Jane the Virgin Premiere: The Michael Twist Explained

Why, how, and what happens after the CW telenovela explained how Jane's dead husband came back to life

By Lauren Piester Mar 28, 2019 2:00 AMTags
Jane the VirginThe CW

Honestly, screw Game of Thrones

As excited as we are to find out who ends up on the Iron Throne at the end, that excitement paled in comparison to how we felt going into tonight's Jane the Virgin premiere. After the season four finale revealed that Michael (Brett Dier), in some form, was alive, we spent nearly a year theorizing, panicking, arguing, begging, and rewatching as we wondered a) if it's Michael and b) how Jane (Gina Rodriguez) would handle whoever the heck it was. 

She had just spent four years grieving her dead husband, and had finally moved on with Rafael (Justin Baldoni). They were moving in together! She was ready for him to propose! We were firmly, completely, totally Team Rafael! And then Jane got to Rafael's apartment and it suddenly became very clear why Raf had been acting so weird, because naturally, finding out that your soon-to-be fiancee's dead husband is still alive is pretty earth-shattering, especially when it's up to you to break that news. 

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Tonight, we found out exactly how bad it all is. Raf had a DNA test done and found out that Michael is really Michael, but Michael doesn't know he's Michael. He thinks his name is Jason, and as far as he knows, he's a rancher in Montana. His death was faked and his memory was purposely wiped by Sin Rostro (obviously), who then had him dumped in the middle of a field and told that he's in a lot of trouble, so he has to start over. 

He talks slow, he doesn't tell jokes, he doesn't like cats, he has a dog, and he's got no clue whatsoever who Jane is. 

Despite Rogelio being just sure that his brogelio's memories would immediately come back upon seeing him, Michael's still Jason, and Jane the Virgin is fully exploring the one major telenovela trope that it hasn't yet tackled: Amnesia. 

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"We've been laying the seeds for a while in terms of Rogelio's televnovela, and this season is about things coming full circle," executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman told a small group of reporters after the premiere table read. "There's a lot of echoes from the pilot in this first script, and that's going to be something that we're going to be continuing through the season and sort of seeing how people have evolved, and how you can be in a similar situation, but everything is different about it now, and how five years have changed us. So amnesia was the sort of thing we entered playing in that space with Rogelio's first telenovela, so once we knew that MichaelJason was coming back, amnesia felt like the right move in terms of how to create just so much drama going forward for the final season, and just the emotional toll of seeing someone you love look at you like a stranger felt really exciting and also really challenging in terms of how to ground that." 

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The decision to bring Michael back was very much "part of the same decision" to explore amnesia. 

"We were only going to bring him back for this final telenovela trope that we've sort of kept in our pocket for this," Urman said. 

Everything that happened tonight and that will continue to happen pretty much boils down to the full-circle aspect of this final season, and the return of Michael/introduction of Jason was a way to bring that initial love triangle back into play. 

"It was a way to really reinvigorate the love triangle, but to tell totally different stories, which felt really exciting to me, and raises interesting questions about the soul, and soulmates, and what makes a person, if we're a collection of the stories we tell about ourselves or if we're actually what's essentially there and how experience molds us," Urman explained. "Those were all things that felt like new, fresh territory for us while still getting to play like, the return of the love triangle, but in a totally different way." 

Jason's very anti-Michael personality was very deliberate, Urman and Gina Rodriguez say, for a variety of reasons. 

"I feel like it would have been too stingy [for him to be Michael-like]," Rodriguez said. 

"We have to take seriously the trauma of him waking up and not knowing who he was," said Urman. "How would you [recreate everything] if you didn't know if you were a good person or a bad person? You wouldn't be talking all the time, because you'd be afraid of what you were going to say that might be bad or incriminate you in some way, or give away something that you don't know. So that made us think of him as somebody who was just sort of quiet and observing, and just sort of watching for cues and things about people. That made him a more internal person, because he's lived without any sense of history, memory, anything to hold onto." 

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As for what the heck Jane does now, Urman says her plan is to do anything she can to help the memories come back, while still living her life.

"That is her intention right now is to help him, take him around but still keep him separate from her life so that her life can keep moving forward, because obviously he's different and she's different, and you know, he's not talking or seeming anything like Michael right now. So that's the plan, and then of course as plans go, they get shredded and rewritten as you go, so it's obviously going to become more complicated." 

By the end of the premiere, Jane had gone to Rafael to tell him she was choosing him, but she also might have maybe seen a spark in MichaelJason's eyes, and we are going to need help making it through this season.

Of course, Michael wasn't the only plot twist to deal with tonight. We learned that it was Milos, Petra's evil ex-husband, who JR shot in the season four finale, and we know that Rose is up to some kinda Charlie's Angels brainwashing nonsense that is very unclear right now, but when are Sin Rostro's plans immediately clear? Never, that's when. 

We'll be counting down the days until next Wednesday, at 9 p.m., when Jane the Virgin airs again on The CW.