WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Monday night's episode of "Jane the Virgin." Do not read ahead if you don't want to be spoiled.
Fans of CW series "Jane the Virgin" are officially in mourning, after the show killed off one of its main characters on Monday night in a shocking, out-of-nowhere twist.
Yes, Michael (Brett Dier) is really dead, the result of an undiagnosed heart condition that sprung up after he was shot in the season two finale. The show had been hinting at Michael's demise since way back in season one, when the narrator teased that the character would love Jane (Gina Rodriguez) "until he drew his very last breath." But even with more recent hints about a dark fate for Michael, the events that unfolded last night -- particularly in an episode that seemed so mundane, and featured lots of PDA between Jane and Michael -- were still a complete shock to viewers.
Reaction on social media ranged from disbelief to anger to utter devastation.
I don't want to talk about it.— Rogelio De La Vega (@RogelioDeLaVega) February 7, 2017
Jane the Virgin writers must be taking tips from Shonda Rhimes b/c that was some straight up Shonda shit and I'm hurt. #janethevirgin— Regine (@xoxoraae) February 7, 2017
Dier, as well as his fellow cast members, also shared their reactions to the shocking storyline, with Dier thanking fans for their support.
I have had such an incredible time on this show. It was one of the biggest moments of my life. Playing Michael has been a life changing experience, and I'm so thankful for it. I appreciate all my fans support, and all the beautiful tweets and comments about my characters journey. This cast and crew, writers and directors, I will never forget. You guys are truly incredible people. And I'm so glad I got to meet you, grow with you and have you all in my life. Most giving, generous group I've ever encountered. I will love you all forever. Truly. @jaimecamil @hereisgina @ivonnecollofficial @andreanavedo @yaelgrobglas @justinbaldoni @azietesfai @yaritafrita @meganketch @bridgetregan @bradsilberling @melaniemayron Michael. You felt like a part of me, and I always thought it was nuts when actors said that. But I get it. You will always be in my heart. Lots of love everybody.❤️ and thank you for this experience Jennie Urman. So grateful.
And thank you AGAIN to all the fans for supporting me. :) it means the world to me. Lots and lots of love! #ripmichael— brett dier (@Brettdier) February 7, 2017
"Jane" creator Jennie Snyder Urman wrote a letter to fans explaining the decision to kill off the character, noting that it was something she'd planned since the beginning of the series. It was a difficult choice, Urman wrote, but ultimately one she felt was best for both the show and for its titular heroine's journey.
"Originally, I thought Michael would die earlier. But Brett is such an incredible actor – he gave us such great comedy and drama and first-rate exposition delivery (!), often all in one scene. And he and Gina... well, there's that word again – magic. So, we changed some things in the writers' room. Jane and Michael got married. They had sex. They moved into their first home. And I'm so glad we did that and I'm so glad all those firsts for Jane were with Michael. But this is a telenovela, as we so frequently remind you. And we are only at our midpoint.
You'll recall, back in the pilot, Jane was on a path. Things were mapped out. And then she was accidentally artificially inseminated and everything changed. Well now, everything is changing again. How does our romance-loving hero move on, how does she get back the light and the hope...?"
In a series of interviews following the episode, Urman also said that the three-year time jump that was tacked on to the end of the hour -- featuring Jane getting ready for a mysterious wedding, and a 4-year-old Matteo -- would be a permanent one, though there would be many flashbacks (including ones featuring Michael) over the coming episodes that deal directly with Jane's grief and the immediate aftermath of Michael's death. The showrunner told TVLine that she thought the storyline brought the series to its midway point, and added that the time jump would allow the show to explore some exciting new material.
"Three years has allowed Jane to grow and heal, and the pain of Michael's death is not going to subsume our narrative or our comedy. We can't live in just how dark that was. But we can visit it a lot, and we do flash back to what happened right after he died, and a month after he died. We'll be filling in holes about how she recovered, and how she started to push herself forward, as well as everyone else. But what the three-year jump does that I'm most excited about is that every single character is in a different place and has had a lot of experiences that are surprising and a lot of different tensions and relationships. It gives us a refresher and allows us to move the show forward with a lot of surprises and excitement and fun."
Here's hoping fans can start to heal, too.