It’s easy to get involved with the big, impressive moments in relationships. The ones that are dreamt about and fawned over — moments like Jane and Rafael’s first kiss, or the pair seeing their baby’s heartbeat together.
They’re the kind of moments that movies live and die for. And if Jane the Virgin were a two hour movie rather than a much longer TV series, I have no doubt that, already, Jane and Rafael would be together without any further questions. They’re a couple that fate — or rather medical malpractice, whichever way you’d like to see it — has brought together. But Jane and Rafael aren’t the leads in a romantic comedy film. They’re two players in one very busy television show, which gives our characters and their writers so much more time to fill and play around with.
It feels like each new episode of Jane the Virgin swings around on the status of Jane’s love life. Yes, she’s with Rafael, but Michael’s still very much there, waiting in the background, and is even preferred by members of Jane’s family. And Rafael, for all the dreaminess that he brings to the screen, has a lot of baggage. He’s not, however much Jane would like to believe it, completely in sync with her. Neither was Michael, but Jane’s beginning to panic about the baby’s arrival, and Rafael isn’t telling Jane what she needs to hear. He loves her and she loves him, but love isn’t what looks after a baby for hours on end, and sometimes, it just isn’t enough. Love itself is easy. Lasting relationships are harder.
As Rogelio mentions to Michael on their pedicure date (which was adorable, and I need for those two to keep being best friends), Rogelio is admittedly more #TeamMichael than he is #TeamRafael. But above all, he’s #TeamJane.
So when Rafael doesn’t tell Jane what she wants to hear, not even when she prompts him, she goes home and gets the reassurance that she needs from her family. While Rafael promises nannies and outside help when Jane confesses how scared she is about how they’re going to cope with the stress of a baby, Xiomara and Alba promise nothing but their own time. “We’ll pitch in,” they say, because the three of them are in this together. Rafael is there, sure, and he cares and deeply wants a family with Jane… But how well will he cope with the day-to-day life of looking after a child? Jane’s not sure — and neither am I. Rafael’s good at the big gestures, like proposing and planning parties, but when it comes to the hard, tedious work involved in maintaining a relationship — and a business, too — Jane’s unsure of how committed Rafael will really turn out to be.
He loves her, and she loves him, but what does that really mean? Sometimes, actions speak louder than words, and in the case of Jane the Virgin, Rafael has a lot to prove.
That’s not to say that Jane and Rafael aren’t good together, or that they won’t or can’t last (although it’s clear that Rafael’s priorities need to change for them to do so), but Jane the Virgin is offering us, with this relationship, an interesting look at what comes immediately after the fairytale, ‘happily ever after’ declarations of love. Jane’s a romantic and this show is too, but it’s clear, when Xiomara and Alba sit with Jane, reminding her that they’ll be with her all of the way, no matter what happens, that the greatest love story on Jane the Virgin isn’t between Jane and some boy.
No, the greatest love story on Jane the Virgin is the one between the three Villanueva women. Rogelio should be tweeting about that. #TeamVillanueva.
- To be fair to Rafael, he does have a lot on his plate right now. His father’s dead, he’s running a hotel with Petra, and Rogelio brought Michael to his big important party. “Fine, I will provide the celebrity presence. You don’t have to keep hinting.”
- Speaking of Petra, she lets Rafael convince her that they don’t need a city permit to throw their spring break blowout. Which, obviously, means things go horribly wrong. Their liquor license is suspended, and to top it all off, Petra realizes that Aaron Zazo isn’t Aaron at all. He’s Roman, and somehow, he’s alive. (Rafael’s supposed to be buying baby toys, not dealing with dead-not-dead ex-best friends!)
- Never change, Rogelio: “It’s 2015! Men get pedicures! What else is all this ‘equal rights’ talk about?”
- “Between you and me, I would like to declare myself #TeamMichael.” But despite how much he loves Michael, Rogelio knows that ‘Mike’ needs to move on, so he tells him (despite his personal beliefs otherwise) that Jane and Rafael are going to last. Which leads to Michael calling his ex and Jane’s new friend, Andi, who, in a plot twist, already knows that Jane is Michael’s ex. And yet she’s voluntarily hanging out with her? Too early to call stalker?
- As for Xiomarara’s mission to get Rogelio to say that he loves her, well… She sort of gets there. “I love you.” “And I… am getting there with you, as well.” Sometimes, getting there is pretty good. Love can’t conquer everything, as Jane learns in “Chapter Seventeen.”