Jane the Virgin finale recap: 'Chapter 81'
I appreciate a good surprise, like most people, but those last few seconds of “Chapter 81” were completely unexpected. I gasped, clutched my pearls, and sat in shock for a good 10 seconds. Congratulations, Jane the Virgin writers. You got me.
Before we dive into the ramifications of that surprise, we need to talk about the planned secret that we all know about: Alba passed her U.S. citizenship test with flying colors and Jane is going to throw her a surprise party to celebrate. Everyone gathers around the table to help. All decide Jorge should not be invited. Even River votes no.
Why does River get a vote? Good question. She has inserted herself into Rogelio’s life so they can pretend to be an actual couple since they are playing married co-presidential powerhouses on television. Rogelio hates every second. (Sidebar: Brooke Shields pronouncing Alba’s name as “Abla” is hilarious.)
Rafael is the only one not at the table. He asked Jane to help him with an open house and when she gets there to fluff and dust things for the client, he flashes his gorgeous smile and tells her that they are the clients. The house is on the market next week. Surprise!
Jane and Rafael share the good news with her family. They are moving in together! Everyone cheers except for Alba who is disappointed that the “good news” wasn’t an engagement. When Jane leaves the room, Rafael drops another big bomb: He is going to propose! In fact, he’s going to pop the question tonight. My heart can’t handle all the excitement.
Rafael wanders into Jane’s room. There are sticky notes all over the wall with scratched ideas and outlines. She can’t seem to make this new book come together and she wants to work on it tonight. She rain-checks their date. Rafael hurries into the next room to ask Alba to pinch hit for him. She offers to babysit so Jane and Rafael can have a romantic night. The outline will be there tomorrow. Go have fun!
Alba also mentions a get-together Jorge is hosting tomorrow after the ceremony. He and a few friends are going to toast Alba’s citizenship. Jane gushes over the sweet gesture and then marches to the Marbella to tell Jorge he has to cancel the mini party because Xo and Jane are throwing a mega party. Jorge agrees and because she felt so guilty, Jane invites him to the fiesta.
Jane heads over to her mom’s house to try to pick out an outfit for her grandmother. When she parades the dresses in front of her family and pretend mother, River insists, “Wear the gold. That will take Rafael’s breath away!” Jane is confused. Why would she dress up fancy for her dinner with Rafael? Our little writer puts two and two together and correctly guesses that Rafael is going to get down on one knee.
Meanwhile, Rafael drops the girls off with Petra. I’d like to publicly announce that Anna and Elsa are THE WORST. Therefore, I hate/love them. I think they deserve an entire episode dedicated to their condescending behavior.
Okay, back to Petra. JR is hanging around a lot lately, since she sacrificed everything for Petra. So Petra asks her to move in. JR doesn’t want it to be a pity invite, but she does say out loud that she loves Petra. Surprise! Yes, it’s soon, but Petra is right there with her.
The moment is interrupted by a text from a friend at the DA’s office. Krishna just turned herself in from out of the blue. Oddly, this information is trumped by Petra confiding in Rafael that JR has professed her love. Why isn’t she more excited? Because she’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. It always does.
Rafael is tired of waiting for his perpetual shoe to drop, too. He decides to head to the jailhouse to see Rose and tell her to stop calling him. He will never tell her where Luisa is hiding out, no matter what dirt she may have on him or his parents.
Fast forward to that night. Jane looks fabulous and Instagram-ready in her darling dress and freshly manicured nails. When Rafael answers the door, he looks awful. The booze is out and the manners have disappeared. There’s no proposal. In fact, he asks Jane to leave.
Jane does leave. Then she about faces and heads right back to the door. She shoves her way inside and insists he tell her what is going on. They are in a relationship and you just don’t leave when things get hard. Cue Rafael leaving right out the window to spend some quality time on the terrace.
That night, Rafael joins Jane in the bed. He confesses that he went to see Rose and it wasn’t good. Yet he still doesn’t tell Jane the big secret. Instead, they do the deed. (Recap continues on next page)
It’s citizenship day! Everyone is in a fuss trying to keep the secret intact. But when Alba declares her duty and honor to the United States, the entire room starts crying and waving American flags. I feel like we should stand up and place our hands over our hearts, don’t you?
An hour later, Rogelio is trying hard not to blow a gasket in front of Xo. It seems River spelled Alba’s name wrong on the cake, but thinks it’s not a big deal. Steam pours from Rogelio’s ears as he storms away. Xo defends her husband and tells River that this isn’t about a cake. It’s about loving his family. And if River can’t get that, then no one will ever believe they are a married couple on TV.
Why do I get the sensation that this pretend marriage might spark real feelings in future episodes? I hope I’m wrong.
