Jane tackles improv class, a lost mother, and bad news
Chapter Seventy-Six
Credit: Lisa Rose/The CW

Critics are the worst. Especially if that little voice you hear is an inner critic. It’s hard to tune out — and if you’re Jane Villanueva, the inner critic takes on a persona of her own.

But there’s no time to argue with the snotty version of herself right now. Jane and Rafael have decided to announce to the world that they are officially dating! Anticipating extreme emotions — and maybe a few tears — our love birds are surprised to learn that everyone in their lives knew they were dating. The best reaction came from Petra who dismissed “the news” with a flippant, “Whoopty do! I’m currently under investigation FOR MURDER.”

Poor Petra. It’s been two days since she had JR send a message to the blackmailer and they’ve heard nothing. She even provided a list of everyone who might want to see her behind bars. It’s going to take a week to sift through those names, but JR is ready and willing. So is Petra’s inner critic — but in a relational way, if you know what I mean.

Jane, on the other hand, decides to meet her real-life critic head on with a strongly worded letter that defends her book. His bad review is linked to her author profile on Amazon, and she will no longer allow him to call her out on cultural realism using his white male lens. Alba cocks a wise eyebrow and Jane concedes. She’s not going to send the letter. Welcome back inner critic.

While Jane argues with herself, JR finds a new burner phone in her car. The text message instructs her to meet the next day. JR is shocked to find Petra in the parking garage and reacts by passionately kissing the blonde beauty.

Wait, what?

JR whispers in Petra’s ear as she nuzzles her neck that someone has been following her all day. They get in her car and JR asks Petra if she knows anyone who drives an olive green sedan.

Petra: “Ew. And no.”

JR wonders why Petra is angry instead of scared. Petra uncovers that she planted the burner phone. Why is she angry? Because JR didn’t call her. Judas! Again, JR explains that she was being followed. The kiss was a cover. If the blackmailer is getting suspicious, she can always tell him/her that she is seducing Petra. Hello, alibi.

Across town, Jane encourages Rogelio to try and seduce Xo. She’s been feeling left out lately and Jane thinks a night of romance is just what her mom needs. Rogelio appreciates his daughter’s input and asks if he can do anything for her in return. When Jane brushes him off mumbling something about the bad review stuck in her head, Rogelio’s face darkens.

He grabs a key from a hollowed out book, ushers Jane into the next room, and opens a locked armoire. Ro hands Jane a folder and watches as she reacts to what’s inside. It’s his failure folder. It’s every soul-crushing review he’s ever received, including the time a journalist call him a “well-coiffed buffoon.”

Rogelio urges Jane to take her critiques and rebrand them as motivations. Show this critic exactly what you’re made of and don’t look back. He also suggests she take an improv class to get her creative juices flowing. Dive in head first.

Jane rushes to Rafael’s place and finds him holding a letter. It’s a marriage record from Italy. He thinks he may have found his mom. Jane does some light social media stalking and finds the woman almost immediately. Rafael busts out a quick message to her and crosses his fingers. (Recap continues on next page)

Rogelio pulls up to Xo’s dance studio in a stretch limo with every yellow rose in Florida shoved into the back seat. He waltzes up to the front desk and discovers that Xo hasn’t been at work all week. She’s been lying to him. Ro searches Find My Pal (no product placement for you, Apple) and uncovers his wife’s location. The driver takes him to the house and Ro spies Xo and that Brad guy in an embrace that depicts a little more than friends.

Ro busts through the door, grabs Brad in a choke hold, and threatens to rip him limb from limb. I was excited to see this protective side of Rogelio, and was even more pleased when Xo shouts that Brad is her dance partner. Oh, and Brad has a boyfriend. That hug was just the samba.

So why did Xo lie? It’s simple. She wanted to rediscover her love of dancing. And Rogelio chooses to support her dream. And he does so with an “I’m With Her…and Him” t-shirt, a refreshing glass of lemon water, and lots of optimism from the sidelines. GO XO!

Although it sounds endearing, Xo is mostly annoyed with Rogelio’s presence. He has a big personality, and it’s hard to compete with that at times. Enter Ro’s inner critic, who is dressed in purple and screams fabulous one-liners. Of course Rogelio gets into a fight with his inner critic, who gently points out that this exhaustion is exactly what Xo feels all the time. And then POOF. He’s gone in a puff of violet smoke. Rogelio goes back home and apologizes to Xo. Then they slow dance in the living room. I loved it.

Meanwhile, Jane struggles with improv class, thanks to her propensity to love a good set of rules. Also, her inner critic won’t stop reminding her that she’s a total failure. The mandate that all improv starts with, “Yes, and” just doesn’t seem to work for Jane, but she is all about the homework. She has to observe other people’s gestures and quirks and then write a character and present to the class the next day.

She immediately picks up on Rafael’s mood. He’s extremely happy and he wants Jane to have a drawer. Inner Critic Jane shuts her up immediately and Jane distracts Rafael’s question with some sexy time. The next day, she tries to create characters based on Petra, her father, and other randoms at the Marbella. She quickly spirals and divulges to Rafael that she can’t shut the critic up.

Rafael wants to know why Jane wants to shut the critic up. He emphasizes the section of the bad review, which he apparently memorized, which states Jane has a lot of unfulfilled promise. The rest should read as constructive criticism. He wants her to “Yes, and” this business and get back to writing.

Petra starts to implement the “Yes, and” phrase, too. That’s a poor euphemism for “get her freak on” with JR. Petra scoffs at JR’s assumption that she has never been with a woman. They do the deed and the next morning, Petra confesses that she lied and has actually never been with a woman. JR says, “I knew that already” and rushes out the door to her mom’s Alzheimers facility. She finds a note pinned to her mother’s dressing gown. The blackmailer will take her mom if she doesn’t take Petra down. Uh oh.

Over at improv class, Jane nails her assignment, poking fun at her own inner critic. She celebrates the good news with Rafael, who once again brings up the drawer. He calls Jane out on her own distorted facial expression and pulls the truth out of her. She feels guilty that everything is going so well. Does that put a weird light on her marriage to Michael?

Rafael eases her mind in the best way possible. He tells her to “Yes, and” the situation. Yes, she and Michael had a beautiful love story AND he hopes they can have their own love story. Jane’s inner critic and I applaud this sweet moment.

Jane’s phone rings and Rogelio enthusiastically barks at her to come watch Xo and Brad at their dance competition. Jane changes her clothes, runs into the next room to tell Rafael goodbye, and finds him in a sad state. He received an email from the lady. She’s not his mother. The search continues.

At the dance studio, Xo and Brad are killing it. They shake, they shimmy, she gushes at the judges, and he drops her on the floor breaking a rib. Come on, Brad. Everyone pokes fun at Xo’s unfortunate wipeout and they invite the doctors to join in on the fun. Sadly, the medical team choose not to hop on that particular bandwagon. When they took an X-Ray of Xo’s chest, they found something else.

A lump in her breast. Something tells me Xo’s inner critic is about to make a strong appearance.

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