There are a few different ways that people respond when faced with crises. Some face things head on, others try to avoid the issue, and then there are the self-sabotagers. That last group are those who ruin things and hurt people before they themselves can get hurt. It’s something that Jane struggles with in “Chapter Eighteen,” and a state of mind that both Xiomara and Rafael fall into.
For Xiomara, it could be worse. After meeting Rogelio’s mother (Rita Morena) and hearing her share her opinion that Rogelio and Xiomara aren’t meant to be — she was right about wife 1 & 2 so she thinks she knows what’s best — Xiomara’s pleasant attitude finally snaps. She was playing nice, trying to get back on Mrs. De La Vega’s good side after their original meeting back in 1991, but by the end of their Easter together, Xiomara’s had enough. She heads out to a bar and ends up meeting her old boyfriend, Marco. They talk, and Marco tells her what she wants (but really doesn’t need) to hear: that Rogelio was wrong to listen to his mother over her, and that if he were still Xiomara’s boyfriend, he would have kicked his mother out, because nobody should talk to her like that in her own home.
It’s just a pity that Xiomara heard that (and kissed Marco in response) before she got home to hear Rogelio tell her the same very thing. Rogelio owned up to a lot for Xiomara in “Chapter Eighteen,” finally admitting to his mother that he knew Xiomara was pregnant, and told her, at the time, to have an abortion. He’s the reason that she never had a relationship with her granddaughter, and not Xiomara. And by the end of the episode, he says what Xiomara had so desperately wanted to hear just an episode before: that he loves her.
Now, though, things are infinitely more complicated. Secrets don’t stay secrets for long on Jane the Virgin, and so although Xiomara’s indiscretion isn’t a huge one, it was a moment of weakness — both for herself, and for her trust in Rogelio — at the very moment when he made such a leap for her, in turn.
But Xiomara isn’t alone in making hasty, frustrated decisions this week. Rafael, after struggling to get his liquor license back (it’s on track but isn’t there yet), meets his mother in a short and tense scene, which represents Rafael’s life right now: harried, with no free time for him to think over the mountain of things that are piling up on his plate right now. He finds out where she’s really been all these years, and why. Despite living a little over three hours away, he hasn’t seen her since he was a small child because Rafael’s father offered her money to abandon her son and stay away from them. Rafael’s father was hardly father-of-the-year, but in Rafael’s eyes, he was at least there. Rafael’s father worked hard for his family, and left Rafael with a legacy. His mother just left him.
There’s a reason why Jane, for all her doubts, isn’t the one to break up her and Rafael’s relationship. Jane has an incredible family and a strong network of friends around her to talk to. She has faith in her life — and had even decided to trust Rafael with that faith — when he cuts her off before she can begin to even try to mend things between them.
Rafael doesn’t, and because of that, he does what so many scared and stressed people do: hurts Jane, breaking up with her, before she can hurt him. His father’s death, his mother’s reappearance and his failing hotel are all too much for Rafael to deal with. So he takes one of those things, the hotel, and decides to focus on it. He doesn’t want to deal with Jane telling him the truth and forcing him to deal with his grief, when he can just channel himself into his work. His father did it, and he, despite what Rafael really knows and feels, and what Jane tries to tell him, was a good dad.
Rafael’s struggling, and in order to deal with those struggles, he streamlines his life. He decides to define fatherhood by what he can provide, ignoring what Jane really needs from him because of how hard those things will be to achieve and work through, when his life is in such turmoil.
Sometimes, your mind tricks you into thinking that by cutting ties instead of facing up to your problems, you’re doing the right thing. It never is the right thing, but facts are hard to accept when you’re looking at life through a certain lense: be it one of doubt, like Jane, or one of complete self-sabotage.
Jane realized that before it was too late, but Rafael didn’t. Now, everything becomes a question of when Rafael will realize what a mistake he’s made. Before the baby’s born? After it’s too late for Jane to forgive him? Next week, in “Chapter Nineteen”?
I guess we’ll see.
“No buts, no ifs, that’s what faith is. The banishment of doubt.” Jane calmly worked through her doubt, until Rafael steamrolled right over his, and proved her anxieties right. These two are stuck in their heads, right now, and it’s a bad, bad thing.
- Jane meets her glam-ma aka Rita Moreno!
- Andi, who Michael is seeing, and Jane finally realizes the truth about is “Jane’s Single White Female Writing Buddy #SWFWB”
- Alba, meanwhile, has some drama of her own with her physical therapy crush. “Maybe you could star in your own telenovela, ma: Rehabilitated Love” “I asked out a priest! On Easter!” And guess what? He said yes!
- Oh Rogelio: “I meant to tell her! And I will!” “When?” “…On her deathbed.”
- The narrator gets in a little dig at his expense, too: “It seems that Rogelio can be very religious… When it suits him.”
- Petra, meanwhile, was right. Aaron isn’t Aaron. He’s Roman, very not-dead, and by the end of the episode, kidnaps Petra. Which one of her ex-boyfriends will save her now?
- “You know how important family is to me!” Just like last week, Rafael, saying that doesn’t mean anything compared to showing it.