Contains huge spoilers for series three of Jane The Virgin, including Monday’s finale.
I’d like to start what is going to mostly be a negative article with some positivity. It seems only fair, given that Jane The Virgin is easily one of my favourite shows on TV.
Undoubtedly a frontrunner when it comes to representation, diversity, strong female roles, and a respectful, informed and multi-sided approach to religion, Jane has been excellent from its pilot episode, right up until the last few minutes of its series three finale.
The show’s ability to manage its telenovela roots in a modern-day, American setting, all the while creating genuine, interesting, vulnerable, strong, capable, funny and loveable characters, whose relationships we are incredibly committed to, is second to none. I absolutely adore the entire cast, and the show itself. This is why, after a consistently excellent third series, I was so disappointed – no, angry – with the last few minutes of ‘Chapter Sixty-Four’.
So let’s recap.
The episode centered around Xiomara and Rogelio’s wedding, and the storm that threatened to call it off. It was a straightforward enough episode: wedding on; wedding off; wedding on; Rogelio’s ex-girlfriend appears, pregnant with his baby; wedding off; wedding on again, this time held at the Marbella hotel. All the while, Jane (ordained and ready to marry her parents – not like that) was struggling to come up with the theme for her service, especially now she’s distracted with a lost letter that Michael supposedly left her.
This is where it starts getting frustrating. After an impassioned service about how we are in control of our own destinies, how the concept of fate undermines the path we strive towards, how Xo and Rogelio have overcome so much to be together, that the concept of fate does them a disservice, the episode backtracks hugely in the last few moments.
The concept of fate is one I disagree with, so I enjoyed Jane’s change of heart which led to her service. She’s spot on, of course. Especially as, if fate did exist, Jane’s fate was a difficult one to swallow. To meet the love of her life and have him taken away so soon after marriage: that’s some pretty shitty fate right there.
So, having reached this decision, Michael’s letter finally finds its way into her grasp. And the episode crumbles.
The letter is lovely, it should be said. But it does, unfortunately, undo all the good work the episode has previously done in debunking ‘fate’, as Michael discusses all the seemingly meaningless decisions and accidents that led to him turning up at Jane’s house on the night they met.
To make this slightly fairer, of course, there will be fans out there that believe in fate and destiny, so maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh here. This isn’t, after all, my biggest issue with the episode. It just plays into the issue hugely.
As Jane reads the letter, she wanders out of the Marbella to greet the man who found the letter, as yet anonymous to both Jane and the audience. Michael waxes lyrical about their meeting, how it was pure chance that all these events coincided on that one night, how it must have been fate.
And just like that, the illusion of Jane and Michael’s love is shattered, as Jane meets the man who found her letter. It’s Adam, the man that Jane had been so head over heels in love with before she met Michael.
Now I’ve heard arguments in the last week that they weren’t trying to undermine Jane and Michael’s love, and they just wanted her new love life to be as engaging as her and Michael’s. And I’m sure probably was their intention, but it is certainly not what I witnessed.
As Michael so emotionally describes his meeting with Jane, how everything fell into place for that moment when he turned up on her doorstep, how all of the little moments and decisions he made that night led him to her, the episode mirrors this with Jane. Small decisions, small moments occur – all the while the symmetry with Michael’s letter is inescapable – and she ends up meeting Adam again.
In what world does this not mean: everything Jane has gone through so far, including marrying Michael, and Michael’s death, has been leading up to her meeting Adam again? Whether intentional or not, the Jane writers have, in one, tiny scene, completely undone all the work they put into Jane and Michael’s relationship. Michael was a stepping stone, it seems. While they thought that everything had been leading to their meeting, all of those steps, plus Jane choosing Rafael and then choosing Michael again, plus Michael and Jane getting married, plus Michael getting shot, plus Michael dying, plus Jane taking three years to get over it, had been leading to this moment. Jane and Michael weren’t fate. Jane and Adam are.
And I just cannot get on board with that. I was even warming to the idea of Jane and Rafael getting together – now that seems like a goddamn fairy tale ending in comparison. At least that would follow the path they seemed to be taking in the finale; that fate doesn’t exist. This would solidify the Jane and Rafael route that I was hoping for: no ‘meant to be’ rubbish, they had to earn the right to be together. They both went through trauma (death of a loved one and prison, respectively), and have grown as people, as friends, and as parents. It felt like everything was falling into place for them to have their moment. But no. Fate is real, guys! And Michael is an insignificant stepping stone in Jane’s story, destined to end up with Adam, her first true love!
Twitter: Jane’s first love is @tylergposey?? This is going to be big. #JaneTheVirgin #season4 (@JaneWriters)
I’m sure I’m overreacting, and I’m desperately hoping that the writers of the show will make amends next series. It’s a testament to the show that this is the first time I’ve ever doubted it; unfortunately, it’s far more than that. I actively object to the route they’re going down. Fingers crossed it’s salvageable. I’d hate to lose interest in what is one of the finest shows on television.