[WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the Season 3 premiere of “Jane the Virgin.” Read at your own risk.]
When “Jane the Virgin” returned for its third season on Monday night, the show at long last revealed whether or not Michael (Brett Dier) lived or died after being shot by Sin Rostro (Bridget Regan). It was a particularly cruel move because he was just about to enjoy his wedding night with Jane (Gina Rodriguez), who is currently still a virgin as a result.
Fortunately, it turns out that Michael will indeed live, but the big takeaway from that (besides, yay!) is that the show knows what it’s doing on a lot of levels. Over the course of the premiere, the show very artfully and deliberately convinced us that there was a possibility that Michael could die. Even though he didn’t, we still have lingering doubts (based on cryptic clues) that it could still be a part of the game plan — because that damned narrator continues to make us wonder what’s afoot. Let’s break all that down, shall we?
Michael Yarish/The CW
Evening Out the Love Triangle: “Jane the Virgin” has been making bold moves from the start, and having Jane choose Michael over Rafael (Justin Baldoni) to marry was a shock in itself since that was a move away from the love triangle. In fact, Team Rafael fans were still expecting that Michael’s demise (or at least an indefinite comatose state) would let Rafael back in play. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.
“This was always what was going to happen when it happened,” creator Jennie Snyder Urman told reporters at a recent screening. “Michael was never really going to die in the finale.”
The Dark Implication of Making Plans: As any avid movie or TV watcher knows, as soon as a couple starts making happy plans, that means doom is sure to follow. In the season premiere, just before Michael is about to go into a potential life-altering surgery, Jane addresses her unconscious husband and spins out a rosy picture of their future that plays out on screen and includes kids, Michael reigning over a backyard grill, turning gray together on a porch swing and even a cat.
This sweet imagery, following an equally sweet story on how they met, had all of bracing for a letdown. But Michael lives, and will presumably be making good on Jane’s deathbed promise of getting a cat. See Exhibit A:
That Damned Narrator: The series’ humble but enthusiastic Narrator foreshadowed Michael’s death all the way back in Season 1. Shortly after one of his and Jane’s on-again, off-again bouts, Michael told her mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo): “I’m not just going to give up on us. We belong together, and I’ll never stop believing that.”
At that point, the damned Narrator who knows too much for his own good, chimed in, “And for as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never did.” Ominous, no?
Urman weighed in on whether or not Michael living this time only meant that we should still be worried about his future. “The Narrator does not lie. But Michael has lived,” she said. “I think you will have to watch. It’s a reliable narrator. We’re going to be dealing with that.”
Scott Everett White/The CW
Michael Surviving Doesn’t Necessarily Mean a Happily Ever After: “It’s a balance, but it’s a year’s journey so I feel like you have to look at what happens in the end to answer that,” Urman said. “I know where we’re going, so I made those choices because they’re adding up to something. I didn’t want it to be resolved like the baby being kidnapped was, which was they get him back in the first act and then you’re dealing with the emotional ramifications. This event has bigger emotional stakes for everyone.
“The healing and recovery from such a traumatic event is something that we continue to play through,” she continued. “It has lasting ramifications for the character, which you’ll start to see if he can return to work, how his life has changed as a result of this. It takes him into a new direction and there’s some ongoing medical issues that we continue to grapple with.”
Medical issues? We don’t like the sound of that.
Michael Desmond/The CW
Michael Will Still Die… Someday: Since Michael is presumably a mortal, he will still die, which would make the Narrator’s foreshadowing true. But does that mean he’ll be taken too soon, in a different ill-fated incident or as a result of health issues? Or could he still believe in his and Jane’s love “as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath” after a full, long and loving life by her side? The words are ambiguous.
The Real End Game: As viewers, we still don’t know if Jane’s happiness with Michael is assured or if somehow, all of this will be overturned and she’ll get back with Rafael… or someone else entirely. After all, what happened to her bespectacled beau Sam that we just met in flashback? Urman said that “there’s a chance” we’ll see him again. The only thing we do know is that the Narrator is at the end of this entire “Jane the Virgin” journey. He’s the one who speaks omnisciently about the future of Jane and her loved ones.
“At the end of the series you will find out who the narrator is,” Urman promised. “There is a definite relationship. You learn little bits about the narrator, but it depends on what you’re listening for. Hints are in there. We try to bury them. They’re not real obvious.”
His “relationship” to the characters could mean anything though. In the “Jane the Virgin” world, he could be the person who wrote this whole crazy telenovela, which is as meta as it can get. He could be a grown-up Mateo. Or he could be another Jane Villanueva offspring, perhaps a son she will have with Michael (if his “medical issues” don’t affect his fertility or function).
The other thing we know about the Narrator is that he is biased and really shows when he likes something, such as Baby Mateo or Michael’s future cat. See: Exhibit B.
What are your best theories about Michael’s fate and the Narrator’s identity?
“Jane the Virgin” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW.