Inhala. Exhala. First episode since…Gaaaaaaaaah! I can’t do this, I thought I could, but I…I need a sexy but stern Rafael with a beard to tell me to get over myself and write this dang recap.
The intro starts in darkness. Alba’s voice gently reminds us it will always feel different. It's two weeks after Michael's death and Jane is in bed crying about to spiral into a dark depression. Jane and Alba now have something awful in common; they’re both widows. Jane asks Alba how she survived losing the love of her life and Alba tells Jane that she had no choice, she had to be strong. Alba and Jane look at Mateo and Jane realizes she has to be strong for Mateo. Little by little jane moves forward.
Three years later, Jane gets ready for the wedding. She’s nervous, but MICHAEL’S PICTURE TELLS HER SHE’S GOT THIS. Gah. Gaaah!
The wedding turns out to be…no one’s really. Ugh, the writers psyched us into thinking someone on this show other than Jane was mature enough to enter into holy matrimony and it's a dang reality-TV wedding. Rogelio and Darci are happily-ever-aftering on their hit show, The De La Factor Factor. Rogelio tells Darci her love is like winning the lottery and he got “the lump sum of her love.” Ha! But it’s all fake, because DARCI AND ROGELIO HATE EACH OTHER WITH THE WHITE HOT INTENSITY OF A THOUSAND SUNS. This is a gyp! Justina and Jaime have mad chemistry and the JTV writers are really cheating themselves by keeping these two apart just because Rogelio loves Xiomara. Yeah. Ro is still in love with Xo.
Random people on the street have been throwing Big Gulps on Xo for trying to break up Dargelio (me: #Team Dargelio). Xo has actually been quite happy with Bruce in their snazzy love nest, but the producers of De La Factor Factor have edited the reality show to make it look like Xo is the problem. Darci and Ro are also childless because of fertility problems. But didn’t Darci freeze her young, ready-to-be fertilized eggs?
Jane is late for the tv wedding because MATEO IS A DEMON! Jane is lovely in a peach evening dress, but
Mateo is running around in nothing but his drawers like 21 Pilots at the Grammys. Jane has a weather-based “system” to get Mateo to behave. She claps thunder and if Mateo fails to obey, it’s a rainy day. Girl, I guess. Mateo has gone from the terrible twos to the freakin’ awful fours. There is lots of thunder and rainy days. His teachers want to get him a shadow to help him get his act together. New Mateo is cute; when he said “I’m sorry I’m a bad boy,” I was like, okay, he can stay. But Jane should consider a hand to the bottom.
Or some advice from Petra. Because PETRA IS THE WORLD’S SECOND BEST MOTHER OF TWINS. (The first is Beyoncé. C’mon, you knew that.) Ellie and Anna are angels and like Blue Ivy, they have a successful mom to look up to. In addition to being the head of the PTA, Petra has rebranded the Marbella as the second happiest place on earth, a kind of kid-friendly luxury hotel with pirates and parrots and adventures. Petra can’t be too perfect, so she hate-bangs the skeevy guy who owns the adult-themed hotel (the All the Way Inn?) next door.
Rafael is fine. He has a beard. Rafael is fine with or without facial hair, but I do like the beard. Raf was released from prison totally zen-ed out (must have been federal prison). Nothing upsets him. He lets Petra handle the Marbella and he tries to find solutions for Mateo’s problems rather than worrying. Oh, and he’s got a girlfriend, Abbey, WHO OWNS A GREETING CARD COMPANY. Hahahahaha! That’s funny to me for reasons only I get. But it’s funny. I don’t like Abbey. She seems to be the buffer that keeps Jane in the friend-zone. Just a couple episodes ago, Rafael was shirtless on top of Catalina and now he’s watching Lifetime TV with Helen of Hallmark.
Jane still has Faith M. Whiskers III! And she still has her dream job, only it’s a nightmare. Jane’s boss is demanding, but when there’s an opening in an author reading series, Jane screws her courage to the sticking post and submits her novel for consideration. Rafael convinces Jane to enroll Mateo in martial arts (Ellie and Anna take classes) and the discipline seems to help.
Ro turns down another season of DLVFF and a guaranteed chance to star in The Passions of Steve (instead of Rob Lowe) because he doesn’t want Xo vilified. And it turns out Dargelio didn’t have fertility problems; Ro wasn’t sure he wanted to be permanently connected to Darci through a child. Because he loves Xo. That’s where this is going. Snoooze. Let Xo be happy with Boring Bruce and give us Dargelio!
Mateo is so bad, he doesn’t get an invite to his classmate’s birthday party. Raf talks Petra into convincing the boys mom to invite Mateo to the party. MATEO KARATE CHOPS THE BIRTHDAY CAKE. Mateo would’ve got snatched had he been my son. This is annoying. Mothers who can’t see their bad-ass kids are bad are annoying.
Jane thinks Mateo acts out because she was too distracted by her grief to properly care for him. Petra assures her that’s not true. It turns out the day Rafael went to jail, Jane and Petra promised each other an our-baby-daddy-is-in-jail mutual support brunch every week. They helped each other get through Rafael’s incarceration. Awww.
Jane gets a chance to read from her novel! The night before, Abuela tucks her in. And when she’s alone JANE LISTENS TO A MESSAGE FROM MICHAEL. About oranges. Gah! Gaaaaah! I ugly cried. I couldn’t breathe. I was worried the show was getting silly with Mateo and the cake, the Marbella and the pirates, but these moments of genuine grief and sadness and the very real feeling of missing Michael are a perfect counterpoint to the light and fluffy stuff. Gah.
Turns out Jane’s novel isn’t the story of the Villanueva women; it’s the story of Jane and Michael, Snow Falling. And it’s a romance novel. Everybody shows up, even professor Donaldson who loves the novel. The reading goes well—Jane gets a deal! (Wait, does this make JANE the narrator?)
Petra, who had been trying to get the skeevy guy next door to sign an easement or emolument or something, realizes something and everything works out. I’m horrible with plot. But Yael Grobglas is a frickin’ amazing actress. Know this. When she fought for the easement telling Skeevy Guy that the New Marbella was the first thing that was all hers and she did it for her daughters, that was a great actress making a weak plot point work.
The Marbella Pirate leads the hotel’s children on a fun treasure hunt (in verse, too!) that leads them to the beach where they dig up SCOTT’S CORPSE!!! Petra said earlier that Scott and Anezka broke up and Scott disappeared. I thought he went off with Michael’s brother and Lina, you know, to that big abandoned story-line in the sky, but SCOTT IS DEAD and since he was blackmailing Petra, she’s probably the main suspect…dun-Dun-DUNNN!
I give this eppy, on a scale of 1-10, a 7. Last week’s episode was a 10. This episode felt like we were back to setting up the story pins and, this far into the season, I’m ready to bowl! But the Michael moments were such nice touches and Petra’s story-line earned this eppy a 7. I could have used more Rogelio and more info about this Abbey woman. But I guess that’s next week.
What do you think? Leave a comment!