Did Rafael (Justin Baldoni) just hit rock bottom? We sure hope so.
After he finally decided to do the right thing and tell Katherine (Alex Meneses) the truth, last week's Jane the Virgin ended with Katherine running Rafael over with her car. It was truly a low point for the former hotelier, but it might just be the wake-up call Rafael needed.
Nobody, especially Jane (Gina Rodriguez), enjoyed the return of Douche Rafael this season, and hopefully this brush with death will help Rafael put his bad behavior in the past for good. But just because Rafael is trying to turn a corner and be a better man (again), it doesn't mean that things with Jane will immediately fall back to the way things were. Rafael said and did a lot of very hurtful things, so we wouldn't be surprised if it takes some time for them to find their groove again.
And you know what? That's OK! As Justin Baldoni explains, Rafael is far from ready to be a good romantic partner to Jane right now, and what he really needs to be focusing on is improving himself. But that doesn't mean that Jane and Raf still don't share a "deep love," according to the star.
See what else Baldoni reveals to TV Guide about what's next for Rafael below!
Rafael already crossed so many lines and he was just about to get his hotel back when he told Katherine the truth. Do you think he did the right thing or at that point, should he have just finished what he started?
Justin Baldoni: You're asking me, Justin, as a man who tries to live that way, so of course I'm going to tell you that he absolutely made the right decision. Personally, I believe that. I think so much of the journey Rafael's been on has been figuring out the balance between the super hyper-masculine tropes of wanting to provide and needing to have all of these things versus learning to be content and happy and live in Jane's world. And I think that he got lost. His identity was wrapped up in the hotel and in his money, and I think Jane has been trying to show him that that's not who he is, that he's much more than that. He's a great father and he's a friend and he's all these other things, but he wasn't listening. So I think that I'm really grateful that that happened, but of course he had to pay a penance for what he did. And I don't want to say that it's justice, but justice takes many forms and one of them is the wrath of a woman scorned. And boy, did he piss her off, so that's what he got.
When you saw that Rafael would finally turn that corner and do the right thing, were you excited to return to playing Rafael's better qualities or did you enjoy playing Douche Rafael?
Baldoni: It's funny. Jennie [Snyder Urman], the show creator, gave me a heads up that it was going to get pretty dark. I think I spend my life as a man doing what I can to rise above those qualities that exist even in myself. They're reptilian. They're animal qualities we all have, man and woman. It's fun I think to get to go and explore those qualities in a very safe space, in a character that might not be as far along on his emotional journey as I am. In my every day life, I practice playing some of those other qualities that I think are similar to his better qualities. But again, that's what I love about acting, getting to play characters who are so different than who I am. So when there's a chance to go dark, to really explode on Jane or to really feel things that maybe are an extreme to what I go through in my real life, it's a gift. Rafael's gone through so much since I started playing him four years ago. He's a totally different man now. Of course, three kids later, multiple murders in his hotel and god knows what else, he'd have to be a different person. But what I love about it is our creator is never going to abandon Rafael. He's not going to stay a douche. I don't believe that's what they're going for. I believe that Rafael is a story of redemption as well. He's a man that, thanks to Jane, is seeing sides of himself that he's never had a chance to see. He's getting a chance to grow and step out of that toxic behavior and to become a much more heart-centered man, and that's really who he is. He wants to be a good father, he wants to be different than his past and his dad — or his fake dad who was killed by his sister's lover. And so it's fun, yeah. I love it, I enjoy it. Rafael's such a complex, great, deep, emotional character and he's just so much fun to explore.
Rafael's recent behavior was a major regression for him. Do you hope that going forward this sort of behavior is truly in the past for Rafael?
Baldoni: I would like to say so, but of course I don't have a crystal ball and we have to keep people watching, so I don't know. There's two parts to that: there's what do I hope for him and then there's [the fact] this is a telenovela at the end of the day. I think, realistically, Jane has been very patient and she's a little more emotionally evolved than he is, but I can imagine that this will hopefully be the last time because he almost died. I think that when you get that close to dying because of something that you did, I think you learn your lesson. I really believe Rafael is intelligent enough to learn his lesson from this experience. Do I think he's going to make mistakes? Absolutely. He's not ever going to be perfect, but I think that we can certainly hope to root for him to learn his lesson. And I think that this next episode will give us a little window into his emotional journey that will hopefully bring people back onto his side, because it was pretty ugly for a second. It wasn't easy to see him lie to Katherine's face and do those things. It was pretty gross. My wife hated it. My wife couldn't watch it. She was like, "this is gross. I know this is not you, but I hate him."
Rafael and Jane's relationship hasn't been in a great place all season. How does their relationship recover from everything that has passed between them this season?
Baldoni: Jane the Virgin has a lot of different stories and themes interwoven into it, but I believe Rafael's story has a lot to do with redemption and forgiveness. And I think that Jane really, really is someone that forgives, and also these are adults that are aware enough to know that they love each other. There's deep, deep love there between Jane and Rafael. Sometimes that love looks ugly, sometimes it doesn't. But at the end of the day, they have a child that they're sharing and they always have to rise and do what's best for their child, and I think both of those characters know that. But more than that, at its core, there's a deep love. I believe Jane knows Rafael's heart and I think judging by what Rafael did at the end and he paid the price, I would hope that would be enough. We'll see what happens. I hope it works out. I hope they start to become friends again, but the writers know what's in store.
Rafael's recent actions upset a lot of fans who still really root for Jane and Rafael to get back together. Do you think Rafael's recent behavior proves that he isn't in a place where he'd be a good romantic partner to Jane or anyone else right now?
Baldoni: I think at this snapshot in his life, he's not in a place to be a romantic partner to Jane, no. But again, this is a character that shows day in and day out that he can grow. I think she knows Rafael's heart and he made the right decision, but right now he's got to take care of himself and he's got to recover from what he did. And I think he's also got to learn that life is not dependent on the number in his bank account, his worth is not dependent on whether or not he can provide for his family and drive a really nice car and live in a penthouse and get whatever he wants whenever he wants it. I think he's going to have a chance to become a regular guy and see that life can actually be beautiful without having all the things he's had. And that's a beautiful journey for him to go on and something that's reflective of a journey I think a lot of us have a chance to experience.
We still don't know who Rafael's biological father is. With Raf as lost as he is, will we see him start up the search for his dad again as a part of his quest to redefine his identity?
Baldoni: I don't know. I would personally love to see that because I think so much of our masculinity and what we learn comes from our fathers. Rafael has had this identity crisis because he thought he was somebody his whole life and he wasn't. And he was constantly trying to earn the love and respect of a father who never saw him as a son, but Rafael didn't know that, so he never got his father's love and respect. And as it turns out it wasn't really his father. It was a financial transaction and that's all he was to his father. So it's a really interesting thing to think about. Whether the writers will go there, I don't know. Would I love to see it? Absolutely, because I think that would be the close of a really emotional, cool journey for him.
Jane the Virgin airs Fridays at 9/8c on the CW.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of the CW's parent companies.)