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‘Jane the Virgin’ S5E6 “Chapter 87” recap

Imagine the Jane the Virgin’s writers room: masochists taking turns on St. John’s Cross as flogger and flogee. They’ve always taken delight in leading us up one garden path, only to subvert everything we thought in one eyebrow-raising line from the omnipresent narrator – but with S5 they’re really laying it on thick.

We should have expected this sort of pain when things looked so peachy at the end of season four. Alba was getting hitched to her love Jorge in a green card marriage and hoping he would reciprocate her feelings; Xiomara was about to cease treatment for breast cancer; and Jane was getting her happily-ever-after with Rafael after spending most of the season sneaking around in an infuriating will-they-won’t-they clandestine affair.

The past five episodes have seen all the gang struggling. Petra (Yael Grobglas), despite being reunited with her lady love J.R. (Rosario Dawson), is being stalked by an unnamed adversary; Michael has his memories back but remains a strange hybrid of the loyal, sweet Michael we knew and the dour, simple Montana farmer Jason we didn’t know; Rafael might be abusing drugs again; and Jane? Jane is exhausted & conflicted.

From all this compounded misery, we can hear the Jane the Virgin writer’s room cackling with glee in the distance. At this point we have no idea whatsoever about an ending (but you can read our potentially spoiler-laden piece here about our theories). Those writers have done their job: they’ve got us right where they want us.

The intro

The episode opens just with Jane and her feelings. She’s back at Alba’s house after being kicked out of the love nest she shared with Rafael and going through photos of her life with Michael, clutching for answers.

While Xo & Alba are not strictly Team Michael – Alba is actually a fully paid member of Team Rafael – they’re not feeling Rafael’s actions at the moment. They encourage Jane to reach out to Michael because, well, how often is it your dead ex-husband reenters your orbit?

Jane pings Michael and he calls her straight away: he wants to meet later that day. Thinking she put Michael on mute, Jane rattles through her complicated feelings (including the hilarious idea she might put her wedding underwear on and jump him).

When it’s time for her to respond, Jane realizes she’s been on speakerphone the whole time. (Question: what on earth did telenovela writers do before smartphones?) Michael saves her the embarrassment of asking outright, agreeing to the coffee Xo suggested at the end of Jane’s rant.

We then discover that, surprisingly, Michael had no romantic notions for the proposed meeting. He whisks Jane off to the police station to discuss the day Michael disappeared and the continuingly mysterious case of Sin Rostro.

In a well-placed callback to the first scene, Dennis suggests that Michael and Jane walk through Michael’s final day – the one where he bumped into Rose, who was wearing Eileen’s face – to try to remember anything new. (It’s a lot, but remember, it’s a telenovela).

Virgin P.I.

Michael & Jane have always made a good investigative team – less Thompson Twins and more Blue Moon Detective Agency – and seeing them work the case of Sin Rostro takes us back to happier, less complicated times in earlier seasons. The exposition is not particularly thrilling to watch, but raises key issues that will make sense later.

Jane recalls the last conversation she and Michael had before he left that day. She handed him a cutesy lunch box which he ribbed Jane for, hurting her feelings. But Michael remembers it differently: an extra conversation topic (that Jane was out of gas and needed to fill up) that Jane had forgotten.

The gas story jogs Jane’s memory about an unreplied email she sent Michael while pumping. Michael remembers he did reply, but Jane becomes upset. She’s a writer and a reader; if Michael had responded to her on that day, she would have remembered every detail.

We’re not surprised when Jane gets a call that Rafael didn’t pick Mateo up from karate practice. Jane runs headlong into Rafael at the dojo, looking like Oscar the Grouch’s roommate. Raf’s anger at Jane’s presence becomes relief when he groks that Jane can take the kids and he can go back to whatever the hell it is he’s been doing (drugs?).

With all three children settled in the car, Mateo asks Jane what drugs are. Turns out Mateo and the twins have seen Rafael taking pills from the top shelf of the bathroom cabinet. The twins go as far as to accuse: “Daddy has a real pill problem.” (The precocious pair had previously tutored themselves on the American opiate addiction crisis by sneaking TV shows on Petra’s unlocked iPad recently.)

