Ahh, all is well. Jane The Virgin is back, Gina Rodriquez is still a delight that none of us fully deserve, and (spoiler alert) Michael Cordero is alive. Sure, Petra is still paralyzed and Xo is still carrying the baby of her ex’s enemy. But in spite of the remaining doom, like Jane at it’s best this episode brought out a lot of sweet and optimistic moments: a story framed as a romance novel; heartwarming and hopeful flashes of Jane and Michael’s future; hilarious flashbacks of what happened after their first kiss (Michael had a cat and it died, jackass). While it’s all good for now, there’s the sneaking suspicion that things this good can’t last that long.
The theme and framing that this episode follows begins with an angry young Jane reacting to a new romance novel that ends on a twist rather than giving its romantic leads the expected HEA, or happily ever-after. Little Jane believes this twist fails the genre, since romance novels all follow a similar pattern that make you believe in true love. Jane has always had its soap roots on display, but all its romance novel influences are just as clear. This episode sets us up to think that the HEA past Jane looked for is her future with Michael, but what if this story instead ends with the unfair twist she never wanted?
Last season, I fully believed Michael would die, and the finale pretty much sealed that fate for me. Then Michael survived, and for a minute I forgot all about the narrator’s ominous statement about loving Jane “for as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath.” But don’t worry! There’s still hope! Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman responded to reporter questions about this particular quote saying, “I think you will have to watch… I will say it’s a reliable narrator. And we’re going to be dealing with that.” Urman also said that the love triangle is “not over, but it is over now.” And then my money was back on a funeral for Michael.
Of course, there aren’t always happy endings in real life. And Jane and her family’s struggles have always been relatable enough, but only to a point. Throw in a celebrity dad, a couple of murderers, crime plots, kidnapping, an evil twin… you get it. We relate to Jane, and strive for her optimism, but this isn’t a realistic show. You still hope for the best for her because against all the drama and cliffhangers her happiness is the heart of the show. Ultimately it’s a romantic soap, and how can they keep topping on the drama if Jane has a happy, normal life? I’ve flip flopped on #TeamRafael and #TeamMichael more times than I can count, so something has to come next. If Jane wants a peaceful life with Michael, as an audience member I want that too. And yet it doesn’t seem like that’s on the horizon. I’m in for the ride, and the ups and downs are what makes this show such an impossibly fun thing to recap. But isn’t it time Jane got her own HEA?