Ah, milestones. Most of the time, we tend to think about milestones as joyful, happy occasions — like in Jane’s case, her first day of middle school and the moment Mateo first smiled. But as we learned in “Chapter 28” milestones aren’t always sunny-colored and rainbow bright — they can be painful, too.
The episode kicked off with Jane picking out an outfit for grad school orientation. “Does it say cool, but still legitimately literary?” she asks Xo. Clad in her first day of school outfit, Jane meets with Rafael for a meeting with an estate planner. There, Jane learns that her little baby will grow up to become a major millionaire, with a $40 million dollar trust to his name. That’s a lot of Target shopping sprees, but Jane’s major concern is raising Mateo as normal and as grounded as possible. How can she do that when he’ll have millions at his fingertips?
It’s a question she’ll keep coming back to throughout the episode, but before she can come up with a solution, it’s time to head out to see Rogelio in action during his last day on the Passion of Santos set. Slow tear! But the only one who’s close to tears is Jane, when Mateo spits up all over his mommy. At the risk of being late to class, she heads to wardrobe for a new dress.
As luck would have it, Jane’s last minute outfit change has made her late to orientation. She thought it’d be a wine and cheese mixer, but it seems more like a group therapy event, with one student yakking about her past, heroin abuse, and other angsty matters. Seated at the head of the table is a particularly studly specimen of a man. (That beard!) Meet Jonathan Chavez, Jane’s new English professor. He’s not too thrilled that Jane’s late, and he’s even less pleased when Jane mentions her book. “I’m not here to help you finish a novel,” he growls. “I’m here to help you grow as a writer.” Oh, and he hates social media and phones — a fun fact that hits home when Jane finds herself locked out of class for taking a call from Mateo’s pediatrician. This is not exactly the start that Jane was envisioning for herself.
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Jump to one month later, and Jane’s “doubled down” on school. She’s put in the work, and now she’s expecting an A — or at the very least, a B+ — on her first paper. Her shock when she sees a big, fat C– scribbled on her assignment is palpable. Her first bad grade marks a milestone — and not a good one. “You have potential, but it feels like a first draft, rushed,” Professor Chavez tells her. There’s a writer’s retreat, which she might find helpful; no matter that she’s a new mom and has never left Mateo. “Nothing’s mandatory,” he reiterates. “You chose to be here.”
NEXT: Rafael is a chick magnet at mommy music class[pagebreak]
Meanwhile, Rafael is rockin’ it at mommy group classes. He’s a huge hit, yakking it up with the moms and absolutely killing the choreography to the nursery rhymes. At his side, Jane is struggling to keep up. She’s missed a month of mommy classes, and it shows. Awesome.
Meanwhile, mommy-to-be Petra is struggling. She’s still suffering from severe morning sickness — the same kind that Kate Middleton had, obviously — and has turned her attention to getting Magda out of prison. Will Jane support Magda’s release? Out of the goodness of her heart, Jane does — and Petra can concentrate on other matters, like dressing up her new baby bump and figuring out how to get rid of Milos’ hand grenades.
And speaking of bombs, how’s this one? During a routine doctor’s appointment Jane and Rafael learn that baby Mateo has a flat head and will have to wear a helmet. It’s from spending too much time on his back when Jane was working on her grad school assignments. It’s a lot to process, but Rafael doesn’t have any time to mull the matter over — he has to rush off to another medical appointment, this time with Petra. There, the two of them — along with Milos — get some big news. Petra’s expecting twin girls! It’s a sweet, and slightly awkward scene that’s reminiscent of Jane’s early gyno visits with both Michael and Rafael, a reminder that families are sometimes formed under less-than-conventional circumstances.
The subject of bonding comes up again when Jane is at the writer’s retreat, which seems to be taking place in the boondocks. Cell phone reception is spotty — which means that Jane isn’t receiving Rafael’s texts with pictures of Mateo in his new blue protective helmet. The milestones are racking up, and she’s decidedly despondent about it. She can’t expect support from her fellow grad students, but that’s partially her fault, as she’s a stranger to them (and vice versa). But surprisingly, when Jane opens up to them about her struggles, the words start flowing.
Jane’s feeling the flow when it comes to her writing, but not elsewhere – a real problem when she realizes she’s left the plug for her breast pump at home. Rafael swings by with it, which opens up a discussion about how they should raise Mateo: “I’m raising a rich kid, and that’s not how I grew up,” Jane says. But Rafael says his childhood wasn’t bad because of money; it was because of his dysfunctional family — which is why he’s fighting so hard for Mateo and Jane. Aww. He leans in for a kiss, but unfortunately, his timing is a bit off. Jane’s not over Michael. Can the dude ever catch a break? Rafael has three kids — and hasn’t gotten laid, for goodness sake!
