Jane the Virgin’s season finale is a narrative fireworks display, a shock-and-awe storytelling spectacular that short-circuits emotional processing centers with blazing confidence.
The episode’s success is partially due to a built-in feature of Jane the Virgins’s genre, and of the show’s own self-restraint earlier in the season.
The wicked, clever cruelty of Rose smugly telling Susannah that she’s loved one person all along is delicious, and it also deepens Jane the Virgin’s commitment to Luisa as a tragic character.
Jane’s telenovela plotting aside, “Chapter Forty-Four” works because of the glorious wedding sequence, which hits all the right emotional notes and ping-pongs assuredly between tearfulness and laughter.
It begins with relatively cheerful, low-key mayhem – Mateo walking, Rogelio and Xiomara fighting, a knocked-out priest – moves into touching warmth as Jane and Michael run through a seriously romantic itemized list of marriage discussion topics, and finally sparks into a charming dash down the aisle, after Jane runs to a ridiculous last-minute thesis meeting in the final hours before her wedding.
This total absurdity allows Professor Donaldson to throw one last punch while buttoning Jane into her dress and it lands Jane and Rogelio on a city bus, 17 long stops away from the church as the wedding is scheduled to begin.
Once Jane finally arrives, the wedding is everything a Jane fan could ask for, along with several things I didn’t even know to want.
Jane and Rogelio’s father/daughter dance is an unadulterated distillation of the happy end of Jane the Virgin’s emotional register, swinging instantaneously from gleeful tears to pumped-up synchronized awesomeness.
Mateo can walk! “Behold the most amazing and coordinated boy in human history!” “Rafael’s family drama had recently taken a turn for the bonkers.” As Jane and Michael kiss: “Oh my God. Sorry. Gosh. [sniff] I just can’t believe it actually happened.”