I jumped into Jane the Virgin train quite recently and started to watch the show for the first time earlier this spring. Show is now on it´s fifth and final season and I recently returned to season 1 to enjoy the awesomeness of JTV. I must also admit I´ve read few spoilers but do not worry. I shall not reveal anything I´ve read. If there is one character who has rubbed me the wrong way in this show that is Jane´s passed away and recently resurrected husband Michael Cordero.
Before I get into any further in my essay I´d like to address that I think Brett Dier who plays Michael is a hilarious guy and a great actor. This fandom is pretty heated and I find it appaling how some fans make fun of the actors of the show simply because they don´t like the characters they are playing.
I have so many problems with Michael´s character but I think my biggest issue overall is the inconsistancy of writing. I feel like I know all the characters except Michael. I know who Rafael is and I know why he gets dark and depressive at times. I know why Jane is judgy. I know why Petra behaves like she does and I know why Rogelio is so addicted to fame but I do not know who is Michael Cordero. Is he a good or a bad guy or is he both?
Shady Cop Michael
In season 1 Michael is definitely a bad guy. When Jane got accidentally inseminated with Rafael´s sperm Michael´s first reaction was to tell her to get an abortion. This statement by itself made me hate him. Of course he is mad, but it is Jane´s decision to keep the child or not. He also told Jane to quit her job at Rafael´s hotel to which Jane said that she would not like to start all over again and afterwards it is disheartening to see that she actually starts writing job applications (but eventually she changes her mind and stays at the Marbella). Michael´s actions here are both selfish and manipulative.
Michael develops extreme hatred towards Jane´s baby daddy Rafael. When a murder takes place at the Marbella Michael tampers with the evidence. When Jane decides to give baby away to Rafael and Petra because she believes they are a good solid couple Michael does not tell Jane that Petra is actually cheating Rafael. This is because he wants Jane to give the baby away. When Rafael and Petra file for divorce Michael actually laughs at Rafael and makes fun of him and his failed marriage. When Jane breaks up with Michael and starts to date Rafael that is when all hell breaks loose. Michael stalks them. He becomes obsessed over Rafael. He wants to destroy him and prove that Rafael is the bad guy. He breaks into his appartement and covers up Petra. He even manipulates Xiomara by helping Alba just so that Xo would like him more than Rafael and he tries to make Jane believe that Rafael is Sin Rostro the dangerous drug lord and Jane believes him.
During pretty much the whole season Michael sabotages Jane and Raf´s relationship. Michael is convinced that Rafael is Sin Rostro. He hires his even shadier brother Billy to do dig all kinds of dirt from Rafael but Billy doesn´t find anything. There are times when Michael makes deals with Petra and at times he blackmails her. He continually abuses his power as a law enforcement officer. Things that Michael says are possessive over Jane. He is constantly trying to convice her that they should be together (and that Rafael is a terrible person). I see this relationship as toxic as Luisa has with Rose.
Yikes! Do not fight in front of the baby!
On season 2 Jane once again is wondering should she choose Rafael or Michael. Originally Michael´s character was supposed to die in the first season but writers and some of the fans liked his character (or should I say they liked Brett Dier) so he ended up staying much longer. Jane married Michael in the end of the second season and his character was killed on the third season. Because of this I suppose the writers made an u-turn with his character. Second season Michael is problematic. Even when he and Jane are together there are times when he gets jealous about Jane and Rafael. There is a scene where Michael gets fired, because Rafael made a claim about him and I can´t blame Raf since Michael was horrible towards him.
Naturally Michael is angry but if you are bad cop you´ll get fired. Michael hits Rafael in front of his son and Mateo gets hurt in the process. I don´t know who I hate more here Michael or Jane because she forgave him. Not to mention on season 2 Michael was constantly trying to stop Rafael bonding with Mateo. Michael does some pretty awful things but now he is framed to be the hero and these actions are praised and not questioned.
3rd Season Michael is the most boring person I´ve ever watched and Jane becomes boring with him. He is written to be a saint without any flaws, Pollyanna/Mary Sue/Gary Stu type of character and I hate to say this but sometimes I feel like writers made him to be some kind of white savior of the Villanueva family. Which by itself is very problematic. Even though I don´t approve season 1 Michael´s behavior I still find him more interesting to watch than in later seasons because he has flaws and that makes him more human. Unlike other leading male characters in the show like Rafael and Rogelio, Michael skips the growth process completely.
Hollywood Loves Sexual Harrasment
First episode of the third season of JTV really made me loath Michael Cordero. Michael is in a coma and I guess at this point we are suppose to feel sorry about his character. In the backflashes we see now younger Jane having a crush to a guy named Sam. Apparentally Jane has had this crush for 17 months. Michael and Jane had shared a birthday kiss and when Michael contacts Jane she is not that interested anymore since Sam is finally asking her out. So she sends a message to Michael saying she is ill but really she is off to meet Sam.
