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What Actually Happened to Michael on Jane the Virgin?

Photo: Patrick Wymore/The CW

Spoilers below for Jane the Virgin’s season four finale.

It’s finally time to pick your jaw up off the floor. Yes, Jane the Virgin fans: The love of Jane Villanueva’s life, Michael Cordero, is alive. Jane pulled off such a magnificent plot twist in the final moments of season four, we’d understand if you’re still processing it.

If you need a quick refresher: Please recall that in season three, Michael collapsed and seemingly died after finishing his LSAT exam. He had apparently suffered an aortic dissection, a heart injury sustained after being shot by drug lord and criminal mastermind Sin Rostro. (She’s also known as Rose, Rafael and Luisa Solano’s one-time step-mother and Luisa’s many-time lover. This is a telenovela, try to keep up!) Three years later, Sin Rostro is in prison and unable to locate Luisa, so she tries to get Rafael to give up his sister’s whereabouts with some information that he will find very interesting: Michael isn’t actually dead! And that’s how, after years of grieving her late husband, Jane comes to find her not-quite-dead husband standing in the middle of her boyfriend’s apartment.

Got it? Good, because now we have some business to take care of. In Jane the Virgin season five premiere, we will discover how all of this drama and trauma came to be, but in the meantime, let’s put our melted brains together and try to solve this mystery. How in the world could this be possible? How is Michael Cordero alive after all these years? Let’s talk theories.

Theory No. 1: It’s not Michael

Yes, it looks like Michael. And the show is for sure going to make us think it’s Michael, but that scraggly beard standing in Rafael’s studio might not actually be Michael. Lest we ever forget, Sin Rostro has the technology and the lack of soul to make a person’s face look like someone else’s, and she regularly uses that mad science for her own nefarious purposes. Maybe she was planning to use Michael’s face from the moment he died, or simply put this plan together once she became desperate enough to find out where Luisa is. What if she put Michael’s face on one of her goons, or, as one Redditor noted, tracked down his long-forgotten brother? Who could wreak more havoc on Rafael’s life than a pretend resurrected Michael?

Theory No. 2: It’s Michael’s secret twin

Of course, it could also be Not Michael and have nothing to do with Sin Rostro’s facial antics. How about some secret twin shenanigans? Jane has already dealt with two pairs of secret twins and both ended with one twin killing the other (Roman and Aaron Zazo paved the way for Petra and Anezka), so maybe the third time’s a charm. Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman denied that he’s a secret twin, but she’s also the one who told us Michael was dead in the first place. On one hand, if this guy isn’t Michael, that is some grade-A bullshit, but on the other hand, do we really want to watch Michael lose Jane all over again? My heart can’t take it.

Theory No. 3: Michael faked his own death and went into hiding

Would Michael really walk away from the love of his life, even if it was to protect her from an enemy out to get him? It’s possible — being “dead” rather than running away or breaking up their marriage would allow Jane to move on — but it just doesn’t seem likely. I mean, would he really hurt everyone he loves and also put a fake body in a coffin? This is not my Michael Cordero! Even when his work on the Sin Rostro case was at its most intense, he never considered running.

Theory No. 4: Michael has been working with Sin Rostro the entire time

Jennie Snyder Urman said that she had thought about bringing Michael back for a while, but also that, “I didn’t know for sure that I was going to do it until the end of season three.” In other words, we can assume that anything taking place before that wasn’t purposefully setting up Michael’s return. So anything that happened with Michael regarding Sin Rostro in seasons one through three would have to be retconned to fit this narrative. That’s a whole lot of retconning for a show that typically pulls off reveals and twists with meticulous planning and clever clues. Furthermore, why go to all that trouble simply to bring back a beloved character and sully his name? Michael a bad guy? NEVER.

Theory No. 5: Michael was kidnapped by Sin Rostro and now he has amnesia

What if Rose poisoned Michael to make it look like he died from his heart injury, used her face mask science to make a decoy body, and then hid Michael away until he proved useful? I can’t believe I’m saying it, but this theory seems the most plausible to me.

Rose is the one who knows where Michael is. Rose has already used her face-switching to trick people into believing someone has died before, like when she disguised herself as Michael’s partner Susanna while Mutter killed someone disguised as Rose. There are a plethora of motives here, whether Michael-related, Rafael-related, or some other yet-to-be-determined reason. Also, we only have one season left and faking a death seems way too complicated to explain by involving a completely new character.

This theory also seems supported by the fact that Michael must have amnesia, based both on the season five promos and the numerous hints that someone would have amnesia made in season four. (When River Fields wants to cut out the amnesia story line in “Chapter 80,” Rogelio literally says no because amnesia “is a key plot twist, a classic telenovela trope.”) If Rose kidnapped Michael and he didn’t have amnesia, three years seems like a long time to keep him alive without him figuring a way to escape. Plus, don’t forget what Jennie Snyder Urman told us after the big finale twist: “I always feel we were saving up a few telenovela tropes. One of them is returning from the dead. Whether it’s him [Michael] or not, that is the trope we’re playing with. And then there’s another [trope] that is out there that we’ll be looking at.” All signs point to Michael having amnesia, and this entire thing being Sin Rostro’s fault. Although, Jane the Virgin has been known to surprise us every once and awhile, hasn’t it?

What Actually Happened to Michael on Jane the Virgin?