All photos: The CW
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.  

For the last five years, Jane The Virgin has been my TV happy place. Ever since I saw the pilot and immediately knew I had to ditch my Gotham recaps to write about it, I’ve relied on Jane The Virgin to brighten my mood with its stories of good people who genuinely appreciate each other and join together to persevere in the face of obscene challenges. With its bright aesthetic, playful scripts, and brisk pace, Jane The Virgin has never stopped feeling like a breath of fresh air, and in the era of dramas that regularly push past an hour, I will forever appreciate how economic Jane The Virgin was with its 42-minute runtime. But more than anything, Jane The Virgin delivered consistency. It launched with an impeccable pilot, and only got better from there, staying on track no matter what wild twist came down the line.

Advertisement

With a little bit of clip show trickery, Jane The Virgin ends this week with “Chapter One Hundred,” giving Jane Gloriana Villanueva the happily ever after she deserves. In typical telenovela fashion, the series concludes with a wedding, and pretty much every major plotline is tied up with a neat little bow. Remember the mystery of Rafael’s birth parents? Turns out they were ordinary Italian bakers who died in a car accident! Do Petra and J.R. get back together? You bet they do! We get some very welcome returning faces for the series finale—including Rita Moreno, who hasn’t appeared on the show since season 2—and there’s even a revelation about our magnificent Narrator: He’s the future Mateo, a professional voice actor narrating the telenovela based on his family’s story.

In terms of storylines that haven’t been pushed to the sidelines, the main non-wedding conflict comes from Rogelio and Xo, who are getting ready to move to New York City to film This Is Mars. The resolution surprisingly doesn’t involve Rogelio putting his family before his career, but instead focuses on Xo taking a risk with a significant change that takes her away from what she’s known for the past 46 years. When Mateo unpacks all of Xo’s clothes to stop her from leaving, Xo is hit even harder with the prospect of what she’ll be missing if she leaves, but once again, Jane and Alba force her to make the decision that will bring her new opportunities and adventures.

Advertisement

The men have some sweet moments in this episode, but “Chapter One Hundred” is primarily about the relationship between the three Villanueva women. Alba’s immigration storyline comes back into play when she tells Xo that they can’t let fear get in the way of their lives anymore, and Jane sides with her abuela here, even if its means saying goodbye to her mom for a while. You can typically expect a tear-jerking montage from a series finale, and Alba brings it to us when she gets out of bed to turn off the light in the living room, stirring up memories of the decades she’s spent in this house. We’ve seen many moments from this home’s past throughout the series, and getting them in quick succession reinforces how much these characters have grown and how well this creative team has tied them to a specific place.

Advertisement

One location takes precedence above all others: the porch. In a fantastic piece over at The Ringer, showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman explains how the porch scene in “Chapter Two” was a watershed moment for the series, showing how important it was to take time and show the Villanueva women processing fantastic events in a grounded way. In “Chapter One Hundred,” that processing is done non-verbally as Jane, Xo, and Alba sit on the swing before the wedding, crying together as the sun rises. When a show moves as quickly as Jane The Virgin, it’s vital that the audience gets these moments to slow down and process everything along with the characters. At this point, the women have said all they need to say to each other before they embark on new journeys, and now they just need to take a moment and bask in their shared spirit before they start the day.

Advertisement

And what a day it is. Jane’s editor interrupts the Villanueva moment on the swing, telling her that there’s no way to get a revised version of her book to the printer without physically bringing them the file. Jane won’t let this interfere with her wedding so she lets it slide, even though it means Isabel Allende won’t get an advance copy of the final book. Rafael’s decides that this is the perfect time for one last romantic gesture, rushing to the printer and getting them the file on time. It’s all going great, and then he drives through a boom barrier that won’t lift and gets arrested.

It wouldn’t be a Villanueva special occasion if something didn’t go wrong, but Jane is gleeful as she goes to bail Rafael out of the police station. She’s not going to let this ruin her day, and it’s going to make for a great story (not that this couple has any shortage of great stories to tell). After running through a marathon to catch a rideshare that ends up cancelling anyway, Jane is rescued by a rare instance of perfect public transit timing. Jane turns the bus into her personal ride by using her book money to bribe the driver and the riders, and her family helps her get ready for the wedding in the back.

