Jane the Virgin: “Chapter Nineteen”

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Last night on Jane the Virgin’s “Episode Nineteen”–a.k.a. The One Where Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Slaps Rogelio Across the Face During His Baby Serenade, a.k.a You’re Losing Your Virginity to Your Baby–hearts were broken, baby showers went awry, and Nia Vardolos made a surprise appearance as a couples therapist.

After cycling through all of the stages of grief in twelve hours (because Jane Villanueva is nothing if not efficient), Jane is stubborn in her belief that she and Rafael belong together and that she needs to win him back. And as annoyed as I’ve been with Rafael recently, I was pretty swept up by the montage of Jafael’s (Rafane? Solanueva? Do Jane x Rafael even have a proper portmanteau yet?) greatest moments. I mean, weren’t you? From the perfect grilled cheese (1/3 pepper jack, 1/3 sharp cheddar, 1/3 grated American) to the perfect first kiss to the perfect accidental artificial insemination by Rafael’s sister, Rafael and Jane have been the stuff of fairy tales.

Well, maybe not quite the stuff of fairy tales.

There’s a lot that happens between Rafael and Jane in “Chapter Nineteen,” but I keep circling back to the scene when Jane and Rafael are reading the answers to the quiz Lina set for them during their baby shower. Jane’s heart may have melted when Rafael soulfully told the room that he hopes their baby has all of her wonderful attributes, but I’m still stuck on the question Rafael flubs. When asked what Jane wants their baby’s first word to be, he guesses “Abuela?” “Daddy,” is what Jane responds.

I think this moment stuck with me because it’s such a perfect example of what is uneven in Jane and Rafael’s relationship. Rafael is good at the grand gestures, the falling into pools and the sweeping off of feet. And Jane is a romantic, so it’s easy for her to get carried away in moments like that and precisely how she fell for Rafael in the first place. But Jane is also pragmatic and someone who needs a partner who listens to her. Something like her baby’s first word has to be something that Jane has mentioned before. Rafael’s failure to remember is a striking reminder that he has been a pretty crappy listener lately and it’s wearing on Jane.

This is especially frustrating because it’s something of which Rafael is clearly capable. One of Solanueva’s (if that’s not a thing already, I’ve just coined it) greatest hits was that night where they sat up all night talking about life and themselves (we learned that Jane can rap!). But he’s so wrapped up in an all-or-nothing mentality lately that he’s lost sight of how important that is. Rafael is poised on the edge of a tailspin in any case. Are we about to see shades of the wacky party boy he was pre-series? Now that he and Jane have parted ways, anything is possible.

Jane’s story has skewed heavily towards her love life the last few weeks, but it looks like she’ll be shifting gears next Monday, as she goes toe to toe with Petra “Cold Warrior” Solano.

“Chapter Twenty” of Jane the Virgin airs Monday, April 27 at 9 p.m. (Canadians can catch new episodes on Shomi!)

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