Motherhood has always been very complicated for Jane, and the telenovela shenanigans she’s had to deal with since fertilization have changed how she approaches being a mom. She was already a big planner and over-analyzer, but after having her son kidnapped and suffering multiple betrayals from people she thought she could trust, Jane holds on to whatever control she has and pays extra attention to the people in Mateo’s life. So when Jane’s best friend asks her if she would donate her eggs, Jane is left with a lot to unpack in regards to how she feels about being the biological mother of a child who would also be Mateo’s half-sister.
Lina (guest star Diane Guerrero) is back to help Jane with wedding planning, specifically dress shopping now that Lina is a student at the Fashion Institute Of Technology. Lina is shifty as the two of them get situated in her hotel room, and it doesn’t take her long for her to spill her ulterior motive for visiting Jane. Lina and Danny are having trouble conceiving and because Jane has been such a positive influence in Lina’s life, she’s chosen as the ideal egg donor. Jane is honored, but she has a lot of questions about the specifics of the arrangement, which Lina hasn’t gotten around to yet.
This egg donor storyline brings up a lot of feelings for Jane, who needs to know the boundaries of her relationship with this potential child because she wants them to know who their biological parents are as soon as possible. The situation intensifies when Mateo tells everyone at school that his parents are expecting, and when she explains the Lina situation to Mateo, Jane gains even more questions. This totally overwhelms Lina, who is still basically at step one: ask Jane. She’s done that, but she’s not prepared for all the things she needs to answer before Jane agrees.
Writers Liz Sczudlo and Madeline Hendricks explore both sides of this conflict with a lot of nuance. It’s easy to sympathize with Jane’s need for clarification given everything she’s survived, and early on I felt like Lina should have thought about these follow-up questions once she posed the question. But like Jane, I haven’t seen what Lina has had to deal with as she and her husband try to have a child. Jane donating an egg to them wasn’t their first course of action, and seeing no results after trying multiple fertility avenues has taken a big toll on Lina’s self-worth. She feels like she’s failing herself and her husband, and Diane Guerrero’s performance carries the full weight of that emotional burden.
In the middle of Jane and Lina’s drama at the dress fitting, Rogelio has a heart attack on Instagram Live. Sorry, a “lone atrial fibrillation.” After the lackluster River romance story, this show has given us some fantastic subplots for Rogelio with last week’s tail challenge and this week’s Instagram Live campaign to get a series order for This Is Mars. The comments feed on the video is hilarious, and like the tail, Rogelio’s smartphone pops up when you least expect it to add a burst of humor to dramatic conversations. It’s a lot of goofy fun with ridiculous hashtags, and then it takes a turn that reveals the role Rogelio plays in the Jane/Lina story.
Jane wants Lina’s hypothetical child to know who her mother is as soon as she can understand because Jane remembers the trauma of learning who her father was when she was an adult. She doesn’t want Lina’s child to have those same feelings of betrayal, and the Rogelio heart scare awakens painful memories that have been buried under the good times the father and daughter have had since then. When Jane and Lina recommence their discussion, they’re both more eager to listen to each other and work through their respective issues. Ultimately, Jane decides that she wants to donate her eggs because she loves Lina, wants to help her, and give her the joy Jane feels when she’s with Mateo. If only Lina was interested. This entire experience has made her realize how extra sensitive she is to Jane’s judgment, and she doesn’t want a kid version of Jane judging her every day.
When Rogelio comes back from the hospital, Alba says a toast/prayer of gratitude to their good health and this reminder to appreciate what they have. It’s an extremely powerful scene, taking me back to similar moments in my past when family members would give thanks to God after medical crises. The show has done such incredible work making Alba’s connection to her religion something that empowers her, so it makes perfect sense for Jane and Rafael to choose her as the officiant of their wedding. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that every episode from this point on is going to make me cry, and this is the one that did it for me this week!
As we get closer and closer to the series finale, the writers are looking back at key character dynamics to show how far they’ve come over five seasons. “Chapter Ninety-Five” features a lot of flashbacks, with multiple montages that reinforce how these characters relate to both people and places. When Jane holds Mateo, she thinks back to being told she was pregnant, her teary “Milkshake” speech, and the first moment she saw him after his birth. When Petra shows Rafael his old office, he’s flooded with memories of being in the room and reminded of the dedication he used to have to the hotel. But that was the past, not the present, and Rafael has to recognize that Petra plays a much larger role in The Marbella and will continue to play a much larger role.
I’ve been dogging on the hotel drama for what feels like years now, but “Chapter Ninety-Five” actually makes it engaging by toning down the telenovela exaggeration. This is a story about what The Marbella means to Petra and Rafael, which makes it much more emotionally satisfying. In the case of Rafael, going back to work at the hotel creates new complications with juggling his real estate gig and planning a wedding, but Jane recognizes how dedicated he is to their life and forgives him for any missteps along the way. When a priest questions Rafael’s commitment because he misses an interview, Jane chews the man out for drawing conclusions when he has no idea what Rafael has been through.
Putting Rafael back at The Marbella gives him more opportunities to bounce off Petra, and they quickly butt heads over how to approach a potential partnership with chef Ludo Lefebvre. Rafael thinks he’s back to being an equal partner, but he’s there to use his connections to support Petra’s executive decisions. He feels like Petra undermines his authority in a meeting when he’s overstepping his bounds, and Petra has to put him in his place. She makes a very good point that she’s responsible for rehabilitating the hotel’s image, and she’s doing Rafael a favor letting him back in on the business.
Just when it seems like the writers have found a good story for The Marbella, they bring back an old face responsible for most of the past drama. The episode ends with Magda showing up in the backseat of Petra’s car, threatening her daughter before there’s a sudden crash and fade to white, leaving us wondering if the women have survived. There’s too much spin-off potential with Petra to kill her off, so I’m crossing my fingers that this is the end of Magda, giving us one last fake out instead of making us deal with her usual bullshit again.
- Xo got into nursing school! You go, Xo!
- I didn’t know who Chef Ludo was before this episode but I knew he was a real chef because of his acting. You can always tell.
- Putting adult faces on kid bodies is always so creepy. It only happens for a second in this episode but I am scarred.
- I would like to see all of the writers’ proposed comments for Rogelio’s Instagram Live feed because it feels like users are interacting with each other. I would not be surprised if the writers crafted a whole narrative within that feed just for fun.
- “That’s the attitude I need from you, Barry. Earn that 10 percent!” I chuckled at this quick shout-out to the current standoff between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agencies.
- Jane: “Do you want to go back to the hotel life? Back to whiskey and investors and tight shirts?” Narrator: “I can’t imagine that shirt getting any tighter.”
- “Wow. That didn’t go over easy.”
- “Lina was looking to poach Jane’s eggs.”
- “They’re really great eggs. I got pregnant literally the first time sperm even touched one.”