You know who else is apprehensive? Alba. Why in the world does she have to ride the bus back home with Jane and Mateo? As she stands there, Alba decides she’s going to take another bus to Jorge’s house to check on him since he suddenly came down with the flu. (Nice cover, Jorge.)
Jane argues, twists truths, and suggests all the reasons in the world why this is a bad idea. Stubborn Alba doesn’t care. Jane has no choice but to divulge the secret. Surprise. She points for Alba to get on the bus since Jorge is probably at the house waiting for her.
The bus speeds away with Mateo on board. Jane and Alba are still on the sidewalk. Mama Bear instincts kick in and Jane chases down the bus on foot. It’s like those stories you hear about mothers lifting cars to help their baby. I’m not sure how all these babies end up under cares, but in this case, Mateo is fine. Jane is rattled. She calls Rafael and he blows her off, letting her know that he’s going to be late to the party. Jane is annoyed. I’m suspicious.
Jane tells Alba that Rafael is acting weird. He’s in a dark place because of Rose and that is frustrating. Will this terrible woman ever go away? What could she have told Rafael to shake him to the core?
Alba wonders if Rose told Rafael that Rogelio is his father. You may laugh, but I promise you, I thought the exact same thing for a hot second. This is a telenovela, after all.
Alba works the party like an Academy Award-winning actress. She makes a lovely speech about her family and friends and the importance of her journey. When you love the other as much as yourself, it makes one out of many. She never has to worry about being separated from her “many” again.
Jorge makes a break for the front door and Alba follows him. He explains that his mother is dying and since he is undocumented, he can’t come back to the States if he makes the trip to see her one last time. Alba understands this first hand. So she proposes to Jorge. Surprise!
Jane and Xo giggle with excitement until Alba shatters their conjured love story with the news that this is only a business arrangement. She needs Rogelio to make the place look wedding-worthy and she needs Jane to marry them. She also needs lots of pictures for proof.
Five seconds later, Alba and Jorge are man and wife.
Jane finds Rafael in the crowd and escorts him to the front porch. She wants him to know that whatever Rose said, they can handle it. Even if he is her brother. Rafael laughs and confirms that he is definitely not her brother.
Oh, thank goodness. I couldn’t handle it if that was a surprise.
Jane kisses Rafael and promises that he is her forever. His face softens and he invites her over later to talk.
Then inspiration hits and Jane barrels to her room and pulls out all of her manuscripts. There’s the unfinished piece about Alba, along with the half-written mother/daughter manuscript. If you combine those two with her published love story about Michael ALONG WITH a new one about Rafael, you’ve got a pretty great outline. It’s a blend of the light and the dark.
Another way to describe darkness is the shoe dropping. In this case, it’s an actual shoe. While Petra was at Alba’s party, JR stayed with the twins and had a fashion show. One of them fell in Petra’s heels. The same heels she wore the night of Anezka’s murder and swore had never been repaired.
JR thrusts the shoe in Petra’s face, begging her to explain. Petra blurts out that she did do it, but she was only trying to protect her girls.
SUR-PRISE. Oh no she didn’t.
It turns out Petra did shove her sister, but only after Anezka threatened to harm the twins. How was she supposed to know that Anezka would go flying over the balcony and her crazy mother would witness the entire thing?
JR is done. She feels like Petra used her and vows to never see her again. When JR reaches the lobby, her phone rings and it’s Krishna who claims she has been trying to call Petra for hours. She’s not the blackmailer. The real one threatened her family and made her turn herself in. Krishna is confident that person wants to kill Petra. This person has security codes and alternate points of entry for the Marbella.
Suddenly, we see Petra creeping around her room as if she hears something. She turns around and screams at the gun pointed in her direction. JR bursts through the door and lunges at the shooter. JR stands up with a gun in her hand. Is the shooter dead? Is it someone we know? Does Petra have another sister or a long-lost brother?
That drama is nothing compared to what happens next. Jane heads over to Rafael’s house and we all think this is the moment she is going to become the future Mrs. Rafael Solano. But instead of a thousand candles in a sea of rose petals, Rafael opens the door and apologizes to Jane for lying before. Then he opens the door further revealing Michael. Very much alive.
Since I’m the president of the Team Michael Fan Club, this gives me great pause. Jane is happy with Rafael. Should I root for that relationship? My heart tells me to go with Michael because he’s Jane’s one true love. Then again, what if this guy is Michael’s evil twin brother Mark? That totally puts me back in Rafael’s camp.
I’ll make an informed decision next season. Until then, Alba is married, Krishna is in jail, JR rescues Petra, a mysterious shooter may be dead, Rose allegedly knows where Luisa is hiding, Rafael is deeply depressed, and Jane is experiencing all the feels because MICHAEL IS BACK!
Now that is how you film a finale.