[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 5 premiere of Jane the Virgin! Read at your own risk!]
What is worse: Discovering, right as you're about to move in with and propose to your boyfriend, that the husband you thought died four years ago is still alive? Or discovering that the husband you thought died four years ago is still alive and has no memory of who he is, who you are, or the incredible love story you once shared?
After nearly a year off the air, Jane the Virgin returned Wednesday for its fifth and final season, and the incredibly emotional hour, "Chapter Eighty-Two," picked up right where the shocking Season 4 finale left off. To say that Jane (Gina Rodriguez) was visibly shaken by Michael's (Brett Dier) sudden return is kind of an understatement. The girl actually fainted! (And honestly, who could blame her?) When she came to, Jane learned that Michael has amnesia and goes by the name Jason now — after Jason Bourne, obviously.
Apparently, Rose (Bridget Regan) — it always comes back to Rose, doesn't it? — faked Michael's death and then used electroshock therapy on his hippocampus and temporal lobe until he forgot everything about the man he was. He woke up in a field in the middle of Montana four years ago, and he has no memory of his life before that point. Perhaps what's most shocking about all of this, though, is that Jason is a dog person! Poor Faith & Whiskers.
Now, we don't know why Rose did this to Michael, but we have to admit that at least one good thing came out of it; as Jane tried to work through her spiraling emotions and process everything that had happened, Gina Rodriguez put on a masterclass in acting by delivering an impressive seven-minute monologue all in one take. We already knew that Rodriguez was an immensely talented actress, but seeing her take Jane through such a range of emotions like that really was something else. Seriously, give that woman the Emmy right now!
The episode also saw Jane attempt to jog Michael's memory by taking him around town to important places from their past, but nothing worked. Eventually, Jane recommitted to her relationship with Rafael in a moment that mirrored her proposal to Michael in the series premiere, right down to a yellow dress, but the entire episode left us with even more questions than we had when it started. So TV Guide spoke with creator Jennie Snyder Urman about how Michael's amnesia will continue to affect Jane this season, that incredible "mic-drop moment" of a monologue, and what else to expect from that evil mastermind Rose. Read on to see what she had to say!
Michael has no memory of who he is or of Jane, so how is Jane going to cope with this?
Jennie Snyder Urman: You know, it's such a crazy thing amnesia, and it's such a trope. But when you start to think, how would I feel? What would that be like, to look at someone who you love who is looking back at you with nothing is so disorienting. And it really tears Jane apart on every level. What is her responsibility to him? Is she still married? Is she not? It throws her relationship with Rafael (Justin Baldoni) into flux. It changes every aspect of her life, his return, and what her responsibility is. Is there some part of him that's in there? Is it her that has to draw that out? Does she want that drawn out, because if he comes back and it is Michael, then her whole life could change again. So it gives us just an emotional spine for the season and new avenues of emotion to mine.
You gave Gina that long, incredible monologue. How long have you been planning that? And what did you want to accomplish with it?
Urman: We were breaking the first episode and I was thinking about it, and I think I went home and I was thinking about it and then I just threw it out to the writers, because how can [Jane] process this? What would you say? ... I just think she'd be stunned and I'm always trying to, like, imagine if I was in that situation — it was very hard to imagine. I would look at my husband and I'd be like, "He doesn't remember me. I'm a stranger." [laughs] And then, you know, he'd be like, "Jennie, why are you staring at me?" But the monologue, I was suddenly like, what if we do one act of the show where she's just processing this? And we have Gina, who can take you from laughter to tears. And the room was into the idea. So I just kind of went home and wrote it.
What was it like in the room when Gina was doing it at the table read after memorizing it so quickly?
Urman: It was awesome. It was like a mic-drop moment. Because it was like, oh, no one's going to come to set not knowing their lines. She's at the table read with this seven-page monologue that she just... Our cast was like, "Whoa!" cause everybody loves each other and is really rooting for each other.
It just felt like this is the fifth season, let's do all the things. What haven't I seen her do yet, was in my mind. Because I know she can do it. And you know, what haven't I done as a writer yet? Because that's exciting as well. And also, what other event could promise such a monologue except your husband returning from the dead? Like, how to f---ing process that? So it really came out of, like, what is the response to that? Because I'd have a full f---ing meltdown, you know? ... And what does her meltdown look like? That'll be an act and [a] fun way to dramatize an internal meltdown where every single thing you thought was true is now false.
How is Michael's return going to affect Rogelio? They had such a bromance!
Urman: I think the only person as surprised and shocked as Jane is Rogelio (Jaime Camil). Obviously he has a really hard time with his best friend not knowing him. And that's something he has to grapple with too. And also, he has also built a relationship with Rafael. It's not as strong, but there is one. And he also has to take himself a little out of the equation because of Jane's dilemma. But obviously there's a lot of joy because his best brogelio comes back.
Rose is revealed to be behind Michael's amnesia. She's been the villain for the whole series, so what does her arc look like through the rest of the series since she's the Big Bad? What's she up to?
Urman: Yes she is, and I just have to say how much I love Bridget Regan. She, in that first episode, when she sort of gives like a bad guy impression of "He lives!!" and has fun with it, she's just delicious in all her lines. So that's why in the first season I was like we're sticking with this person and this story. But she also is ruled by love, as we know. She really loves Luisa (Yara Martinez). And she has a plan. A big plan. And you're going to see it come to fruition throughout this year.
Jane the Virgin airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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