Major spoilers for the Jane The Virgin Season 4 finale ahead. Jane's life was turned upside down in the Season 4 finale when Michael returned to Jane The Virgin. Because of Rose's involvement, this person who looks remarkably like Michael Cordero Jr. (and is played by Brett Dier) could possibly not be Jane's long-dead husband. But if it is Michael, there are only a couple of theories that could explain his return — and one of those is that Michael faked his own death on Jane The Virgin.
It would be out of character for Michael to betray Jane like that, but the Season 4 cliffhanger means a fake death is definitely on the table. Yet, in a series of interviews after "Chapter 81," showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman seemed to shut down this theory, which means Michael's reappearance is still full of mystery.
Even before Michael's return in the Season 4 finale, some fans, like The Unbalanced's Brandon Daniel, had thought he could still be alive. As blogger Nelou Keramati noted, the predominant theory was that Michael faked his death to go undercover to investigate Sin Rostro. Even if he did that to protect Jane and Mateo, it would have been incredibly cruel of her husband to allow Jane to mourn his death like that. Michael would have been lying to Jane — and every other character, for that matter — for years. In an interview with the showrunner after "Chapter 81" aired, Variety's Danielle Turchiano asked the showrunner directly about that theory. Urman responded, "The truth is not quite that. I feel like that would be horrible, but that's not the story we're moving into."
Still, there are clues that could support that outcome. Looking back, it seems unbelievable that Michael so easily gave up his life's work of being a police detective. He failed his medical examination after his gunshot wound and when he was assigned to desk work, then he quit the police department in "Chapter 52." His death occurs just two episodes later in "Chapter 54" and unreliable narrators — and memories — are a theme of the show. So it's possible that Michael used his fragile medical state as a way to go deep undercover to go after Sin Rostro. But there's another feasible (in the world of Jane The Virgin) explanation for Michael's return that doesn't put the blame for his presumed death on him.
Rose could have kidnapped Michael after he suffered a heart issue during the LSAT. Michael collapsed after his test and the narrator implied that he took his "dying breath" and his heart glow went out. So when a man called Jane to say her husband was dead due to an aortic dissection from his previous gunshot wound, it didn't seem suspicious — especially since the Mayo Clinic notes that aortic dissections are often fatal. But now, it seems possible that the person who called Jane wasn't a doctor, but an associate of Sin Rostro's.
Luisa's girlfriend "Eileen" is introduced for the first time in "Chapter 54" — the same episode of Michael's death. And the narrator almost immediately divulges that Eileen is Rose in disguise, so Sin Rostro was out and about when Michael died. And "Eileen" even provided a hint that Michael could return from the dead when she told Rafael, "That's only if you believe that death is finite."
Before Michael's return in "Chapter 81," Jane reflects on how scared she was when Rose kidnapped Mateo. Rose is obviously a fan of reusing her methods (thus, all those face masks), so this could have been a clue that Rose had also kidnapped Michael and has held him hostage for years. After all, Rose is the one who told Rafael about Michael. And Urman confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that Rose has something to do with Michael's return. "This has to do with her definitely and has to do with where she'll go as well," Urman said.
Urman also confirmed to EW that there's no chance that this Michael is a twin of some sort. But that still means fans will have to wait and see if it's really Michael back from the dead or someone in Sin Rostro's group disguised as him. (Urman confirmed to Deadline that viewers will have that answer the night of the Jane The Virgin Season 5 premiere.) As it would make for more dynamic storytelling if it is actually Michael, it seems likely that Jane's husband is back. If that's the case, he'll have a lot of explaining to do. But instead of being angry at Michael, Urman's words indicate that Sin Rostro may be the real reason why Jane and Michael were kept apart all these years — perhaps proving, yet again, that Rose is the ultimate villain of Jane The Virgin.