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Shocker: Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin is one of the shows that I adore. It has spunk. It has originality. And it has diversity.  Jane’s grandmother speaks solely in Spanish.

Conventional is not something that one can associate with the show.

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And last night, it delivered a huge shocker: the death of a beloved character.

SPOILER ALERT: They killed Michael.

Yes, the Michael that’s married to Jane. Yes, the Michael that just got shot in the season finale. Yes, the Michael that finally made Jane the Virgin not a virgin. Admittedly, since their consummation, it got a little weird to watch the show while wondering, “Now, how is she a virgin and why is the show still called that? Is it going to be The Further Adventures of Jane formerly a virgin?”

And I was disappointed that Jane chose Michael instead of Rafael. Of course, I wanted more pec shots of Justin Baldoni. But Michael’s dorkiness won me over, even his silly Bee hand puppet.

And now he’s dead. Even after pondering a career switch away from police work. In the last weeks, he has tried being a stand up comic and lawyer.

Letter

Here’s showrunner and creator Jenni Urman’s letter to the fans:

Dearest Jane Fans –

I want to begin this letter by telling you about the magic of Brett Dier.  He took a character – built from the beginning with secrets and moral lapses – and made him so likable, so funny, so sincere in all the right ways, that most of our writers’ room became #teammichael by the end of the first season.  And I honestly don’t think I’ll ever love a moment on our show as much as I loved Michael’s vows to Jane…  Which is to say, this was a devastating episode for us to write.

It was also a decision made very early on, when I thought about our story as a whole.  And even in season one, I knew it would be a hard thing to actually do, which is why there was a line (which many of you noticed) about how Michael would never stop loving Jane.  And the Narrator confirmed, “For as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never did.”  Honestly, I put that line into the script at the last minute to hold our feet to the fire, to make sure we went through with it.  Because even back then, the writers could all see the magic of Jane and Michael together.  Not to mention Rogelio and Michael!

The other reason I put that line in the script was to prepare you… a little.  If the writers and actors loved Michael so much, then I knew it would be devastating for the fans.  So then, the only surprise we had left, was when…

And again – that goes back to the magic of Brett Dier.  Originally, I thought Michael would die earlier.  But Brett is such an incredible actor – he gave us such great comedy and drama and first-rate exposition delivery (!), often all in one scene.  And he and Gina… well, there’s that word again – magic.  So, we changed some things in the writers’ room.  Jane and Michael got married.  They had sex. They moved into their first home. And I’m so glad we did that and I’m so glad all those firsts for Jane were with Michael.  But this is a telenovela, as we so frequently remind you.  And we are only at our midpoint.

You’ll recall, back in the pilot, Jane was on a path.  Things were mapped out.  And then she was accidentally artificially inseminated and everything changed.  Well now, everything is changing again.  How does our romance-loving hero move on, how does she get back the light and the hope…?

Well, it’s certainly not quick.  And that’s why we’re now three years later in our story.  We’ll be flashing back to those three years and filling in gaps, but mining emotions realistically is something we work hard on and we knew the immediate pain of that loss would overwhelm our storytelling.  After talking to grief counselors, this felt like the right time to reenter Jane’s journey.  She’ll always feel Michael’s absence (and trust me, we will too), but it opens up our storytelling in new and exciting ways, while allowing for the light and bright Jane world that we love to write.

Which brings me to something I feel really badly about.  The timing.  I’ve had so many tweets lately about how Jane is a bright spot these days. And I know you just watched a gut punch of an episode.  So, I just wanted to reassure you that Jane’s optimism will rise up.

Thank you guys so much for watching the show, for caring so passionately, and for going on our journey. And thank you so much to Brett. For his talent.  His passion.  His humor on set.  Michael will be missed in Jane’s world, just as Brett is already missed in ours.

With love,

Jennie Urman

 

Aww, even the letter makes me cry. But I can’t wait to see how Jane handles the death.

P.S. Rafael is free.

 

–Ken Choy

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