Jane the Virgin 5x01 “Chapter Eighty-Two” Review
The Season 4 finale of Jane the Virgin ended on quite a cliffhanger: Michael, Jane’s ex-husband who died four years ago, was revealed to actually be alive. (My not-so-generous thoughts on this particular plot twist can be read here.)
Over the lengthy, nearly year-long hiatus since the Season 4 finale aired, questions and theories about Michael’s return abounded: how could he possibly be alive? What would his return mean for Jane and Rafael’s relationship? Was it even really Michael?
For me, my interest in watching the show’s final season hinged on how it answered these questions. (To be honest, I have absolutely no interest in watching Jane leave Rafael again to be with Michael, whom I was never fond of in the first place.)
Within minutes, most of fan’s questions had been addressed, for the most part satisfactorily:
Yes, Michael is indeed Michael (Rafael had a DNA test done before telling Jane about him, just to be sure), except he goes by Jason now (after Jason Bourne), he has a dog and also amnesia, and he remembers nothing about Jane or their past life together.
It turns out Rose orchestrated his entire death, from giving him drugs that would slow down his heart to the point of it having appeared to stop, to having him carted out of the examination hall by EMTs who were under her command. (I’m still a little skeptical of this explanation, but I’ll let it slide for now. Also — are you telling me at no point Jane would have asked or been able to see Michael’s body?) She then induced his amnesia by giving him electroshock therapy centred on the hippocampus and temporal lobe and dropped him off in Montana, where he’s spent the last four years.
Okay, so Michael was essentially tortured into forgetting everything about his life. Even I, a staunch Michael non-supporter, feel bad for him.
One thing that’s not clear yet: what was Rose’s motivation behind doing this? The one person who can possibly help answer that question is Luisa; she and Rafael are in contact again after he gave up her location to Rose in order to learn where Michael was, and she seems determined to help her brother find out what Rose’s game is, even though Raf is unwilling to ask that of her.
And how’s Jane doing after finding out that her dead ex-husband is no longer dead and is also possibly no longer her ex-husband? She’s doing fine! (The episode features a 7-minute long monologue by Jane — which Gina Rodriguez absolutely kills — where she works through her emotions in a way that strongly reminded me of the Friends episode “The One Where Ross is Fine.”)
Honestly though, Jane is doing pretty well. Sure, she passes out upon first seeing Michael, but after that she handles everything like a champ, from the realization that she might be married again, to attending Michael’s neurologist appointment along with his mother, to taking Michael to places they used to visit all the time in an effort to spark his memory. What’s less painful than reliving a bunch of memories with a man you once loved but who no longer recognizes you, and whom you no longer recognize in return?
Because not only is Michael amnesiatic, he’s also no longer the Michael we spent two and a half seasons getting to know. Once an avid cat lover, he’s now a dog person who doesn’t like cats at all; he speaks in a slow drawl and calls Jane “ma’am” (he’s older than her!); he hates cubanos; he’s attracted to Petra; and the light-hearted, kind, funny aspects of Michael that Jane — and everyone — loved seem to have been stripped away completely.
Listen, I’ve stated before, and I’ll state again, and I’ll probably state many times throughout this season: I’ve never been a fan of Michael. But man, this episode, with its sparing use of flashbacks and video, made me miss him. And if that’s how I felt, I can only imagine how it made fans of Michael feel. Including his in-world fans: obviously Jane is a mess, and Rogelio, who considered Michael his best friend, is absolutely heartbroken when Michael doesn’t remember him. Alba and Xo, who considered Michael part of their family, and of course Mateo who once saw him as a father figure, now hardly remembers him, and hasn’t yet been told that he’s alive.
Then Rafael, whose own world has been rocked but mostly stands as a supportive background figure in this episode, giving Jane the room she needs, deciding to put off the move until things settle down, looking after all three of his children, and being a shoulder for Rogelio to cry on. As proud as I was of Rafael in this episode (he has grown so much since the show’s early seasons) I was also worried: we all know Rafael tends to withdraw inside himself when he’s overwhelmed, and those bottled-up feelings usually burst out of him in a negative way.
Maybe I was worried for no reason though, because Rafael does allow himself to break down in front of Xo, admitting to her how scared he is at the possibility of losing Jane. As Jane brings up several times during the episode — so does Rogelio, upon finding the ring — Rafael and Jane were supposed to get engaged, they were in the process of moving in together, and now their whole life has been put on hold.
What does the future hold for this couple? The episode ends on a positive note for them, as Jane shows up at Rafael’s new workplace (wearing a yellow dress and paralleling the pilot, when she visited Michael at work to propose to him) to tell him that she loves him and that she’s still planning on moving in with him. They kiss, but the narrator makes it clear that perhaps things won’t go for them as planned.
Not that I would expect them to, this being the first episode of the season for a telenovela, but I’m not too thrilled at the prospect of more relationship drama just when things were starting to calm down. Remember, in Season 1, Jane ends up leaving Michael for Rafael not too long after they got engaged, so if the parallel continues there’s a good chance we can expect the inverse to happen here.
But take heart, #Jafael fans: remember also that Jane ultimately chose Michael over Rafael. I still believe that in this second iteration, she’ll eventually choose Rafael over Michael.
There was another big question left unanswered in the Season 4 finale, although to be honest I completely forgot about it until this episode aired: JR shot somebody in order to save Petra’s life. Who?
Remember Milos? Petra’s acid-throwing, stalking, arms-dealing ex-husband? He’s back!
For a short time, at least.
Milos’ motivation in trying to frame Petra was apparently nothing more than to put her in jail, in return for her putting him in jail. And he never wanted to kill her just...maim her, I guess.
After being shot in the arm by JR, Milos attempts to strike a bargain with Petra in order to stop her from calling the police; he once again has majority ownership of the hotel (after being behind the charity that Luisa donated her shares to) and he will give them back to her, if only she lets him go.
Petra hesitates, which is the last straw for JR, who’s still angry at Petra for lying to her about murdering her sister (man, there are some sentences I type out that make me realize just how bonkers this show is). Even though Petra insists that she wasn’t really considering Milos offer, she was just caught off guard, JR doesn’t believe her — and while they’re arguing, Milos disappears.
Eventually, Milos is found by Petra, hiding inside a giant teddy bear in Anna and Elsa’s room. The wound in his arm is now infected and he once again attempts to bargain with Petra: he’ll give her his shares to the hotel, if she gets him some antibiotics.
Will Petra be tempted to make the deal, now that JR isn’t there to stop her? Or has she truly changed?
The audience — and Milos — is led to believe that it’s the former, as Petra even makes Milos write out his promise by hand (a bloodstained note that the Narrator is uncertain would hold up in court). But it turns out that Petra was only playing for time while she was waiting for the police to turn up; they quickly arrest Milos and lead him away.
(As an aside, Petra’s line to Milos of “By the way, I’m bisexual. It’s you” was such a power move. I was so scared they were going to let Milos’ offhand and derisive lesbian comment from earlier stand.)
Petra has changed for the better, and as she promises JR she’ll continue to change — but, for now at least, JR is unwilling to wait for that to happen. Just as Petra can’t forget the things in her past that forced her to become who she is today, JR can’t forget the things Petra did that caused them to break up in the first place. So for now, the two go their separate ways, but I have hope for them reuniting at some point in the future.
What about Milos? Is his role in this story truly done? I wouldn’t be so sure; it seems that almost no character on this show disappears forever.
Even ones that have been dead and buried for four years.
Jane the Virgin airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on the CW.