[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday's episode of Jane the Virgin.]
Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) finally knows who she wants her happily ever after with on Jane the Virgin. After spending a few days in Montana with Michael (Brett Dier) to see if who they are now will still work as a couple, Jane realizes that Michael isn't the only one who has changed drastically over the past five years; she and Rafael (Justin Baldoni) have changed too, and it turns out that it's Rafael who is "the true love interest" of this telenovela.
But by the time Jane gets back to Miami to declare her love for Raf, having left Michael behind in Montana, it's too late. After Jane pours her heart out to him, Rafael admits he can't trust her anymore, having watched as Jane chose Michael over him again and again in the past. And at that, Rafael shuts the door in Jane's face. But Jane is not dissuaded by Rafael's apparent disinterest in rekindling things between them. Instead, she's determined to fight for their relationship and their family.
With 11 more episodes to go in Jane the Virgin's final season, does this mean the love triangle is truly squashed for good? Have we seen the last of Michael, or might Jane change her mind one final time? Did Rafael really mean it when he told Jane it was over? And why is Rafael the right person to be Jane's endgame? Creator Jennie Snyder Urman answered all these questions and so much more in our interview below!
I loved getting to see an episode that entirely takes place so far away from Miami. Have you been wanting to do an episode that puts Jane so far outside her usual environment for a while?
Jennie Snyder Urman: You know, honestly, no. [Laughs.] I wasn't sure about it, and my brilliant writers' room came to me with this pitch of just the two of them there and it had real, specific reasons about why it was good. And once they laid it out I thought it seemed like a great idea. So I wasn't the one that generated it, but I embraced it. It's good to know where good ideas are coming from. And I thought it answered something that I was craving, which was: how is this episode going to feel different on a whole, and what does it look like for them to be really experiencing his life? And what it's been like for Michael, and the need to stop rehashing what happens and start looking toward the future. All of those things sort of came up, and spending just an episode with the two of them and no one else felt really interesting as well and challenging for us on a narrative basis, and I always like good challenges. And it felt right for the story and for the characters.
Things between Jane and Michael have been so complicated since he returned, but that outdoor shower scene was so sexy!
Urman: It was sexy. I love the episode because it feels so different to me and we've never done an episode where we've been out for more than a day. And this was an episode where we were out the whole episode, and it was really about two people learning who they are now, seeing what they still have between them. And I thought Brett just killed it. His performance throughout the first seven episodes really, I think, is extraordinary. And the layers that he's found with somebody who was one person, then was another, and then is trying to figure out who he is now — and that's some complicated emotional math! It's a romantic episode, it's a sexy episode, and then ultimately it's got some heartbreak in it. So it's definitely a different feel and tone for the show. I found after 90-something episodes, once I saw it, it felt so different, and it felt like such an exhale, and it felt really right for this moment in our storytelling.
Despite all the great moments between Jane and Michael, she ended things with him and the episode even labeled Rafael as "The True Love Interest." Can you confirm that Jane isn't going to change her mind again before the series ends?
Urman: Yes. Jane knows. I think there are different love interests and different people that are right for you at different times of your life. And it's an extraordinary circumstance and so we're dramatizing it on a larger scale in terms of how much [Michael's] changed. But Jane really realizes that these five years and the changes that have happened have changed her, and Rafael is who she wants to be with. Whether he feels the same way is going to be up in the air, but that's where her heart is. You'll certainly see — this is not Brett's last episode. But Jane knows who she wants to be with.
Have you always known that Jane was going to ultimately choose Rafael?
Urman: Yes I did, because I did know that that was where we ultimately were going to go. But I knew that there are also different people for you in different moments of your life. I don't think it takes away from what they had and how she did choose Michael and how he was right for her then. But things have changed so much. Obviously in the course of these five years he died, she grieved him, he lost his memory, then came back. Things are very different. So I knew that ultimately we were going to be bringing Jane and Rafael together, but I knew that it wasn't going to be a straight path there. I believe that Michael and Jane were soulmates at that moment in her life. And now I believe that Rafael is who Jane wants at this moment in her life.
Why do you think Rafael is the right person for Jane at this point in her life?
Urman: The big thing I felt like was that I wanted to see a character who you started off thinking was one thing and who really grows and learns and changes to become the person who's right for Jane, and same with her. I don't think he was right for her in Season 1. I think we've really taken care to make him a person who's making different choices than he would have made when we began. The person whose values have changed, who's now willing to let Jane go off and live her dream while he takes a practical, smaller job. If you remember back in Season 1, they have a lot of arguments about the kind of privilege Rafael has and what that would mean for their son, and that that is something that is so important to him, having money and all the trappings that come with it. And I think he's really changed, and that's what we've been trying to do as writers for the past five years, is incrementally move him to a different place where Jane's values and Rafael's values about what's important — family, love, commitment, each other — lined up. And I think it took his character a while to get there and her character a while to get there, to where they see each other as partners and where they want the same things.
