How far are you willing to go for love? That’s the question Jane The Virgin asked of its titular heroine all season, and of its viewers as well. Fun, smart, and satisfying in its depiction of a young Hispanic woman—all while avoiding tired Latino stereotypes—Jane the Virgin was a refreshing departure from the usual comedic offerings. The jokes almost wrote themselves: Sure, Jane is a knocked up waitress, but she’s also a college graduate and aspiring author. Then there were her relationships with her mom (the sexy, single mom with a serious streak) and her grandmother (a deeply religious, undocumented immigrant), and her crazy, soap star dad. And course, there were boys: rich, entitled Rafael and Michael, a detective with good-guy cred. And with all the high-stakes story lines involving batty exes, a villainous drug lord, first dates and heartbreaks, there was one constant that wove all 22 hilariously entertaining episodes together. That is, the subject of love: how to get it, how to live without it, how to earn it, how to protect it, and how to share it.
The series finale hit that theme hard throughout the hour, diving right in with a flashback to a teenaged Xo giving birth to Jane with Alba by her side. It was a hard labor and given the choice, Xo would have given up. That is, if it hadn’t been for Alba encouraging her to push just a bit more. And sure enough, with a final push, wee Jane made her grand entrance. “She’s perfect,” exclaims Xo.
Fast-forward to the present, and we see Jane making a killer grilled cheese. Xo is putzing around the kitchen, fretting over the possibility of missing her grandchild’s arrival during her short-term show in Las Vegas. Though she’s only going to be away for three days, Jane is full term and the baby could definitely arrive any day now. Jane’s acting totally nonchalant about the whole thing until she’s doubled up over the kitchen table with contractions. It’s official—Jane’s heading into labor!
…Just kidding! I knew nothing would keep Jane from diving head first into her sammy, and I was right. She’s faked the whole thing just to mess with Xo. Within moments however, their lighthearted repartee turns serious when Xo asks about Rafael, who Jane saw earlier at a doctor’s visit. Sorry to say it, #TeamRafael, but there’s been no change in their romantic status. “I’m glad, because after the baby, it would have been so much messier,” confesses Jane.
Over on the other side of town, Rafael is confiding to Luisa: He thinks that Jane has moved on. Which is really too bad, because at the doctor’s office, there was definitely a little flirtation going on between the two of them. Is there anything cuter than these two pretty people smiling at each other all wide-eyed and earnest? (Don’t answer that.) Though Rafael doesn’t seem to have a chance at scoring points with Jane, he is winning when it comes to his business affairs.
“The point is, I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he tells Luisa as they’re seated in his office at the Marbella. “With the influx of cash from the Maracay group, I can actually buy Petra out.” Luisa is skeptical, but Rafael assures his sister that he will “get her to sell.” Luisa’s response is one I wish she would have said earlier and often in the season. “Just be careful. That woman is the devil in a pretty package.”
Over at the Villanueva home, Jane is chilling on the couch. Rogelio is by her side; he’s waiting for Xo, who’s getting together her bags in preparation for their show in Vegas. (In all seriousness, wouldn’t you pay money to see those two live?) Jane is busy texting Michael, though in her defense she’s cancelling their dinner under the pretext of working on grad school applications. Someone got the memo about not rushing into a new relationship! However, a bit of teasing from Xo and Rogelio makes it clear that while Jane may have canceled their dinner, she can’t put her heart on pause. She totally has a thing for Michael, and there’s really no hiding it.
Jane may be a bad liar, but Rafael isn’t. His course of action to get Petra to sell her shares depends heavily on the power of manipulation as he pretends to be interested in her again. He’s really good at it too, eyeing like a croqueta he wants to savor morsel by morsel as he and Petra discuss the redecorating some of the hotel rooms. “We need to change the recovery suites since right now they’re associated with Rose,” says Petra, who obviously loves the way Rafael is looking her up and down. “I agree. Let’s cut them,” says Rafael. “And let’s also get dinner.”
