I know we are only a couple of episodes into season four of Jane the Virgin, but if they are evident of what is to come then Justin Baldoni deserves an Emmy for persuading me to consider abandoning #TeamRafael.
Yes, I really just wrote that — and that is a big deal if you know me and where my allegiance lies.
Ever since the pilot, I have securely been on #TeamRafael. In my eyes, he had several things going for him that I felt made him the best choice for our lovable Jane Gloriana Villanueva. In the long run: he quickly embraced the role of dad, not once but twice; his “bad boy” vibes challenge Jane and keep her on her toes; his wealth occasionally clouds his judgement, but he really possesses a genuine heart; and last, but not least, he is beautiful — like drop-dead, make-you-forget-how-to-speak, beautiful.
Nothing Rafael ever did in the first three seasons ever made me think about jumping ship. Season four, however, has made me question everything I ever thought about him. I have questioned Rafael in part, because he is experiencing a downward trajectory into one of the world’s worst humans, one who is dickish and desperate beyond belief; honestly, he is just a plain mess. The most shocking moment, in my–and most of the fandom’s– eyes took place in the season four premiere. During a heated fight between Jane and Rafael about their relationship, and plans for Mateo’s schooling, Rafael lashes,“I am done feeling guilty because I don’t want Mateo to have some small life where he counts pennies and does not get on a plane until he is 20 years old.” Yes, he has lost the Marbella and ultimately everything he has ever known, but that does not give him the right to take his anger out on those who are just trying to help, like the Villanueva women, and especially Jane.
The most recent episode, 4×04, gave us some added explanation for Rafael’s egregious behavior. He has always wanted security and safety, which his money and wealth provided for him, but now he’s lost that. That loss further cost him other things he holds dear: his chance to rekindle romance with Peta, his hotel, the only place that has ever felt like home to him, and Jane, whom he is growing further apart from day after day. When you think about the weight of that devastation, it makes sense that Rafael has started to lash out. He has spent all this time keeping his emotions closed off and in check, acting like these inexplicable life events do not bother him, because beforehand he could always cover the mishaps up with his wealth. Not now. It’s too much, he has finally had enough and has exploded as a result.
My problem with the path this story has taken is that I’m supposed to be concerned for Rafael, especially after that explanation in “Chapter Sixty-Eight.” However, all I am is deeply frustrated with him. How can I not feel anything but ticked when Rafael seems to be hurling cruelties at Jane episode after episode?
As a faithful member of #TeamRafael, I have not abandoned all hope yet. I am, however, trying to take an Alba-like approach when it comes to Rafael from here on out — to be someone who believes he is ultimately the best for Jane, while still being critical of his recent behavior. His decision to break up with Katherine, no matter what it meant for the future of the Marbella, was a great first step toward becoming the Rafael that fans, myself included, fell in love with. I just hope we can meet that Rafael again before he crosses a line he can never return from.