When Rafael said, "It's too late," do you think he truly believed in the moment that was his final decision about being with Jane?
Urman: At the end of the episode he believes that. It's tricky because there's still many episodes to go, I think 11 episodes to go. So watching her, what he thought, choose Michael — or not even choose him, just not automatically tell him to go — was really, really painful, and he, at this moment, is done with that story and feels like they should move on.
Since Michael returned, we've primarily seen the impact it's had on Jane. Moving forward, are we going to get more of a chance to understand Rafael's perspective and why he's feeling these things?
Urman: Yes and no. The show is very much Jane's point of view, but I think you get more and more as the stories go by about where he's been, how much it hurt, what it felt like. That's what we continue to explore as we go, and whether he can recover from it. I think the episode that aired [last week] is a lot about [that]. Jane was like, "Oh, he's going through a hard time." But what you really realize is that, yes, he's going through a hard time but he's taking care of himself in a different way than he would have in the beginning. And I think that speaks to him and his character and how far he's come. What I'm also interested in was that Jane has always been chosen. Michael wanted to be with her and Rafael wanted to be with her, and what does it feel like when she's the person who has to do the chasing and the winning back and try to convince somebody that they're right for her? And she's the person right now who doesn't have everything she wants, even though it's clear to her what she wants. So I felt like that was a really interesting dynamic to be exploring. And also important for the character that she doesn't just get to say, "Rafael, I want to be with you. I choose you," and he's like, "Great." He's like, "No, this was painful. And I've had to shut this part down emotionally to survive and to get through this. And you're not what I want right now because I have to protect myself." So that's a different dynamic for the show and for Jane and something that we were interested in the writers' room in exploring.
I love the idea of getting to see Jane pursuing someone else for once. How will she go about that and what will it take to even start to earn Raf's trust back?
Urman: It's a slow process. There's highs and lows. She's convinced that they should be together, but just because you're convinced doesn't mean the other person's convinced. That's a big moment for her, when she realizes that that's not her choice right now. It's his choice and she has to respect where he is. And it takes us into a journey of the way that they prioritize their son, being co-parents, all of that plays into it, and how they're going to be able to do that. Right now, it's very painful for him to be around her and it's not what he wants. So it's a different dynamic as we build up until the end, and it sort of sets the course for a lot of character development and also a lot of drama and comedy.
You said earlier that that won't be Brett's last episode. How much more will we see of Michael, and what will bring him back to Miami?
Urman: He will come back at an unexpected moment with unexpected news.
I can't imagine this show ending without getting a Brogelio reunion. Will we get a Michael and Rogelio (Jaime Camil) moment when he returns?
Urman: [Laughs.] No, it's not really about Michael and Rogelio. It's more about Michael and Jane. Jason wasn't as into Rogelio as Michael was. And we talked about it a lot in the room; we couldn't get to scenes with the two of them without — Jane was in such a precarious emotional place and Rafael is the father of her child and somebody that Rogelio has a real relationship with now. And it didn't feel right for him to be gallivanting off and having just tons of fun with Michael when Jane was so torn and when Rafael's feelings were so raw. ... Michael's changed a bit and I don't know that he's the guy that goes to get mani-pedis with Rogelio anymore.
You have teased that there will be deaths this season, but so far everyone's been safe. How much longer do we have before tragedy strikes?
Urman: There is a significant death and it is towards the end. That's all I'll say.
You obviously still have a lot of work to do on the upcoming episodes, but I know the show recently wrapped filming. What was that experience like for you?
Urman: It was just so emotional. It's really hard to describe. Our final table read, I think you could ring out the scripts because we were all crying so much. And then in the middle you just feel like, oh, I'm just doing an episode. And then as we started to come to the last three days, where also the content was really emotional, there's a lot thematically on the show about saying goodbye. It was certainly the most emotional moments in my career and some of the most emotional moments of my life. Just this journey that we've been on together, how much I love this cast and crew, and how much we've been a team for five years was really emotional. And there's a lot of love on our set and there was a lot of weeping. Like real weeping. Not like, my eyes are tearing up. I had some moments where I was just sobbing. And the next day I felt like ... I could hardly think because of all the tears and sobbing. I felt dehydrated a little bit and emotionally exhausted. But also that's mixed up in the love that we all have for each other and knowing that even though we'll all be in each other's lives, we're not going to be in each other's day-to-days in the same way anymore. Also there's pride in what we've done and the work that we've done for five years. And just joy. It was just a huge moment in all of our lives and so it was a very emotional goodbye — goodbye to the show, not goodbye to each other.
Jane the Virgin airs Wednesdays at 9/8c.
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