Ah, love. All-consuming, passionate love has inspired art since the beginning of time. (Archeologists have yet to find heart-shaped cave scribblings, but I’m sure that will happen any day now.) My point is, the pursuit of love is often depicted, but the act—the real, hard work—of it, less so. The latter provided plenty of fodder for “Chapter 17,” as we saw plots unfold that were inspired by the drama, challenges, and frustrations that bubble up to the surface only after you’ve found that special person.
It all seems so abstract and impossible (how could a made-for-TV character find herself less than perfectly in love?) until it played out in a scenario that is probably familiar to many new parents: right in the baby aisle in Target. As Jane cruised the aisles debating pacifiers, she called up someone for advice. Not abuelita, not her mom, but Rafael, who’s skipped the registry session in favor of some time in the office as he plans a spring break bash at the Marbella. “I’m good with everything you pick,” he says. And though Jane has brought her BFF with her for moral support, it’s clear that Jane will need much more than Rafael’s good intentions as she begins to navigate the world of breastfeeding, baby wraps, and sleep schedules. That becomes even clearer when Jane—on the suggestion of a mom she became fast friends with while shopping for baby products at Target—attends a lactation session with Xo in tow. Despite Xo’s warning to not panic—after all, we learn, Xo didn’t exactly rear Jane by the book—Jane later goes down the Internet rabbit hole, where acronyms like DD, SAHM, and CIO on the Milky Madres forum (a clever play on the Leche League by Jane writers) whips her into a panic.
It’s then that Jane’s daughter arrives. Jane doesn’t actually go into labor—my guess is creator Jennie Snyder Urman is saving that for the finale—but a cute six-year-old appears, a figment of Jane’s wild imagination, which serves as a hint to come. But the little girl is less a dream and more a nightmare, and throws a hairbrush at Jane as she says, “You’re a terrible mom. I hate you.” Is this what motherhood is? Confusing choices about childcare that make you run the risk of ruining your relationship with your kids?
If Alba and Xo’s relationship is any indication, than it is. The pair haven’t spoken since Xo moved into a McMansion with Rogelio and they’re each smarting over the split. (Though they’re too stubborn to admit it.) Neither of them wants to move on and it’s worth noting that while Xo has drifted apart from her mother, Rogelio’s getting cozy in another relationship. That’s right—his friendship with Michael has bloomed into a full-blown bromance, which Jane says isn’t healthy. “He needs to move on,” she tells Rogelio. “I’ll talk to him later,” replies Rogelio. “When we get mani-pedis.”
Over foot rubs, Rogelio talks to Michael—but not about distancing himself from the family. Instead, he invites Michael to accompany him and Xo to Rafael’s big blowout at the Marbella so as to meet someone new. After all, though he’s a proud member of #TeamMichael, Rogelio is firmly #TeamJane. “Move on,” he tells Michael.
Jane’s also doing her best to move on after freaking out about her future with a baby and decides to help her writing club friend Andie (Rachel DiPillo) babysit. These two have become fast friends, and while Andi has waxed poetic about her ex, Jane has never once thought about the possibility that she and Andie may share more than a love for fruit salads, signs, and romance novels. So why wouldn’t she offer to babysit while Andie tries to hammer away at her novel? And in that vein, why wouldn’t Jane encourage her to text her ex? (“Hey!”)
I don’t know about you, but I got some second-hand stress watching Jane take care of baby Luna. OMG! Everything started off well when the baby was sleeping, but when the baby woke up in a soggy diaper, all hell broke lose. Jane was in near meltdown mode when Xo walked in and suggested she swaddle the baby, which helped put an end to Luna’s tears. It was a victory that Jane would have loved to share with Rafael, but he was too busy dealing with the party—first with the matter of securing appropriate permits and than at the party itself—to dive into the perils and triumphs of parenting with Jane.
Back to what’s become my favorite relationship in the series: Michael and Rogelio, who have dived a bit deeper with their bromance as Rogelio confides in Michael about some trouble he’s had with Xo. All’s sunny in paradise, but as they prepared to go to the party, they entered into a tiff. See, Xo was baiting Rogelio about love. What does Rogelio love? He loves hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, mirrors and hair-blowing fans—and has no idea that he’s being prodded to say three little words. Once he’s given the full rundown on the situation, Michael correctly guesses that Xo really just wants to be told “I love you.” It brings him back to when he first told Jane those words, which prompts him to open his heart up to Rogelio. He still loves Jane and thinks his love is the sort that will outlast anything that she and Rafael have created.
“That’s why I haven’t moved on,” he tells Rogelio. “I think she’s going to wake up and realize he’s wrong for her.”
“I think they will last, Michael,” Rogelio replies. “And I think you need to #moveon.”
It turns out that for Michael, moving on might be pretty easy—it’s just a matter of responding to Andie’s text. Are these two going to rekindle their romance?
On the subject of romance, Rafael’s totally not in the mood after the police appear at the Marbella and revoke the hotel’s liquor license as punishment for holding such a massive party without the appropriate permits. Rafael’s fuming and tells Jane that he really doesn’t need “any judgment right now.” He’s defensive, angry and after downing a few drinks, decides to tell Jane what he feels about having seen Michael at the party.
“He should have nothing to do with our lives, but here he is at my party with your father. He’s trying to get you back, Jane. And you’re too naive to realize it.”
Jane’s not having it: “I’m not naive, but you’re drunk, and I don’t want to be here anymore.” Though these two end up making up the next morning after—thanks in part to a reappearance by Jane’s future daughter, who tells her that children of parents who argue don’t thrive—one can’t help but feel that their reconciliation acts as a Band-Aid to some fairly substantial issues. Rafael is tempestuous and reckless, while Jane makes it far too easy for Rafael to act first and apologize later. For these two, the words “I love you” acts as a reassurance of their picture-perfect beginning, and less of a promise of action to take.
NEXT: Rogelio reveals something surprising