Petra has hardly had a chance to process the invitation when they are interrupted by Rafael’s assistant Scott, who says the Miami Dade hospital is calling. Could it be news of another cancer scare? Petra goes through a few possibilities in short order, but Rafael shrugs it off. So, about that dinner …
Jane may have canceled her meal with Michael, but a girl’s gotta eat, which is why when he shows up at her home with a bag full of burgers and fries from her favorite restaurant, he’s more than welcome to step inside. (I mean, who can resist a boy who comes bearing food, amiright?) The cheeseburgers are satisfying, but so is their conversation, and Jane quickly finds herself confiding in Michael about the fact that she missed the grad school application deadline. Here’s one of the biggest differences between Michael and Rafael: Rafael sweeps Jane off her feet, but Michael grounds her, giving her advice and encouraging her to achieve her goals by placing one foot firmly in front of the other. He advises her to petition the school and they are working side by side on an email to the admissions committee when Jane’s stomach begins to hurt. Could it be contractions? “I think so,” says Jane. “I’ve never had one, my stomach got all tight and I felt this pressure.” Off to the hospital they go!
False alarm: Jane is just suffering from Braxton Hicks contractions, a doctor informs her and Rafael, who’s rushed to be by her side. (As he should.) He leaves the delivery room to tell Michael that he can bug off and their interaction quickly escalates into an argument about whether Michael wants Jane back. “I do want her back,” Michael says defiantly. “Are you going to do something about it?” Jane—who’s emerged from her hospital room—isn’t exactly turned on by the prospect of two cute guys fighting for her heart. “Stop it. Are you serious? Doing this right now in the hospital?” And with that, she refuses a ride from either one of them and says she’ll get a lift from Alba, who’s in the hospital for some physical therapy.
No sooner than Jane has arrived home than Rafael rings her doorbell. Remember in earlier episodes, when she would light up as she met him at the door? But that was then and this is now: Jane is nine months pregnant and totally not having it, even when Rafael apologizes for having hurt her. “You broke my heart. And now you’re saying you don’t need it and I should pretend that it didn’t happen? But it did happen… I want you to get out. Just go.”
NEXT: Jane sets off for grad school—sort of[pagebreak]
I love it when Jane gets feisty, don’t you? She may be sweet, but she’s also strong—especially as she assures Xo that she doesn’t need to worry about the possibility of missing the birth. “You don’t have to call every hour!” she tells Xo. “Just focus on dress rehearsal.”
As if on cue, the doorbell rings. It’s Michael at her doorstep, and it’s no coincidence that Michael is there bright and early in the morning. He and Rafael are truly day and night, and their approach in trying to win Jane over differs accordingly. While Rafael offered words, Michael offers substance. (In the form of a labor playlist, complete with “Push It” and “Everybody Hurts.”) “I wanted to apologize about yesterday,” he tells Jane. “I feel really badly.” Then, he goes for the jugular: Is he imagining things, or is Jane warming up to him once more?
“You’re not imagining it,” Jane says. “But I don’t know where it’s coming from and I mean there’s so much in the air. It’s you, it’s safe and familiar.”
Ahem. Michael responds: “To be clear, I don’t want to be your safe choice …The reality to Rafael, the fantasy. If I am, and that’s how it is, and that’s how you feel at all, tell me. I’m not interested.”
But enough of that. Jane has to hoof it over to the graduate school admissions office, and tells Michael as much. She tries making her case to an admissions officer while fending off labor pains—the contractions are definitely real this time—and as she’s doing so, Michael has gone home to find Nadine waiting for him. What does his ex-partner want, anyway? She offers him a deal: She’ll give him the location of the plastic surgeon who headed up Sin Rostro’s face-changing operations if Michael can ensure her family’s safety. Michael agrees, but on the condition that Nadine serve up the info while it’s piping hot.
Meanwhile, Jane’s contractions are growing closer and closer. “I’m a doctor of literature, not medicine,” the admissions officer tells Jane, and we next see Jane on a bus—right where the series began. This time though, a kind woman named Gabriella is coaching Jane through the contractions. In Xo’s absence, this stranger has assumed a bit of a mother’s role and even backs up Xo’s demands on the phone that the bus driver head straight to the hospital. Jane’s baby > normal bus passengers. Then, in a serenely sweet fantasy sequence that Jane does so well, a telenovela poster with her father’s face becomes animated, and Rogelio coaches her breathing between contractions. “Inhala, exhala,” he tells her. Then, with a wave goodbye to the new friends that she’s made on the bus, Jane is dropped off in front of the hospital. Whew, no messy backseat labor!
Once at the hospital—where she’s flanked by Alba and Rafael—Jane briefly entertains the idea of foregoing an epidural. After all, abuelita didn’t have one.
