'Jane the Virgin' Star Goes Inside That Risky Proposal

Justin Baldoni talks with THR about Jane's reaction and what's ahead.
Danny Feld

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Jane the Virgin's "Chapter Fifteen."]

Jane the Virgin's titular character Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) had a plan for her life — but that went out the window the second she was accidentally artificially inseminated. Since then, her life has been one big roller coaster of emotions, and pregnancy hormones were only to blame about a third of the time. While many parts of her life plan seemed to come together, they may all not have been in the order in which she had always assumed.

Jane went from being engaged to Michael (Brett Dier) to being proposed to by baby daddy Rafael (Justin Baldoni). But all that has happened lately — from the murders at the Marbella, to juggling two jobs, to a pregnancy complication that had her on bed rest — has had Jane second guessing and "putting a pin" in decisions. Rafael first asked Jane to move in with him, and she couldn't commit to that. He took it as a sign that she needed more of a commitment from him before saying yes, so he got down on one knee in front of a hundred strangers and Jane's favorite author to ask her to marry him. And she still wasn't sure.

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"The whole episode in general, that was one of my favorites of the year from the proposal to the really nice stuff in there where we're getting to explore the vulnerability of a real relationship and what happens when expectations aren't met," Baldoni tells The Hollywood Reporter. "One of my favorite quotes is, 'Expectations are planned disappointments,' and getting to see what happens when two people think they're communicating and they're not, for me, is really nice to explore." 

Where does that leave the soon-to-be parents, especially with Petra (Yael Grobglas) now in a powerful position at the hotel and actually earning Rafael's respect, as well as taking up some of his time? THR caught with Baldoni to get the inside scoop.

Let's start with that proposal. It was very sweet but also very risky because it was in public.

Everybody was pretty confident in my proposal abilities! (Laughs.) But Rafael is one of these guys that is really trying to live in the moment. One of the byproducts of having cancer, I think, is that you're just trying to do your best to experience life, and you're there; you're in the moment; and Jane offers him a bit of an escape from his life, which is really quite difficult and crazy. There are bombs being dropped on Rafael every day — multiple ones at the same time — but he's in this beautiful relationship with Jane, and he knows this is the girl; he knows she's for him. He's had other experiences with Petra, so he knows what he doesn't want. Sometimes life and art are so similar, and when we have extremes and there is so much emotion that's built up and so much pressure put on one situation, you tend to act in an extreme way. I think that's where the proposal came from. Jane is a romantic; she wants to be a romance writer, and that was one of the first things [they] bonded about. She loves grand gestures! So I think Rafael was trying to give her what he thought she would want, but in reality it was so far away from what she actually wanted.

Jane does try to be practical with a lot of her decision-making, from her "plan" of the order of things to happen in her life, to her "testing" Rafael about what she should do, career-wise. How much does that change their relationship; are they drifting away from being on the same page about not only what they want but how to get it?

Rafael's dealing with so much, and he's dealing with so much pain, and his life is being turned upside down that he wasn't even thinking rejection was possible. But then when it became possible, it opened up a whole other can of worms and a whole other vulnerability for him. There is stuff that will come later down the line where you will hear about Rafael's upbringing and childhood and what happened with his mom, and [Jane's test] mirrors what happened in his earlier life, and he starts to have his own doubts. When Jane tested him, that was one of the straws that breaks the camels back [in that], "This is not what I thought it was," and now suddenly, when one person was sure but he gets his heart broken and the other person wasn't sure — now you have two people who are in a relationship both having doubts. His fairytale idea for what he thought Jane would be for him isn't happening.

And it certainly doesn't help that Rafael sees the connection Jane and Michael still have. Is that a moment of fight or flight for Rafael: will he fight harder to keep Jane, or will he detach and let her decide what she wants on her own?

We got to see a preview of Rafael's past early on, and we heard Petra allude to his sabotaging ways. We all have baggage, and Rafael is definitely one who has baggage. He has been trying to turn his life around, but that stuff creeps up! And for him, I wouldn't say it's fight or flight mode because Jane and the baby are really important to him. Rafael really loves Jane. He's never been with anybody like her; she's an entirely new world for him, and he's so grateful she's having his baby. But at the same time, he has not escaped some of his bad habits from his past, and some of those are going to come back up. Some ugly stuff may come up. It goes into more of protecting himself but also doing what's right — but sometimes what we think is right, isn't.

Read more 'Jane the Virgin' Star Justin Baldoni Signs With Paradigm (Exclusive)

Speaking of Petra, is she someone he respects now that he sees how she's handling herself in the business? Is their relationship better now than when they were married?

The beginning glimmers of that are possible. Sometimes two people get together and they're not right romantically; they're much better off as friends or as partners or whatever it is. Petra and Rafael definitely have qualities that can compliment each other in that world. Petra has not always used her powers for good, but neither has Rafael, so they can understand each other in a very unique way. I think we're getting to see the beginning of something that could be very interesting down the line.

It seems like right now Rafael doesn't have anyone stable enough that he can lean on or bounce things off of with all that is newly popping up with Jane and his father and his business. If he's just that for himself, that may add another layer of vulnerability.

That's something that I ask [showrunner] Jennie [Snyder Urman] and the writers all of the time! "Who does Rafael have!?" (Laughs.) For Rafael, it was Jane. That's another reason why Jane is so important to him; with her he gets to forget some of the crazy things that are happening in his life. She's such an eloquent and smart and compassionate human being. He doesn't have anybody else in his life like that. His best friend was sleeping with his wife! He didn't have a [good] relationship with his dad, and his sister, who is the only other person he could have that relationship with, is off on the crazy train and who just turned her back on him. So that is an interesting thing we do explore down the line a little bit. It is also what makes Rafael so vulnerable: when people show the possibility of being there for them, he is interested in that because he doesn't have that.

Read more 'Jane the Virgin's' Gina Rodriguez on Jane's Risky Future, Tackling Immigration

Where does Sin Rostro (Bridget Regan) fit into Rafael's vulnerability? Is she looking to come back and tie up loose ends aka the people who know too much?

That's not a storyline that is taking front and center right now because there are so many other things happening. That was just another situation where he was betrayed. He's not a victim, but he is dealing with a lot of people that are a bit crazy and have a lot of ulterior motives. Unfortunately, being in this world, he's had to build up a shell. But as far as Rose goes, she murdered his father, and it's not something that he's going to ever let go, but we're not going down that road at the moment to my knowledge.

And to look more specifically at this episode, obviously we have to talk about the telenovela moment on the beach. It's a moment where you are actors have to be really big and larger than life; what does that do to your process?

Gina and I had a blast with the telenovela characters. We had so much fun with that! It's so surprisingly challenging and fun at the same time because you almost need to be really good at being bad. (Laughs.) The sky's the limit, and on this show we get to explore a lot of different fantasy elements, and we get to do a lot of things that we would normally never get to do, so all of my friends are super jealous of the fun we get to have. Getting to put on a wig and pretend to be Fabio to a certain extent and wrap her around and kiss her, half the takes were not usable because we busted out laughing. And then the takes that were usable, we're acting, but we're overdoing it at the same time, so it's like what you imagine acting like as a child: it's just fun. And that's what Jane the Virgin is: it's just so much fun.

Jane the Virgin airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW. Are you still Team Rafael? Make your case for or against him in the comments below.

Twitter: @danielletbd

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