Very first thing you should know: Jennie Snyder Urman apologizes for the existential timing of this bombshell.
Brett Dier, meanwhile, gave his onscreen love the most wonderful gift we can imagine — it’s what she was listening to for the scene that launched a thousand tweets. Wanna cry real quick?
That all seems just about right.
So, yeah. The curse our Reliable Narrator laid on Michael’s head way back in Season 1 has finally come to call — Michael Cordero, Jr. (Brett Dier), formerly of the Miami PD, so recently a survivor of a gunshot to the chest, is dead.
In retrospect, it wasn’t just the narrator’s dark promise so many dozens of chapters ago that telegraphed Michael’s death this week, but every beat of the episode itself. Our first flashback to Michael as a child; Jane’s (Gina Rodrigue) mini-lecture on flashbulb memories, and the narrator’s subsequent pauses to flashbulb otherwise benign moments in their day; Michael’s mystery indigestion that is first tied to Mateo’s iffy tummy, then just written off; Rafael (Justin Baldoni) earnestly expressing his awe at Michael taking such a leap to start a new career, putting a visible cap on years of animosity; Jane and Michael bookending their relationship with parallel trips to the carnival, complete with flashbulb flashbacks…
The best foreshadowing doesn’t announce itself, thumping its chest. It slips in through a side door, handing you gifts with one hand so you don’t see the other until it’s too late. In this case, the season itself was a delivery system: Making Michael so necessary to the show by finally allowing Brett Dier’s natural charisma, grace and humor to show through, ever since the wedding gave the show a warmth and off-the-cuff cleverness that has defined the season to date. We had to love him the most we ever had, to really feel the loss.
And yet, after “Jane’s” fashion, those grim omens were obscured by the bright chaos and preposterous villainy that combine weekly to make up Jane Villanueva’s Miami. Rogelio had a public breakdown over his penis shot being cut from his indie film debut! Jane accidentally swapped the stills from that shoot with the writing sample she was supposed to submit for a publishing job! Three generations of Villanueva women chased a bicycling, drunk teen around their neighborhood in their pajamas! Sin Rostro is back on dry land — and now a surgically reconstructed body double of Elisabeth Röhm!
One can be forgiven for missing the signs blinking neon over Michael’s fate, with all that going on. Jane, who will need to be reminded of it in weeks and years to come, can forgive herself for missing them.
Even if her life weren’t a telenovela, Jane would be forgiven. Real life is messy, and we all live in our own bubbles just trying to make it through the hundreds of tiny personal, inconsequential disasters that make up every day — certain the future is forever, because to think otherwise would make it impossible to accomplish anything. Signs are missed. We have to go on anyway.
And Jane will go on, leaping from today’s grief to three-years-from-now’s healing back and forth until some new kind of balance is found — and with it, Jennie Snyder Urman assures us, that optimism of hers we all so dearly need.
“Jane the Virgin” airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. The beginning of Part Three (“Chapter Fifty-Five”) airs Monday, February 13.