Three years, six months, and 42 days after the death of her husband, Jane Gloriana Villanueva is ready to get back in the dating game. She’s invigorated and open to romantic possibilities, but she’s gotten very rusty when it comes to flirting and doesn’t remember just how exhausting the overthinking, overanalyzing, and worrying of dating can be. Jane is feeling herself at the top of this episode, and she thinks that because she’s putting herself back out there, she’s now irresistible to the men around her. The slow motion sequence of Jane strutting down the street, grabbing the attention of every man in her path, is a very effective representation of Jane’s new confidence and drive to find a romantic partner, but it’s a fantasy. Jane is reading signals that aren’t there, and later we see what the real version of Jane’s walk looked like.

Alex crosses some professional boundaries when he talks about how hot Jane looks in her new dress, and it’s easy to understand why Jane would think that he’s attracted to her. But when she turns down what she assumes to be Alex’s advances, he quickly shuts down the idea that he’s interested in his boss that way. My instinct tells me that Alex is probably gay, which would explain why he doesn’t see his compliments as signs of flirtation, and with all of the mention of radar in this episode, I expected a gaydar joke at some point. (There is a gay couple in the real version of Jane’s slow-mo sidewalk stroll, though.)

The Terminator-style “flirtation assessment” is a funny recurring bit in this episode, with various characters scanning potential love interests for verbal and nonverbal flirting cues. (The Terminator-inspired score is a great added touch.) Flirtation is the major theme of Deidre Shaw’s script for “Chapter Fifty-Nine,” and we get different examples for people that are at different points in their relationships. The flirting Jane interprets from Alex, a random dude at The Fairwick, and Michael’s old partner Dennis changes depending on the subject, and part of the work of getting back in the dating scene is figuring out how to decipher these signals and move forward in a way that keeps the flirtation going. Telling the random guy that her husband died kills that romantic prospect, so it makes sense that Jane would move on to someone like Dennis, who is recently single and knows all about her relationship with Michael.

It makes sense, but it’s also a horrible decision. Jane needs to be with someone that won’t constantly remind her of Michael, and that’s not what Dennis can offer her. On their mini golf date, Dennis starts talking about old times with Michael, which immediately takes Jane out of the romantic moment and feeds her anxiety that pursuing a relationship with Dennis is a betrayal of Michael’s memory. The date doesn’t work out, and that’s for the best because Dennis is still investigating Petra and Rafael, which creates all kinds of conflict for a romantic relationship (as Jane already learned with Michael).

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I love how this episode approaches the Jane, Rafael, and Petra dynamic. When Rafael and Petra decide not to tell Jane about their sexual reconnection, Jane immediately finds out when she shows up at Rafael’s apartment looking for Mateo’s raincoat, which is in the closet Petra hides in. That shot of a naked Petra covering herself with the raincoat is hilarious, and everyone’s reactions really sell the shock and embarrassment of this moment. Jane and Rafael’s platonic relationship is highlighted this week, and it’s nice to see them talk about him and Petra without there being all this extra romantic baggage. Gina Rodriguez and Justin Baldoni have done great work changing the nature of Jane and Rafael’s chemistry to that of best friends rather than potential lovers, and Rafael offering to be Jane’s wingman shows how far they’ve come in their friendship.

Being a wingman isn’t Rafael’s strong suit for a couple of reasons. First off, he takes her to The Marbella to scope out potential prospects, and there’s not the greatest selection at a kids hotel. Second, he’s incredibly, intimidatingly hot, so most men are going to assume he’s Jane’s boyfriend. Petra provides the solution to both of these dilemmas, and it’s really fun seeing this trio together as a group of friends. Even though I’ve still been enjoying Jane The Virgin since the time jump, the loss of Michael has left a hole that the show is still trying to fill. The family unit of Jane, Rafael, Petra, and their children helps fill that void for now, and it’s the most fulfilling thing in Jane’s life until she finds a new person she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

Jane isn’t ready for that commitment yet, but she’s horny as hell, as evidenced by her glowing crotch at the end of this episode when she sees Fabian (Francisco San Martin), Rogelio’s ripped costar on his new telenovela, Los Viajes De Guillermo (based on both Gulliver’s Travels and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids). I don’t believe we’ve ever seen the crotch-glow before—please correct me in comments if I’m wrong—but the series has placed so much importance on glowing organs that it feels like a major indication that Jane is going to be fueled by sexual desire as she goes after Fabian.

