The final season of Jane the Virgin is now streaming on Netflix
And it is, as usual, just like a telenovela
If there ever was a guilty pleasure show that no one actually felt guilty about watching, it was certainly Jane the Virgin. In the year 2014, when anti-heroes and comic-book franchises ruled the small screens, we got whisked away into the colorful, surrealist world of Jane Gloriana Villanueva. If your mind automatically read this name using the Latin Lover accent, you are probably already a fan, and for those of you who have yet to discover the magical world of Jane the Virgin, let me try and recap these last couple of seasons.
The life of a devout Christian woman who grew up watching telenovelas turns into one when she accidentally gets inseminated by a drunk doctor. So, this is how Jane – who already has a loving boyfriend named Michael – gets pregnant with Rafael – who just so happens to be her boss – and whose wife Petra was supposed to be inseminated by that same doctor – who is actually Rafael’s sister – and who is having an affair with their stepmother – who is actually a wanted crime lord – Still following?
Evil twins, amnesias and coming back from the dead
If this sounds a lot like a telenovela, it is because this show was sort of a telenovela, or at least, it was heavily inspired by them, and it sure wasn’t ashamed to show it. Rather, it played the telenovela card masterfully, surpassing the genre borders, and delivering some of the most clichéd twists in a refreshing and endearing kind of way.
Let’s put it this way, Jane the Virgin could have been a typical dramedy, but it wouldn’t have been near as special if we didn’t “allow” it the crazy twists only ever acceptable in telenovelas. Long lost evil twins, love triangles, kidnappings, amnesias and coming back from the dead were just a day in a life for our hero Jane. To make it even more over-the-top, it was all paired up with flamboyant color schemes and magical realism where plush toys talked back and religious statues sang about sex. And it worked.
While the part of Jane was masterfully brought to life by Gina Rodriguez (and her contagious smile), it might be even harder to say goodbye to Rogelio De La Vega, portrayed by Jamie Camil, and his lavender wardrobe and shameless name-dropping. Thanks to a great cast, we grew to love all of the characters, even the villains, and especially that villain who later on became one the good ones. Yael Grobglas was unforgettable in her multiple roles, sometimes playing the role of Petra, sometimes the one of her evil twin Anezka, and occasionally even the one of Anezka pretending to be Petra. “Just like a telenovela, right?”, as the show’s hidden protagonist would say. The narrator, voiced by Anthony Mendez, was an undeniably big part of the show, guiding us through the complicated plot twists, rooting for the characters, and connecting the timelines between the three generations of the Villanueva women, all while throwing at us his OMGs, witty remarks and an endless supply of twitter hashtags.
The real love story
Looking back, the central love story of Jane the Virgin wasn’t the one of Jane and Michael or the one between Jane and Rafael, but the one of family. Throughout the five seasons, we followed the three generations of Villanueva women, all so different from one another, and how they dealt with their ups and downs together, sitting on the porch swing or watching telenovelas together. By the end of the show, their small family grew and evolved into a much bigger one, connected by outrageous histories, only ever possible in the colorful world of Jane the Virgin.
In the 18th episode of the final season, Chapter Ninety-Nine gave us a much needed send off into the final episode. The one-hour clip-show paired with the cast commentary reminded us of all of the over-the-top twists and allowed the 100th episode to be the calmest one yet, without the big cliffhangers and outrageous reveals we had gotten used to in previous episodes. Revealing that Jane’s book would become the basis of this show didn’t come as a big surprise, but the way it was delivered to us, with Jane breaking the fourth wall with a simple wink to the audience, was so Jane it felt like the best way to end this magical journey. Without being too sappy, it managed to wrap up the storylines of all of the major characters and that’s exactly what we were counting on, because... “Alas, everyone deserves a happy ending.”