Jane the Virgin Returns to Its Heartfelt Roots


Jane’s dilemmas on Jane the Virgin have always centered around human hardships, which lead her to seek solace in her family. Undoubtedly, it’s that aspect of the show that’s made it one of the best on television. Wednesday night’s Season 5 premiere refreshed a pair of romantic storylines in a way that honored this mission while hearkening back to the show’s first season.

Spoilers ahead.

In the Season 4 finale last year, two major cliffhangers were presented: Jane’s frenemy Petra and Petra’s love interest J.R. were in the midst of an argument when an unknown person, intentionally out of frame, entered the room and threatened to murder Petra. J.R. shot and presumably killed the perp.

Secondly, Jane, after mourning the death of her husband Michael for four years, had finally moved on and found love and stability with Rafael. She assumed Rafael was ready to propose, but plans changed when she learned her former husband Michael was not actually deceased. He was very much alive but appeared different: ragged, bearded, a poorly manicured, country boy version of the man she married. In true Jane (and telenovela) style, she faints upon seeing him, understandably overwhelmed by the possibility of a resurrection.

For a show so dependent upon spectacle, it was a beautiful choice that led to Jane learning more about HERSElf.

In last night’s premiere, Petra’s attacker was revealed to be Miloš, her criminal ex-husband who was first introduced in Season 1 through flashbacks of her past life in Olomouc, Czech Republic. By the end of the episode, Miloš gets arrested. But if the show continues to recall its earliest episodes, this might mean Miloš will escape at some point, just like the time he escaped from a Prague prison.

Jane’s conflict wasn’t resolved as neatly. Season 1 introduced Jane as an accidentally inseminated, pregnant virgin burdened by a love triangle involving her fiancé Michael (the good-hearted cop) and Rafael (her boss at the hotel that employed her). Jane was carrying Rafael’s child and fell in love with him at the same time that she and Michael were engaged. But when Michael died in Season 3, instead of leaping into Rafael’s arms, Jane’s focus shifted to her son, Mateo, and to processing her grief.

For a show so dependent upon spectacle, this was a beautiful choice that led to Jane learning more about herself and finding love with Rafael, only after she worked on herself.

After last night, Jane is faced with another tough decision: move forward with her life with Rafael or work it out with Michael. Except, this is a telenovela, and the love triangle has changed shape. Michael isn’t really Michael—he has a severe case of amnesia. When he was pronounced dead four years ago, he woke up in a field in Montana with no recollection and decided to kickstart a new life as the dog-loving, slow-talking Jason. (I had my money on “twin no one knew about,” but “still alive and has no memories” is just as juicy.)

Is Jane no longer a widow? Is she still married? Can she legally move on from Michael? Does any of that even matter? It’s a truly absurd concept—one Jane interrogates in a particularly powerful and manic seven-minute monologue in the middle of the episode—but one the show manages to present with surprising gravitas. And just like in the beginning, Season 5 will surely draw people in with its preposterousness, but it will keep them in with touching, realistic solutions to that insanity.

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