Meanwhile, Milos is headed off to Prague. He says he’s in search of a buyer for his grenades, but it’s really because Magda is home and is driving him absolutely bonkers. He taps Ivan to guard Petra & co while he’s gone, which puts a slight wrinkle in Petra and Magda’s plan to dispose of the grenades in Milos’ absence. But when the tough get going, the going get tough — and this mother-daughter duo quickly execute a plan to alert the Prague authorities about Milos’ shady past. Fast-forward a month or two, and the gals have not only dumped the grenades (Magda lost an eyeball and a hand in the process), but they’ve also succeeded in getting Milos arrested for internet scamming. Ivan confronts Magda about the latter.
“He will forgive Petra, his wife, I suppose, but will Petra forgive you when she finds out what else you’ve been hiding?” he asks. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Magda, it’s that she doesn’t take threats lightly. She takes matters into her own hands — literally speaking — and the scene ends with Petra walking into the hotel room, where she finds Magda standing over Ivan’s body.
NEXT: Does mo’ money, really mean mo’ problems?[pagebreak]
“Chapter 28” featured several time jumps, which did nothing to help Jane’s predicament about how to best balance being a mom with her grad student work load. She’s on academic probation, and to make things worse, she’s caught a weird virus. During a scene where Mateo’s cranky because he doesn’t have his Lovey, Jane seems equally upset and doesn’t hold back when Rafael stops by with a replacement for said item. “Shut up, and go away,” she tells Rafael, who’s looking super hot in a James Bond-style tux for a charity gala date with one of the gals he met at the mommy circle. Maybe it’s the tux or maybe it’s how good-natured and sweet he’s being, but Rafael is totally working it this episode. Maybe he is the one after all.
Once Jane recovers, she and Rafael figure out a trust plan, which attaches Mateo’s fortune to a charity. For every dollar he gets, he has to donate a dollar. An adorable fantasy scene featuring an elementary school-aged Mateo speaking at a U.N. conference plays out, revealing a deeper layer to Jane’s story — that though she was afraid wealth would spoil him, those millions might help Mateo achieve great things.
With Thanksgiving’s arrival, everyone around the table at the Villanueva house has something to be grateful for. With Mateo healthy, Jane says she’s thankful for her son, all day, every day, and Alba is thankful for God’s grace. Rogelio — who’s begun taping a Mad Men-inspired telenovela — is thankful for “health and hair,” and Xo shares that she’s been inspired by Rogelio to go after her singing career. And what’s Rafael thankful for? “This. I’m grateful for all of it.”
It’s completely different from the crazed, upside-down holiday celebration that Jane had imagined just one or two episodes back, even when Petra shows up. She’s arrived with Mateo’s Lovey (the darn thing keeps getting misplaced!), and Jane asks her to join the celebration. See? Maybe they can all be one happy family.
The possibility of Jane getting one step closing to figuring out her romantic future is palpable when after dinner, Rafael reveals that he ended things with Jill after seeing Jane the night when she was under the weather. “As cranky and stinky and mean as you were, I realized that I would still rather be with you at your worst.” He asks Jane out on a date, and though we may never learn whether it was because of the turkey, the wine, or the fact that Jane is finally over Michael, our girl says yes. Yay! Is this the beginning of her happily ever after?
Burning questions, stray observations, and memorable one-liners:
- Magda slit Ivan’s throat with her new hook. Of course. But Ivan implied she was hiding something — what could it be?
- This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for Rogelio’s one-liners about his new Mad Men-inspired show. On the pace of the series: “Mine will move much faster. A fasterpiece, if you will.” That gem was followed by this one: “Who exactly is this Matthew Weiner? And what does that cease and desist mean?” Does the threat of legal action mean Rogelio will officially be Heather Locklear’d, i.e. put on another show for a ratings boost?
- Adam Rodriguez is the English professor of my dreams. (Swoon!) Sure, things may be moving along nicely between Jane and Rafael, but is anyone else secretly rooting for the prof’s gruff attitude to turn romantic?
- Michael’s screen time this episode was brief, but telling, as we learned that he had called Nadine for help — and not the other way around. Together, they drove to Mexico, where it seems their fact-finding mission may have paid off, with fodder for a face-off between Michael and Detective Susanna Barnett. Thoughts?
- We learned that Jane’s new gay BFF from grad school is writing an exposé on the Solano family — do you think that will make Jane regret opening up? What kind of effect will this have on the way she interacts with strangers – and when Rafael finds out, what kind of effect will it have on their relationship?
- Is anyone else obsessed with the new, improved Petra? She has a positive outlook on life (who would have imagined that was even possible?), and oh yeah, her maternity style is on point, too.