When Gina Rodriguez cries, I cry.
Never has this been truer than the second season, which is as absurdly fast-paced as ever. In “Chapter Twenty-Five” alone, Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez, “Filly Brown”) prepares for her son’s baptism, deals with Petra (Yael Grobglas, “Reign”) getting pregnant from her ex-husband Rafael’s (Justin Baldoni, “Everwood”) stolen sperm and balances motherhood with her desire to go to grad school, all while still juggling two love interests who are impatiently waiting for her to choose between them. Frankly, the episode is overstuffed.
Still, all the convoluted plot mechanics melt away in the final scenes, when Jane reads a speech written by her grandmother Alba (Ivonne Coll, “Glee”). By flashing back to show Alba and Xo (Andrea Navedo, “One Life to Live”) each reading the speech at their own daughter’s baptisms, the show emphasizes the bond that Jane shares with her mother and grandmother. It’s almost impossible not to tear up as Rodriguez cries delivering it.
Elsewhere, the show remains refreshingly committing to upending drama stereotypes, like keeping secrets hidden. When Xo pushes Rogelio (Jaime Camil, “The Poor, Rich Family”) away because she’s jealous of his chemistry with his ex-wife, Alba immediately slaps some sense into her and forces her not to let petty insecurities get in the way. When Rafael finds out about Petra’s turkey baster insemination, he tells Jane almost immediately, and they find a way forward.
For all of the self-awareness and narrative efficiency that “Jane the Virgin” has, though, its real strength lies in that final baptism scene. Playing it straight and taking characters’ feelings seriously has rarely felt so honest.