Monday, March 7, 2016

Dear Jane the Virgin, Please Don’t Make Me Hate Rafael Solano [Contributor: Connie]

One of the recent episodes of Jane the Virgin (“Chapter 35”) brought Jane and Michael back together, for what seems like for good. If you’ve read my writing on Just About Write before, you know that I am Team Rafael. While I don’t hate Michael — nor do I hate that he and Jane are together right now — I do hope that in the end, she and Rafael make it work. However, something I’ve noticed about Rafael’s characterization (especially in comparison to Michael), makes me concerned about his trajectory. It reminded me of another character on another show who I once shipped with the female lead, but began steering his ship onto a path I did not want to follow.


I think that Rafael’s biggest hurdle for both Jane and we as the viewer is that Michael is perfect. Maybe too perfect. He gets all of Jane’s jokes, he’s supportive, her family loves him, he’s perfectly working class with a job that serves and protects people, he’s passionate about his job and will do whatever it takes for justice to be served, he’s self-sacrificing, he’s funny, he’s attractive, he’s attentive, he’s willing to wait for Jane, and all the rest of it. I could go on. His one flaw is that he got angry and punched Rafael in the face — and that was honestly a long time coming between the two of them.

In comparison, it seems like Rafael has more flaws than virtues. He’s possessive, he’s prone to jealousy, he’s prone to anger, he drinks when things are out of his control, he and his family have a lot of drama and murder and mayhem. In order to root for Team Rafael, you have to hope he grows out of these traits, while Team Michael fans have a perfect person who Jane already loves and knows intimately (you know I don’t mean sex).

If Rafael were continuously on an upward trajectory character-wise, this wouldn’t be so bad. Yet, just when it seems like Rafael is making progress, he’s knocked back a few pegs, distancing himself from Jane even further. What Jane and Raf are missing, more than anything, is time to actually get to know one another and understand their differences and learn to work around them. We haven’t had many scenes like the one Jane and Michael shared in “Chapter 35” for #TeamRaf in a very long time (remember when Jane rapped?). They are, yes, very different people, and Jane’s maturity doesn’t match Rafael’s need to learn how to deal with not getting his way; but I do want them to figure it out. Instead, Rafael keeps getting further and further away from even putting up a fight.

I remember when I felt this way about a character/ship before.


In my early Scandal days, I was a strong proponent of Fitz/Olivia, despite the fact that the relationship itself was an affair. As the show went on, however, Fitz’s behavior became more and more unbearable. It became harder and harder to defend his actions, to the point of me actually hating his character now. He’s a child — a “baby” as was directly stated to him on the show — who whines and drinks when he doesn’t get what he wants. (Sound familiar?) He doesn’t want Mellie, but she can’t do what she wants. Liv rejects him, so he sleeps with an intern. Liv breaks up with him when he’s finally divorced, so he sleeps with a reporter (spoilers for the latest two episodes, I guess) because he’s bored and lonely. This, plus much more, make his declarations of love for Olivia meaningless. He’s treats others terribly, is emotionally manipulative, whines and yells and drinks when he doesn’t get his way, and he doesn’t even make up for his emotional shortcomings by being a decent president.

All of this to say that Rafael gave me Fitz vibes during this most recent episode. I love Rafael, and I love Rafael with Jane, but I don’t want to blindly defend him — or conflate Rafael with Justin Baldoni, who seems angelically wonderful. And Rafael’s behavior this week left it hard to do so. In fact, Rafael spent most of “Chapter 35” filling out a Fitzgerald Grant Bingo Card:

  • Declare love for someone who keeps saying no? Check.
  • When Woman A says no, move back to Woman B (who used to be Woman A)? Check.
  • When Woman B says no, drink because this depresses you? Check.
  • Find the nearest hot girl with legs, despite the fact that it’s severely unprofessional because you are in a position of power? Check. 

