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'Jane the Virgin' recap: 'Chapter 38'

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Tyler Golden/The CW

Jane the Virgin

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Gina Rodriguez
The CW
Telenovela, Drama, Comedy

Jane’s in a good place now, as far as her personal life goes: She’s about to marry Michael, and now the two — plus little Mateo, of course — are looking for the house of their dreams. Petra, though? She’s a mess thanks to what seems like a case of postpartum depression that inspires her to sullenly roam the halls of the Marbella late into the night. Parenting is never easy, but especially not when your own body and brain are rebelling against you.

Although there’s nothing positive about postpartum depression, it does bring Jane and Petra together after Rafael expresses his concern for Baby Mama No. 2. Jane, being the empathetic and kind person she is, persuades Petra to bring the twins to one of her Mommy and Me classes, despite the stoic new mom’s resistance. There, Jane reluctantly introduces Petra as her “friend,” and the rest of the group soon start piping in with stories about their own difficulties parenting. Turns out Petra isn’t the only one struggling, and her face clearly starts to brighten as soon as other mothers reveal how lost they are. Sometimes all you need to know is that you’re not alone to feel a little better.

The group session quickly goes south, though, once someone attempts to diagnose Petra with postpartum depression. She storms out, and Jane chases after her with a business card to a fancy doctor — because of course Petra can’t go to just any doctor. With that, Petra eventually agrees to think about calling. Points to Jane The Virgin for refusing to breeze past how difficult it can be to get people struggling with mental illness to get the help they need — this is a crucial step in any story, real or fictional, especially with someone like Petra who makes a habit of keeping everything in.

When Jane’s not helping Petra out, she and Michael are touring houses around town. The only problem is that the houses they’re seeing in town aren’t the “charming” houses the listings promise. As Jane says at one of the less-attractive options, “Charming is code for small and old.” The realtor reveals he knows a house that would check the boxes on their list. The only catch is, this house is 30 minutes away, which, in reality, means 39 minutes and which, in South Florida-speak, means anywhere from 39 minutes to an hour depending on the day’s traffic. To those who live in a bigger city, this probably seems like no big deal. To Jane, who grew up mere seconds away from her family members, this is huge. 

Rafael feels the same way and isn’t happy when he learns that Jane is seriously considering the house. He offers to pay the difference for a house of the same quality closer to him, a nice proposal but one that Michael will never go for. Money has strings attached, he reasons to Jane. She’s learning this the hard way: Rogelio said he’ll pay for the wedding, and that means that Rogelio wants all his many, many friends (special guest star Charo included) to attend. Say goodbye to your dream of having an intimate ceremony with just 75 people, Jane.

NEXT: Rogelio and Jane clash when it comes to wedding planning [pagebreak]

Jane’s frustrated, but she shouldn’t be surprised that Rogelio wants to go all out. “Subtle” isn’t in the guy’s vocabulary, and that’s part of what makes Rogelio, well, Rogelio. She attempts to rein him in by letting him invite 15 people max — a proposition he doesn’t find as generous as she does. “Oh, great, my daughter’s getting married, and on the same day, I’m losing all my friends,” he dramatically responds between references to Lauren Conrad’s wedding tips. If only Rogelio and Jane had been closer sooner — the two would have probably had a delightful time binging Laguna Beach marathons when it was in its heyday.

After he tries to get through some loopholes, Jane decides that she and Michael will pay for the wedding themselves so they can have the exact event she wants…but evidently Jane forgot that she and Michael are also trying to nab a house, too. There’s only so much money to go around, bud. Xo ends up talking her daughter into having a small ceremony and a big party, all paid for by Rogelio. He’s thrilled to be back in the wedding-planning game and even plans a sweet surprise for Jane: He brings her to her wedding venue, which isn’t a replica of Versailles or the Miami Zoo, as he had previously suggested. No, it’s a replica of the house she grew up in. Bonus: It’s on a set, so there’s plenty of room for all of Rogelio’s friends. Oprah can come after all!

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Jane also figures out the whole house problem by telling Rafael that they’ll lease the dream house for a year and then evaluate how bad the commute is on their son’s life after those first 365 days. She has a change of heart right as they’re signing the papers, though, when Mateo begins walking around. It’s a milestone — and it’s one of many that she wants Mateo’s dad to have easy access to. Her reasoning — if that is indeed her reasoning — doesn’t make the most sense. Like, Rafael still wouldn’t have seen Mateo get up on his two feet even if they lived two blocks away from the Marbella. But a gut feeling is a gut feeling, and she and Michael leave the premises in search of a home closer to their lives. 

Later, they find a house in their price range and nearby. It’s perfect. It’s sunny and pretty and close enough so that Mateo can be close to both his parents as he grows up. At first, they think Rafael could be secretly subsidizing it. They’re wrong: Petra is. Sweet, right? Her friendship with Jane is beginning to become one of the show’s most intriguing dynamics, and it peaks in the episode when Petra basically yells at Rafael to let Jane move wherever the hell she wants. Petra’s penchant for being blunt can be useful sometimes. 

NEXT: Petra’s mom makes a nasty return [pagebreak]

She might have ulterior motives, though. Petra actually does end up calling the doctor Jane recommended, and the doctor asks her to find out if her mom struggled with postpartum depression. That requires visiting her mom, which she does. Is finding out your family history really this important? I’m no psychologist, but it seems like you can diagnose and treat someone just fine without knowing whether or not their mom went through the same thing. Anyway, her mom is unsympathetic — surprise! — and suggests that Petra leave her children, that it’s what’s best for them. This is bad advice, but it rings true to Petra and her depressed mind. She doesn’t think she’s doing a good job taking care of the twins, so maybe her mom is right. By the end of the episode, she’s frantically packing her bags. Perhaps she’s planning on dropping Anna and Elsa off with Jane in her beautiful new (and affordable — thanks, Petra!) house.

Petra is usually evil, but this is not evil. She is hurting and unwell and needs help, and her actually evil mom just made everything worse by being the devil on her daughter’s shoulder. Watching the look on her face as she packs is heartbreaking: She truly believes that her babies would be better off without her. This isn’t selfish Petra; this is trying-to-do-what’s-right Petra. Too bad this Petra’s mind is clouded with dark thoughts. That this Petra is about to make a huge decision in a state no one should make huge decisions in. It’s sad, but it’s realistic — and, more importantly, it’s yet another situation where Jane can intervene. Let’s just hope Petra’s “friend” finds out she needs help before she runs away. (To where, who knows?)


  • Alba is horny. Yes, that’s a direct quote. Pablo suggests they go up to their room, but Alba maintains that this time, she’s really saving herself for marriage — so Pablo, being the charmer he is, proposes. Alba’s overjoyed, until Jane and Xo reveal that they saw Pablo making the same moves on another woman in the same hotel. What the hell, Pablo? At least now Alba is willing to talk about her active sex drive, though, so some probably silly and definitely touching dates are likely in her future.
  • “Whoop-de-doo.” —Petra’s mom after Petra reveals she’s now a grandmother to two twin girls
  • Rafael is still helping Michael get information from Derek, whom he talks into sticking around. Does anyone else think this new guy looks like a sultrier Dan Humphrey? I keep waiting for him to reveal he’s Gossip Girl.