Jane The Virgin Welcomes New Babies, Recycles Old Dramas
Rafael and Petra have the family they always wanted, but where do they go from here?
In the final act of this week's Jane The Virgin, Petra finally gave birth to the twins it feels like she's been carrying since God was a child -- girls she and Rafael name Anna and Elsa. (Petra thinks nobody but Jane will notice the Frozen connection, because she has never met a human girl-child.) Rafael had spent the birth stuck in traffic with Michael, arriving in the delivery room just in time to declare his new daughters perfect. This is the beginning of a whole new branch of the Jane The Virgin family: Rafael and Petra finally have the kids they were planning in the first place. But they're in a very different place than they were the first time around. So...where is that, exactly, and where do they go from here?
This season has been one for making unappealing romantic options look better -- improving the case for Michael as someone romantic and exciting for Jane, and turning Petra from a lying, cheating villain into someone Rafael might actually want to be with as his daughters grow up (not to mention an entertaining friend/ballbuster for Jane). I sometimes forget that Rafael and Petra were married at all, and this season has taken care to give us glimpses of how that might have happened. As we come to see Petra's villainy as more like determination and forthrightness with a serious side of self-preservation, we're learning a bit about what Rafael saw in her in the first place -- and we know he has a thing for ladies who are carrying his children. (She knew that, too.) It's awkward, but watching them get closer and recapture a little of their former glory has been fun.
At the same time, this season has shown us that the Petra of today -- the one who isn't cheating with a mobster -- is pretty good for Rafael. Petra sometimes lies to the people in her life about factual things -- her name, why she wants Jane to get in the car with her, whether she's hiding a Czech crime lord in her closet -- but she tells the truth about a lot of other things. Last week, she recognized that Rafael wasn't as committed to her as he claimed, and told him so; this week, she calls him out for being a hungover ball of skeeze. Petra says that Rafael doesn't listen to her -- twice in this week's episode, she tries to get Jane to influence him -- but a yes-woman certainly isn't what he needs, and it's refreshing to watch somebody tell his pretty face what's up.
So there we are: Rafael and Petra are coexisting. They're cute together, in a cautiously optimistic kind of way. And they have newborn twins. What's next?
It depends. Petra's in an increasingly good and stable place in the Jane The Virgin universe: she's becoming part of Jane's extended family, which can be dramatic but is generally a place of love and support. In theory -- that is, were she not on a fast-moving telenovela and the sort-of daughter-in-law of two lady crime bosses, among other things -- the more time she spends in the sphere of Jane and her family, the more likely it is that she and Rafael will grow into something sustainable and happy, too.
HOWEVER. It's not ideal for anyone, but a large part of Petra and Rafael's future lies with Jane. She and Michael get engaged this week, but it's clear that Rafael had been hoping for a better outcome between Jane and himself. As long as Jane and Michael are on the track to get married and Rafael's going along with it, Petra's in a good position. If and when something happens to Michael -- I worry about him, you guys, especially in light of this whirlwind re-engagement -- then all bets are off.
Whatever happens between now and the end of the season, the current state of limbo between Rafael and Petra can't continue as it is. They're adjacent, but not together; essentially, he wants to be a father to his kids, but Petra's position relative to that isn't really clear, except that she has power as the twins' mother. And she's not one to wait around. This whole insemination situation (the second time) was, after all, part of her whole plan to win Rafael back in the first place, which speaks to a certain level of commitment and grandiosity in her planning. It might work -- again, in a theoretical non-telenovela world -- and they could fall back in love over the idea of having a family together; that's what it looks like now, at least. If (when) it doesn't, I predict a come-to-Jesus conversation followed by some high-stakes dealmaking using two chubby, angel-faced little bargaining chips. Jane may act as a go-between and trying to keep things normal for Mateo's half-sisters. What remains to be seen is whether rejection by Rafael, or even some kind of challenge on his part, snaps Petra back to villain mode -- or whether we know her too well for that now, and she simply becomes an ultra-determined parent with a slightly unhinged sense of justice. Either way, something's gotta give.