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Jane’s crotch is glowing, but Rafael’s heart starts glowing for Petra, a big event that tells us Rafael has fallen back in love with his ex-wife. There’s the potential for the couple reunions in this episode to feel like the show is repeating itself, but in the case of Rafael and Petra, there are enough complications to keep it interesting. Rafael wants Petra, but she still wants Chuck, who is showing more and more vulnerability in each new encounter with Petra. He’s hurt by her condescending, snobbish view of him, and he doesn’t feel like he belongs in her world. Petra responds to this by trying to show that she can be a part of his world, and it costs her a tooth when she gets on The Fairwick’s mechanical bull. She loses a tooth but gets back in Chuck’s good graces, which is good for Petra, but bad for Rafael’s reawakened romantic feelings.

The start of production for Los Viajes De Guillermo puts pressure on Rogelio to settle his breach of contract case, but he hits a major roadblock when Xo tells Bruce that he doesn’t have to represent Rogelio if he doesn’t want to. It’s no surprise that Bruce doesn’t want to represent the man that broke up his engagement, and Rogelio is forced to get a continuance on the case so he can find a new lawyer. That’s not an option for Rogelio’s new producers, so Rogelio settles for an astronomical number that pretty much leaves all of his first-year Guillermo salary to the producers of The De La Vega Factor Factor. On the plus side, Xo confesses that she’s still in love with Rogelio and they make out in the judge’s chambers. That shot is framed for maximum comedic impact by director Anna Mastro, who makes sure to show the confused reactions of the opposing legal team and the judge as they watch these two people passionately kiss in a completely inappropriate setting.

The Villanueva women all have awkward kissing moments in this episode, and Alba and Jorge get caught making out in one of the caves at the mini golf course where Jane and Dennis are on their date (which ends with an awkward deflected kiss moment). I’m delighted by the story of Alba getting her groove back, and Ivonne Coll is bringing a girlish enthusiasm to Alba that is a lot of fun to watch. That girlish quality comes out when Alba is fretting over when Jorge will finally schedule a date and relishing their first kiss, but she’s all woman when she struts into the Guillermo filming in the same clothes she wore the night before. (She didn’t have sex, but she wanted to.) Alba’s slow-motion walk of shame is a great complement to Jane’s stroll at the start of the episode, and it brings a nice symmetry to this chapter as the oldest Villanueva woman gains the sexual confidence that the youngest thinks she has at the top of the chapter.

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Stray observations

  • I love Jane channeling Marilyn Monroe’s classic flying skirt shot as the image accompanying the “Jane The Flirt” title card. Referencing one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols is a great way of reinforcing how sexy Jane feels in that moment.
  • There’s a whole lot of shirtless Rafael at the start of this episode and it is a very good thing.
  • I laughed at how seriously Rogelio considered Mateo’s suggestion that Bruce is ignoring him because he didn’t say “God bless you” after Bruce sneezed. Mateo and Rogelio work really well together.
  • Krishna has been working for Petra for 5 years and Petra doesn’t know that she’s gay. Petra is not a very good boss.
  • I hope we get a lot of ridiculous green screen action from Los Viajes De Guillermo, and I have the feeling we will.
  • “She who doesn’t show, doesn’t sell.”
  • “I am really sorry, I’m just stressed. You should be allowed to enjoy fitting me. Please continue. Above my calf.”
  • “A woman’s place is in the House and in the Senate!” I love that The Marbella sells feminist souvenirs.
  • “Something’s glowing alright, and it’s not her heart.”

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