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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Monday’s “Chapter 18” episode of Jane the Virgin.]
Rafael (Justin Baldoni) had a rough night on Jane the Virgin to say the least. Just as one woman came back into his life – his long-lost mother who abandoned his family for a $10 million payout – another woman seemed to walk out of his life. The episode ended with a hurt and frustrated Rafael telling Jane (Gina Rodriguez) he needed a “break” which, as Ross and Rachel can attest, is never a good thing.
Baldoni spoke with THR about what was behind Rafael’s bold request, the impact of his mother’s return and what’s next.
Jane and Rafael had been having some issues, but not many saw that breakup coming. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
Meeting his mom for the first time since he was four. I think we’ve seen Rafael handling a lot of pretty intense situations over the last 18 episodes whether it was what happened with Petra and getting divorced, Roman going behind his back and cheating. No matter what was happening, he was pretty calm throughout the whole thing but when it came down to it, we’re all wounded. We all have our wounds from our childhood and Rafael has a lot of them. His father died and he didn’t get a chance to resolve things
With his mom, he realized not only did she abandon him but she abandoned him for money – it’s the very thing that has caused so many problems in his life. I think it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and it’s opened up a whole other can of worms. He’s realizing that there’s no such thing as the perfect relationship. Life isn’t what he thought it was. I think he saw the possibility of that happening with Jane. [His mom] cheated on his dad and then she left and he didn’t have anybody in his life who’s ever been there for him. Why would he expect Jane to be there for him? He lost faith in everything at that point.
Jane seems determined to win him back and get them back on track. How does she do that and he does respond?
Rafael loves Jane. There is no doubt about that. It’s also really, really bad timing. He’s had to deal with so many very, very intense moments and it’s just a matter of time, if you don’t let that stuff out, it’s going to build up and it’s going to explode. Yes, they’re having a baby. Yes, all these things are happening. He’s dealing with so much so yes, he wants to be with Jane, but he has a fear of screwing it up and that is way larger than his desire to get back to her. It’s going to be tricky and challenging. He’s not unwilling, but the hurt of what’s happening in his life outweighs his hope.
Jane and Rafael had had issues for a few episodes about their different backgrounds and their different viewpoints on how to raise the baby so how will they work through that?
Yes, Rafael really loves Jane and he would want to be with her in a second. But the priority is to make sure his childhood isn’t repeated. He doesn’t want his son or daughter to go through whatever he went through so his No. 1 priority is sacrificing and doing what he thinks is best for this child. So cutting it off now and stopping what he feels is inevitable, which is heartbreak and pain, he thinks that they can become friends and maybe raise this child in an amicable and loving household even if it is in two different places. Rafael has no family anymore. He doesn’t have anybody. His sister is off the deep end so he really has nothing except for this hotel.
How does Rafael’s meeting with his mom affect him going forward? What kind of changes do we see in him going forward?
You’re seeing a guy who has been heartbroken by the most important woman in his life even though he’s never really gotten to know her. One of the main things that you see is sabotage and self-sabotage. Obviously, he drinks and he has a lot of misplaced anger and frustration.
Will we see his mom again this season? Or are there talks of bringing her back next season?
I have heard talks, but I can’t verify anything.
What are some of the challenges Rafael will face for the rest of the season with the hotel?
In a way the hotel represents the last piece of his father. So for Rafael, his struggle to hold onto his hotel and to hold onto anything is his struggle to get acceptance from his father that he never got acceptance before he was murdered. He’s holding onto anything he can, realizing that his father actually paid off his mom to leave and then knowing that his mom never fought for him and just took the money and left. In Rafael’s eyes, he was always a disappointment to his father and he never got a chance to prove to his father that he was worth anything before he was killed. So here he is fighting and doing everything he can to keep [the hotel] going, really solely because it’s the only thing left that connects him to his father. If he doesn’t have that connection, he has nothing. … And then in the middle of that, his life raft which is Jane, he tries to make a better choice for his unborn child and in reality, he’s not only hurting Jane, he’s hurting himself and everything. He’s in so much pain and he’s not even realizing it. He has this pain that’s very deep inside of him that we’ve seen seeds of throughout the season and we’re finally at that point where we’re seeing that other side of Rafael. I’m so grateful to [executive producer Jennie Urman Snyder] and the writers for giving me a chance to explore these other areas that have been hidden. … It’s not something we get to see that often and it’s not something I get to do that often because my life is so dramatically different than Rafael’s.
Jane the Virgin airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
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