Jane the Virgin, Ep. 1.14 to 1.18 turns the focus to character relationships

Andrea Navedo, Gina Rodriguez
Andrea Navedo, Gina Rodriguez

Jane the Virgin, Season 1, Episodes 14 to 18
Created by Jennie Snyder Urman
Airs Mondays at 9 pm ET on The CW

Over the first season of Jane the Virgin, the evolution of the characters and how they relate to each other has been one of the show’s strengths. The past few episodes have continued that trend, as Xiomara and Rogelio’s relationship has progressed to the point where they live together, causing Rogelio to confront the friction between Xo and his mother. Rafael and Jane, however, have endured numerous ups and downs, from the health of their baby to rejected marriage proposals and breakups, in what has been a compelling set of episodes leading to the season’s last stretch.

The show’s development of relationships over the past few episodes has been fascinating to watch. While the writers wisely stopped sidestepping the central romance and got Rafael and Jane together instead of building up contrived reasons to stay apart, the show has not sidelined Petra or Michael. Despite the current state of affairs, it’s clear that Michael and Jane had a good amount of chemistry together, as did Petra and Rafael. Furthermore, being with someone for a long period of time does bring a level of familiarity and knowledge that understandably takes time to build with another person. Showing both duos learning to get past the more acrimonious nature of their breakups and rediscover their familiarity and comfort with each other is a great way for the show to validate the relationship that existed before without belittling the current one. While the love between Petra and Rafael had clearly burned out before Jane came along, how Michael continues to respond to things will be worth keeping an eye on. It’s clear that Michael still pines for Jane, and the Narrator’s assertion earlier in the season that he’ll continue to believe they’re fated to be together until he dies seems to suggest that won’t stop. However, he’s also shown a willingness to put aside his feelings to help Jane, such as telling her about the writers workshop and that her favourite author was staying at the hotel. With Andie now in the picture as well, he has a chance to move on and be friends with Jane, a prospect she’s clearly open to, and whether or not he seizes that opportunity will say a lot about his character, especially given her breakup with Rafael.

Jaime Camil, Gina Rodriguez
Jaime Camil, Gina Rodriguez

The non-romantic relationships have been similarly intriguing to watch. Rogelio’s budding friendship with Michael, in particular, has been a nice added bonus that has allowed for both characters to have their own storylines and grow as characters outside of their romantic entanglements. The writers have also deftly managed to not allow the romantic storylines of Jane and Xo interfere with the family dynamic of the Villanueva household. It’s been touching to see the trio manage to find their way to each other during times of turmoil, and hopefully this is something that will continue as the series progresses. Jane, Xo, and Alba are poised to enter what seems to be a unique new dynamic, as Xo is in a serious relationship while Alba is in the beginnings of one, leaving Jane as the only single person in the house, and possibly alone on some nights, with Xo now having moved out. The friendship between Andie and Jane has also been interesting. While it seems apparent that Andie has ulterior motives, Jane also has noticed that Michael’s happy to have someone else in his life, and she has been able to tell Andie things that she can’t tell others in her life. This may mean that Jane will be reluctant to cut out her new friend, particularly if she believes the benefits outweigh the costs, but she will also certainly be more wary of Andie going forward. Rafael’s conversation with his mother was also a poignant moment. With Luisa gone, Emilio dead, and now Jane no longer in a relationship with him, Rafael’s hopes for having a family connection of some sort seem more tenuous than ever, and how he deals with that promises to make for a compelling watch.

The plotline surrounding the hotel has also been intriguing to see unfold. With Rafael and Petra working together on the hotel, it’s clear that, despite their differences, both are interested in ensuring the hotel gets back on its feet, by whatever means possible. With Sin Rostro now seemingly out of the picture, and Emilio dead, many of the obstacles to getting the hotel restored to its former glory are gone, which means it’ll now live and die by Rafael and Petra’s actions. Rogelio’s storyline over the past few episodes has also made for a compelling viewing. While Rogelio has always had an inflated ego due to his star power, his affection for Xo and Jane has never been in doubt, and seeing that come to the fore has done wonders for the character. It’ll be worth watching how his decision to select Xo despite his mother’s protests play out, as the latter’s words are likely to be a cloud hanging over the relationship, regardless of whether the duo believe in them or not. The Narrator continues to be a delightful presence on the show, and his contributions in moments such as Rafael’s proposal have been the kind of thing that sets this show apart from other shows that use voiceovers on tv. It’s also nice to see Alba getting her own relationship storyline, and the turn of Edward being a priest makes for some interesting potential with the religious-minded Alba. How the reveal of Roman’s return plays out, as well as what the aftermath of the Rafael-Jane breakup is and how Sin Rostro and Petra’s mother figure into things will be worth watching out for as the season draws to a close.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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