It's been almost one year since Jane the Virgin delivered an emotional punch to the gut in one of the biggest jaw-dropping, heart-stopping reveals in TV history: Jane's (Gina Rodriguez) husband Michael (Brett Dier), who we thought died halfway through Season 3, was revealed to be alive at the end of the Season 4 finale.
The news left a lot of Jane fans in a swirl of confusing emotions, because as happy as we all were to see Michael alive and well (and very much not dead), Jane was literally moments away from popping the question to Rafael (Justin Baldoni). And because we'd all grieved Michael alongside Jane, we were as shaken as she was when she saw him standing in Rafael's apartment. The episode then ended before we could get any answers. Was he actually Michael? Was he a long lost twin à la Anezka (Yael Grobglas)? Or was he someone else wearing a hyperrealistic mask? We honestly can't rule anything out when it comes to this show, especially since a phone call from Rose (Bridget Regan) is what set us down the path in the first place.
Honestly, it's been absolute hell waiting for the show to come back, but now that the series' fifth and final season is finally upon us (premiering Wednesday, March 27 at 9/8c on The CW), we vowed to get to the bottom of this mystery since it has the potential to reignite what might be the best love triangle in all of television history (yeah, we said it). So TV Guide spoke with creator Jennie Snyder Urman at the Television Critics Association winter press tour earlier this year to dig into everything "Michael," why Season 5 was the right time to end Jane's journey, and whether or not anyone can come out of the show without having their heart broken. Read on to see what she had to say.
I'm sure you've been asked this 500 times now, but why did you feel this was the right time to end the show?
Jennie Snyder Urman: I just felt like I always have to think about the seasons and just how much story I really have in terms of Jane's journey. I just really didn't want to be spinning wheels. And I didn't want to be repeating the same mistakes that the characters make because then you start to feel like, "Come on! Pull it together." So ... when I really think about it, I have to think about the spine of the season, one whole story to be told, and I felt like [Season] 5 was about as much as I [could] do without it starting to get repetitive, without characters starting to take steps backwards in ways that maybe wouldn't be organic. And also, just how much juice I think we had in the central stories before we got to a natural ending. Early on I thought it could be four [seasons], but then as I started to really think about what each season I had to accomplish it turned into five.
Has your idea for the ending changed since the pilot?
Urman: Not the last image of the ending. ... We haven't even broken the episode in the room yet — we're on 16 and we have to get to 18. [Editor's note: This interview was conducted in January.] We know a lot of things that happen. We know what happens in it, you know, but when I say break I mean just the nuts and bolts and all the 70 scenes and what the complication in Act III will be. Those kind of things I don't have all of, but I know the story and I know where people are ending up. And I know what that last image is because it was the image I started the show with.
Is there any way that this show can end without somebody's heart being irrevocably broken? Urman: I think [long pause] ... in telenovelas, usually, the heroine or heroes get happy endings and the villains get punished. There's a lot of range in that. We'll be following those rules.
The return of "Michael" at the end of Season 4 was obviously a shocking development. How is that is going to affect Jane this season?
Urman: His return just turns her life upside down in every single way. The events of the finale and that last image of this person who's played by Brett Dier and is ostensibly Michael — you will find out right away if it is or isn't Michael, and it throws everything into flux, every character into flux. It affects the whole season. It really sets us up on our arc for the season.
How will it affect her relationship with Rafael, since she was just about to propose?
Urman: What I can say is that the selfless act of Rafael bringing Michael back, hearing that Michael is alive and bringing him back to her, is a sacrifice and a move that I don't think Season 1 Rafael would have done. And the selflessness of it is romantic for Jane. But the events of the finale resonate throughout this whole [season].
Last season Xo (Andrea Navedo) was diagnosed with breast cancer and that was a really emotional story. How is she going to be faring and how is that going to continue into the season?
Urman: We're going to follow through the end of her cycles of chemo and then through the PET scan to see if it worked and if it's clear. That's a big question, what her health is. And you'll know around Episode 9 if it worked. But you know, having cancer has changed her and continues to change her. ... She's dealing with mortality and life and choices and that's a big spine of our show as well.
Petra has had such a hard time finding her place and not feeling like an outsider. What can you say about her journey this season?
Urman: One of my favorite arcs this year is Petra (Grobglas) and Jane and how far they've come. I love those two actors. I love them together. When you think about them at the beginning and, like, who she was and who Jane was and how they just couldn't get anywhere and the sisterhood that they have formed, the family they have made, the way that they're there for each other is a really important part of our last season.
Jane the Virgin's final season premieres Wednesday, March 27 at 9/8c on The CW.
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