'Relationships change quickly around here, so pay attention,' the narrator says — and he couldn't be more right

By C. Molly Smith
March 20, 2017 at 10:00 PM EDT
Credit: The CW
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“Relationships change quickly around here, so pay attention, okay,” the narrator says at the beginning of this week’s Jane the Virgin, and he couldn’t be more right because there’s a LOT going on with relationships of all kinds — political, familial, and romantic.

Let’s start with Jane and Petra. They’ve certainly had their issues, and despite being in a better place than they were before the time jump, they still argue. Here, they turn up the heat again as they go head to head for the position of room mom. Petra is the sitting room mom, but Jane wants in when Mateo expresses that he wishes she’d be around more. At first they try to be co-room moms, but they have totally different visions, largely having to do with the ways money is being spent, so it doesn’t work out. That leads to the two of them proposing that they have an election. “The kids can see democracy in action, this time free from Russian intervention,” Jane says when making her case. (You bet there are a ton of election jokes like this.)

They get the go-ahead, and the campaigning begins. For example, Jane tries to get the #SwingSetMoms on her side by promising to fix the cubby hierarchy, while Petra gives out spa gift cards and takes parents to lunch. At that lunch, Jane and Petra go into a full-on debate about the jungle gym — there’s a fantasy sequence and, of course, pantsuits (see main image) — and they end up saying some very hurtful things. Petra says if Jane disciplined Mateo more, she wouldn’t have to pretend her haircut was intentional, as Mateo has cut off a pretty sizable piece of her hair. Jane fired back, saying if Petra disciplined her kids less, they wouldn’t think of her as a dragon, since her daughters had drawn a picture of her as such.

In the end, both decide that they would rather not be room mom. Jane was only making a go for it because Mateo wanted to see her more, but Rogelio gives her a reality check when he says that Mateo is four years old, and if given the choice between having Jane at school more frequently and chocolate, he would choose chocolate. Petra receives a reality check of her own from Rafael, who had planned to abstain. She expresses that Jane makes her feel like a bad mom and that she’s embarrassed that her daughters are afraid of her, but Rafael explains that that’s not the case at all; rather, he had told their kids a story about how Petra is a fierce protector, so that’s where the dragon idea came from. He tells Petra that she’s the only person he knows who could have handled taking care of the kids and hotel while he was away at prison, and she admits that she hates being room mom. They kind of have a moment, but more on that later…

So, on election day Jane announces that there’s clearly a more qualified candidate for room mom and says of Petra, “I’m with her.” (I told you there’s a lot of election humor.) But, as we know, Petra also doesn’t want the role, so she insists that Jane take it. They come clean to each other about where they stand and agree that they want to end their rivalry. What’s more, since neither of them wants the position anymore, they decide Rafael should be the one to fill it, which he does.

Aside from politics, practically everyone has romantic developments, and one of the sweeter developments is about Alba. She’s had a crush on her boss Jorge for a fat minute, so when Jane overhears that he’s broken up with his girlfriend, that the passion died a while ago, and he’s open to love, Alba makes her move. Her first move is, honestly, pretty pathetic. She puts her pinky on his pinky and feels rejected when he doesn’t react, which is ridiculous. Xo tells her so and makes a plan of her own — Alba’s getting a makeover. “It’s way too much. I look ridiculous. Jorge will laugh,” Alba says, but she is so far off. In fact, she looks SMOKING, wearing a form-fitting electric blue dress with her hair and makeup done. She goes to see Jorge at the Marbella and he’s clearly in awe of her beauty — that is, until her fake eyelashes start irritating her and she trips and slips. YIKES. Naturally, Alba is pissed, but it all works out in the end because Jorge asks her out.

Then there’s Jane, who has a big, romantic breakthrough. She walks into a coffee shop with her edgy, if unplanned, haircut and confidently orders, and a barista ends up writing his number on her cup. The guy isn’t right for her, but it makes her think about the energy she’s been putting out into the world since Michael. “If you mean, ‘Hands off, I’ve got cobwebs down there,’ then yeah, that’s the vibe you’ve been throwing,” Xo sassily says, then asks if Jane is ready to date again. Jane doesn’t want to until she can tell the story of Michael’s death without tearing up and, presumably, thinks that’s not going to happen soon, as she teared up at her book reading, but she’s wrong.

