is furious, trying to find ways to keep her sister and mother from robbing the hotel blind and ruining its reputation, but Rafael refuses to get involved until Luisa is better. Wise choice, even if Petra thinks that it’s truly Jane’s and not his. Also more Jane’s decision than his: looking for a job! We surely can expect some ridiculous montage of Raf trying to be middle class, right?

Over at Adam’s apartment, Jane tells him that she tweeted Isabel Allende (who happens to be in the city) about her launch party, and when Adam tells Jane he’s proud of her, Jane almost tells him she loves him. Big step, right? But as she tells Xo in the next scene, it’s too early for that.

While Petra tries and fails to get her mother and sister under control, Jane recieves some terrible news. Her favorite bookstore, the one where she was going to host her launch party, is going out of business. With a short commentary on the decaying state of bookstores in general, Jane decides to have her party at the publisher’s office instead; and Xo has to stop Rogelio from spending a fortune recreating the bookstore as a filming set.

While Rogelio tells Fabián that he hopes he never finds work in the city again, Rafael is faced with that same possibility. His resume is frankly embarrassing, and his criminal record certainly doesn’t help. Petra decides to try and convince Magda to hire Rafael as hotel manager, and while she’s at the office she finds… an inhaler. Going through the hotel footage with her secretary Krishna, she finds proof that Carl is real, and decides to use this information to take down her mother.

As the episode unfolds, Jane is constantly being reminded of Michael. While chatting with Adam, helping Rafael with his resume, when a random guy asks her to hold the elevator… it goes on. These are only short flashes, and she takes them in stride, but it can’t be easy to carry the happy ending she deserved under her arm when she doesn’t actually have her co-protagonist to share it with.

Back to the rich people problems: Ro ignores Xo’s financial advice and co-signs the lease to the bookstore so Jane can have her dream party; and Rafael is less than happy to have been hired as “some bartender”. While Rogelio handwaves Xiomara’s worries away, arguing that he got enough press coverage to ensure that the bookstore will thrive; Jane reminds Rafael that he’s too broke to consider himself above a paying job (and she’s right).

But Rogelio’s flawless plan isn’t so flawless, and it turns out that Fabián is sabotaging the press coverage. Unless Ro gives his (now dead) telenovela character a dramatic ghost monologue, which has to be written by Jane herself, Fabián will continue to block Rogelio’s press contacts. Jane is confident that the scene she’s writing will appease Fabián’s anger, but Xo isn’t so sure, and she confides to Jane that she wanted to ask Ro for help with her studio.

Meanwhile, Petra and Krishna are scheming to convince that Anezka to turn on Magda. In the play they’ve staged, Petra has been silently working with her mother from the beginning and is now regretting all the times she lied to Anezka. She convinces her sister to go confront Magda together, and sells the act with a decisive “then how would I know that Carl is real?”

Now “some bartender”, Rafael discovers that real working people are tied to schedules and their boss’s whims, which means he won’t be able to attend Jane’s launch party. He sits down to have lunch with Alba and Xiomara, joining the discussion about Ro’s often irrational spending. He suggests that maybe the feeling that they need to provide no matter what it takes is “a guy thing” (*cough* toxic masculinity *cough*), and Xo seems to be starting to understand Rogelio a little bit better.

After Fabián shows up at the Marbella and forces Jane to rewrite his ghost monologue, replacing Jane’s witty and original scene with a pile of clichés and overused metaphors; Jane rushes to get ready for her party. When Adam calls to cancel last minute because he’s just been slammed with revision, Jane admits that she’s more than a little disappointed that neither Rafael nor Adam will be there during her big night. With a little nudge from Alba, Jane decides to go by the Marbella before her party and thank Rafael for telling her to write her book. After all this fighting, seeing Jane and Rafael be friends again is quite nice.

Jane doesn’t get to enjoy her party for a single minute though, because Fabián shows up to inform her that Ariana, the People En Español editor that he was sleeping with, just found out that he’s also sleeping with other people and now refuses to provide the press coverage for the launch party. Rogelio is furious, but Jane reminds him that this whole situation is actually his own fault. Ro admits that he always goes overboard in his attempts to please Jane because he feels as if he has to make up for all their years apart, and when Jane tells him that he couldn’t have known, Ro admits that deep down he always suspected that Xo might not have gotten an abortion, but he chose his own career. He expects Jane to hate him for it, but of course she doesn’t. Jane’s reassurance that she’s more than happy to have him in her life now finally allows Rogelio to let go of his guilt.

It’s when she’s walking up to the store owners to let them know that the promised press coverage isn’t coming that Jane sees… no other than Isabel Allende! No, she didn’t see Jane’s tweets, but she saw Fabián’s, and she’s here! Half-crying and half-laughing, Jane talks about how Allende’s own book, “Paula”, helped her work through her grief over losing Michael, and finally realizes that what’s holding her back from telling Adam that he loves him isn’t the newness of their relationship, it’s her grief.

Emboldened by this epiphany, Jane goes to Adam’s, ready to finally confess her feelings. She’s overflowing with excitement, but Adam clearly isn’t. There are tears in his eyes when he admits that he was contacted about that job in Los Angeles again, and seeing Jane achieve her dreams has made him realize that he wants to reach for his own dreams, too. Jane only manages to wish him good luck, but with the heartbreak comes the realization that, despite believing that she could never find love again after Michael, she still has it in herself to truly fall for somebody else.

During our review of the last two episodes, we noted what the show got right and what it got wrong about Adam’s coming out as bisexual, and you might remember our concerns regarding his future. It seems that we won’t have to worry about the writers following a long-standing pattern of demonizing or torturing LGB characters, because he’s being swiftly written off to leave place for Jane’s inevitable endgame with a rich, straight white dude (probably Rafael, let’s not kid ourselves). This might not be the best writing ever, but hey, at least they didn’t make him an internationally wanted criminal nor killed him off, right?

There’s mere seconds left and it wouldn’t be Jane The Virgin if it didn’t end with a final blow to the chest. Relieved to know that Jane doesn’t hate him, Rogelio goes to tell Xiomara about his conversation with their daughter, but Xo doesn’t share his happiness. She can’t believe that Rogelio allowed her to feel guilty about “hiding” Jane from him for five years, and she won’t hear any apologies.

After Xo storms out of the house, we go back to the Marbella. The last shot of the episode is of the paramedics lowering Anezka’s body from where it hangs. According to the Narrator, she did not commit suicide.

Editor: Mara Zain

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