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Jane the Virgin: Is Rafael's Mom Actually [Spoiler]?

Just hear us out, okay?

Sadie Gennis

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the latest episode of Jane the Virgin.]

Let me preface this whole thing by saying I know this sounds completely insane. But that's what I love about Jane the Virgin: nothing is outside the realm of possibility. Time and time again, this show has taken twists that would be unpalatable in other series and made them seem completely earned. That is in large part due to the subtle but consistent foreshadowing of all these major reveals, which has understandably caused me to often read way too into every little nuance of this CW telenovela. Which brings me to the latest theory bouncing around my brain:

Are Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and J.R. (Rosario Dawson) actually siblings?!

Before you completely write this suggestion off, it truly might not be quite as crazy as you think. Since J.R. was first introduced, the series has repeatedly emphasized her mother, who is currently living in a nursing home due to her seemingly degenerative mental capacities. This continues to be the case in Friday's episode, "Chapter Seventy-Six," when J.R. discovers a note from the blackmailer pinned to her mother's sweater threatening her mother's life unless she ensures Petra (Yael Grobglas) confesses to Anezka's murder.

​Rosario Dawson, Jane the Virgin
Greg Gayne/The CW

Coincidentally -- or not -- elsewhere in the episode Rafael's search for his biological mother resurfaces, with him finally trying to track down the woman who gave him up for adoption as an infant. Unfortunately, Rafael soon learns that the woman's name on his birth certificate isn't even his mother's name; it's the name of a nurse who agreed to put herself down to protect the identity of Raf's mother. In order to find a record of his actual mother's name, Rafael contacts the convent only to discover that his missing sister Luisa (Yara Martinez) has already purchased the records containing his mother's identity.

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Throughout the episode, Jane seamlessly transitions from J.R. dealing with her mother to Rafael searching for his. And since episode structure is often a key way the series delivers commentary on current arcs and hints at what's to come, I was already growing suspicious of the apparent connection between J.R. and Rafael's mother when the Luisa bomb dropped. But after that, I became fully convinced that these two mothers are connected, if not one and the same.

​Justin Baldoni, Jane the Virgin
Michael Desmond/The CW

We know that Luisa has a vendetta against Petra for allowing her to remain in the mental health clinic despite knowing she was tricked into a false diagnosis. We also know that Luisa's one true love Rose (Bridget Regan) has been plotting away from prison all season, killing that man in the season premiere for undisclosed reasons. It doesn't take an omniscient narrator to tell us that Luisa and Rose are probably up to something now that Luisa has gone off the grid again. So would it really be that wild if we learned that Luisa and Rose were blackmailing J.R. as part of a plot to:

1) Get revenge on Petra by framing her for murder

2) Use J.R.'s legal skills to get Rose out of jail through some loophole

3) Learn more about, and potentially mess with, Rafael's biological family because Luisa thinks Raf was complicit in her false diagnosis

C'mon. You know it's starting to sound more like a viable theory, especially because Jane the Virgin loves itself some twisty, turny, out-of-this-world complicated romances. Because think of this: if J.R.'s mother is also Rafael's mother, that makes J.R. and Rafael half-siblings. That means that if Petra and J.R. were to get married, J.R. would be both the twins' aunt and also their stepmom. So if you thought the Petra-Rafael-Jane family dynamic couldn't get any crazier, this would definitely do the trick.

With only five more episodes left in the season, it's likely that we'll find out one way or another soon enough. And who knows, maybe all my crackpot theorizing will actually pay off for once.

Jane the Virgin airs Fridays at 9/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)