Weeks ago, fans of Jane the Virgin suffered their greatest heartbreak yet. However, after having time to process it all, here is why we think you shouldn’t move on just yet.
Obvious spoilers ahead.
The life and death of Michael Cordero Jr.
When Michael Cordero Jr. was 29 years old, he died of an aortic dissection, complications from being shot in the chest. He was married to and loved Jane Villanueva-Cordero with all his heart, but in the end it was his heart that failed him. Or so, we as the audience, are made to believe.
It was his new partner, Susana Barnett, the quirky and loud southerner from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who shot Michael. He figured out that she was lying to him. Susana wasn’t from Tuscaloosa at all. In fact, he wasn’t even sure Susana was her real name. It was she that leaked information on him and The Marbella, getting him in hot water at work. Unfortunately, Michael was not conscious or present for the reveal that his assumptions were correct. Susana was not who she said she was at all, but rather the evil drug lord Sin Rostro in disguise.
Happily enough, Michael lived to tell the tale. He lived long enough to make love with his new bride, Jane, the virgin mother. Michael stuck around long enough to watch his adoptive son, Mateo, speak his first words. He even survived through losing his job and having to rediscover his calling in life. Sadly, Michael did not live long enough to fulfill his new purpose of being a lawyer. He died, tragically, leaving Jane a widow, and audiences heartbroken.
Or did he?
I’m here to state the case that Michael Cordero Jr. is still alive and well. Or, rather, as well as he can be for someone who has pretended to die to protect his family.
1. The physical that made no sense
Working as a detective for the Miami Police Department, Michael had been ordered to lie to those he loves for his work before. He set out on an undercover mission to Mexico to catch Sin Rostro with his former partner, Nadine. Sadly, this mission resulted in her demise. When he returned from Mexico, he did not tell the truth of his whereabouts until he was in the clear and able to do so without endangering his family and securing his job. However, his safety did not remain long-winded.
Now, the stakes are higher than ever. Michael has vital information on the Sin Rostro case. He spent large amounts of time with her while she was in disguise as Susana. The MPD can’t possibly afford to lose him after what he went through, no matter the results of a physical.
If that whole situation didn’t confuse me enough, there was even more that pulled at my brain uncomfortably. Michael would have passed his physical. He was working hard, and he was training. When he didn’t pass, I was sad for him. He still had so much left to do. What really turned everything on its head for me, though, was the episode where Michael and Rafael went to the gym together. Yes, we know that Raf is a body-builder to the max who uses exercising as a coping mechanism. That doesn’t make Michael some couch potato, though. It felt as though the show was going out of its way to show how extremely inept Michael was physically. Even more than that, it seemed like Michael was trying to convince us he wasn’t okay. Why?
What if Michael did pass his physical and was back at work? Michael may be leading the Sin Rostro case in secret, under witness protection. What if his stress about the LSAT had nothing to do with studying at all, and more to do with the fact that he was getting ready to fake his death to save his family? What if Michael is still alive? For the last three years, Michael may have been working desperately to keep those he loves safe.
2. The partner and ‘friend,’ Dennis
I think I speak for most everyone when I say that when Dennis came into Jane’s life, I was upset and confused. Especially this last week when the two of them started flirting it up. I know I should have been happy that she found a friend to support her and lean on. It was just a really hard time for me, and for Jane herself. The situation wasn’t made any better when we found out Dennis was rifling through Michael’s stuff behind Jane’s back.
For a long time, Jane felt betrayed, and she had every right to. Supposedly, Dennis was gathering evidence to clear Michael’s name. A worthy cause, but something about it never tasted quite right. Why did Michael’s name need to be cleared? He had obviously proved himself worthy to the department time and time again with his evidence and cooperation. So did Dennis possibly have another motive for looking after Jane and for getting all the information on Sin Rostro that Michael possessed?
My theory is that Michael asked Dennis to check up on Jane in the months after he faked his death. Help her move on. I think initially his intentions were pure of heart. As time went on, and Michael worked on the Sin Rostro case from isolation, he needed all his notes. Michael had to send Dennis to get everything on his behalf. Dennis already had one foot in the door. It wasn’t as though Michael could show up and get everything himself. It was a good plan. However, Dennis was caught, and Michael’s eye in the Villanueva-Cordero household was lost.
3. The ‘unreliable’ narrator
The narrator of Jane the Virgin is one of the most important characters. He is heard often, in every episode to date, but never seen. He tells us what we need to know about the characters we love and hate. Sometimes he shares with us more than the characters know themselves. Often, he shares even less. However, all in all, Anthony Mendez has proved to be a very reliable narrator. He has never lied to us, never deceived, and never kept us out of the loop for longer than needed. Although, around the time that Michael died, there was a very important debate the narrator was making regarding “unreliable narrators.”
The episode starts off with an unreliable Michael, claiming to remember his seventh Halloween like it was yesterday. Jane, however, counters his statement, and the narrator backs her up with some facts about flash-bulb memories: “Memories around big events seem clearer, but the periphery disappears. You remember the feeling, not the details.”
This theme is rehashed throughout the entire episode. When competing for a new job, Jane must review a manuscript of a memoir that ends up being filled with false claims. Another debunked memoir by an author, James Fry, is mentioned. Jane’s menstrual period is late and she falsely believes she might be pregnant. At the same time, Jane and Michael try to accurately remember and reenact their first date together.
As you can see, the entire episode is riddled with ideas of trying to see what is real compared to what is made up or inaccurate. “You can trust me,” the narrator says within the first minute of the episode. I beg to differ. I think that, for once, we cannot.
Is Michael Cordero alive, or should fans of ‘Jane the Virgin’ move on and accept his death?
A special thank you to Hypable.com reader, Erica, for insight on theories and the idea for this article!