Rafael or Michael? A Case for Each Side of the 'Jane the Virgin' Endgame Debate

Shabnaj Chowdhury
Greg Gayne/The CW

The central love triangle of Jane the Virgin, was not only revived in the show’s fifth and final season, but it’s now heating up and causing massive anxiety amongst fans. With only about a dozen episodes left in Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) world, we’re left with a very important question: Who will our beloved heroine choose to be with at the end? Will it be Rafael (Justin Baldoni) or will it be Michael (Brett Dier)?

Don’t get us wrong: We’ve always been on Team Jane first and foremost, so her happiness is paramount in the face of fervent ship wars. But a big part of Jane’s story that we have invested in over the last five years is in finding everlasting love.

And now that the love triangle is back at the forefront, we’re eagerly anticipating how this will all conclude. It has been a long-held belief of ours that this love triangle has been deftly written and executed, so much so that the same viewer could easily be swayed into either “team.” Such is the gift that is this show—it’s endlessly visceral and empathetic in its portrayals of its characters, making both couples appealing and wonderful, and deserving of happiness.

Below, we break down the biggest arguments on both sides.

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Rafael has grown and matured for Jane   

There is no denying that Rafael has come a long way since he was the troubled bad-boy we met in the first season. From the beginning, it was clear that he and Jane shared many differences—in their parenting styles, their family values, and in the way that they viewed money.

But over time, the two of them have worked hard to put those differences aside, to start again as friends, and to work their way back to a meaningful romantic relationship. In many ways, Rafael shed his old ways. He humbled himself and matured into a person that Jane could depend on, and that’s a result of her influence on him. He’s become a better man for her and for their child. And it’s hard to not rally behind a man who does that.

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Michael understands Jane better than anyone

There are countless instances where Michael’s thoughtful and romantic gestures have touched us, so where do we even begin? How about that time when he left Jane a diary expressing all the things he wanted to say to her but couldn’t? “I speak Sad-Jane,” he said. Or what about that time when Michael fixed Jane’s family Christmas ornament, a valued possession for the Villanueva women, and they weren't even together? Or, how about the time when Michael recited his wedding vows in Spanish, surprising Jane and moving her to tears — and making even the most ardent Rafael and Jane fan swoon?

What all these small moments amount to is what made Michael’s love for Jane so special all along: his attention to detail, his ability to say the right thing to Jane at the exact time that she needs to hear it. Because Michael always understood Jane, her relationship with her family, her work as a writer, and her priority as a mother, Jane was always able to be herself first.

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Rafael and Jane forged a strong, loving family unit

Jane has repeated many times this season that she wants to preserve her family unit — Rafael, Jane, and Mateo. Together, the three have overcame a lot to get to where they are now. And Raf went to prison, he confronted the darkest and least likable parts about himself, and he proved to be a viable man for Jane. Plus, Jane opened herself up for love again after mourning Michael.

It was a beautiful journey to watch this relationship get built back up in a gradual and organic way. Both Jane and Rafael have matured a lot before giving their love another shot, and watching this journey has been beautiful.

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Michael and Jane have a deep, shared history

In many ways, Michael and Jane subvert what makes a passionate couple. On paper, they could have easily been cast aside as "boring" or "safe," but instead, they showed us that stability and sincere adoration are desirable traits in a relationship. Over the years, the show revealed many memories from Jane and Michael’s past through flashbacks, from when they first met and started dating to their first arguments and marital struggles. What we saw was a long and deep history that they shared, and which only intensified in the show's present day.

We learned how much Michael loved Mateo as his own and how he always prioritized Jane's feelings. And their marriage, as short-lived as it was on screen, was nothing short of delightful. Rooted in mutual support, friendship, and in unconditional love, the memories Jane and Michael created as husband and wife are some of the show’s best stuff.

It’s true that Michael has changed since he returned with amnesia. Jane herself has pointed out all the ways he feels different to her. Even after regaining his memories, there is something off with him. And yet, there are still signs of the same man Jane once loved right beneath the surface. Watching Jane wrestle with her feelings and the varying emotions that followed Michael’s return — joy, confusion, guilt, regret — tells us that maybe there is still something there between them that's worth finding and exploring again.

Greg Gayne/The CW

It’s perhaps also important to note that both Michael and Rafael are imperfect and have let Jane down on multiple occasions. But Jane has never been perfect, either, and hurting the person you love is sometimes a realistic part of relationships.

What makes this particular love story between Jane, Michael, and Rafael so divisive is because of how much we love all three of them, wanting fulfillment for each one. It’s a testament to the writing, which has absorbed all of us. Both men are great loves in Jane’s life, there is no disputing that, but ultimately, she’ll choose one to share her life with, and it could go either way.

Behind the Scenes of the Final Season of 'Jane the Virgin' (PHOTOS)

Behind the Scenes of the Final Season of 'Jane the Virgin' (PHOTOS)

This cast loves to goof off between takes.

The May 8 episode may be a game-changing one, one where Jane makes a crucial decision regarding her feelings. Will she rekindle something with Michael? Will he stay back in Montana for good while she goes back to Miami? We’re not sure, but, one thing we are sure about is that once it’s all said and done, hearts will inevitably be broken.

Jane the Virgin, Wednesdays, 9/8c, The CW