Warning: The following contains major spoilers for Wednesday’s Jane the Virgin.
Jane the Virgin pulled out one more telenovela trope during Wednesday’s fifth and final season premiere: Michael is alive… but he has amnesia! (You can blame Rose for that.) Now Jane’s lovable, thought-to-be-deceased hubby is a man-of-few-words Montana cowboy who likes dogs over cats and thinks Jane talks a lot. Ouch. While Jane did attempt to help
Michael Jason regain his memory, she also reaffirmed her love for Rafael, telling her current beau that she wants to move in together as planned.
Elsewhere, it was revealed that JR shot Petra’s ex-husband Milos. But in the end, all of Petra’s lies forced JR to break off their relationship.
Below, showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman explains why amnesia was the way to go and previews what the twist means for Jane and Rafael’s future.
TVLINE | Why did you decide on amnesia? What storytelling avenues did it open up for you?
Amnesia came from that telenovela trope that we’ve been saving and that we kind of foreshadowed a little bit when Michael got shot and woke up and said, “Who are you?” And then he said, “I’m just kidding.” So those were the structural reasons that I wanted to do it. Storytelling-wise, it’s the grounding of that giant twist that was most interesting to me. If you think of somebody who loved you and who you have all these memories with, and they just have no recognition, and they have become a totally different person, just how painful that would be, and how to navigate that, and how to navigate that as a Catholic, what Jane is… Are you still married? Are you not? There were so many questions that it could bring up in terms of what her responsibility is as a wife. Is there something essential about a person? Is there something in there that’s their soul, and that’s who he is, and he’s still in there? And just how disorienting it would be to look at someone who you loved and who loved you, and there’s nothing. So that felt exciting on a storytelling level, because that’s totally a different avenue. We’re not rehashing any drama. We are exploring a whole new avenue of human emotion and drama and digging into that.
TVLINE | And it also reignites the love triangle in a big way, even if Michael doesn’t remember Jane. Why was it important for you to reexamine the love triangle when you could say that it had been put to rest in the previous seasons?
We had played it out, we had let it go, we had moved her into a new space, and what better way to have the final season than to come back to that original love triangle and bring the show full circle again in those ways? And people have grown and learned and changed, so how do they relate to each other now?
TVLINE | Fans have such strong feelings when it comes to Rafael versus Michael. How much pressure do you feel to wrap up the love triangle in a satisfying way for fans of both couples?
I know that not everyone’s going to be happy. I think the majority of people want Jane to be happy. That’s the overriding [sentiment]. But everybody has got strong opinions, and that’s great. That means that they’re engaged and they care, and they’re on the journey with her. I don’t expect to please everyone, but I do hope that they can understand the choices that she makes and can understand why it’s right for her in this moment. To me, my job is to make the audience understand her and her journey and her choices. You might not always agree, but to understand where [she’s] coming from.
TVLINE | Is there any part of her that likes this new version of Michael? Are they too different?
It’s too disorienting to see somebody who remembers nothing of your life, and that’s why she says she feels like she’s been erased. And also, she had her life set, and now he’s back, and you have to dig out all those feelings that you spent so many years working through. So it sets her spinning, and that spiral continues on, trying to make sense of who he is now and what he is to her.
TVLINE | It also has a huge impact on Rafael, who did this incredibly selfless thing by bringing Michael back. Is this a decision he’s going to come to regret?
I don’t think he could do anything else. To be a worthy, honest partner for Jane, I don’t think he could, because he couldn’t live with himself, knowing he’s out there and he didn’t tell her. How could they continue a relationship? At the same time, doing it was going to make his life a thousand times worse, in every way, so it was very selfless. And it’s torture for him.
TVLINE | I’m a little worried about Petra and JR after the premiere. Can you talk about Petra’s journey in finding true love in this final season?
I’m obsessed with that relationship. I love it, I live for it. Their relationship is important in this season in many different ways. The fallout from the first episode and from the finale resonates throughout the season for Petra and for JR.
Jane the Virgin fans, what did you think of the final season opener? Grade it below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!