[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the series finale of Jane the Virgin. Read at your own risk!]
Jane the Virgin concluded its final chapter on Wednesday in a series finale that also marked the show’s 100th episode. It saw Jane Villanueva’s (Gina Rodriguez) story come to an end after five seasons of romance, heartbreak, and some real telenovela twists. With the Rose (Bridget Regan) saga finally put to an end in the penultimate episode, The CW drama’s final episode was completely free of the high-stakes, criminal mystery and fully able to indulge in what really made this show so special: the loving families at the heart of the show.
That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any dramatic tension leading up to Jane and Rafael’s (Justin Baldoni) much-awaited nuptials. There were some issues getting to the ceremony on time after Rafael made the big romantic gesture of hand-delivering an updated copy of Jane’s book to the publisher for Isabel Allende to review. But thanks to Jane’s quick thinking (and some bribery using her hefty book advance), Jane, Raf, and the entire Villanueva family were able to make it to the ceremony together on a rented out public bus in a heartwarming moment that called back to how Jane began this journey.
The ceremony, officiated by Alba (Ivonne Coll), was everything Jane fans could want from this moment, and we’d be surprised if any viewer was left with a dry eye during the touching scene. But Jane and Rafael weren’t the only ones to get their happy endings. J.R. (Rosario Dawson) surprised Petra (Yael Grobglas) at the ceremony and the couple got back together. Xo (Andrea Navedo) and Rogelio (Jaime Camil) moved to New York for This Is Mars, and Ro achieved his dream of becoming a major American star. And even Darci (Justina Machado) and Esteban (Keller Worthan) got engaged!
It was a beautiful hour that honored everything its characters have been through with well-earned rewards. TV Guide spoke with creator Jennie Snyder Urman about what it was like creating the perfect send-off for Jane, how she’s feeling about saying goodbye, and more.
None of the resolutions or plot points in the finale were unexpected, but I also don’t think the purpose of the finale was to surprise. So how do you approach writing a series finale like this?
Jennie Snyder Urman: I felt like we have always been so overt in telling the audience they’re watching a telenovela so it was always very important to adhere to the rules and math of the telenovela at the end. And part of that is the good people end up happy and get what they deserve and the villains get what they deserve too. We wanted to take care of the villains in the episode before so that this could be more of a celebration of the journey that we’ve gone on making the show and the audience has gone on watching the show and the characters have come to in the life of the show. So we really wanted it to be about having an ending and having it be warm and looking at the ways that we say goodbye while keeping our connections; that was really the focus of it. The audience has gone with us and has had so many big twists and turns along the way and every year we leave off on cliffhangers. I think part of the pact you make with the audience is that you know where you’re going and that by the end you’ll reach a resolution, and that was important to me — that we weren’t leaving with a holy sh– feeling, we were leaving with more of “the end” feeling.
Alba’s line in this episode really summed all that up: “The good people get what they deserve.” What was it like for you to reward each of these characters after they’ve been through so much with their happily-ever-afters in this finale?
Urman: I think it’s emotional and rewarding and we’ve been heading towards there for a while, so it’s nice to see them actually get there. We put that line in so that Alba is educating Jane but she’s also educating the audience on the rules of the telenovela, so you’re sort of primed to expect and want that. And I feel the characters have earned that. It’s nice to get to the place that you’ve been aiming toward. And you feel so close to those characters so you want them to be happy and you want them to have a feeling of their version of happily ever after, even though you know it’s not going to be smooth and it’s not going to be without complications. But they’ve gotten to a good, warm place and it’s a place that they couldn’t have been in five years ago, or eight years ago in the life of the show. I didn’t want to have them have a ton of problems in the last episode. The problems are more misunderstandings and plot mechanics, but they’re not existential problems. Every character is heading to where they want to be. And it’s not that that doesn’t come with some bittersweet moments, and Xo certainly has a moment of “can I leave?” But I think she can leave now, whereas she couldn’t at the start of the series. And that feels very rewarding.
We know that Rogelio achieved his dream of becoming a crossover star. What do you imagine everyone else’s future looks like?
Urman: I think Jane is a writer and goes on a new kind of book tour. I think they eventually buy a house. I have a lot of ideas but I think I’ll leave it like they’re on the path toward all the ups and downs that life brings and Jane and Rafael are partners through it.
I think one of the things about Jane that fans connected with so much is that it really is a show about good people doing their best. Do you hope that more shows will start focusing on good people doing their best rather than glamorizing antiheroes?
Urman: I think there’s room for it all. And I think I love watching glamorized antiheroes as much as I like watching other kinds of shows. I do think there’s room for it all and different creators bring different things to each project. I wouldn’t want everyone doing that because I wouldn’t know where I would fit into the landscape. [Laughs.] So I think there’s room for all of it. And I think Jane has been really life affirming for some of our audience and I’m happy with the positive effect that it’s had. And I liked hearing that mothers and fathers watch it with their daughters or sons, or that they watch it as a family. That feels nice to me, that different ages, multiple generations can watch together and talk about things and Jane seems to me a worthy hero to put out into the world, so I’m glad that we did that.
