The CW’s Jane the Virgin returns for season three tonight, and with it, the most compelling love triangle on television today.
The utterly delightful Jane Gloriana Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) is torn between two men: Michael Cordero (Brett Dier), her first love who may or may not have just been shot to death on their wedding night (it’s a long story), and Rafael Solano (Justin Baldoni), the father of her son Mateo (who Jane, still a virgin, conceived via accidental artificial insemination by Rafael’s gynecologist sister—again, long story).
But for some Jane fans, this isn’t a choice at all. Allow five Fusion staffers to explain why our heroine needs to end up with Rafael, the reformed bad boy with impossibly good looks and an impossibly big heart. (Counterpoint: Here’s why you should be #TeamMichael.)
Like a lot of people, I used to be Team Michael. He was so sweet and sensitive! He understood Jane! They had a life together! Blah blah blah blah blah. But Michael is the past. Rafael is the future. He’s been on a season-long redemption-and-growing-up tour and made a string of good decisions—like the choice to stay silent about his love for Jane at the wedding, a VERY wise move—all while juggling three different children he didn’t plan for but loves dearly and is trying to raise right. Raf is there for the long haul. I mean, he was about to let Jane, the most perfect person in the world, go off with Michael! What more do you need, people?
Don’t get me wrong, Michael is fine—even if he has let a string of partners double-cross him, is bound to drag Jane into ever-shadier business with Sin Rostro, and—oh yeah—is in a coma. (If ever there was a sign from the universe…) But his time has come and gone. It’s Rafael’s time now.
Rafael is a bad boy gone “good.” Through the show, he’s really grown up to be the man his father didn’t think he could be. He stepped up to his responsibilities as a dad and as a man. He could have taken Jane’s virginity, but he didn’t. He could have thrown a fit about moving to Miramar, but he accepted it. And he could have told Jane how he really felt, but alas, he bit his lip and accepted that her happiness is more important than his.
Michael, however, slept with his partner practically the day after they broke up.
If I’m being honest, the first reason to be Team Rafael is his muscles. I’m no saint, dear readers.
Michael is the starter relationship. He’s the first guy that takes you on a stroll in the moonlight; the first guy your family meets; the first guy who you reach a year with. The first person isn’t always right. It’s all these bourgeoisie trappings of romance without the substance anchored in the real world. I would like to note that learning his vows in Spanish—but not actually learning Spanish—is a symptom of this.
Rafael is the grown-up relationship. He understands that love isn’t just about the romantic things; it needs more to thrive. He wants to be a present dad and a present partner, more than he ever had. Love is a choice every day—and not one that survives because it snowed in Miami when you kissed. I know asking for logic from a telenovela is futile, but I hold out hope for Rafael and Jane. This isn’t meant as a dismissal of his relationship crimes, but I do. (Honestly, this is a flawed choice though, #TeamMateo.)
Choosing between Michael and Rafael is like making a death pact: How would you like to die? Given the choice between spending your living years with a smarmy goody two-shoes who would lord his “goodness” over you until your last breath or the swole idiot who wears sweaters in Miami year-round and the father of your child whose murderous family would likely have a hand in your untimely demise, you choose the hot one.
Michael is a great guy, who should under no circumstances get to be with Jane Gloriana Villanueva.
Sure, he is probably going to be a great husband and father and a solid person who gives money to charity every Christmas. Sure, that makes him an easy person to root for. But Jane Villanueva feels like our friend. We know about her childhood, and her tears, and her novelist ambitions. And Michael, because he is dependable and safe, is a hard person to tell your friend not to marry. But don’t you want someone better for your friend Jane than just someone there’s nothing glaringly wrong with?
What makes Jane great isn’t that she is good, though she undeniably and certainly is. What makes Jane great is that she is not only good, but she still harbors a dream version of herself. She is still an achiever. She still wants to be the best, but she has no intention of kicking other people down to get there.
When I say I’m Team Rafael, what I really mean is that I am Team Jane. I want Jane to be pushed into greatness of her own: greatness as a writer, greatness as a mother, greatness as a friend. Rafael does that. Jane needs that way more than she needs someone who is undeniably good.