Chief Culture Editor
After a brief hiatus, I’m back to my usual T.V. reviews. The season finale of “Jane the Virgin” premiered last Friday, and fans already knew something big was going to go down (thanks in part to Justin Baldoni’s Instagram, warning fans to stay off all social media at all costs). In similar fashion, I warn you not to read on unless you’ve seen the finale because there will be major spoilers ahead. Or if you’re like me, you didn’t avoid social media and found out what happened before even watching the episode…Oops. So if that’s you too, I guess you can still read on. Moving back to the finale, a lot went down in just one hour. Yes, there was the humongous plot twist in the very last 30 seconds of the show (typical), but Alba officially became a U.S. citizen, Petra confessed to killing Anezka, and Petra was almost murdered! I could go on and on about all of the developments, but for the sake of space, I’ll focus on Alba and the major plot twist.
To start off on a happy note, Alba’s official citizenship ceremony highlights the struggles she went through to become a U.S. citizen, and just how much this means to her. The show starts off with a flashback of Alba, instead of Jane, for what feels like the first time. A radiant 23-year-old Alba sits under the fireworks on the Fourth of July with her husband, mesmerized by the colors, noise, and pride around her. (Side note, the casting of this show is amazing. Young Alba (Rosie Garcia) has the exact same facial expressions as older Alba (Ivonne Coll), and the transition from her flashbacks to present-day is seamless). Of course, Jane, Xo, and Rogelio plan the sweetest surprise party for Alba following the ceremony. There, she gives a passionate speech about what it means to be American, quoting “e pluribus unum.” For Alba, “out of many, one” speaks to her overwhelming relief at seeing all of her friends and family come together as one to celebrate this milestone, and knowing that she never has to worry about being separated from them again. It is a heartwarming moment, with political undertones that emphasize the inclusive diverse nation that America should be.
On a completely separate note, the first half of the episode deals with Rafael planning to propose to Jane. It’s so sweet to see his excitement over planning the perfect dinner, buying the perfect house, and getting the blessings of Xo, Rogelio, and Alba (shout out to Rogelio’s “blessing”: “I’ve finally gotten over my ambivalence towards you.” Iconic.) Eventually, Jane catches on (thanks to River, Rogelio’s co-star) and gets all dressed up to go to dinner. But, this wouldn’t be “Jane” if she arrived, had the perfect dinner with Rafael, and got engaged. No, of course, Rose blackmails Rafael into coming to see her in jail, and drops some crazy knowledge on him. The cruel, but amazing, writers of this show make us believe that Rose told Rafael something horrible about his birth parents because he transforms into his angry drunk Rafael self (I could’ve gone without ever seeing this version of him again). He yells at Jane and tells her to leave his apartment, but Jane stays and tries to console him. Fans could probably sense that whatever was going on was worse than just a fact about Rafael’s birth parents. It is the way he looks at Jane for the rest of the episode, with such a bittersweet, heart-breaking gaze as though he is about to lose her. It is Jane saying “[Rafael] is my future…who else could it be?” and me wanting to yell at her for jinxing it. It is Jane pulling “Snow Falling,” her love story about Michael, out from her drawer and lovingly staring at it. It is Rafael’s passionate kiss with Jane towards the end of the episode, as though it is the last time he will kiss her. Everything sets the viewer up for the biggest shock at the end of the episode.
Jane walks into Rafael’s apartment, expecting a nice evening complete with a proposal. Cue the dramatic music. She hesitantly steps inside, after seeing Rafael’s crushed facial expression, and sees Michael.
Yes. Michael. Her dead husband. The one who died in the middle of Season 3. Yes, that one. He’s clearly very much alive, although much scruffier than before. To be honest, I’m not thrilled with the plot twist. Jane went through too much grief following Michael’s “death” to be torn apart again, and she is finally in a good place with Rafael. Plus, there are just so many questions. Where has he been for the last three years? Does he have amnesia? Was he working undercover? Was Rose holding him hostage? What does this mean for Jane and Rafael? We won’t find out until October!! Until then, I’ll just be wondering about these theories and how “Jane” has mastered the art of cliffhangers and plot twists.