“Why do you think your mother is an only child?” quips Alba. Okay then—an epidural it is! At Jane’s urging, Alba heads home to sleep and she and Rafael are left to wait. But she doesn’t want to talk about their relationship, so they begin discussing baby names.
Nina Villanueva. “It has such a nice flow,” Jane remarks, convinced that she’s having a girl. (I will admit I rewound this moment at least five times to make sure I heard my name being said. I knew Jane writers read these recaps!) Rafael loves the name (I mean, how could he not?), but pushes back when it comes to the baby’s last name. Would Jane deprive him of the only chance he has to pass down his family name? This leads to the type of discussion that Jane specifically wanted to avoid. “Look, I don’t want to fight with you. I’ve been thinking about things, and the way you broke up with me sucked… We want different things from life.”
Or do they? Rafael swears that he’s changed. “The reason I didn’t go to Spain wasn’t because the meeting was canceled. It’s because you were dilated, Jane… So I didn’t go to the meeting and sold the company.” He then goes even deeper, which is good since he’s taken his sweet time in doing so. “I don’t want his life. He wasn’t a good dad. I don’t want to be anything like him. And I won’t be.” So Nina Solano Villanueva it is.
Meanwhile, Xo is freaking out about the possibility that she might miss her granddaughter’s birth. There aren’t any flights heading out to Miami from Vegas that evening, so she makes plans to depart the very next day. She’ll miss her performance with Rogelio, a prospect that really upsets him. The fact is, Rogelio isn’t mad that she’ll be missing the show: He’s mad that she never considered whether he would also want to be there for Jane as she goes into labor. Once he shares that with Xo, she gets it—and promptly apologizes to him. “It’s okay that you’re mad, but you also have to get over it because that’s what families do. They get mad at each other and make up.” And then, as if on cue, a group of Venezuelan fans (a tongue-in-cheek nod to the show’s first iteration as a Venezuelan soap) shows up at the hotel bar. Rogelio can’t resist the fans and so he agrees to a drink… which seems to have turned into at least three or four, given that we next see Rogelio and Xo in bed together. Sure, they’re fully clothed, but they are messy and totally hungover. Time to hoof it to the airport if they’re going to make in time for Jane’s delivery at the hospital!
Jane’s body is telling her that it’s nearly time to give birth, but she’s pushing back. Neither her mother or father is with her, and the fact that she might experience delivery without them brings her to tears. Then Rafael has a genius idea and calls Michael with the request of providing a police escort to Xo and Rogelio upon landing. Miami traffic be damned!
Though Michael is talking to Nadine—who he’s chained to a filing cabinet on the floor of his apartment—he takes Rafael’s call. He prepares to leave, but not before sharing a few choice words with his former partner. He followed up on her tip and while he technically found the doctor, he found his corpse. Was he murdered? Was it suicide? It’s not made clear to the audience, but any deal that he and Nadine had is over. “The guy was dead, Nadine. We have no leads on Sin Rostro. We need concrete information. Cops don’t exactly love dirty cops.”
And with that, he leaves her, locked up to the cabinet. (Though to her credit, Nadine spies a nearby set of keys and frees herself.)
NEXT: It’s time to push![pagebreak]
Meanwhile, Jane is pushing and pushing. She’s so tired—and I’m so tired watching her because even fake TV labor looks seriously exhausting—and she’s nearly ready to give up when Xo bursts in. “Five more minutes of pain and a lifetime of happiness,” she coaches Jane, just as her mother did for her years earlier. “Push, or I’ll yank that kid out myself.” And then, after nine long months of waiting, we finally meet Jane’s baby boy.
That’s right: a boy. So much for my namesake! But Jane’s not disappointed. After everything—the ups, downs, breakups, broken hearts, and big love affairs—Jane’s heart is full. Which is why when a teary-eyed Rafael brings up the fact that he “never stopped loving her,” Jane’s really not in the mood. It’s not because she doesn’t love him; it’s the fact that at this very moment, she doesn’t need his love. The tiny, precious bundle she’s holding in her arms is enough. Besides, she has a new name to pick out: Mateo Gloriano Rogelio Solano Villanueva. “You named him after me?” Rogelio asks, puffing up his chest. “We’ll see how nicknames develop. Matelio perhaps?”
Meanwhile, another bit of baby news is a-brewin’. Remember that the Miami Dade hospital had been trying to get in touch with Rafael? They’ve continued to try to reach him, and Scott informs Petra of their attempts to reach his boss. But could Petra take the call? “They said they could speak with Mrs. Solano, which you were.” She jumps on the phone and utters a brisk “Get to the point.”
