Though it’s been a few months since Jane was on the air, Gina Rodriguez has busy keeping a pretty high profile — presenting at the Emmys, recruiting Stephen Colbert for her so-called cult, slaying internet trolls and being all-around awesome — which has helped stoke some serious excitement for her show. But as we all know, sometimes hype can take a toll on shows heading into their second season (here’s looking at you, True Detective), a possibility that definitely made me a bit anxious heading into the premiere. However, I’m happy to say, “Chapter 23” was a crazy roller coaster slick with romance, plenty of drama, funny one-liners, and shocking moments, all of which made me fall in love with Jane all over again.
The ride began with a quick flashback (love those!) to little Jane getting schooled in a little Telenovela 101: Sometimes a girl has to be fearless in order to get her happy ending. With that lesson in mind, we’re taken to the present, just nine minutes after baby Mateo was kidnapped. Jane is glowing after giving birth and has absolutely no idea that her baby’s been taken until a nurse informs her and Rafael that Mateo needs a hearing test. This is when Jane realizes that the rogue nurse who took Mateo was part of some hellish plan, prompting her to go into protective mommy mode with a remarkable amount of calm. (Honestly, would you keep your cool like she did if you were in her situation?! Um, no.)
Returning fans, you should know what comes next: Jane calls Michael. Her ex-fiancé is the male equivalent of Old Faithful, predictable and loyal, almost to a fault. Jane’s trying her best to stay calm but then she starts crying (which means I almost started crying because Gina’s acting is just that good), and then we learn why Rose staged the kidnapping. She wants to trade Mateo for a dragonfly pin, which she lost during a makeout session with Luisa last season. For the record, Rose isn’t at a lack for stylish accessories: She wants the pin back because it’s embedded with a microchip that contains the files on her face-changing clients.
This is news that Jane’s not gonna take sitting down, so she runs out with baby daddy Rafael and Michael to make the swap. Well, for the record, Jane doesn’t really run — it’s more like a slow-paced waddle, since girlfriend just gave birth. There’s some twists and turns that stall the swap a bit (Luisa’s girlfriend, Juicy, throws out the pin in a jealous rage which creates a frenzied search for the pin poolside; Michael’s ex-partner Nadine is at the scene where the baby trade takes place and she delivers a spiel about how Sin Rostro is really, really dangerous), but luckily, Mateo ends up in his mommy’s arms and right back on his feeding schedule. Thank goodness for happily ever after, right?
This is where Jane’s post-pregnancy story line gets infused with a dose of the absurdist humor that worked so well last season. A huge crowd of TV reporters and groupies have gathered at la casa Villanueva, and it turns out Rogelio’s love of social media is to blame for the chaos. He was tweeting a play-by-play account of Mateo’s saga, and it seems like all the nuns in Miami-Dade have shown up to praise Jane as some sort of Immaculata. The whole situation — with returning characters like Slutty Crystal and Rogelio’s ex-stepdaughters — makes Jane stress out like whoa, which affects her milk supply. Rafael isn’t helping the situation at all, since he’s absolutely clueless about the actual purpose of breasts beyond their ornamental appeal. Could it be anymore obvious that he flaked out on those parenting classes last season? Methinks not. The matter of proving himself as a parent causes Rafael some stress, which is why when Jane is at lactation class, he takes the opportunity to ask Michael for some advice.
NEXT: Petra gets busy with a turkey baster [pagebreak]
This is when Michael experiences a bit of an existential crisis. Does he give Rafael a) Good advice b) Bad advice or c) No advice, making Rafael figure it out for himself? But like I said earlier, Michael is a good guy through and through, and he recommends Rafael read a book.
While Jane is preoccupied on lactating and the boys are fixated on Jane, it’s time to turn to Petra. Throughout the evening some flashbacks have revealed that five years ago Petra was pregnant. Turns out she and Rafael had expected a baby boy, a fact that creates an odd parallel between her old life and Jane’s present one. It helps feed a desperation within her to get Rafael back, and the solution that presents itself is to get pregnant with Rafael’s semen sample. Since Rafael is conveniently distracted with new dad problems and everyone is similarly in the dark, Petra is free to commence Operation Get Preggers. That is, until Rafael’s vest-loving assistant Scott figures out what’s going on and temporarily thwarts things by hiding the sample among the gifts in Mateo’s nursery at the hotel. Still, nothing can stop Petra and with some nudging from Luisa and the help of a turkey baster, it looks like she got the job done. All that stands in her way is Scott, who seems as though he’ll hold her little secret over her for the foreseeable future. You can hardly blame the guy — he learned how to blackmail with the best of them!
