“Jane the Virgin” Unburies Its Gay In The Most Bananas Way

Jane the Virgin‘s season two finale is one of the best hours of television I’ve ever had the good fortune to watch — even before the final scene that flipped the 2016 trend upside-down and Unburied The Gay. Like everything on Jane the Virgin, the face of things is hardly ever the heart of things. Literally, actually, in “Chapter Forty-Four,” as Susannah peeled off her face and revealed that she was actually Rose underneath there the whole time.

Rose’s death earlier this season seemed to signify the end of the hyperkinetic mystery element of Jane. The latter half of season two shifted most of its focus to love story as Jane and Michael found their way back to each other and began planning their wedding. And what a wedding it was! True to form, Jane almost missed out on her big day because she rushed to school to present her new thesis and was forced to do her own hair and makeup in a public bathroom. (Best line of the episode: “I feel like I’m locking you into the patriarchy,” her Humorless Feminist adviser told her when she stumbled into Jane and was forced to help her button her dress.) And of course the priest got walloped in the head during the rehearsal and nearly got concussed. And Rogelio’s Roles Royce broke down and he and Jane had to take the bus to the chapel. And Rafael almost confessed to Jane that he’s still in love with her, right before she walked down the aisle.

But the wedding itself went off without a hitch, including Michael getting a nod of approval from Alba and presenting his vows to Jane in Spanish (which was when I started sobbing). Forty-four episodes in and Jane was finally married! The choir, the priest, her family, the Virgin Mary: In a delightful moment of satirical skewering, they joined their voices in song and admonished her to go have sex!

Alas, it was not to be, because right before Susannah peeled off her face, she shot Michael in the chest outside the honeymoon suite at the Marbella because he started to piece together the fact that she was always in the right place at the right time with the right information, leading them to arresting Mutter. He realized she wasn’t who she said she was, but he was bleeding on the carpet by the time Susannah stepped inside her room and reached for Luisa’s hand and revealed that everyone in Miami had, once again, been outwitted by Sin Rostro.

jane-44-2

Agent Carter was cancelled.

jane-44-1

NOOOOOOOOO!!!

Jane the Virgin is one of the only TV shows — maybe the only TV show — that makes it impossible to offer up some kind of letter grade for representation. Even when Rose died, it was hard to be mad because it’s a telenovela and people are always getting murdered in the wackiest ways. And yeah, Rose is a lesbian psychopath, but part of the fun of this genre is the cartoonish villainy of the bad guys (Este-buns, anyone?). One of the main reasons Jane works is that it dives into tropes, on purpose, but almost always with a twist. When, in the history of film, has a big bad peeled off her face to reveal a lesbian underneath? When, on a show anchored with a straight love triangle, has a woman stepped forward and said to another woman: “Ours is the greatest love story ever told”?

In a TV year full of heartbreak and disappointment, it’s nice to know at least one gay lady is bullet-proof.

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 840 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. YES, I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST. Although my take on the season 2 finale is decidedly less positive than Heather’s, haha.

    tbh I’m upset over how Rose’s return was handled. I love Rose as a villain and was looking forward to seeing her again because I never believed she was really dead, but wtf no show what are you doing you can’t just erase Susanna and make her not real. I know the ‘burying your gays’ trope is a problem but I think I would have rather have had a dead Susanna than a Susanna that never even existed. By erasing Susanna instead of killing her, they didn’t just take away hopes of any future Susanna/Luisa, but they ripped away the past Susanna/Luisa relationship too. At least even with Lexa’s death, you can rewatch her old scenes with Clarke and reminisce. By comparison I’m not sure I’ll ever rewatch any Luisa/Susanna scenes because their whole relationship has been tainted, knowing that it’s all just more of Rose’s lies and manipulations. Rose’s return didn’t have to come at Luisa and Susanna’s expense. Why did the sweet well-adjusted lesbian detective have to be completely erased?

    And what is this going to do to Luisa’s emotional well-being? 🙁 Poor Luisa can never seem to catch a break. I cheered for her when she seemed to finally come to the realization how toxic her addiction to Rose was, and now I’m worried that she’s going to fall back into old patterns and (after some token outrage) think it’s so terribly romantic that Rose essentially catfished her for a year, especially since Urman has talked about how much she really likes their relationship.

    It’s ridiculous that I’m this concerned over the welfare of a fictional character but Luisa’s my fave – due in no small part to Yara Martinez’s portrayal, I’m sure; the actress is just eminently likable – and I want all the good things for her. And Luisa deserves better than someone who murdered her dad and had her institutionalized. Also, I know Rafael gets a lot of shit for being mean to Luisa, but I thought his outrage when he found out that Luisa had been in contact with the woman who had his son kidnapped was more than justified. (I get why she did it, I had empathy for the bad place she was in, but I also understood Rafael’s anger.)