The point is that the hospital took over the fertility clinic where Rafael had stored his sperm sample, which had been split into two vials. “One was misplaced,” a hospital administrator tells Petra. “We just found it.”
This scenario might not have been so ominous had it not been for the fact that upon hearing the news, Petra walked down—well, nearly sprinted—to Rafael’s office. She was just about to open the door when she overheard him speaking to Luisa as he was preparing to head back to the hospital. “I feel a little bad about manipulating Petra,” Rafael was heard saying. “But I just want her out of my life. I have a family now with Jane.” Uh-oh. And with that, Petra proceeded to sprint right down to the hospital, where she was entrusted with a small silver container with the last of Rafael’s swimmers. Could Mateo be getting a brother or sister in season 2?
Meanwhile, Michael has decided to pay Jane a visit. He looks cute and particularly dorky as he approaches her bedside. There, in the quiet of the dim hospital room, he says exactly the right thing: “I just want to say I don’t want you to worry about any of that right now. You just focus on Mateo.”
Awww. With those words, Jane smiles. It’s exactly what she wanted to hear; a reminder that Michael has always supported her and will continue to do so. And, lest you think Michael is just a tad too ooey-gooey, he pulls a surprising move in the next scene, where he delivers updates to police HQ. “She’ll head back to Sin Rostro’s people eventually,” says Michael, who reveals he intentionally planted the keys nearby so she’d be tempted to escape and planted a tracker in Nadine’s phone. Don’t estimate him!
Michael isn’t the only one whom we’re learning a bit more about this episode. It turns out that Xo and Rogelio are keeping a secret too, however unintentionally. Rogelio is in the hospital waiting area and digging around his bag for concealer (“It’s been a very emotional day. I’m a little rough around the eyes.”), when he finds a DVD marked with his and Xo’s names. Could it be a sex tape? Xo—who is sitting by his side—hopes that isn’t the case, but could scarcely be more shocked when they put the DVD in Rogelio’s laptop and see a Vegas wedding unfold. It’s not a telenovela, and it’s certainly not a sex tape: Rogelio and Xo apparently got super drunk and decided to get hitched with a drag queen as officiant.
Unfortunately, whatever glee fans may have felt at watching these former teen sweethearts tie the knot quickly dissipated with the next scene. Jane is cuddling up to her baby Mateo when a new on-call nurse named Helen walks in and introduces herself. Under the premise of taking Mateo for a hearing test, she takes away the baby. She’s all smiles and confidence and arouses no suspicion whatsoever. That is, safely out of Jane’s sight and in the hospital hallway, she snips off baby Matteo’s name tag. She hides him under a lightweight jacket and strolls right out of the hospital with Jane’s baby. If you are wearing pearls, now is the time to clutch them. Helen walks up to a car parked in front of the hospital. A woman’s legs—shapely in the highest of high heels—are seen and Helen delivers the baby to the woman’s outstretched arms. We can’t see the woman’s face, but she’s whistling. Could it be Sin Rostro? You know it is, and I know it is—but unfortunately, our new mamma Jane has no idea that her baby is being whisked away by the villainous Rose.
I thought Jane’s final episode delivered everything that characterized the series as a breakout hit: tender, sweet interactions between three women of different generations; a few brilliant moments that banked on Jane’s use of magic realism; plenty of goofy, vain one-liners from Rogelio; and a certain honesty which helped illuminate the desperate measures that people like Nadine and Petra go to protect their hearts. And though the season ended without Jane having made a choice in the #TeamMichael/#TeamRafael debate, there’s no question that our heroine ended the season stronger than she began, as a woman determined to single-handedly achieve her goals. The question is, will she learn to lean on her own strength in season 2 when she discovers her baby has been kidnapped? What kind of choices will Jane make when her resolve as a single mother is tested? There’s so much at stake next season—including Xo and Rogelio’s relationship and Petra’s possible pregnancy—and I’m excited to watch what happens next. Thank you readers and fellow Jane fans, for being part of my experience of watching, enjoying, recapping, and covering the show here at EW. Like any other freshman series, Jane has relied heavily on a loyal viewership, and I can’t help but feel that you and I have helped make this season such a success for star Gina Rodriguez and the rest of the cast. Hasta luego—and see you next fall!