JANE THE VIRGIN | 1.01 — “Chapter One” (2014)
the way white people will say petra carried the show/was the most important part of the show 😭😭😭😭 shut up
JANE THE VIRGIN | 1.03 — “Chapter Three” (2014)
while rewatching the show one of the most frustrating parts is watching how rafael is villianized for having mental illness and trauma. of course since the show is a telenovela everyone does shitty things, including rafael, but it’s so painfully clear to me that everytime rafael spirals and goes “dark” it’s triggered by something.
at the end of season one he is very understandably triggered by his father’s murder and finding out why his mother chose to abandon him as a child. these circumstances lead to him pushing jane away.
when his episode passes he realizes his mistakes and tries to get jane back, but she choses michael. this back and forth only to essentially be abandoned again makes him focus heavily on the hotel because he associates the hotel and money with happiness and fulfillment because he feels like he can’t find that anywhere else.
(and let’s talk about how petra completely violates him by impregnanting herself with his sperm so he would take her back after she cheated on him with his best friend.)
in s3 we see that the one thing more powerful than his need for a successful buisness is his children’s future and he gives himself up to the police so his father’s horrible legacy ends there. when he comes out from prison he’s clearly in the best mental state he has ever been in because he did the right thing and he knows that.
however, that doesn’t mean that his mental illness is gone forever. looking back trying to get back together with petra was a really big mistake, because all they do is bring out the worst in each other since they’re so similar. when petra breaks it off with him (abandoning him - again) this triggers him and puts him back into the space of the hotel/money = happiness. but this time since jane now knows him so well she doesn’t leave his side even when he royally fucks up.
what i do appreciate is that when rafael messes up, the narrative doesn’t let it slide and he has to apologize and in turn actually change his behavior which we see him doing for the rest of season four.
i think by the end of s4 rafael feels secure in his relationship with jane and secure in himself so much that he realizes the the money and the hotel don’t matter because all that ever was was something to fill a void that he doesn’t have anymore.
all of this is why having all of that security ripped away so suddenly in season five triggers such a severe episode of depression for him. honestly, i think his symptoms are more in line with bipolar disorder or bpd but the point still stands.
as much as i do appreciate that the show tells us he gets help, it almost makes it even more frustrating that we completely lose his pov the moment they make it explicitly canon that he has a mental illness. we don’t see him go to therapy or his journey, and so much of the audience took him protecting his mental health as being an asshole because we lost his pov entirely.
that all said, i think it does come together nicely in the end because we see rafael have the chance at having the marbella back in a completely moral way and chose to turn it down because that isn’t what he wants anymore and his relationship with his family is more important because the hotel was really just a distraction from feeling like he didn’t have a family, which he does now. that doesn’t mean there won’t ever be problems as rogelio says, just that the happiness outweighs that because all those large issues have been dealth with, even if so much of it was off camera when it shouldn’t have been.
it also does away a bit with the greedy jew trope since justin baldoni is ethnically jewish and making out as if rafael is money hungry just for the sake of it is antisemitic.