Photo: The CW

[Note: There are huge spoilers for Jane The Virgin below. If you’re not up to date with Jane The Virgin and you don’t want the show’s latest twists spoiled, do not read any further.]

As regular Jane The Virgin viewers know, if they’re up to date on the show, there was a major character death this week. Michael, Jane’s loving, lovely husband, bit the dust while he was taking the LSAT. Though there had been some foreshadowing in the show, fans were downright shocked, as were members of the cast, most of who posted very sweet tributes to Brett Dier, who played Michael.

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The show’s creator, Jennie Urman, also posted an open letter to fans on the show’s Tumblr page. In it, she says that the “devastating” decision to kill off Michael was made in service of the show as a whole. It had also been planned for a while. As she writes,

“It was also a decision made very early on, when I thought about our story as a whole. And even in season one, I knew it would be a hard thing to actually do, which is why there was a line (which many of you noticed) about how Michael would never stop loving Jane. And the Narrator confirmed, “For as long as Michael lived, until he drew his very last breath, he never did.” Honestly, I put that line into the script at the last minute to hold our feet to the fire, to make sure we went through with it. Because even back then, the writers could all see the magic of Jane and Michael together. Not to mention Rogelio and Michael!

The other reason I put that line in the script was to prepare you… a little. If the writers and actors loved Michael so much, then I knew it would be devastating for the fans. So then, the only surprise we had left, was when…”

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Urman says the challenge both the writers and the actors have now is to plot the show’s course forward, something she seems to think will make the show better. Post-Michael, Monday’s episode jumped the show three years into the future, meaning viewers won’t get to see the immediate, crushing aftermath of Michael’s death, but will get to see how Jane slowly gets her life back on track. As Urman notes,

“We’ll be flashing back to those three years and filling in gaps, but mining emotions realistically is something we work hard on and we knew the immediate pain of that loss would overwhelm our storytelling. After talking to grief counselors, this felt like the right time to reenter Jane’s journey. She’ll always feel Michael’s absence (and trust me, we will too), but it opens up our storytelling in new and exciting ways, while allowing for the light and bright Jane world that we love to write.”

The only catch, Urman says, is that she knows the timing sucks. A lot of Jane fans are anti-Trump, and Urman says she’s had “so many tweets lately about how Jane is a bright spot these days.” Urman says she knows that the “gut punch of an episode” was ill-timed, what with the refugees and the tweets and all that, but says worry not, because “Jane’s optimism will rise up.”

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