The Ultimate “Jane the Virgin” Debate: #TeamMichael or #Team Rafael
Jane the Virgin is not a divisive show. It isn’t meant to be so and, for the most part, it brings people together instead of the other way around. But with one topic, I’d say fans are deeply divided.
#TeamMichael or #TeamRafael?
It’s a debate that goes back to the first episodes of the series, back when Jane was just a normal 23-year-old virgin who accidentally was artificially inseminated and got pregnant.
On one side, there was Michael Cordero Jr., Jane’s adorable detective boyfriend. Michael was supportive, goofy, caring, and head-over-heels in love with Jane.
And on the other side was Rafael Solano, Jane’s steaming-hot accidental baby daddy. Raf was a reformed bad-boy who turned out to be passionate, selfless, fun, and helplessly drawn to Jane.
Thus began the love triangle.
Throughout the course of the series’ five seasons, Jane has flipped and flopped between these two men like that sad mermaid tail she was forced to wear in the first episode. (Okay, bad joke. But still, you get the idea.) She was torn between them during the first season, went back to Michael for seasons two and three, and has been with Rafael for the majority of seasons four and five.
But lines were drawn back in season one, and very rarely did people switch sides. You were either #TeamMichael or #TeamRafael to the death. Even when Michael died in the middle of season three, #TeamMichael fans stayed true.
I myself was one of them — die-hard #TeamMichael from the start. I rejoiced when Jane and Michael got married, worried about him when he was shot, wept when he died, and grieved alongside Jane. And while I begrudgingly accepted Michael’s death and Jane’s relationship with Rafael, I never swapped teams.
Then, at the end of season four, it seemed like there was hope. Michael was still alive, and Rafael brought Jane to see him… and that’s how the season ended.
After an excruciatingly long break (Jane’s fifth seasondidn’t premiere until March 2019, after an 11-month hiatus), it was revealed that Michael, at least as we had known him, was gone. He’d lost all memory of his past life and started anew in Montana, as Jason, a ranch hand with a slight accent and a dog named Bo. He didn’t remember Jane at all.
My heart broke, but there was hope. Maybe he would remember. Maybe he and Jane would get back together.
But, in true Jane the Virgin form, that’s not what happened.
Jane told Rafael she needed to figure out her feelings, and tried her best to connect with Michael, ahem, Jason, again. It didn’t work, but Jason stayed. He took Jane on a date and, just as he was leaving Florida, remembered everything. When Jane realized his memories were back, she followed him to Montana for a weekend to see if they still connected. Being there only exacerbated their differences and, after realizing she couldn’t stop thinking about Rafael, Jane and Michael decided to go their separate ways.
Looking at it now, it’s a realistic, adult decision. It’s what would have actually happened if, three years after your husband supposedly died, he came back from the dead and remembered nothing of your life together. Realistic, honest, emotional takes on telenovela tropes is always what Jane has provided — why would Michael’s return be any different?
Regardless, I went through all the stages of grief again as I tried to process what had happened with Michael. First denial. Of course they won’t leave it like this. He’ll come back for Jane. He has to. Then anger. How could the writers do this to us? To me?! Haven’t we been through enough!? Bargaining. I’ll promise to like Rafael more if you just let Michael stay. Depression. Is the show I love so much actually doing this? And finally, acceptance.
The acceptance came slowly — week by week in the episodes after Jane left Montana, and Michael, behind.
I watched as Jane went back to Miami, tried to get Rafael back, failed, went about her life being a mother and a writer, somehow got Rafael back, got engaged, and started to plan another wedding. In doing so, I became okay with the idea of Jane ending up with Rafael. And somehow, I swapped teams.
Well, not so much swapped as, realized the team I’d actually been on all along.
For I’m not really #TeamMichael, deep down, not really. But I’m not #TeamRafael either.
I don’t care if she ends up with Michael, Rafael, Jason, or some rando from the Marbella. I just want Jane to be happy.
I have a theory. What lies at the heart of every good love triangle, every great #TeamSo-And-So debate, is someone we care about more.
Yeah, I adored Michael. And yes, I’ve grown to like Rafael as Jane’s partner. But stronger than either of my feelings for her two suitors is my love for Jane herself.
Jane Gloriana Villanueva is the beating heart, the emotional backbone, the 100% hands-down best part of the entire show.
She’s complicated and emotional, pragmatic and a dreamer. She’s an amazing friend, daughter, and granddaughter, but an even better mother. She’s bright and bubbly, but also honest, hardworking, and incredibly organized. She’s a romantic.
As Rogelio says near the end of season one, “There are many Jesus Christs. There is only one Jane.”
At the end of the day — at the end of the series — my heart lies with our one, our only Jane.
None of the photos in this post are my own.