Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 3, Episode 1 “Chapter Forty-Five”
The CW’s Jane the Virgin entered its third season last night. Last season’s finale saw our heroine Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) new husband, Detective Michael Cordero (Brett Dier) gunned down on the night of his honeymoon by the villainous drug lord, Sin Rostro. (What? It’s a telenovela!) Michael’s life hangs in the balance and Jane is forced to make tough decisions while dealing with Michael’s equally organized mother.
The episode danced around various plot threads presumably meant to sustain the entire season: the continued exploration of faith, how Jane’s desire to know the end affects her journey in life, and how Michael and the paralyzed Petra’s (Yael Grobglas) lives intertwine – all on top of love triangles and drug lords. But the episode let me down just a taste, if only because Michael’s life and death tragedy could have been milked for the entire season, at least. Then again, since Petra is already #Petrafied the show can’t really sustain two paralyzed/comatose patients.
Which brings us to this week’s overall takeaway from “Chapter Forty-Five”: I hate, and will always hate, Michael Cordero! I’ll plant my flag in the ground right now as a Team Rafael (Justin Baldoni) supporter. The guy’s been a massive screw-up in the past, but last season he showed major growth in stepping up to co-parent little Mateo with Jane. Rafael took a backseat last season, with his plotlines dealing with finding his shadowy brother or butting heads – that’s one term with Michael over Jane and Mateo’s affections.
I’ll plant my flag in the ground right now as a Team Rafael supporter.
“Chapter Forty-Five”, with its Up-inspired presentation of Michael and Jane’s life – 3 kids, family trips to the mountains and a cat – serves towards reiterating the burning heart of Jane and Michael’s romance: they belong together; they deserve a HEA (happily ever after). The entire speech surrounding this dream is sweet and serves as another acting showcase for Golden-Globe winner, Gina Rodriguez. But it came at the price of showing us the further adventures of Jane and Michael’s past, starting with Jane canceling their first date. The audience knows they’ll eventually get together and marry, but this episode shows all the warning signs that should have sent Jane running in the other direction.
In a flashback, we learn that apparently the magical 21st birthday kiss between Jane and Michael was never intended to be forever…for Jane. She had her heart set on Sam, a guy she’d been crushing over for “17 months” but whom the audience has never heard of. (Jane the Virgin has a Lord of the Rings-level mythology, but I’m still not recollecting any Sam.) Sam’s also a nice guy who buys Jane books and comes off as less of an unrepentant “Nice Guy.” Unfortunately he comes and goes with nary a whimper from Jane, so guess that 17 months was either A) unmemorable or B) a total plot contrivance. I’m going with B.
Said date with Sam leaves Jane telling Michael a lie about a head cold to cancel their date. Now, because this is a telenovela, Michael arrives at the same time as Jane is leaving with Sam – catching her in her lie. But, I’m positing a new theory: Michael arrives at the same time Jane’s leaving with Sam because he’s a total stalker. Throughout the show’s lifetime Michael’s asserted an ownership of sorts over Jane (full credit for that line goes to the lovely Angelica Bastien). Whether getting upset over Jane’s artificial insemination with “another man’s” child, or telling Jane that talking about Rafael – you know, the father of her son – is too painful for him since it’s reminiscent of their breakup, I can’t fathom why people think Michael the perfect mate for Jane. And he’s the worst cop in history.
If we saw all this in the first episode would this change how we feel about Michael?
We’ve watched Michael screw up his fair share as a police officer, getting fired and rehired, and the Sin Rostro plotline continues to be the show’s biggest outlier, but he outright abuses his power here. He pulls Sam over for an “illegal U-turn” and forces Jane out of the car to explain herself. Jane’s a nice girl, but even she is cognizant of Michael’s weird behavior. She reiterates to him that they barely know each other, something she reminds him of when she later goes to apologize. But Michael, like Christian Gray minus the money, refuses to take no for an answer. No, seriously, he arrives at Jane’s house and demands to kiss her again before challenging her to say “walk away”….which she does. I know Shakespeare said “the path of true love never ran smooth”, but even William would demand Jane run.
Let’s reiterate: he pops up unannounced, abuses his job function, arrives unannounced (again!), and refuses to stop bothering Jane. If we saw all this in the first episode would this change how we feel about Michael? Like the narrator says, does how we arrive at the end affect the journey?
This episode did little more than stoke my hellfires for Michael. Michael is a textbook “Nice Guy,” one whose control is presented through the prism of how supposedly sweet and understanding he is. I’m sure I’ll get a fair share of snark from people saying I don’t know what I’m talking about, and maybe I don’t, but the way this episode was constructed rubbed me the wrong way. Especially since this is meant to remind us why Michael should live. Either way, Michael lives and I’m still hurting.