As Petra is preparing to put a bun in the oven, Jane is still struggling with making milk for Mateo. She’s clearly unsettled and sleep deprived when she tearfully confesses her deepest fear to Xo: Where are her maternal instincts? They didn’t kick in when she was face-to-face with Mateo’s kidnapper, and they seem to have failed her again when it comes to breastfeeding successfully. Then comes one of those moments that Jane writers get right every time: mother-daughter time. Xo and Jane bond over the true meaning of motherhood. After a brief pause to feel all the feels, Rafael, fresh off some required reading, strolls in with intel about “cluster feeding,” which seems to help shed light on why Jane’s milk hasn’t come in. He’s looking particularly triumphant, and Jane appreciates the steps he’s taking to be there for their son, which is why she agrees that he can stay at the house round the clock to encourage plenty of traditional father-son bonding time.
And that’s not all: Jane gathers the courage to face the growing crowd outside and tells one of the nuns a tall tale about having sex. “A lot. In cars even. I just didn’t want my grandma to know.” And just then, Jane starts leaking — her milk has come in. Talk about miracles!
One miracle leads to another — baby Mateo gains some much-needed weight — and Xo is so relieved at the news that she decides to get something off her chest. With a deep breath, Xo tells abuela and Jane about her Vegas wedding to Rogelio. “It was obviously a mistake,” says Xo, although she doesn’t seem entirely convinced herself. “We’re getting it annulled.”
NEXT: Who’s the mystery person?[pagebreak]
Next we see Michael, he’s parked outside the Villanueva house to make sure the area is groupie-free. Jane hasn’t rewarded his actions with any indication of where things are headed romantically — that is, until now. “Rafael is staying over, but just as the baby’s father,” she says casually. Does this mean Michael has a chance now?
It’s almost like Rafael knew that his baby momma and Michael were having a moment outside, because when Jane heads back to her bedroom, she finds Rafael cuddling Mateo shirtless. Swoon. What is it about a hot man holding a baby? The whole dynamic is admittedly weird, but it’s also “regular weird… which is really good,” says Jane. Ugh. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
But of course, we’re not done yet. Cue a mysterious figure, whose back is to the camera. Whoever this person is, she has it out for Jane: She’s heard saying, “Let’s go after her. Now.” Wait, what?
Burning questions, stray observations and memorable one-liners:
- Who is this mysterious new villain — and why a hit order for Jane? Could Sin Rostro be involved, or is this an introduction to an entirely new villain and story line? Also, sweet digs.
- Yass! Jane producers brought back RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars alum Chad Michaels as the Cher impersonator that married Rogelio and Xo. I love it when TV worlds collide!
- Speaking of marriage, we know that Jane gets married this season, but tonight’s episode didn’t set up a clear winner in the Team Michael vs. Team Rafael debate. Who are you rooting for this season?!
- Extra points for Jane’s baby belly — because let’s be honest, real women don’t lose the pregnancy weight seconds after giving birth.
- Oh baby! Did you notice a very special guest appearance on the show? Justin Baldoni tipped off the fans on Twitter — his wife Em and baby girl were part of that nursing class scene!
- Did anyone else feel slightly sorry for Petra this episode? She didn’t come off so much as a crazy, delusional ex-wife as she did a deeply unhappy woman worthy of some sympathy.
- “I just feel so impotent Michael. Not in a sexual way, but in a paternal way.” —Rogelio
- “In the last two hours I have ruined multiple celebrity relationships by tweeting their dirty secrets in an effort to distract the press.” —Rogelio
So, did you like the direction of Jane post-pregnancy? Did the premiere live up to your expectations? Are you feeling the appearance of a brand-new baddie? Hit me up on Twitter, and don’t forget to share your thoughts and conspiracy theories in the comments.