Rafael is certainly less two-faced than Fitz — Rafael has an honesty that comes at a cost: he can’t lie to Jane and he can’t fool Petra. I know Rafael is emotionally immature and not used to getting what he wants, but hasn’t he learned anything in two years? I just hope, that instead of five years of stagnant growth — if not complete regression — Rafael doesn’t become Fitz. And I know Raf has work to do on himself. Rafael’s desire to be a father certainly upped his emotional maturity, but it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago that he was a philandering playboy. He still has much to unlearn about how to treat people. Hopefully, three babies will keep him too busy to regress into pre-cancer Rafael.

It’s on the writers to give Rafael some character growth (that sticks) soon. I do like Michael; he and Jane are very cute together. But if there is to be any hope had for Team Rafael, they need to give Rafael a chance to learn, rather than revert to the status quo of the pilot. I think it would only even the playing field between Rafael and Michael, and that tension is what engages fans on both sides of the coin. We all know that this show’s continued success can only mean more seasons, which can only mean more back and forth between Rafael and Michael (and continued celibacy for Jane).

Leveling out the playing field gives us more hope for Rafael’s character growth. The work must be done to Rafael, because Michael’s near-perfectness is hard to detract from. In my opinion, Michael’s a little too perfect and giving him a flaw would only be seen as pandering to Team Rafael. Even I admit that Michael’s physical attack on Rafael seemed just out of character — because we hadn’t established that flaw yet. Now it seems like it’s too late to give him a real one.

Whatever the writers decide, whomever Jane is meant to be happy with, I just hope they don’t write themselves into a corner with Rafael and make his flaws irredeemable. That’s what happened on Scandal: Fitz’s behavior piled on until there was no turning back for many fans who previously shipped him with Olivia.

I don’t want to hate Rafael. Please, writers, give him a chance to heal, give him quality time with Jane that helps them to understand each other. And then allow him to become a character who fully is worthy of Jane’s love.


  1. Sorry, I'm still rooting for Rafael and for Fitz. The more the writers try to make fans hate them is the more I support them. They both have loving hearts and I feel Jane and Olivia have treated them badly in terms of going back and forth to them while claiming to love them. Jane and Olivia have commitment issues. Shows annoy me when they have to tear down a character to build up another character.

    BTW Fitz did not sleep an intern. She was a WH aide who was part of a conspiracy to get him impeached by giving him a blowjob when he was drunk. Also Fitz never stopped Mellie from doing whatever she wanted to do professionally. Mellie could have left at anytime and he would have been happy. He and Rafael are manipulated by the women in their lives. Yes, both men can be idiots and need to stop drinking and be by themselves for a while.

    BTW there is something creepy about Michael who still hung around Jane and sucked up to her family after being dumped while sleeping with his co-worker.

    1. Fitz still DID sleep with Amanda Tanner, and called her "Sweet Baby," his apparent special nickname for Olivia.

    2. Fitz did not sleep with Amanda Tanner according to Shonda. She gave him a blowjob while drunk and he did not call her sweet baby.

      He was thinking about Olivia and the heirloom ring he had given her which is named Sweet Baby. It was not a term of endearment or a nickname for Olivia but the name of a ring.

  2. Your insight about Michael is blind by your #TeamRafael.
    On the one hand we have fans who says that Michael it’s too perfect, and I read in facebook, tumblr, YT, forum that Michael is shady, Michael slept with Nadine after them break up (I don’t know why someone would hold that against him), that Michael hid Petra’s affair, among many other things.
    Maybe we should consider that Michael is something in between?
    He’s a human being who makes mistakes, and we saw he doing it, I will not try to justify that, and it’s not only the punch in Rafael, but he learns from his mistakes, he learned not to hide things from Jane, he learned that working with Petra would only bring him trouble, he’s trying to get along with Rafael, Michael is a person that able to recognize his mistakes and try to fix them? He just understands and knows Jane better, after all, was years of relationships.
    For me, Rafael is a character that works better away from Jane, every problem I have with Rafael it’s around in his relationship with Jane, Rafael clearly have a fantasy when it comes to Jane and the perfect family and don’t want to let it go. Which is ironic, since it was he who break up with Jane in the first place, I feel that Rafael’s journey is about him to learn to love what he has, and what he may have, not trying to idealize any aspect. and no personality trait that Rafael is showing now is something new, he always showed these aspects at some time or another.