Spoilers through Jane the Virgin Chapter Forty-Four, so if you don’t want to know what kind of shenanigans Rogelio gets into, skedaddle!
Jane the Virgin was one of my favorite new shows last year, right up there with Agent Carter (RIP), Galavant (RIP), and Outlander (pls no). The sophomore season of the CW telenovela has been a whirlwind of love triangles, major character deaths, drug lords, long-lost siblings, babies, and kidnappings. You know, the telenovela starter kit. The appeal to Jane the Virgin is that it takes all of those over-the-top telenovela tropes and neatly weaves them in with everyday problems, leaving viewers unsure of how any plot could end. Jane the Virgin’s season finale took every story arc, threw them in a blender, and upped the insanity to 12. In doing so, I’m afraid the absurdity of it all has ruined the impact of a possible major character death.
First, let’s recap where things are in Jane the Virgin: Jane chose Michael and they decided to wed; Jane has issues with grad school but let’s be honest, they’re minor, even though I love her new advisor; Petra has a long-lost sister who is plotting with their mother to take Petra down; Rafael still loves Jane and is making money mistakes with the hotel; Rogelio and Xo still love each other but are too stubborn to find middle ground.
In the finale, Jane and Michael finally get married and it’s adorable. The two hash out everything they need to the night before the ceremony, Michael says his vows in Spanish with the help of Abuela, and they’re serenaded by Bruno Mars at the reception. The wedding even had a classic “but I love you, Jane” scene from Rafael, but it was only a daydream sequence, something the show excels at. When Jane the Virgin does romance and lovable goofiness, it does it really, really well. Simple acts, like texting a significant other, is played up in Jane the Virgin and used as a storytelling device to help us fall in love with the pairings. However, as much as I swooned over the Jane/Michael scenes in the finale, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread behind all the sweetness.
A few weeks ago, editor Bilal and I were talking about the direction of the show and at one point I said to him, “Michael’s dead by the end of the season, right?” And he responded, “Oh, totally.” We saw the hallway shooting coming from a mile away, so when it actually happened last night after all the madness with Petra and Rafael getting duped again, instead of feeling sad at Jane’s loss, I just went, “Huh. Okay then.”
That’s not to take away from all of the amazing things Jane the Virgin has done over the past two years. This is a show that has nailed the guilt of motherhood, tackled the abortion issue, and depicted religion in a positive manner, not to mention crafting a compelling love triangle that has me waffling back and forth every episode. But there’s an issue that comes along with ending every episode on a cliffhanger and then having to end a season in a shocking enough fashion to keep viewers coming back for a third season. By upping the ante on every plot, the show loses the cohesion among character arcs that really pulls you in for a big moment. Petra’s turn in the finale was shocking enough, even if most viewers have a love/hate relationship with her character, but to then lose Michael moments later cheapened his loss. A show like Jane can reduce me to tears with a single dance sequence, so I wanted to feel the impact of Michael’s loss, but I was still too in shock from Petra to truly appreciate it.
As much as I hate to also mention it, the fact is that the show’s name holds a lot of importance. Granted, Jane the Virgin has done a fantastic job of not making “sex with Jane” the main theme of the show, but it is a subject that weighs often on the minds of viewers, especially with her getting married. The writers know this which is why Jane’s family sings to her at the cathedral to “go have sex”, leaving us with the knowledge that her special day can end one of three ways: they have sex, Jane leaves Michael, or something dire happens to Michael before they can “seal the deal.” Since Jane has left Michael once before that only left options one and three as viable. Michael has had a lot of screen time in the latter half of the season, building up enemies in the police department, which meant…you guessed it. Pew pew.
Do I think Michael is actually dead? No. Jane is a telenovela, after all. He’ll likely be in a coma for months, leaving Jane to deal with the grief and prospect of being a widowed virgin mother. And maybe once season three starts I’ll be given proper time to grieve his loss in her life, but for the time being, I’m disappointed such a pivotal moment was lost in the chaos.