When Jane and Sam are driving Michael pulls them over and he tells Sam that he made an illegal U-Turn. Only offence that poor Sam did was to sit in the same car with Jane.
I think we are being followed
well hello there...
Jane is a smart girl and she asks if Michael is a stalker and he says no he is not a stalker he just wanted to bring her some soup made with family recipe since he thought she was ill. Michael is angry and frustrated because she lied to her. If we count all the times that Michael lied to Jane on season 1, Jane´s one white lie doesn´t sound too bad.
Next day Jane goes to the police station to apologize (Catholic guilt?) The fact the she feels need to apologize is unsettling. If you tell to a guy that you are sick when you are not, that is pretty clear sign that you are not interested about them. But this takes us back to the biggest problem with Michael´s and Jane´s relationship. Michael is always right and Jane needs to do what he says.
In the back yard of the police station Jane is very honest with Michael and says that she wants to explore her relationship with Sam and Michael says that he is not interested in being in a love triangle to which Jane says that it is not a love triangle because she doesn´t even know Michael. Why Michael jumps straight into a love triangle when they don´t even know each others yet? Why Jane needs Michael´s permission to go out with his crush or why she even needs a validation from him?
Later Michael comes apologizing and when Jane tells him to walk away he says No..he is not going to walk away because he is a fighter and then he kisses her. This scene repeates very unsettling pattern that we see in season 1 and 2. These scenes are often framed as seductions. It is the dynamic of a predator and pray. There are several moments in this backflash scene where Jane directly and inderectly indicates that she is not interested from Michael´s advances. Michael ignores and disregards her each time. Some viewers probably object this and say that Jane secretly wants him and therefore it is okay for Michael to disregard her feelings. It all goes down to the assumption that when women say no they don´t really mean it or that it is just part of some courtship game where girl´s play hard to get and this implication justifies men to continue until they finally give in.
That if we the viewers are meant to root for Jane and Michael or get creepy vibes from this episode remains unanswered. If we are suppose to believe that they are meant to be based on this scene, show completely fails to sell it.
Are we really suppose to feel sorry for this douch or feel sad that he died? This episode left a really bad taste to my mouth. On JTV forum I came across with some Michael fan who said that his jealousy through out the show was cute. Anyone who thinks like this has a pretty narrow ideas about love, romance and healthy relationships. I have been stalked and I know other women who have been stalked. There is nothing sweet or romantic about it. Usually stalkers don´t like too independent women and they put lots of emotional pressure over the objects of their desire.
What does it tells about our society that within recent years there has been so many ”teen romance” movies like Kisssing Booth where the leading character actually ends up with a guy who is extremely obsessive and manipulative over her or Sierra Burgess is a looser where Sierra who is a female version of season 1 Michael Cordero ends up with a guy who she has been stalking. Since Michael´s character is basically re-written to be much nicer person for some people that actually justifies his behavior as a social norm and supports archaic ideas on masculinity. The fact that stalking and men being intrusive over women is such a common theme in movies and tv shows does have it´s effect on the society. For anyone who is reading this even if JTV would not address this sickly part of Michael I hope you will be aware how common this trope is, especially in romantic comedies.
Who is Michael Cordero
I see two ways here. Either the writing on season 2 and 3 was just bad and season 5 Michael continues to be some sort of a boring saint or it had been planned since the beginning to make Michael a two-faced character. Jennie Urman the creator of the show has revealed that since Michael´s character died she had planned to bring him back at some point. Bringing someone back from the death is definitely a telenovela trope.
There has been lots of very interesting and entertaining theories going about Michael. One of the very popular ones is that Michael has been a bad guy since the beginnig or that he was working for Sin Rostro but fell in love with Jane on the way. Some people have also suggested that he is FBI or CSI agent who has been working undercover. Remembering that Michael was a terrible cop who was suspended few times I have really hard time to believe this. Jane the Virgin has always been good at addressing social issues like immigration, different views on sexuality, power structures in relationship, women´s relationship to their bodies, discrimination under Trump administration and even white-washing in Hollywood. Since JTV is very self-aware show I will be very dissappointed if Michael´s stalker-like, creepy behavior is not addressed or questioned. Not to mentioned there is a big group of people who seem to be completely blind to his behavior. Talk about group amnesia. Abusive people don´t change over night especially after a lifetime of being a dick.
I think it would be an interesting twist to see Michael being evil or a villain or maybe a redeemed villain. When Michael´s character suddenly changes and even before that, he does not take any responsibilities from any of his actions and neither we get an explanation why behaves the way he does. If we compare his narrative to Rafael, Raf has done a fair share of mistakes. He has gone through hell in the show and he has grown as a person. I still find Rafael´s character more interesting to watch because he is not perfect and he feels more real. Since the writers of the show wanted to keep Michael alive longer at least they could have done way more with him and give him story arc with some growth in it.
