Jane the Virgin quickly squashed any hope of Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Rafael (Justin Baldoni) reuniting during Friday's roller coaster Season 4 premiere. But in a surprising twist, it had nothing to do with the return of Jane's first love Adam (Tyler Posey), and everything to do with Rafael's sense of entitlement regarding how his son is raised. The heated argument that erupted between Jane and Rafael as a result proved the former lovebirds are nowhere near the point of reuniting, despite the close relationship that sprung up in the wake of Michael's (Brett Dier) death last season. In fact, it left us wondering: should they reunite? At all? Ever?
In "Chapter Sixty-Five," Jane was understandably worried about Rafael taking money out of Mateo's trust fund to pay tuition for the next school year, something made necessary in the wake of Rafael losing the Marbella and his own fortune at the end of Season 3. His decision, made without consulting Jane, was pretty indefensible; he knew Jane didn't want Mateo to attend the school because she didn't like the people who patronized it. Rafael quickly jumped to the conclusion she meant people like him, people who have access to money. In reality, she disliked the way people with money looked down on those without, as if they were somehow worth less, and Rafael's actions essentially just proved her point.
Now, this isn't the first time finances have been a spot of contention for Jane and Rafael — it's been a hot button issue for as long as they've been in each other's lives — but it was the first time Rafael appeared to actually judge Jane for her comfortable working class upbringing with Alba (Ivonne Coll) and Xiomara (Andrea Navedo). In a cutting, indirect way, he described her life as being "small," and revealed he'd be horrified if Mateo was brought up the same way.
This was a bad look for Rafael, especially considering he's currently relying on Jane for a place to live — and will continue to do so as the season progresses. Wanting a good life for one's child is not a crime, but lashing out at Jane for problems he created for himself is unacceptable (he also blamed her for his problems with Yael Grobglas' Petra, which again, were of his own making). His over-the-top reaction is partly a response to his current state of homelessness, and might even be born from a fear of being unable to provide for his son. But even if that's the case, it's no excuse for his appalling behavior toward Jane.
At this point, we have to ask ourselves how much we're willing to overlook or defend, because Rafael's actions reveal that as much as he likes to believe he's evolved from the entitled, rich playboy he used to be, there are parts of him that haven't changed. He still defines himself by his wealth and status, something that's become increasingly complicated in the wake of his family secrets coming to light.
Up until this point, Jane and Rafael have enjoyed an incredibly close relationship. His recent display reveals how shaky the ground is beneath them. As one of the main relationships that supports the series, it's pretty difficult to watch. Unfortunately, it's not going to get better anytime soon, as series creator Jennie Snyder Urman recently confirmed to TV Guide that Rafael's personal issues will only further complicate his relationship with Jane as the season progresses.
With this familiar impediment between them once again, it calls into question whether there's a future in which Jane and Rafael will ever be able to embark on a romantic relationship — a topic that resurfaced again last season after Michael's death. And at this point, there's honestly no reason to want them to get back together.
Rafael's issues have manifested themselves in such a way that he's not only unable to empathize with Jane's feelings, but he's not consulting her when making decisions that affect both of them and their son. His actions are not the actions of a person with whom Jane should want to spend time with, let alone date in a serious manner. They are forever bound by Mateo, but a relationship is built on mutual respect and trust, and although it looked as if they were making romantic progress last season, it's clear now they're nowhere near where they need to be in order to make a relationship happen.
Rafael's actions reveal a man who potentially doubts Jane's ability to raise their son in a satisfactory fashion, but if you dig deeper, they also reveal a man with insecurities about living without means or a safety net — a situation Rafael once again put himself in. Until he reconciles his anxiety and insecurities surrounding money and wealth, there will always be something standing between him and Jane.
And that's just fine right now, because Adam, who wrote Jane's love cue — the sweet string music that plays whenever Jane gets caught up in romance — appears to be a perfectly sweet man who's never had to deal with accidental inseminations, kidnapping, murder or losing an entire fortune and then taking it out on Jane. We don't know what the future holds for Jane and Rafael, but right now, we don't care. We're looking forward to the story of Jane and Adam instead.
Jane the Virgin airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.
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