When Jane drops the girls at the Marbella, she asks Petra for help with Rafael; Jane’s worried he’s in a dark place. Petra promises coldly to get to the bottom of the matter, but we’re guessing our she knows way more than she’s letting on.

The B plot

J.R. has called in her hot lesbian hacker friend Leona to scan Petra’s system and see WTF is going on with these strange emails. Petra has been instastalking Leona and comes on way too strong. Trying to appeal to Leona’s interests, Petra starts talking tattoos and rescue dogs.

We think Leona wins the Sickest Burn Prize in Jane the Virgin history when she suggests Petra might want to get a butterfly tramp stamp tattoo on her lower back. Not realizing it’s a snide dig, Petra thinks it’s a great idea. This interlude ends with Petra agreeing to go party at the lesbian club with J.R. and her friends – but first she’s got to find that perfect pair of jeans . . . .

Ms. Petra Obvious runs by Rafael’s to ask him outright if he’s using again. While we don’t hear his reply, we do come to understand Petra is covering for Raf. She tells Jane not to meddle or worry about the kids; Raf doesn’t need her to know what’s going on. Jane surely won’t let this slide, but we’ll leave that bombshell for another time.

We’re now back with the A plot at Alba’s house. Michael has tried a million times to get into his emails but he can’t for the life of him remember what the dang password was. But Jane knows. They manage to get into his emails and see the response in his drafts, which prompts his memory about the reason he didn’t send it: that was the moment he literally crashed into Eileen (i.e., Rose wearing an Eileen mask).

So the dynamic duo runs back to the coffee shop to look for more clues. All hopes are dashed until Jane goes to pick up her order and Michael’s memory is jogged once again. No, he didn’t see Rose’s mask peeling off her neck like Rose told Luisa; he saw the username “Buttercup” on Eileen’s phone. He handed her phone back: “There ya go, Buttercup” – and sealed his fate.

It took us a second, but we realize Rose is now a Dread Pirate Roberts running her own version of Silk Road (based on the Princess Bride references), and the strange number that kept coming up in Michael’s Rose research must be her password.

This leads us to the big reveal of the episode: despite leaving the police force based on the danger his job had put his family in, Michael had been investigating Rose/Sin Rostro/Eileen the whole time. Oh, and someone is tailing them in a gray Prius.

While hiding out in the baggage room (get it?) of the Marbella, Jane is confronted with some uncomfortable truths. One: Michael left the job he loved because Jane was scared of him being a cop – he didn’t hate his desk job after he got shot. And two: both Michael and Jane are very different people nowadays.

Jane realizes in a flash that Michael never wanted to take the LSAT and blames herself for everything that happened. But there’s good news, too. Dennis joins them in the baggage (get it?) room to tell them there’s no need to worry – ya boy in the gray Prius was merely a bodyguard sent to protect them.

After the interruption Michael confirms he did indeed blow up his life for Jane – but by doing so it made him happy because he was so in love with his wife.

The unhappy couple is interrupted once again by Jane’s darn phone. Rafael forgot Mateo’s art project – can Jane pick it up? Typically, Jane can’t resist snooping around Raf’s bathroom cabinet like a K-9 pup on the narcotic trail. Of course Raf finds her and tells her to butt out.

Raf’s excuse? He feels unwell, and now feels even worse that Jane has (once again) invaded his privacy. Jane reaches out to Petra to reiterate her concern; Petra tells Jane to butt out again.

The C plot

Things are not peachy with the other Villanueva women. Both are struggling with matters of the heart (and loins). Following her brutal cancer treatment, Xo has lost her sex drive, which is a big deal because we know the Xo loves sex.

Rogelio, as usual, is sweet and supportive with his wife, but Xo feels sad. The new, sexually connected Alba advises her to get a vibrator. Both Xo and we hide under the table in embarrassment for the rest of the episode.

Alba isn’t doing great, either. She’s still in love with Jorge (whom she married for a green card) and having all types of inappropriate thoughts about him (probably while she’s using her vibrator). When she gets home, Jorge surprises her with a really sexy tonguedown.