    Leave it to Jane the Virgin to figure out a way to avoid dead lesbian syndrome in a way that makes me wish the lesbian had just died instead.

    • I completely agree with all of this. I’ve been waiting for this post since I saw the episode Tuesday and was really hoping for a more critical/detailed review because I’ve been struggling to sort out why I was so so upset about this twist. I genuinely wish Rose had killed Susanna and I could still re-watch Lu/Su scenes and have them still mean something.

      (I mean, I wish they had kept all three of them and we got a queer love triangle, but, if Su had to go, better for her to have died than this)

      I initially felt angry at myself for daring to get invested in Lu/Su and believing that the one non-sociopath/emotionally stable lesbian character was going to live (/was real) and (after two seasons of being repeatedly knocked down and treated like a joke) Luisa was going to be happy. I believed so hard in this show and the queer romance, even though I should know by now not to.

      I’m still deeply hurt, but I’m trying hard to channel my anger at the writers for giving us this plucky little badass adorable gay when they (apparently) knew they were going to yank her away the entire time.

      • Yeah, I had resigned myself to Susanna’s departure because Megan Ketch has her own show that films in another country. I was blustering about how they had better not kill off Susanna, they should just put her on a bus or something, maybe have her go into hiding because Rose is on the warpath, or even have her end up as the mole (out of necessity because Rose continued threatening her family behind the scenes) and carted off to jail, or… or…

        Well, I technically got what I wanted, because Susanna wasn’t killed off. A prime example of being careful what you wish for, I guess. The story of the monkey’s paw comes to mind.

    • I feel so cheated. It doesn’t feel like they unburied their gay, it just feels like they found a cheap loophole in the trope. There were any number of ways they could have brought Rose (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she’s not dead) back that didn’t simultaneously erase another lesbian character from existence. I really liked Susanna, and more importantly, I really liked who Susanna could have been to Luisa (that is, someone who didn’t kill her father and put her in a mental institution). I’m over Rose in any vicinity of Luisa’s, and Luisa was *finally* moving on.

  2. This twist confused me so much. So was Susannah never even a real person? How does that fake face-to-skin technology work? How did she handle watching Luisa fall for a completely *different* woman? So many questions!!!

  3. oh jeez rose is such bonkers bad news.

    I really wished for Susannah to be real and for Luisa to get a shot at some settled-down cozy lifestyle but not for these telenovela characters, nope, that’s missing the point of the genre I suppose.

    but this was such a lovely, lovely finale. I WANT FOR JANE TO HAVE SEX. SHE IS ENTHUSIASTIC CONSENTING ALL OVER THE PLACE. IT IS SO GREAT. ALSO GINA RODRIGUEZ IS SUCH A BABE.

    • I really want Jane to have sex too. Actually, I really wanted her to decide to have sex with Michael before the wedding–we had brief moment before she got back together with him when she decided that she didn’t want to wait if marriage wasn’t going to happen soon and also that the whole idea of sexual purity had really messed up both her mother and grandmother’s lives and the relationships of all the women in her family. I really really wanted to see her decide that she didn’t want to be “Jane the Virgin” anymore and to start figuring out what it means to be “Jane for whom virginity was once central and now it’s not and also she isn’t one anymore”–and I think it wouldn’t invalidate the title at all, so long as the show kept deliberately dealing with the aftermath of having made virginity so central to her identity.

  4. Rose (and Bridget Regan’s brilliance at playing adorable villains) was what originally brought me to JTV, (and Heather’s writing about the show), but I have never felt as seen and represented on television as with the character of Susanna Barnett. I am making my peace with the finale, and even starting to enjoy the possibilities for next season, but I will really miss connecting with a character like I did with Susanna.

    I guess we’ll always have fanfic!

  5. ROSE IS BACKKKK! I LOVED IT.

    I feel like this show can do no wrong. They manage to pull off all these crazy developments in a way that somehow still feels authentic.

    And Michael, please, don’t be dead. I cried like a baby when he said his vows in Spanish (and I also have a huge crush on Brett Dier, so please, survive).

  6. Ugh.

    Dunno why but Luisa only started to emotionally resonate with me when she got together with Susana – maybe because I am so not into bad girls/criminals/danger dating? Like I want Luisa to have a lovely calm life like Jane’s where the worst that happens to her is that she might not get her thesis approved? Alas, tis not to be.

    The wedding was super sweet, though.

  7. Things I like about JtV:
    * Jane/Rafael/Petra (Like when Jane was moving and Rafael was struggling with Mateo moving away and wanted to put up a fight, but then Petra talked to him and he listened.)

    * Jane/Petra (They are so different and yet fit so well together)

    * Petra/Rafael (They are such a mess while they are they are still their equals)

    * Jane/Alba/Xo (They are the heart of the show)

    * Luisa !

