[Spoilers for the February 6 installment of Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Fifty-Four”]
Jane the Virgin has been foreshadowing last night’s surprise death since Season 1, when the narrator promised that Michael would love Jane “for as long as [he] lived.” To his last breath, the ex-detective was a grounding force in the meta-telenovela, suffering fatal complications from being shot nine months ago while trying to do right as a provider and citizen by taking the first step toward becoming a prosecutor. (Now we know: The LSATs will kill you.) Judging by the freakouts on Twitter — and creator Jennie Snyder Urman’s apologetic note following the episode — Jane fans are not OK about the abrupt obliteration of Team Michael, perhaps because the long-planned twist was executed so well.
The CW series achieved the seemingly impossible by getting us to care as much about the mundane conflicts between newlyweds Jane and Michael as we did the the more outlandish story lines about evil twins, baby kidnappings, and submarine-dwelling lesbians on the lam. A healthy attachment to reality is crucial to Jane the Virgin’s believability, and yet I can’t say I’ll necessarily miss the central couple’s bickering about household budgets or parenting philosophies. I’m here for all the broken-hearted fans who need tending to, but I’m also eager — if a bit leery — about what’s ahead. Snyder Urman has promised that future episodes will tell stories before and after that three-year time jump, as Jane and a now 4-year-old Mateo head toward a mystery wedding. Here are five wishes for a post-Michael Jane.
Jane moves on without Rafael
The last three episodes have seen the Michael-ization of Rafael, with the young hotel magnate deciding to move to the right side of the law. The father of Jane’s child is poised to give up his wealth and confess to insider trading at the end of “Chapter Fifty-Four,” which would make a romance with Jane a lot less like the economic fairy tale that the show has been deconstructing for years. But Jane isn’t some heroine in a YA dystopia — she should get the chance to date (and be wooed by) more than two men in her long life.
A lot more Darci
Jane the Virgin’s cast is brimming with new additions, but the only one I’m rooting for is millionaire matchmaker Darci, who falls for Rogelio after they decide to make a baby together. 2017 looks like it’s Justina Machado’s year, with the dynamically charismatic actress collecting accolades for starring in the warmly received One Day at a Time reboot. Unlike Xo, who’s as flighty and as immature as Ro, the always-in-charge Darci looks like she could forge with her baby daddy what the show’s always lacked: a formidable power couple.
... And a lot less Rose
Luisa’s kill-happy psycho love, on the other hand, has been a conspicuous black hole in the show’s emotionally rich terrain from the start. She’s baaaack, warned the last episode, but could we just not? I’d be perfectly happy to learn after the time jump that Rose died on the operating table two years ago, since getting a new face every year has got to pose some kind of major health risk.
Jane moves back in with her abuela
Even with a decently paid assistantship, supporting Mateo as a single mom looks like it’d be a financial challenge. Unless her professional status changes drastically in three years, it’d be great to see Jane moving back in with Alba, who’s already the most shortchanged character in the core cast. Since the Villanueva matriarchy is one of the most unique and heartwarming aspects of the series, it’d be a relief and a delight to get back inside those inviting, rose-colored walls and see the family’s first boy be shaped by a line of smart women.
More blended-family drama
As homey as Jane the Virgin can be, it’s always been forthright about how messy and tangled blood ties can be — beginning with the title character’s accidental insemination by a virtual stranger’s sperm. Some of the series’s best domestic plots of the past two seasons involve the complicated family Jane, Rafael, and his ex-wife Petra have built. Their situation is melodramatically fraught, yet achingly relatable. And with Mateo and twins Elsa and Anna now old enough to have personalities beyond crying and burping, it’ll be fascinating to watch the Villanueva-Solano clan forced to develop alongside each other. After Michael, Jane the Virgin is ready to grow up.