Whenever I tell fellow watchers of Jane the Virgin that I'm firmly on #TeamMichael, I'm always met with some level of rebuke. For instance, just the other day my close friend summed up the difference between Michael Cordero and Jane's other suitor, Rafael Solano, as such: "If Rafael is filet mignon, then Michael is a bowl of oatmeal." After giving her the largest of eye-rolls, I actually had to admit that — despite my love of Michael — there is more than a bit of truth to her assesment. It just so happens that that bit of truth is the exact reason I love Michael and Jane's relationship.
From day one, the writers behind Jane the Virgin have made it clear that their show is one that prides itself on portraying issues realistically, despite its tendency to verge on the surreal. Our heroine, Jane Gloriana Villanueva, is a virgin who is accidentally artificially inseminated, but she's also incredibly relatable. She dresses and speaks like she might be your best friend. The struggles she faces as a new mom play out on screen in a refreshing way that few other shows have even attempted. It's a show that manages to balance the funny, dramatic, and outrageous traits of a telenovela with equal amounts of depth, gravity, and heart. Why, then, would it approach Jane's love life any differently?
When Rafael first appears in Jane's life and sweeps her away from Michael in a flourish of romance, I was happily on board. Raf is charming, hot as hell, and he turned Jane's life upside-down — in more ways than one. For Jane, he's always been an adventure, a break from the norm. Ever since the season one flashback when he tells Jane she should pursue a career as a romance novelist instead of a teacher, it's been clear that he excites that "dream big" side of her character, which is something to be applauded. The writers did a masterful job at playing my emotions like a fiddle, making me want sweet, innocent Jane to change the ways of the gorgeous, wealthy playboy with daddy issues, leaving the milquetoast Michael in the dust.
When Jane breaks off her engagement to Michael to be with Rafael, I was ecstatic at first, but it quickly became clear that Rafael's tendency to attract danger would be exhausting both for Jane and for us viewers. How many more times will Mateo have to be kidnapped? How many more conniving half-brothers are going to pop up? How many other threats to the future of the Marbella can there be? Raf has at least ten times as many personal problems as he does pastel button-downs, which is saying something. At the end of the day, I'm #TeamJane. I want her to be happy, and Rafael isn't the guy who's going to make that happen.
When Jane and Rafael break up early in season two and Michael returns, so does Jane's safe place. Michael goes through a lot of personal growth after being on the run from Sin Rostro, and in doing so he becomes the guy that Jane needs. He's the one she can turn to and depend on in ways that she just can't with Raf. He might be the oatmeal you eat for breakfast every day, rather than the filet mingon you have only on special occasions, but in a way, Jane getting to be with Michael would be an interesting subversion to the typical "good girl ends up with bad guy" trope.
We know exactly what will happen if Jane ends up with Rafael. They'll have a fiery, on-again, off-again relationship that will come with huge highs and devastating lows. We've seen it play out between them already. Wouldn't it be more compelling to see how the writers continue to make Jane's story engaging without having to use an erratic romantic relationship as a crutch?
Thus far, nobody has summed up Jane and Michael's dynamic better than Jane herself, when she reads him her wedding vows in the "Chapter Thirty-Nine" episode. "Tonight I realized it's simple: with you, you make me feel safe in the best way," she tells him after a big fight with her mom during her bachelorette party. "I know you're watching over me, instead of me always having to watch over everyone else. So tonight is not my last night of freedom. It's my first night of freedom." It's a terrifically emotional scene for both characters, proving that even if Jane and Michael stay together, their relationship will hardly go stale.
The second season finale has come and gone, and we're hours away from the premiere. The odds for Michael's survival are not in his favor given that whole getting-shot-in-the-chest-on-his-wedding-night ordeal. I won't believe his death is real until I see a body, but if he does end up kicking the bucket next season, I know that Jane would still have a happy future. If it's with another guy, fantastic. If it's with Rafael, I'll reluctantly admit that the show has done an admirable job at making him a viable option for her — he truly loves Jane, and he's Mateo's father. He also showed restraint in telling Jane his feelings on her wedding day, which should be noted.
To be fair, I have to acknowledge that this is a TV show, and TV shows require a certain level of drama to keep them interesting. On top of that, Jane the Virgin is also molded after the shocking and melodramatic plot twists that telenovelas are known for: surprise murders, evil twins, and love triangles. There's no way that Jane and Michael are going to get the simple happy ending I might want for them. Still, my pathetic little heart can't help but hold out hope. Let's pray being Rogelio's brogelio counts for something.