As a dedicated member of Team Michael, the cliffhanger finale of Jane the Virgin's fourth season admittedly made my heart skip a beat. Not only was it, as the show's Latin Lover Narrator would put it, straight out of a telenovela, but it was a bit of hope for my shipper soul. This is Michael, the man who won Jane's heart when he almost arrested her on her birthday and won it again after they'd been through so many obstacles during her pregnancy. How could I not have a little optimism?
But with the season five premiere, "Chapter Eighty-Two," Team Michael really gets an idea of what's in store for the rest of the fifth season, and it's going to take a lot more work if Michael and Jane have any hope of getting back together for good.
After a brief Day of the Dead montage showing just how far Jane has come over the last four years since Michael's death, season five picks up right where the fourth season left off — with Jane, Rafael, and Michael standing in the kitchen. But nothing is ever easy for the Villanuevas, so it turns out that Michael is no longer the same. He has amnesia, goes by the name Jason, and has been living in Montana for the past four years! The scene flashes back to Rafael visiting Rose, aka Sin Rostro, in prison where — in true "Mustache Twirler Villain" fashion — she reveals how she orchestrated Michael's "death" and gave him amnesia.
All it took was injecting him with tetrodotoxin, which slowed his heart rate down enough to make it seem like he'd suffered a heart attack (or something similar) and having "her EMT drivers" take him away. Once you get over the fact that Rose is still flush with enough cash to have her own EMT drivers and blackmail a morgue pathologist to sign a death certificate, you have to admit that her gusto in retelling this story is kind of hilarious. Or is that just me? That's OK, too!
A neurologist later confirms that Michael/Jason's memory is gone, and since "there's so much about the brain that we don't know," there's no telling if he'll ever get it back. (I'm going to use some of my shipper optimism and take that as a solid maybe.) The doctor also says Michael/Jason needs help jogging his memory and someone needs to take him around to see familiar faces and places. In the end, the task falls to Jane. Even though this would normally be the part in a rom-com where the two estranged lovers remember all their beautiful moments together and fall back in love, that isn't the way this goes.
Jane and Michael/Jason do not vibe at all, the latter frequently finding reasons to pick apart the romantic memories Jane shares, seeming almost disgusted by Jane's tales of his former life and unable to imagine why he ever fell for her. Team Michael does not approve of this Montana man's piss-poor attitude!
Eventually, Michael/Jason realizes how much of a boor he's being and journeys over to Alba's house to apologize for his behavior. It's nowhere near a Michael declaration of regret, but his speech is endearing in a way that only the former cop can pull off:
"Part of me thought if I figured out who I was, my memories would come flooding back, like in a movie. But I shouldn't be taking it out on you, because you're just trying to help. And I also know I'm blowing up your life, coming back like this. I also want you to know it's not your responsibility . . . I'm serious, though. If you want me to go back to Montana, just tell me. I'll go."
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Of course, Jane doesn't let him go back to Montana and resolves to continue helping Michael/Jason get his memory back. She's also inspired to tell Rafael that she loves him, and that nothing about their relationship has changed, which doesn't really inspire much hope in anyone wanting the author to get back with her late husband. Until Jane and Michael/Jason share a moment on Alba's couch where they look over old videos of their life together and almost seem like themselves again . . .
OK, that's definitely wishful thinking. Whether or not Michael/Jason regains his memory, he's been gone for four years. Not only has Jane grieved for him, she's built a solid foundation for her family on his memories. She may love him (it's Jane, she loves everyone), but she's no longer in love with him. She is however, in love with Rafael. She's smack-dab in the middle of building a happily ever after with him, as much as they can with their crazy lives. It's hard to imagine Michael/Jason being able to compete with that when he doesn't even remember falling in love with Jane.
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I would love for Jane and Michael/Jason to find that happiness they had before his "death" in season three. As amazing as it's been to watch Rafael mature into a stable life and finding love with Jane, their relationship will never hold a candle to her marriage with Michael. Michael and Jane were each other's rocks, they had a love built on that foundation of patience and faith and understanding. They had passion, laughter, respect for one another, and just pure happiness. They were best friends who got married, and there's something crazy beautiful about that (and their wedding was just beautiful in general).
Only time will tell if the two have an actual chance now that he's back — even with no memory — and I honestly can't wait to see how this chapter pans out.