**Spoilers Through Season Five Episode 3**
Petra Solano née Andel, formerly Natalia, started out Jane the Virgin as the closest thing to a villain on the show. Of course, this was long before Rose or anyone else came into the picture, but Petra’s actions in the first act of this story were about as close to unforgivable as this show’s leads can get.
However, things often change on this complicated and strange show, and Petra has gone from a manipulative liar to a flawed but somewhat good-hearted woman adrift in a series of confusing and compromising circumstances. Petra’s development, just like every character, hasn’t been a straight line; in fact, she may have the most interesting ups and downs of anyone on this telenovela satire.
10 Good - The Tooth Fairy (S04E13)
Petra’s twins, Anna and Elsa, had a much different first few years than Jane’s son Mateo, just by virtue of their ‘life is difficult and will hurt you’ mother. Clearly, this doesn’t lead to childish flights of fancy like Santa or the Tooth Fairy; the sorts of things Jane lives for. So when Anna and Elsa spilled the beans to Mateo about the realness of the Tooth Fairy, he freaks out.
Jane is unable to convince him otherwise, so Petra, in her clumsy well-intentioned fashion, dresses up as the Tooth Fairy, breaks into Jane’s house, and sneaks a $20 (what Petra assumes a child would get for a tooth) under his pillow. It’s masterfully ineffective and technically a misdemeanor, but it’s still a charming showcase of how far Petra is willing to go to do right by Jane.
9 Bad - The Rafael/Lachlan Schemes (Seasons One & Two)
The first season was when Petra was at her prime Petra-ness, to the point where the Wikipedia page for the character even describes her as the primary antagonist of the first season (the same season where Rose drowns Emilio Solano in cement).
While there are many worse things she does (see later entries) in Jane the Virgin’s inaugural season and its successor, Petra starts off in a series of triple crosses between her husband/ex-husband Rafael and her ex-fiancée/lover Lachlan, as they fight for control of the Marbella Hotel. An ally to one and then an ally to the other within a few episodes, Petra’s back-and-forth helped cause a wave of tension and distrust throughout all the characters, being a poor friend to anyone and everyone who stood in her tidal wave of a wake.
8 Good - Destroying the Addendum (S03E09)
When Rafael learns that his father's will has an addendum that will leave him broke, Petra destroys the list to protect her children and, indirectly, Rafael. While her reasoning is to protect her children, and of course that’s a completely valid purpose, it’d be hard to say that there wasn’t a part of Petra that wanted to protect Rafael, Jane, and Mateo.
Petra’s place on this show is all about letting go of her past and her pride, so shredding the thing that could destroy Rafael, the person who at that time she could not stand, is as close to an act of kindness and empathy that she could muster at that point.
7 Bad - Room Mom Election (S03E14)
For all the egos that float around Jane the Virgin, none are as strong or as stubborn as Petra. When she wants something, she wants something badly, so when Jane threatens her place as the school’s room mom, Petra fights back.
This episode features the two playing dirty, or as dirty as two people running for room mom can play, as they exploit each other’s’ weaknesses to win the favor of the voting population. Petra is not solely to blame here, but it was her smarminess at holding the role in the first place and her lack of empathy for Mateo that instigated such a battle.
6 Good - The Tent (S05E03)
As Petra and Jane’s children grew older and their distinct parenting styles started to manifest into greatly different children, conflicts grew between Mateo, Anna, and Elsa that were unsolvable by their mothers. So, in traditional whimsical fashion, Petra and Jane create a tent where the children can solve their problems. Also in traditional Jane the Virgin fashion, they end up using the tent for their own petty squabbles as the kids play outside.
This small moment sees Jane and Petra put down any pretenses of using their children as surrogates for their disagreements, opting instead to just talk to one another. They force each other to be vulnerable, creating a small landmark moment in their friendship.
5 Bad - Lying About Killing Anežka (Season Four)
Ah, Petra and her lies (that we’ll see more of later). While most of Petra’s deception appeared in the earlier seasons, the murder of her twin sister Anežka brought a whole new swath of opportunities to mislead everyone around her.
By securing the truth from everyone, Petra dragged Jane, Rafael, and her new lawyer/lover J.R. in the mix. This added a new layer of police interviews, stress, and concern about the future of the little ones in the family. In addition, these lies got J.R. disbarred, setting off a chain of complicated emotions that constantly plague Jane, Mateo, and the twins. All of it was preventable if Petra had just come clean about what she had done.
4 Good - “Can I Say it in Czech” (S04E15)
Petra’s always been a character to keep her guard up, so much so that finding her moments of true honest kindness is a little difficult. The best option is to read between the lines and that even the smallest acts of kindness are a challenge for Petra. Telling someone she loves them is especially difficult.
In one of their squabbles, this one about J.R.’s opinion of Jane and vice versa, Jane tells Petra that they’re family and she loves her. When Petra tries to respond with a "thank you," Jane puts her foot down. After some prodding, and asking if she could say it in Czech instead of English, Petra relents and tells Jane that she loves her. It’s an awkward, heartfelt moment and crosses that verbal barrier for the first time, with Petra forcing herself to acknowledge that she truly cares for Jane.
3 Bad - Inseminating Herself (S02E01)
Petra’s drunken, jealous decision making at the end of Season 2 almost came as a sigh of relief from the high-stakes tension of the episode’s A-plot, reminding the audience that - at its core - Jane the Virgin is a silly show about petty people attempting to grow up. But Petra hadn’t gotten to that point yet, so she inseminated herself with her ex-husband’s sperm sample without his knowledge.
It’s a spectacularly selfish move, highlighting Petra's insecurity due to the addition of Jane into her life. In both trying to reclaim the insemination that was supposed to happen to her as well as trying to close whatever gap of importance she felt was between the two, Petra put a stake of conflict in the ground that wouldn’t be healed for at least a full season.
2 Bad - Covering for Magda (Season One)
This moment is the worst of the worst in Petra’s battle between the person she was and the one she is trying to become. When her mother Magda attempts to kill Alba by pushing her down the stairs, Petra inexcusably covers for her until the bitter end, trying hard to keep the space between her domineering mother and jail as wide as possible.
While she eventually relents, confesses, and apologizes, Petra’s involvement in an attempted murder cover-up is easily the most heinous thing she’s done on this show. Not to mention a prime example of Petra being a bad friend to Jane, as her family’s life was at risk while she hesitated to bring the woman responsible to justice.
1 Good - Sunday Brunches (Seasons Three Through Five)
Finally, now comes the part of the article where everyone remembers how Petra went from a “love-to-hate-her” character to a “love-her” character. In the aftermath of Michael’s death, Jane and Petra plan out a weekly Sunday Brunch so they can hopefully keep their family intact.
Petra’s agreeing to such an emotionally vulnerable plan on a weekly schedule showed the audience, and Jane, that she could come through when the going really got tough.
Petra’s never been perfect and she never will be. Nevertheless, there is kindness behind her angry Czech eyes. Moments like this show that when Petra cares about someone, that bond is impossible to break, even if she won’t admit it.