Horndog that she is, Alba grabs his butt and goes in for more, only to see a pair of immigration officers standing in her living room for a surprise visit. They pass that stage of the immigration process, but Alba realizes she has to admit her feelings.

She lays it on straight: she still has feelings for Jorge, she hoped he would reciprocate, and when the green card biz is over they’ll need to go their separate ways. Jorge responds with a heartbreaking “I understand.”

At this point all our women are all in a mess: Alba is heartbroken, Jane is confused & heartbroken, Xo is sad & heartbroken, and Petra is desperately trying not to get her heart broken.

Petra is now on a mission to prove to J.R.’s friends that she can get down with the dykes, and the try-hard shows. Jane then shows up, determined to get to the bottom of what is going on with Petra and Raf. After a screaming showdown at the bar, Jane understands the root of Petra’s coldness.

Petra’s angry Jane didn’t take her advice to send Michael away, instead blowing up everyone’s lives. She also reveals Rafael has been getting professional attention and is on drugs, prescribed ones: he’s depressed and on antidepressants.

Our fave gal-pals kiss and make up, vowing to be there for one another and do better. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Petra seizes the opportunity. She pulls Jane on stage to show J.R.’s crew she knows how to have fun.

Jane teaches Petra to spell her name with her butt and sprays a $300 bottle of champagne over them both. Leona, however, is still not convinced and confronts Petra with all the reasons she’s not her number-one fan: breaking J.R.’s heart, causing her to lose her career, and general untrustworthiness.

Inspired, Jane goes to Rafael and apologizes for snooping. Raf accepts the apology wanly, asking for some space for a few days. Jane heads straight for Alba’s porch, where the other broken Villenueva women are already on the swing of melancholy.

The conclusion

Elsewhere, Michael (the keystone cop) and Dennis (an actual cop) chase the Princess Bride lead down. The username and password is right, but of course Rose’s criminal buddies managed to shut the site down just in time. It’s still a good lead for the cops, as now they know how she is managing to keep the home fires burning financially.

We see Rose on a video call with her associate, telling him to leave Michael alone and dropping the classic TV drama trope: the “move up the timeline” quip. One can only imagine what her next move will be.

This episode has been a lot. We finally get to the homestretch as Michael & Jane sit on a bench talking about their feelings. They agree they’ve both grown since they were married. Michael admits he still has the same feelings for Jane and wants to explore them.

Michael suggests they take a trip to Montana, away from Miami and the chaos of their lives and multiple murder investigations. Jane, being a very different person from the girl we met all those years ago, agrees. I guess we (and Sin Rostro) are going to the boondocks next week . . . .

To be continued.

Best moments of this episode:

  • Rogelio talking about catching Xo getting intimate with her new vibrator: “When I saw you strumming your lady guitar . . .”
  • Fanservice for Jane/Petra shippers, putting them in a lesbian bar grinding each other after showering themselves with champagne
  • Alba coming into her sensuality – it’s a glorious thing, but because she feels like our abuela we cringe along with Xo & Jane.
  • Rojelio’s thirst trap: “Tell me how much you want the carnal gift of Rogelio.”
  • Jane realizing how much she and Michael have changed (opening the door for our dream of a Raf & Jane happily-ever-after)
  • Jane realizing Rafael had also changed, and rather than going into his old self-destructive patterns (booze, sex, pills), he chooses to face his feelings, get help and dedicate time to self-care

  • It’s nice to see the Sin Rostro storyline come back to the foreground. Jane has always been best when relationships are stretched due manipulation by an unstoppable criminal mastermind. We’re loving seeing Rose still create all types of carnage even from behind bars.
  • We’re pretty sure the writers are laying on some serious misdirection with the Petra stalker storyline. If Petra thinks it’s her evil ex-husband, superhacker Milos, then we’re betting it really isn’t. Can Anezka (Petra’s evil twin) come back from the dead a second time?
  • Finally, the writers seem to be planting the seed that Sin Rostro & Milos are connected, Milos being the hacker genius from hell and Sin Rostro’s new empire as a dark-web drug and weapon marketplace. We’ll wait for confirmation on this, just an early fan theory.
  • Seeing Petra in jeans is just priceless.

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