    * Little Jane !

    Things I dislike about JtV:
    * Michael (he has such huge control issues and it gets romanticized away by the show. There are so many examples of him controlling and manipulating Jane.)

    * Rogelio (He was great in the start, but now he takes up too much air – even the Villanueva women talks and talks about him when he is off-screen)

    * They only pull out their lesbian when they want to add the crazy to their show.

    * They had 2 black characters and they killed them a combined 3 times, while the only white dude gets romanticized and hero-shipped over and over – even after he punched a guy carrying a baby because he got fired from his job for breaking the law (and he didn’t even get fired after all.)

    ###

    If I had to choose between having Susanna or Rose on the show; I would have chosen Susanna. Though, I want Bridget Regan on any and every show.

    • THE BECHDEL TEST EP WAS SO GOOD (I think Petra and Xo interacting was my favorite ten seconds in all of television, fwiw).

      I really liked Michael and Susanna’s scenes together, and the way their partnership kind of brought his head out of his ass. It just felt like there was so much potential for beautiful, domestic, “boring” scenes if she had stuck around and gotten serious with Luisa.

      (Can you imagine that Thanksgiving dinner?!)

      I totally get what Heather said about JTV being immune from some cultural criticism, but queer characters have historically been coded as duplicitous liars, and this plot twist… does not help that.

    • It’s conceit is that it draws some preposterous storylines from telenovelas while winking knowingly at us, mostly through the use of the narrator. It’s saving grace for me (since I’m not into super heightened drama) is that it also has a huge heart, spending ample time on stuff like Jane’s relationship with her adorable baby and the rest of her family, the real stressors and rewards of balancing life as a mother with her professional/academic life, etc.

  8. i love this show so much and it’s perfect and i love this article and you heather.

    and while i super loved “susanna,” this twist was so excellent and perfect and 100% caught me off guard and i loved it

  9. Is there any ground to stand on to argue that Rose is bisexual? Was her marriage to Luisa and Rafa’s father 100 percent evil villain strategy? I haven’t watched the show consistently enough to know, and maybe I don’t actually want another duplicitous and evil bi woman on TV, but I have always read her as bi.

    • Depends if you take the narrator as omniscient or not. He’s implied that Rose’s marriage to the dad was for pure practical/strategic purposes (which I sort of saw) and explicitly referred to her as a lesbian.

    • In a season 1 episode (where we see the origins of Rose and Luisa’s relationship), the narrator explicitly states Rose is lesbian and she hints that she doesn’t even love Luisa’s dad and only married him as a business thing, so…

    • I initially thought of her as bi, but then at some point it was stated that she was a lesbian. Either way, I’ve been bothered by her portrayal as decietful-woman-loving-woman-married-to-a-man.

  10. I can’t watch Jane the Virgin right now, because there’s the subtitles of Faking last episode on the last episode of Jane the Virgin (I watch in streaming), and it’s veeeeeeery frustrating.

  11. I find it a little odd that there’s no mention here of Susanna’s lesbianism. I am heartbroken to have lost that character like this. I was looking forward to rewatching the season and revisiting all the Luisa/Susanna moments, but as someone else here said, that’s been tainted now and it’s incredibly disappointing. I never thought JTV could do something worse than kill her, but they’ve killed her in a way I never would’ve imagined and for once it’s a twist I’m not happy about.

    I assumed Rose was still alive (it’s a telanovela, after all) – but that Scooby-Doo ending coming at the expense of a relationship I was so invested in and loved so much was really frustrating. I realized I’ve never seen a lesbian on a TV show who was in a happy relationship, whose personality was allowed to be more than her sexuality, who didn’t die and was well-adjusted. Rose is a great villain, and I love Luisa to death, but I loved that Susanna was a character who made me feel hope.

    A totally bonkers ending, and I dunno, in other circumstances I’m sure I would’ve delighted in the over-the-top nature of the Big Bad’s return. But I loved that smart, good, Southern cop too much to be pleased. One lesbian was unburied, but given that it was at the cost of a great (GOOD) lesbian character, it’s hard for me to feel thrilled.

    It’s a shame, too – beautiful episode beyond this crushing disappointment!

