[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “Jane the Virgin,” Season 4, Episode 17, “Chapter Eighty-One.”]
Well, we really didn’t see that one him coming.
While “Jane the Virgin” hinted that something huge and unforeseen would happen in the finale, that felt as if it were an obvious promise. After all, it’s a show based on a telenovela. But what would it be this time? Many hints pointed to another death or a deep, dark secret in Rafael’s (Justin Baldoni) past that would put a monkey wrench in his future happiness with Jane (Gina Rodriguez).
Viewers had become somewhat used to the usual twists — dead bodies! secret twins! — by now. Besides, after the show killed off Jane’s husband Michael (Brett Dier) before the third season even reached its halfway point, it felt as if viewers couldn’t be that blindsided again… until Friday’s Season 4 finale.
Throughout the episode, Rafael had acted despondent and upset over some piece of information that he had learned from his sister’s jailed lover, Rose (Bridget Regan). But it didn’t turn out to be the identity of his biological parents or that he was secretly Jane’s half-brother (eww!). Instead, in the last moments of the episode, Rafael invites Jane inside his apartment to reveal… Michael.
Record scratch. This is more than a mere Friday night cliffhanger. This is a season cliffhanger that upends what was expected to be Jane’s path. In the timeline of the show, several years have passed to the point that she’s found some peace with Michael’s death, moved on, and intended to marry Rafael. No wonder Raf was feeling bummed. The love of his life’s husband was still alive!
This gives new meaning to the narrator’s earlier prediction that “for as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never” doubted that he and Jane belonged together. Also, this will throw all the ‘shippers into a tizzy as allegiances are tested.
While we’re not sure what romantic future lies before her now, the only thing we can do is speculate how Michael is still alive. Here are our five best guesses:
1. Michael Knowingly Faked His Death
Colleen Hayes/The CW
This makes the most sense, because that would explain why he stayed away for so long if this was a willing deception. There are probably many ways to fake complications from a gunshot wound (which is nicely vague). We’re just hoping that he did it for some noble purpose, perhaps another case. You can take the man out of the police force, but perhaps you can’t take the cop out of the man.
2. Someone Else Faked Michael’s Death
In this scenario, another person wanted him to seem dead and created a medical situation where he collapsed. Later, he was revived, but the tale about his death had already been told. It gets a little tricky at this point, trying to understand why he had stayed away for so long, but either he got convinced of the other person’s purpose and went along with it, he was imprisoned or blackmailed to go along with it, or maybe he had amnesia. Hey, memory loss is a staple in telenovelas!
3. This Isn’t Michael But a Long-Lost Twin
The show had already killed off one twin — Petra’s sister Anezka (Yael Grobglas) — so we’re due for some twin shenanigans. As much as this theory might make sense in the DNA of the show, we don’t like it quite as much because this seems unnecessarily cruel for Jane to see a stranger with her husband’s face.
4. This Is a Manufactured Michael Lookalike
Surgery and/or prosthetics can do wonders, and someone masquerading as Michael seems like just the kind of deeply messed-up mind game that Rose would perpetrate. After all, she was a master of disguise herself. Not sure what purpose a fake Michael would serve, but it would add a finger-twiddling sinister quality to the whole affair.
5. Michael Did Die, But Got Resurrected
This could be a “Flatliners” situation where modern science intervened, or better yet, a zombie or Frankenstein scenario in which a semi-dead Michael came back but slightly… off. The CW already has “iZombie,” but who’s to say that the undead can’t be found in Miami? Michael certainly does have a pallor to him.
It’s nice to know that “Jane the Virgin” is still able to surprise its viewers and is a solid asset to The CW’s lineup. Fortunately, we already know that “Jane the Virgin” has been renewed for a fifth season. We’ll just have to wait to see which of these theories hold true. And what that damn narrator has to say about all of it.