If anyone asks I´m on #TeamBo
Last episode (4 from season 5) gave me hope. In the end of the episode Rafael remembered things from their past and we are shown the scene where Michael hit Rafael in season 2. I was bit bummed that they brought Michael back but if the show is finally going to address Michael´s unhealthy obsession over Jane I´m all for it. I was very proud of Rafael in this episode. He said Jane exactly what she needed to hear. It was hard for him when he chose Michael and he is not going to re-live that again. This is my other big problem with Jane and Michael´s relationship. In season 1 Michael is constantly trying to manipulate Jane and many times she does exactly what he says. In season 2 and 3 when Jane ends up with Michael her character does not grow or evolve. It is compelete opposite to her relationship with Rafael were they lovers or friends because her character grows each time when she is with him.
Then the big question: is Michael undercover or a villain or is he a Pollyanna Michael?
In season one Michael´s brother Billy reminds Michael of his dark past in the engament party. Later in the season Michael pays Billy to dig dirt about Rafael. Since Michael´s character was changed in season 2 we never see Billy again after season 1.
When Michael talks to Jane the lingo is similar to the way Rose talks to Luisa everytime when she wants her back. In the first season when Michael is in the hospithal he tells Jane that he doesn´t love Rafael and they belong together or that they are soul mates. This is similar to Rose´s manipulative behavior. In the season 3 coma episode Michael´s actions are not too different to the way Rose is possessive over Luisa.
I think there´s gotta be some other reason why Rose kept Michael alive all these years. It could not been just to make Rafael suffer again. Most viewers at this point are annoyed with the love triangle.
Michael being this super boring guy/ perfect guy who doesn´t do any mistakes doesn´t really fit into the whole telenovela trope so I wish that there is a massive revelation made about him. It might make people flip but that is what this show does. I am tired of people ass-kissing this terrible character.
The pilot itself is pretty interesting. If you pay close attention Michael is the only one who doesn´t get a typed info. Every other character gets one, Jane, Rafael, Petra, Xo, Alba and even Roman Zazo get character descriptions.
In the end of the pilot after Jane has proposed Michael this is what the Latin Lover Narrator says:
in that moment, in the hands of the man she thought she knew so well Jane Gloriana Villanueva really believed that to be true
That if the pilot foreshadows season 5 is questionable but I felt that it was framed similarly to the end of the last e4 s5 where we are once again asked the question is Michael a good or a bad guy.
Ever since Billy pulled Michael to the side and told him ”everyone here thinks you are such a good guy” I´ve been waiting to hear Michael´s back story. In season 1 Michael explained Jane that he and his brother sold stolen car parts but he decided to be a better person and left that life. Yet, there are moments in each three season that tell the opposite.
On their first round Jane and Rafael were together about 6 months (autumn 2014-spring 2015) all this time Michael is trying to sabotage their relationship.
Michael´s character has not get an in depth back story like pretty much everyone else on JTV. We find out in the end of the season 2 that Michael´s parents broke up when he was in highschool and that lead him into illegal activities. This is all we know about him and that he has a brother named Billy who he doesn´t like.
I think Brett Dier said it best:
”Michael is either a cop or he is in love with Jane”
Based on everything I´ve mentioned I think it is pretty fair to say that Michael Cordero is a very bad cop and his love for Jane sounds more like an obsession.
"You got me suspended"
"and you followed Rafael when you were told not to"
For a brief moment I actually shipped these two. Didn´t Nadine die when she took a bullet over Michael? She would have deserved better.
There is lots of symbolism and foreshadowing in Jane the Virgin, like Jane wearing yellow when she makes big romantic gestures and flower petals, snow falling and glowing hearts. One of my favorite symbols are names. Michael´s name actually fits to the two-faced guy theory.
Both Michael and Rafael have names of arch angels. Rafael is the arch angel of healing and Michael is the angel who leads the war against Satan. In this case satan or the devil could be Rose/ Sin Rostro. Case that was the biggest case of Michael´s career but is there more in Sin Rostro case? Is Michael a double agent? What if there is something more sinister in Michael´s past that is the devil that he is fighting against for? I was very exited when I heard that this season would have more season 1 feeling into it and I must say, season one was intense and Michael was written to be a very complex character and I enjoyed watching him.
Michael´s last name Cordero means ”sheep” in Spanish and it can be related to expression ”lobo con piel de corder” ”sheep in wolves clothes”. When Michael´s character was created he was a suppose to be a villain and die early on and in that sense the name is appropriate but complete change in Michael´s character in later seasons has not managed shake off this creepy feeling I have about him. If we think about police men in general they are obeyd to follow the rules like sheeps but the cop Michael doesn´t do this.
If I think about the way JTV has handled more serious issues in it´s later seasons I do hope that Michael´s behavior is finally questioned. For example if we think about the professor Chavez trope in season 2 and the way it was touched again in season 4 the tone is compelete opposite. The story was re-written again to point out deeper problems. Will Jane the Virgin confronts Michael´s controversial behavior? I don´t hold my breath but I have my fingers crossed maybe I can finally find out who the heck is Michael Cordero.
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.
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