While you might have expected the episode after Michael died on Jane the Virgin to focus on the devastating aftermath of Jane's husband's death, the series went in a different direction for "Chapter 55." During the Feb. 13 episode, Jane the Virgin jumped three years into the future, as showrunner Jennie Urman had confirmed it would. The episode started two weeks after Michael's death with Jane mourning and Alba attempting to comfort her, but then the series went to Jane preparing for a wedding (like "Chapter 54" had shown) three years later and stayed there. Although the time jump required some adjusting for viewers of The CW series, the heart of Jane the Virgin — even without Michael — is still very much intact three years later. And actually (please don't hate me, #TeamMichael fans), the time jump helped Jane the Virgin keep its edge.
As much as I loved Jane experiencing domestic bliss with Michael during Season 3, Michael's storyline became a bit stagnant after he could no longer be a detective anymore. And while I could watch Rafael and Petra scheme forever, their relationship and their involvement in the Marbella was in need of a refresh. Plus, did anyone really like the storyline about Jane's cousin Catalina? I adore Jane the Virgin unconditionally, but now that this whole future scenario has played out, I realize how the first half of Season 3 did not contain the series' strongest moments — and that's more than OK (you know, besides the sadness of Michael dying) because it was all leading to this major update.
Understandably, a lot is different in the three years that have passed since Michael's death, so here's a rough rundown. Rogelio and Darci went through with their reality show — The De La Vega Factor Factor — and their wedding was actually the wedding Jane was attending. Yet, rather than the wedding being genuine, Rogelio and Darci now despise each other while off camera and their marriage was a sham purely for ratings. Also, Xo has been portrayed as a villain on The De La Vega Factor Factor, so even though she has been happily living with Bruce, she has been feuding with Rogelio over how she is portrayed on his show.
As for the widow Jane, her son Mateo's bad behavior — in stark contrast to his half-siblings Anna and Ellie (Elsa's new nickname to stop the Frozen comparisons) — is causing significant issues for Jane. While an excellently-bearded Rafael is very involved in raising all three of his children, he is less concerned about Mateo's behavior since he has taken a zen approach to life after serving jail time. Although Jane now considers Rafael her best friend, Jane and Rafael aren't romantically involved because he has a girlfriend of over a year in Minka Kelly's Abbey.
Although Rafael's other baby mama had struggled with motherhood initially, Petra is thriving as a parent now and even rebranded the Marbella to be a kid-friendly destination ("the second Happiest Place On Earth"). Besides being Mom of the Year, Petra has a love-hate relationship with Chuck, the owner of the adults-only hotel next door to the Marbella. While they despise each other, they also are sleeping with one another.
Then, there's Jane. She continued working in book publishing with Chloe after Michael's death, but her dream job turned out to be a nightmare with Chloe being an unreasonably demanding boss. However, the time she put into her career was well worth it since "Chapter 55" had Chloe approving Jane to be part of a writer's showcase that allowed her to read her romance novel about Michael, entitled "Snow Falling." It was completely heartbreaking, but on the bright side, Jane ended the episode with a publisher offering her a book deal.
While I in no way want to brush past Michael's death, Jane the Virgin excelled at balancing the sorrow Jane felt about her husband's passing with the excitement that comes from seeing your favorite characters in new situations and the show will continue to benefit from this change of pace. Yes, I spent the majority of the episode on the verge of tears as little reminders of Michael popped up, but as Alba said, Jane's life was beautiful again three years later — just in different ways. And isn't that how Michael would have wanted it?