Jane the Virgin: Is Mateo Sr. Alive?

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After five seasons of melodrama and gasp-inducing twists, I’ve come to expect the unexpected from Jane the Virgin.

Jane is a heartfelt and joyful show about strong independent women, the power of family, and has even given a voice and platform to the Latinx community. But there’s no denying that at its core, it’s a telenovela.

It’s easy to forget or overlook those telenovela undertones because Jane does such a good job at inserting real and relatable emotions into impossible plots.

The Love of Alba's Life - Jane the Virgin

There’s been plenty of moments that make you go holy crap throughout the show’s run: evil twins, buried skeletons on the beach, and kidnapping attempts are all high up on the list.

But, as viewers know, even being aware of Jane’s track record with telenovela tropes couldn’t prepare us for the mammoth reveal at the end of Jane the Virgin Season 4.

The love of Jane’s life, Micheal Cordero, returned from the dead, but he was never dead at all, he was simply given amnesia by Sin Rostro and lived in Montana for the past four years.

Michael, or Jason’s, return launches us into the most difficult love triangle to date. 

With all this going down within the first 40 seconds of Jane the Virgin Season 5 Episode 1, it's easy to overlook a passive comment made in the midst of Jane’s emotional breakdown, and quite possibly, the best and most powerful monologue to ever grace our TV screens.

Jane's Monologue - Jane the Virgin

During the breakdown, Jane rushed to open the door and said: “Abuela, maybe your husband came back from the dead too.”

One could chalk this up to Jane's attempt at comedy while her whole life is crumbling, but again, this is Jane the Virgin, a show that never does anything just for the sake of doing it.

Jane the Virgin writers drop plenty of hints throughout the series -- the narrator himself is one giant one. 

Related: Get CBS All Access via Prime Video Channels for Hit Shows, Exclusive Originals & Live TV!

Anytime he says anything, I sit back and deconstruct the surface-level meaning from the true meaning to the hidden meaning.

Oftentimes, he's giving us clues about what's going to happen down the line.

So, when Jane suggested that Alba's husband may be alive, I took this as foreshadowing.

Creator Jennie Snyder Urman made this comment after the Jane the Virgin Season 4 finale twist: “I always feel we were saving up a few telenovela tropes. One of them is returning from the dead. Whether it’s him [Michael] or not, that is the trope we’re playing with."

The Good Old Days - Jane the Virgin

What if, this whole time, the biggest reveal was that Abuela's late husband, Mateo Sr., was alive. 

Maybe that scene and this subtle comment, buried deep within an impressive monologue, was teasing the show’s greatest reveal of all.

And maybe, he's been calling all the shots since the get-go. 

While Mateo Sr being alive isn't a novel idea, it also hasn’t widely explored mainly because we don't know much about him. 

We've accepted his death at face value, but why?

We never saw a body or a funeral. 

The Baddest - Jane the Virgin

He's quite an enigma, and it seems Jane the Virgin writers want to keep it that way. 

All we do know about his is based on Alba's memories, which compliment him as a good husband and a hard working man. 

Doesn't anyone find that suspicious?

She often compares him to Rafael Solano because he too came from a wealthy family, though they built their empire on Venezuelan oil.

Related: Love Hurts: 25 Obsessive Love Stories on TV 

He and his brothers fought about the family’s wealth which eventually led Mateo to give it all up and move to the US with his wife, Alba, whom he married after just 41 days after their first meeting 

41 days isn’t a lot of time to fully know the ins-and-outs of a person, right?

How well did Alba really know him? And how much of what we know about him through Alba’s memories is skewed by her desire to only remember the good in her spouse?

As we peel back the layers, Mateo has a string of questionable qualities. 

One True Love - Jane the Virgin

He had a scandalous affair or romance with Alba's sister, Cecilia, and purposefully kept her estranged from her family through shame. 

Mateo seemingly passed away sometime in the 80s at a young age, though when exactly he died remains a mystery. 

All of the "unknowns" make him the perfect suspect. 

I first began suspecting Mateo Sr. after a mysterious shot of shoes on Jane the Virgin Season 4 Episode 14 found the narrator warning of an ominously evil approaching. The narrator even said he'd save the mystery for last. 

Sure, the shoes could have been a warning about Michael, but do those kicks look like something he'd ever wear? No. Even Jason wouldn't wear those bad boys. 

But Mateo Sr.? Now that’s a possibility.

Evil is Coming - Jane the Virgin

He’s my theory, and it’s a wild, hairpin theory, so strap on in. 

Much like with Michael’s shocking return, I believe Mateo's 'return from the dead' has something to do with Sin Rostro and explains why she's been so laser-focused on the Villaneuva family.

I think Mateo's aforementioned ‘Venezuelan riches’ weren’t from oil but from drugs instead. 