At the end of the episode, Jane and Rafael meet with Mateo’s new aide, Alex, to tell him Mateo’s history. (Alex wanted to wait to hear Mateo’s background so he could make his own impressions and observations.) Jane tells the story of Michael’s death and how it might have affected Mateo without getting upset, something she doesn’t even realize until Rafael points it out. Alex reassures them that Mateo shows no signs of trauma from Michael’s death, nor signs of abandonment from Rafael’s time in jail; instead, his impulse control issues are totally unrelated. Both get emotional, but it’s because Mateo isn’t scarred. So, what does that mean for Jane’s love life? She’s not making her Tinder profile as we speak, by any means, but she’s ready to think about the possibility of dating again. To all those on #TeamRafael, I wouldn’t necessarily take Jane’s openness to mean that the two are going to pair up again because there were some big Rafael-Petra developments, too.

As previously mentioned, Rafael is super supportive of Petra and basically tells her that she’s a wonderful, protective mother and person. He also defends Petra when Chuck yells at her upon finding out that she kept Scott’s burn book and, likely, ripped a page out of it. (Chuck found out through the police, who came to ask him about it; they also questioned Petra earlier in the episode, and I’m sure there’ll be more here. Also important to note: Chuck knows that Petra moved Scott’s remains onto his property, so pissing him off could lead to some serious consequences…) Rafael tells Chuck to leave, but Rafael doesn’t believe Petra had nothing to do with the missing page and asks to see it. Turns out the page included hurtful things that Rafael’s father said about him, and Petra ripped it out to protect his feelings. Rafael reminds her that she’s a dragon and that that’s a good thing. “You’re the only one who sees me like that,” Petra says, and Rafael pushes her hair aside. THIS WAS NO FRIENDLY HAIR PUSH. No, the pair say they shouldn’t do this, but both really want to, so they start hooking up and it’s STEAMY AS HELL.

(Will Petra and Rafael get back together, or are they just hooking up? What does this mean for Jane and Rafael? I have so many questions.)

Less steamy, and more emotional, is the Bruce-Xo-Rogelio situation. Xo starts having doubts throughout the episode and seems completely unenthused whenever wedding talk comes up. She can’t quite place her finger on it, so Jane encourages her to mix things up with Bruce. Xo does, but there’s still something off. As Jane and Xo are talking about the sultry night, Mateo chimes in, saying that grandpa Rogelio didn’t know if Xo was happy with Bruce. For background, Rogelio and Mateo went suit shopping earlier because Rogelio was looking for something to wear in court. (You’ll recall, Bruce is his legal representation.) Xo chews Rogelio out for speaking with Mateo about her relationship, and Jane later tells Rogelio that he shouldn’t have done that. He knows he was in the wrong but says he doesn’t really know how to navigate a relationship with children. He’s learning, though, and says that his relationship with Mateo has filled a void, so having a child isn’t a deal breaker anymore.

I’m sorry, WHAT?! He and Xo broke up because he wanted to have another child and Xo didn’t, so I’m thinking they might finally reunite. Jane later tells Xo what she discovered and that she thinks Rogelio still has feelings; she doesn’t want to add to her mom’s doubts, but she felt she should know because it’s such a big decision. It’s clear that Xo is affected by the news when she, Rogelio, and Bruce prepare for court; Xo has to answer questions about her relationship with Rogelio and gets very emotional, saying that there wasn’t one day that she didn’t think about him… even though they weren’t together. Also clear: Bruce sees that something is going on, while Rogelio seems oblivious. Bruce later tells Xo he can’t go to court because of what happened during prep and asks if she still has feelings for her ex. She doesn’t have an answer, so she gives back the engagement ring. That’s when Rogelio walks in and completely fails to read the room, throwing his arms around the pair and asking, “Are you ready to make everyone fall in love with me, buddy?”

So, that was awkward, but there’s a more important question: Will Ro and Xo get back together?! I think yes, but tweet me about #XoRo, and otherwise, at @cmollysmith. I’ll be digesting all my many feels in the meantime. Until next week…

Episode Recaps

Jane the Virgin

A telenovela adaptation, Jane the Virgin tells the story of Jane Villanueva, a virgin who is accidentally inseminated during a routine checkup.
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