One of my favorite moments of the finale was Jane arriving to her wedding on a bus. Was it important to you to bring the show full circle and honor the show’s past in this episode?
Urman: Definitely. I’m sure there are certain things that we’ve done in all of our finales and one of them is the return to the bus and bringing that full circle … to hit those things and understand that it’s in a totally different context than you would have seen her in the bus in the first episode. And it’s a different kind of triumph because she has made her own dreams come true and she commandeered that bus and that bus delivers her to her destiny and I liked the symmetry of that.
The episode started off by looking back at everything leading up to Jane and Rafael’s wedding. And even though Jane might not have chosen Michael (Brett Dier) in the end, he was still a huge part of her story, so why did you choose not to include him at all in that recap?
Urman: I think Jane did choose him, it’s just that life went a different way and he died and she mourned him and grieved and time passed and she moved on. And then when he came back they were both different people — and him much more literally, but she had changed too. He was a huge part of her life. I didn’t want to add him to the recap because the recap is about where we are now and I didn’t want to have the sense of that interruption or that he might interrupt or get the audience confused about what they were about to see. If you see Michael, then you start to worry about if the love triangle is going to be playing a part [in the finale] and I didn’t want there to be questions about who she is going to marry. In this episode, I wanted it to be a celebration of the journey and I felt like he had a nice goodbye in the previous episode.
Jane and Rafael being too emotional reading their vows was so sweet, but why did you decide not to include their vows, especially because I’m sure fans are now dying to know what they said?
Urman: I think we heard a version of them the night before when they were saying she feels lucky every day to be with him and she thinks about that and it wasn’t going to be hard for her. So you’re always looking at the balance, how much sentiment and sentimentality you’re going to put in [an episode]. I felt like they needed that moment the night before and that then gave me room to not have it during the wedding. And I thought, how do you write the most romantic thing ever? That’s sort of a tall order. But there’s something about the fact that that will mean a lot of different things to different people and you can fill it in. But the act of they’re too emotional to even say their words and that they’re reading them and it’s exactly what each other needed felt romantic and the right tone and feeling for the wedding. Especially having had [the night before] a big, emotional moment between the two of them where they got through their small issue that she hadn’t written her vows yet, and then she actually tells him how much he means to to her and he tells her how much she means to him. Since he found out that his dad wasn’t his dad, he’s been searching for his family and he realized he has it in front of him. I don’t think you can get any bigger than that on an emotional scale, so it felt like we had fulfilled that promise of hearing them say emotional vows to each other. It just was in a more private setting.
You obviously knew the show would be building to the reveal that Jane wrote a book based on her life that was turned into a telenovela. But does that mean that the show we just watched was not the actual life of the original Jane and it was the telenovela?
Urman: I don’t want to to talk about that too much because I think it takes some of the magic away. I think it’s exactly what it said. And the show has been saying it’s a telenovela all along and very overt in acknowledging its bones and the Narrator will type things on the screen when he doesn’t want to say something, he’ll remark on the music and the music cue will change. So you’ve been watching what it is the whole time and I think the end is confirmation of that. But I don’t want to get into the specifics of what it means because we understand what it means and everyone is going to take it in as they do.
This finale also confirmed that Mateo is the Narrator, which fans have been speculating for years.
Urman: Although, I don’t think they ever thought he was a famous voiceover artist and narrator. So that was, to me, that extra piece that was revealed there beyond what the fan theories were.
After five seasons bringing this story to life, how are you feeling about saying goodbye to the world of Jane?
Urman: I’ve had so much time and different kinds of goodbyes: goodbye in the writers’ room, goodbye on set, goodbye to post, and now this is the final step of putting it out in the world and saying goodbye to the audience. I feel sentimental but also proud, and proud of the journey that we’ve all gone on together. Really, I feel so grateful that we’ve had a chance to plan for the ending and to end the show when we wanted to. So that’s taken a lot of the angst away. And now it’s really just looking back and realizing what a big journey this has been personally and professionally for the last five years. I’m proud of it and I’m ready to see what’s next and to spend more time with my family.
The CW didn’t pick up Jane the Novella, but do you have have interest in or ideas for another potential Jane spin-off?
Urman: I mean, you never know if you’ll return to the world, but I’m very happy right now with it ending and with it having an ending. And of course I was disappointed when it wasn’t picked up, but you quickly pivot to what is in front of you and there’s something really nice about landing the plane at the end and getting off and seeing where life takes you next. That’s what I’m thinking of. And I’m really grateful that it has an ending, and I want to sit with the ending for a while before I think in any other terms.
Jane the Virgin is available to stream on Netflix.
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