Advertisement

There’s been a lot of narrative symmetry in this final season, so of course the finale would have plenty of callbacks to the pilot, both of which are written by Urman and directed by Brad Silberling. The bus that saves Jane has Rogelio’s face on the side of it, referencing when Rogelio spoke to her from a Passions Of Santos ad in the first episode. Luisa wins the pre-wedding toasts by reminding everyone that she’s responsible for all of this happening in the first place by accidentally artificially inseminating the bride, lifting her glass as she shouts, “You’re welcome!” Juanes’ “Una Flor” plays throughout the pilot, and Jane walks down the aisle to a slowed down version at her wedding.

Advertisement

I cried throughout the entire wedding ceremony, but the dam really broke when Rogelio and Xo wrapped the wedding lasso around Jane and Rafael, using the lasso rosary passed down to Rogelio from his father. I’m a firm believer that there’s universality in the specific, and that stories reach more people when they really focus on details. I am not Mexican and I have never been to a wedding where the couple was united with a lasso, but I recognize the value of traditions and how they honor the legacy of those who came before. This tradition is how Rafael and Rogelio finally connect, and after hearing the news about his birth parents, Rafael is especially appreciative for the family he’s gained through Jane.

Advertisement

Silence is a valuable emotional tool in this episode, and Urman finds the power in things unsaid. She trusts the performers and their history together to bring the feeling, and because the series has done such remarkable work developing relationships, the void left by silence is filled by the personal intimacy that has grown over five years. The second big instance of silence is when Jane and Rafael are unable to say their vows because they are crying so hard, instead passing their vows to the other for them to read. It’s a smart way to save time during the finale, but it also invites the viewer to fill in the blanks with their knowledge of Jane and Rafael’s history. We know how these characters feel for each other, and I don’t need each of them to deliver another speech about how appreciative they are when we’ve heard the words time and time again.

The reveals in this episode aren’t shockers: commenters guessed that Mateo is our Narrator, and I’ve long theorized that Jane The Virgin is an in-universe telenovela created from Jane’s life story. These moments are cherries on top of this finale sundae, and the show doesn’t linger on them. The telenovela reveal is the final moment of the series, with Jane literally winking at the audience in a moment of pure delight. You can feel Gina Rodriguez’s excitement as she says this line, and her charisma is on full blast when she breaks the fourth wall. I can’t praise Gina Rodriguez enough for her work on this series, anchoring a phenomenal ensemble with a performance that finds the emotional truth in every ridiculous circumstance. I could easily see this concept fall apart without a strong lead, but Rodriguez stepped up to every challenge.

Advertisement

After dealing with all of the really intense telenovela twists of the last few episodes, it’s nice to have a finale that largely ignores exaggeration, bringing us down to Earth for a breezy, touching celebration with family and friends. The family photos after the wedding spotlight the show’s rich cast of characters, and I’m really going to miss following them on a regular basis. Jane The Virgin is a show defined by fun, love, and passion, and everyone involved has been fully committed to giving viewers positive, uplifting entertainment that isn’t saccharine and still acknowledges life’s challenges. It’s a series that reveals it is possible to tell exciting, complex stories about decent people with hope for the future, and it does so with an inclusive cast and creative team that brings even more depth to the production. Jane The Virgin is a true gift in this age of peak TV, and I’m grateful that The CW let Urman realize her full vision until the end.

Advertisement

Stray observations

  • A massive thank you to everyone who followed these recaps over the past five years. Jane The Virgin is my favorite show of all time and writing about it has been one of the great pleasures of my career. And thanks to future readers, because this show is going to gain so many new fans once its all available to stream next week.
  • Jennie Snyder Urman cameos as one of the workers at the marathon, giving Jane a drink and cheering her on to keep going.
  • I wish Michael was in this episode, but I also understand why he was not.
  • There’s a lot of spin-off potential in this finale between Petra and J.R.’s reunion (a Marbella in Houston?) and Xo and Rogelio moving to New York City. Whether or not these creators and actors continue to work in this world, I am very excited to see where they go from here.
  • Lina is pregnant thanks to an egg donated by her sister. Congratulations, Lina!
  • Petra actually is a triplet! Magda meets Petra’s brother, Pyotr, in Siberia for one last ridiculous gag.
  • I’m curious to see how the show changes on rewatch with the knowledge that Mateo is the Narrator, but I’m in no rush to find out.
  • (Jane and Rafael start dancing.) Petra voiceover: “Ew, way too sweet.”
  • “It’s like Chekhov’s gun. Had to go off!”

Advertisement