“Jane” Gives Birth: a Season Review of the Best New Show On Television

WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON OF JANE THE VIRGIN!

Well. Things certainly came to a dramatic close on the (phenomenal) first season of Jane the Virgin! Some of the twists were sort of expected, while others were not. I’m kicking myself for not realizing that Xo plus Rogelio plus Vegas OBVIOUSLY equals drunken-wedding, and I’m still reeling from the final moments when Mateo is kidnapped by Sin Rostro. But aside from the twists and turns, that was just a damn good episode of television. I cried, I shrieked, and twice I had to pause it because I was laughing so hard. All of the emotional moments landed perfectly, most arcs came full circle, and I could not be more excited for season two. Read on for more of my thoughts about how a show about a pregnant virgin became one of the best shows on television this season.

The virgin mother with her newborn baby.
The virgin mother with her newborn baby.

I honestly can’t remember another show with a captivating pilot that managed to keep my attention and love throughout the entire season when watched in real time. I liked The Flash from the beginning, but it’s only been in the last few weeks that it’s become a must-watch for me. And though I adored the first thirteen episodes of Glee, my love significantly waned during the last six episodes of the season. But Jane thrilled me every week; I have a

Always my favorite. Always.
Always my favorite. Always.

serious girl-crush on Gina Rodriguez, I cheer the women-supporting-women plots the show always gives me, and Rogelio’s one-liners are routinely my favorite TV quips of the week. His lines often top the best moments-of-the-week from Felicity Smoak and Leo Fitz, and for me that’s saying something. I’m almost constantly on the verge of tears or laughter, and I have never once been bored mid-episode. Sure, I cared about the Sin Rostro arc less than the occasional fight between the Villanueva women, but I still enjoyed the overdramatic detective show-esque moments. And the “Latin Lover” narrator, dream sequences, and on-screen hashtags were just the icing on the cake for a show with such rich interpersonal relationships – be they familial, platonic, or romantic.

The show consistently stayed faithful to Jane’s character from the beginning. We’re introduced to Jane as someone who planned everything in her life and lived by a calendar, while also wanting to pursue her love of writing and fantasized about the kind of love only found in telenovelas. Throughout the season Jane doesn’t make any big decisions lightly and she throws herself into teaching, the path she always thought she’d follow. And yet, while staying true to this throughout, we see her loosen up, indulge in a more fantasy-esque romance, and take steps to live out her dreams of becoming a writer. Her pregnancy is certainly a significant element of the show, but even in the episodes that take place during her third trimester, you could argue that the show’s relationships would make it worth watching without the pregnancy. Though I personally didn’t have much of a problem with the Black Widow infertility plot point in Age of Ultron, so much of Jane’s arc has nothing to do with her impending motherhood that you could never argue that Jane’s childbearing capabilities and romantic life define her or limit her potential.

LOOK HOW CUTE. LOOK. How can you not ship it?!
LOOK HOW CUTE. LOOK. How can you not ship it?!

As for the Michael vs. Rafael debate…come on, I’ve been Team Michael from the start. Especially since he was the one who, at the end of the finale, said that he wanted Jane to forget everything he’d said in the past and just focus on Mateo. And I know this will seem contradictory, but that really just proved that Michael is the guy she should want, right?! I don’t dislike Rafael, I just think that time and time again he’s shown that he misunderstands Jane at a fundamental level, and that a romantic relationship wouldn’t work out with them in the long run. However, as they bond over the struggles of new parenthood, they definitely could come together in a way that overpowers their incompatibility.

Representation is effectively a non-issue on Jane the Virgin. The protagonist and her entire family are working class Latinas who are

And, of course, the bond between such a wonderful mother/daughter duo will always bring us to tears.
And, of course, the bond between such a wonderful mother/daughter duo will always bring us to tears.

informed by their race but not defined by it. The show makes casting and writing people of color so effortless that I’m more appalled than ever that the vast majority of network shows still struggle with diversity. Over half of the cast is female, but none of them are “strong female characters.” They’re just characters. The writers also snuck in political issues (like immigration and marriage equality) without making them feel like issues, and I find it ironic but also exciting that Jane the Virgin, without a doubt, has the most positive representation of Christianity on television since the sixties.

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