Spoilers for the Jane the Virgin Season 4 finale.
Just when you thought Jane the Virgin had pulled out all the stops, a scruffy-faced Michael Cordero (Brett Dier) turns back up in a classic cliffhanger. The finale of Jane The Virgin Season 4, "Chapter Eighty-One," features several plot twists, including an off-camera intruder who tries to shoot JR and Petra, a thwarted proposal, a last-minute wedding of convenience (congratulations, "Abla"!), and a murder confession. But the biggest shoe to drop, of course, is that it looks as if Michael is very much alive. There are plenty of theories floating around about how he apparently rose from the grave, including an argument that Sin Rostro faked Michael's death on Jane The Virgin.
According to a theory presented by Thecheetahwings on Reddit, Michael may have been poisoned by Rose/Sin Rostro (Bridget Regan) and then kidnapped. When fans saw him looking ill before collapsing during his LSATs back in Season 3, Episode 10, perhaps that was actually the result of poison and not an aortic dissection, which was his declared cause of death. Not to mention that leading up to Michael's fall, fans see him struggle to keep up with Rafael (Justin Baldoni) at the gym, although he had supposedly recovered from surgery. Does this also imply that something more sinister was at work?
If it's true that Michael was poisoned, how did Sin Rostro orchestrate that very convincing scene? "Rose faked her death by giving her own face to someone new," Thecheetahwings continued in the same Reddit comment. "This means that she could've killed a random man & gave him MICHAEL's face, which allows for him to be pronounced dead & buried."
If this theory is correct, that means Michael was kidnapped by Sin Rostro, who then replaced his body with a lookalike — presumably someone who was already dead — after he collapsed from the poison. The longstanding villain in Jane the Virgin, Rose has also been known to deploy elaborate disguises in her schemes, so this argument is not out of the question.
The same Redditor also reminded readers that the audience never sees Michael being taken to the hospital — only Jane's reaction when she hears the news. Could the doctor she spoke to on the phone be an associate of Sin Rostro, as well? Was it even a doctor at all?
In a lengthy post, blogger Nelou Keramati also points out that, at the funeral, Michael is never shown in the casket, which seems fishy. "If Michael was truly gone, the writers would've milked his death instead of skipping immediately to 3 years later," she wrote.
Then there are the references to the unreliable narrator preceding Michael's death back in Season 3, Episode 10. Keramati pointed out the episode's reference to James Frey's memoir, A Million Little Pieces, much of which was allegedly invented, per The New York Times. Then there are several instances where the narrator seems to be misremembering things that happened. Keramati quoted the opening narration of his death episode, which says, “Looking back, you could say it felt different right away. Which might be true. Or might just be memory.”
"Here, we are led to believe that the first line of this episode is about Michael’s childhood and trick or treating," Keramati explained. "But I think the narrator is actually talking about Jane, and how she suspected something was off with Michael the day before he allegedly died." Allegedly.
And after Jane has a breakthrough with her book in "Chapter Eighty-One," where she decides to combine all of her preceding manuscripts into one generation-spanning epic, it's implied that Jane is the author of Jane the Virgin (although not necessarily the narrator). This means the viewer may be getting a faulty — or at the very least, biased — account of what actually happened.
So what does all of this mean for Rafael and Jane's future? As you will recall, Rafael was getting ready to propose to Jane before he got the mysterious call from Rose. But perhaps Michael won't remember Jane, as another popular theory holds. Or maybe it isn't Michael at all but someone in disguise, like Redditor ZaktheRipper put forth.
The Jane the Virgin cast and crew, however, are being really tight-lipped about any potential Season 5 spoilers. When Justin Baldoni (Rafael) was asked by Cosmopolitan about Michael's identity, he said, "I have to be really, really quiet about it." However The CW decides to conclude this five-season saga, audiences will probably have until October to ruminate over what its final season has in store.