'Jane the Virgin' recap: 'The past comes back to haunt Jane'

By Lincee Ray
July 17, 2019 at 10:00 PM EDT
Kevin Estrada/The CW
S5 E16
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Life sometimes imitates art. Jane’s had a lot of weird stuff happen in her life, but at the end of the day, she is happy to keep her novels shiny, happy, and uplifting, even if they are based on actual events. You want romance? You got it. How about some mild drama or adventure? No problem.

Where Jane draws a line is the scary stuff. Who wants to read that? According to Jane’s new agent, everyone wants to read that. She loves Jane’s writing but feels that the crime storyline needs to be explosive, building up to a big climax.

After brainstorming several telenovela-inspired shocking moments, Jane’s agent comes up with a brilliant plan. Perhaps when the villain (based on Rose) kidnaps the baby (based on Mateo) from the hospital, the one she returns is different. Switched at birth!

Jane agrees and we watch as the seed is planted. Could Rose have switched babies? Was Mateo actually her biological child? When she casually mentions her theory to Rafael, the guy freaks out, causing Jane to freak out. The truth is that Rose is capable of anything.

After a few deep breaths, Rafael walks through all the ways Mateo looks and acts exactly like them. Rose had zero motivation to swap the babies. They must think rationally.

Of course, thinking rationally doesn’t really run in Jane’s family. Take Rogelio, for instance. When he learns that the network picked up his pilot and ordered it to series, he’s elated. River is not. She totally drank the “family is everything” Kool-Aid Rogelio fed her and has decided that she wants to rebuild her life with her daughter Pond. And if that means passing on the pick-up, so be it. Rogelio is baffled.

Meanwhile, at the Marbella, Petra has a meeting with an investor named Clarissa James to discuss franchising the hotel. Petra is honored by the interest, but curiosity gets the best of her when Clarissa mentions that her guru is the one who suggested she come. Who’s the guru? Magda. What does she want? The Marbella.

Petra will never give up the hotel, but she knows that Clarissa won’t do business with her unless Magda okays the deal.

Oh, the family drama! Petra’s not the only one dealing with crazy relatives. Luisa shows up at Rafael’s office so she can say a proper goodbye before she leaves. FOREVER. We’ve all heard that before.

Rafael takes his paranoia home with him. He finds Jane in a panic. She’s convinced that Mateo had a birthmark on his elbow when he was born and it’s not there now. The uncertainty is killing her. So they agree to have Mateo’s DNA tested.

The test results won’t come in for a few days, so Jane and Rafael try to distract themselves by learning a dance Xo choreographed for their wedding. When Xo demonstrates how to properly swivel your hips with Alba as a partner, Rafael cat calls Jane’s grandmother. He casually offers that he can see what Pablo saw in her.

Alba immediately stops and whips her head around to face Jane. She had no clue that Jane’s book was based on how Alba lost her virginity before marriage. She will not have Jane printing personal stories, especially when she has a husband now. She orders that Jane remove anything about her life.

Sadly, that story is the majority of the book. Xo suggests that Jane give Alba the manuscript to read with fresh eyes. It doesn’t work. Alba comes back with a ton of notes, as well as a demand that anything regarding her sexual awakening be completely removed. Jane somewhat understands and has no other choice but to do a rewrite.

Speaking of rewriting, Rogelio is on Pond Patrol. He wants River’s daughter to know how much she means to her, but Pond isn’t having it. She shows him a clip of River winning an Emmy once upon a time and how her mother never thought to thank Pond in her acceptance speech. Pond was hurt and embarrassed in front of her friends who were all gathered around the TV.

This is where Rogelio’s rewrite idea comes in. He convinces River to recreate that night, complete with River standing on a stage with her Emmy and a replica of Pond’s childhood bedroom. They even flew in her three middle school friends who were with her that night.

Sure it was awkward. Pond hadn’t seen the girls in a decade and one was irritated that Rogelio made her wear fake braces for authenticity’s sake. They all turn and watch as River gives a do-over speech. One that includes her love and affection for Pond. Lo and behold, it works, and everyone watches as the two embrace.

Before Rogelio can properly celebrate, River lets him know that she is taking family bonding seriously now. And because she put in her contract that she can shoot This Is Mars from anywhere, she and Pond will be moving to New York. It’s up to Rogelio to decide if he wants to come or be recast.

Rogelio stands in shock. His wife has just started nursing school. One daughter is soon to be walking and the other just found out that Mateo is officially her biological son. What will he do? My bet is that there’s no way Rogelio will leave Miami.

As Rogelio puzzles through the latest blip on the radar, Jane moves over to Alba’s house to see if inspiration hits. She babbles on to Xo about how she’s so stressed with the rewrite and Mateo’s DNA test results. Xo asks Jane to do an about-face and explain herself. Jane confesses that she got it in her head that Rose switched babies at the hospital. Xo laughs as Jane reminds her that the mass murderer is still alive. What if she comes after her?

Alba barges in next and gives Jane full permission to write whatever she wants, including all the virginity stuff. Jane assumes her mother had something to do with the sudden approval. It turns out, it was Jorge. He convinced Alba to relax a little. He knows that by living undocumented for so long, it’s hard to let walls down.

Jane is glad she has someone older and wiser in her life. Petra is not. In fact, she rolls her mother’s wheelchair straight into a supply closet and stations a security officer at the door. Magda wiggles her way out of the closet, claiming she needs to go to the bathroom and rolls herself down the hallway to a stairway.

Guess who comes up behind her? Alba. Remember how Magda pushed Alba down the stairs? My how the tables have turned. Alba takes out her phone to call security. Magda threatens her nine different ways, sarcastically “hoping” nothing bad happens to Alba again.

AH HA! Alba wasn’t calling anyone at all. She was using her fancy voice recorder and now has Magda’s threats. With one button, she can send the file to the police. This is enough evidence to send Magda away for good. Who has the power now?

Alba is so pleased with herself that she tells Jane how exhilarated she is now that she finally confronted Magda. This inspires Jane to punch up her novel, but more importantly, it inspires her to face her own demons. She tells Rafael she wants to visit Rose in jail.

It doesn’t really matter if we think that’s a good idea or a bad idea. Rose has just stabbed herself in the leg, finagled her way out of the prison into an ambulance, and survived a white cargo van plowing into the emergency vehicle. Rose hobbles away with a gaggle of other Roses in orange jumpsuits. Officers tackle all the Roses they can catch, but none are the real one.

Jane and Rafael learn this news from Dennis, who is at the prison investigating. There is a plot twist, though. Luisa was working with the police the entire time. She gave them intel where they could find the real Rose. We see Luisa and Bobby approaching Rose in a warehouse, followed by an entourage of officers.

“Luisa” pulls off her mask to reveal a female police officer. Rose grabs Bobby as shots are fired. He dies and Rose escapes through a service elevator. Evidently, there were no officers stationed at the exits of this building (don’t pull at that thread) and Rose escapes AGAIN.

Will she go after Luisa? Or Rafael? Or will she bleed out from her self-inflicted stab wound? Hide your children. Sin Rostro is on the loose.

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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