Life as a mom and full-time grad student caught between love interests and a major crime case is never easy, but in Jane the Virgin’s midseason premiere, things get a little crazier when our heroine experiences one of the most severe conditions a new parent can ever experience: Sleep deprivation.
“She’s going through sleep training,” explains creator Jennie Snyder Urman, who admits that the storyline mimics her own parenting experience. “But because it’s Jane, she experiences the magic realism of it all in a scene that connects a basketball sleep training session with some sleep center announcers.”
However, Jane (Gina Rodriguez) has more than dark under-eye circles and crazy dreams to worry about. There’s the matter of some surprising family news that emerges when star Rita Moreno returns as Rogelio (Jaime Camil)’s mom. The big reveal? Her husband has left her for a man, an announcement that comes as a huge shock to Rogelio.
“It’s not the peculiarity of his father’s coming-out story that’s hurtful to him, it’s the fact that his parent’s marriage is crumbling and he didn’t know that any of this was going on,” Urman says. “So he has emotional things to unpack, and so does Rita.”
That’s not to say daddy drama is taking up all of Rogelio’s attention. In fact, he’s set to star in a brand-new telenovela, which will feature him as a poor cobbler in the 19th century who discovers a time portal that transports him to “many important historical moments,” she says.
“You’ll learn eventually that he was the first male feminist and he doesn’t feel like the male feminists have gotten enough credit for their contributions,” Urman says, laughing. “There’s a few surprising places he turns up at, and that connects us to our stories and themes in a way that’s really fun.”
And there’s plenty of other twists and turns to expect this season: Luisa (Yara Martinez) will find answers after finding her mother (Mutter!) coffin’s empty, and Petra (Yael Grobglas) will continue to suffer during her pregnancy in the ultimate karmic payback.
“Most twins arrive early, but not Petra’s,” Urman says. “She’s going to be pregnant for as long as possible and will give birth in episode 14.”
There’s also the matter of Jane’s love life. With Valentine’s Day ahead and with Jane’s affections up for grabs, we just had to ask: Will Jane settle down this season?
“There’s still going to be a wedding,” she says. “In the next couple of episodes things will click into place.”
Though Urman refuses to reveal whether Professor Chavez (recurring guest star Adam Rodriguez) emerges as a potential suitor – “All I’ll say is that their relationship develops” – the show creator says there’s a possibility of an El Chapo-inspired storyline on the CW dramedy.
“I was editing episode 10 while this was all happening, so you’ll see a tiny connection to current events,” Urman says of the Mexican drug lord’s interview with Rolling Stone and eventual capture. “And I think later we’ll definitely look at it closer in some way.”
And don’t discount the possibility that Jane the Virgin guest star Kate del Castillo –who helped coordinate El Chapo’s interview with Sean Penn – might return to the show in a way that could reference her real-life activities.
“She does have an off-camera presence in episode 12,” says Urman of del Castillo. “But we’d love to have her back and do something bigger.”
Jane the Virgin returns to The CW on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.