  12. I’m very happy Rose is still alive and the begining of next season will be Roisa, though I hope Luisa don’t like a puppy to Rose any longer.
    But I really don’t understand why so many people ship Luisa and Susanna, not because I ship roisa too much, juse because the development of their relationship is so weird and unnatural. Well assume Su is a really person(otherwise we can’t talk about it), she’s a nice and kind one, I understand people like her though as a character she’s not very impressed. But don’t forget after Juicy left in 201, Luisa never stop behaving in every way to let others(include Su) to know that she still loves Rose very much(which I always think that makes her very ridiculous). And after several episodes Luisa and Su have met, Luisa began to flirt with her just like she flirting with other girls before meanwhile go on talking about Rose all the time. And Su just felt awkward and uncomfort and had to deal with Luisa to complete her job but no happy. Luisa never takes Su seriously, even until 212 just before Rose’s “dead”, she was waiting for Rose’s reply and upset when saw the coming people is Su instead of message from Rose. And Su suddenly felt sad and hurt which is ridiculous, I mean she always knew Luisa’s attitude to Rose and when did she began to have feelings to her? And after Rose’s death and the absence of them until the finale they become the love of each other’s life? Then love must be so easy and cheap. Actually if let Su instead of Juicy to come back with Luisa in 121 or Juicy is a lovely character like Su and Luisa just moves on from Rose and be like a normal person since then, I would be happy and like this character much better.

  13. I love love love love love this show, and the twist – oh, I can’t even *puts hand on heart*.

    Even though Rose is the big bad, I <3 her so much, and I love that she is back, because — look, this is terrible — but I feel like Rose is Luisa's lobster, y'know? I thought there was something up with Susanna this whole season, so while I'm not *for a second* alleging that 'I called it' (because I didn't), I'm relieved that the Lu/Su has been resolved.

    PS. WHO GETS ICE FOR CHAMPAGNE. WHO???? :_O

  14. As much as I shared everyone’s emotional rollercoaster with this episode (crying at Michael saying his vows in Spanish, shrieking with excited horror at the final reveal), I’m surprised nobody has mentioned how Raf was raped in yet-another soap opera trope with Aneska. I’m still conflicted about how I feel about Rose being brought back at the expense of Susanna, but the real disappointment was seeing the show go in this direction.

  15. I frequent a TV centric website that allows its readers to grade the episodes and, in all the years that I’ve visited the site, I’ve never given an episode an A…until JTV’s second season finale. I’m inclined to agree with Heather: that was one of the best hours of television that I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

    The flea market veil!
    The broken down Rolls and trip to the church via bus!
    The walk down the aisle!
    The vows in Spanish that Michael had clearly practiced with Alba beforehand!*
    The choir ushering Jane to “go have sex now!”
    Rogelio’s “third best friend,” Bruno Mars, debuting his song, “Rest of my Life,” during the first dance!
    THE FATHER-DAUGHTER DANCE!!!
    Michael breakdancing…who knew?!

    It was all so perfect.

    I get that people why people are disappointed that Susanna never actually existed, but it seems like Megan Ketch’s availability may have dictated the decision to move her off the canvas. I’ve always had trouble embracing stories that told of a great love and then accepting that one character just leaves…so I’m more amenable to this ending. Plus, since it was really Rose doing all the things that Susanna did…I think (hope) it represents a tremendous amount of growth for Rose.

    My heart breaks for Petra, though…just as she was building a connection to her daughters, her turncoat twin paralyzes her. I hope that someone (Jane, preferably) figures out soon that its Petra in the hospital, not Anezka.

    (*Note: My friends and I are split on #TeamMichael vs. #TeamRafael, with most of them siding with the gorgeous hotelier. I don’t think I’ve been able to articulate why I prefer Michael until the finale. Rafael loves Jane but Michael loves Jane *and* her entire family…and to marry Jane Gloriana Villanueva is to marry her entire family.)

    • Totally agree about #TeamMichael. And Michael goes out of his comfort zone to accommodate Jane. Could you see Rafael learning spanish for his vows. I know he knows Spanish but if he didn’t, I can’t see him thinking of doing that little surprise. With Rafael it is all about what he wants and his problems. Michael makes sure Jane and her family feel cared for.

      Although personally I am #TeamPetra…

  16. Amazingly I was disappointed it was Rose all along – and I loved Rose and Luisa together! I just feel like Luisa being with the person who killed her father etc is silly and Suzanna was helping her move on, so was disappointed.
    Great twist though

  17. Am I the only one who thinks adult Mateo is the narrator??

    Agree that I don’t like Susanna never actually existed. I wanted Luisa to be in a healthy relationship.

    I can’t believe this show has me feeling sorry for Petra. I hope they do not leave that story dangling for too long.

  18. If you all are saying Susanna was always Rose, then I’m lost as to how they were both in the hospital room together…. I assumed Rose put a mask on herself and a dead Susanna similar to Mission Impossible 2.

    If that wasn’t the case I don’t know whats real anymore!

  19. We love this show so much we bought it for my girlfriends parents (my mother in law loves soap operas) and now they love it too.

    It can do no wrong by me. It had a whole episode devoted to the Bechdel test, for gods sake!

  20. To hell with Luisa AND Rose. They are the most boring aspects of the show, and Luisa is arguably the worst character. She is annoying, boring, and let’s face it; not that bright. How that woman became a Dr. with the 60 watt bulb powering her brain would be a more intriguing and interesting story.

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