Mateo saw an opportunity to come to America with Alba so he could expand his drug empire.

When Xiomara was still young, he faked his own death, and after Elena, aka Mutter, left Emilio, the two fell in love and had Rose, aka Sin Rostro, who would later join his empire. 

Oddly enough, we've never met Sin Rostro's father and maybe that's because her dad is the 'big man in charge' and also, Mateo Sr.! 

Mateo Sr. being Rose's father would make her and Xiomara step-sisters. 

UPDATE: This theory was sadly debunked by a perceptive viewer who underlined that Mutter was Sin Rostro's step-mom. However, Sin Rostro could still be Mateo Sr.'s daughter and Xiomara's step-sis.

Alba and Jorge - Jane the Virgin

Eventually, Mutter became a problem (and maybe even threatened to expose both of them) so they killed her. Scorned lovers are capable of anything. 

There's even a possibility that Mateo Sr. reconstructed his face and became Jorge, Alba's brand new husband. 

Much like their initial marriage, this one also happened on a whim. 

Alba never thought she’d be able to move on from Mateo Sr., her one true love, yet Jorge is the only man her hear thas ever ‘glowed’ for.

Maybe that’s because it still is her 'late' husband with a new face.

Raf & Sin Rostro  - Jane the Virgin

Sin Rostro is clearly plotting something from the jail cell and though we don't know what she's up to, it could definitely involve Jorge's marriage to Alba. 

It's possible Jorge lied about wanting to visit his late mother to motivate Alba into marrying him? Maybe he wanted to secure a visa?

Now, following the telenovela trope that everyone is somehow related to each other, let's take this theory a smidge further. 

Emilio, Rafael and Luisa's father, remarried Sin Rostro later on in life, but before he was with her and Elena, he was with Luisa's real mother.

Related: Jane the Virgin Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Chapter Eighty-Two

Eerily enough, Luisa's real mom, Mia Evelyn Alver, also faked her death -- what's in the water here? -- and lived out her life in a cottage.

With such a huge emphasis on Rafael finding his parents last season, it’s entirely plausible that Luisa’s mother got pregnant with Rafael, dropped him off at the orphanage in Italy which is where Elena adopted him, brought him back to the states, and passed him off as her biological child. 

Mutter - Jane the Virgin

Therefore, Rafael would have always been a Solano because Emilio would have been his birth father.

Rafael and Sin Rostro would, therefore, be connected through Elena and considered step-siblings. 

Heck, they even banter like siblings. 

This would explain why Rose has always known who Raf's parents were, and also, why she's been the overarching big bad targeting both the Solano and the Villaneuva families from the very beginning. 

UPDATE: This theory has also been debunked because Rafael took a DNA test to prove he was really adopted. However, we know how easy it is for Sin Rostro to switch hospital records! I wouldn't put it past her. 

The Solano Family - Jane the Virgin

I know, that's a lot to process with an abundance of twists and borderline incestual relationships. I had to draw a family tree just to make sure it was all plausible. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the other floating theory: JR and Rafael are step-siblings. 

The theory was born after the two met and shared many commonalities. 

When they first introduced JR's mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, it was emotional, but it wasn't pertinent to her storyline with Petra and her blackmailer. 

JR's mother was featured way more prominently than necessary, though it's possible we just didn't catch the importance of the moment initially. 

Who is JR? - Jane the Virgin

If you re-watch the episode, every time Raf talks about his mother, the next scene shows JR with her mother or talking about her mother. 

There's a possibility they could even be twins. 

Or, what if JR's mother is actually Luisa's mother, Mia Evelyn Alver. She could have changed her name and made her way back to the states. You have to admit, JR does look a lot like a young Mia. 

This would connect Elena, Luisa, and Rose to Rafael in what may possibly be the most effed up family tree I've ever seen.

The writers made it a point to show JR's connection to her mother and Raf's desire to meet his birth parents. 

Petra's greatest love was Rafael, but next to him, JR is the only one she's ever experienced similarly strong feelings for.

Wouldn't it be a fun twist if it turned out that she fell so hard for JR because she was so much like her ex?

Mia Evelyn Alver - Jane the Virgin

And since Mia now has Alzheimer's, it's going to be an even more emotional reveal when Rafael finds out. 

Mateo Sr. has been consistently presented as a good guy, but it would be an enormous shock, especially to Alba, if she found out the man she married was actually the worst of them all.

Alba could have been blinded by love and therefore, completely unaware of Mateo Sr.'s double life. 

Sin Rostro being Xiomara's step-sister and Rafael's relative (not by blood but by adoptive mother) would undoubtedly shake the family to its core and end with a final jaw-dropping twist. 

And if Mateo Sr. is alive, it gives some credibility to the theories that maybe he's the narrator after all. 

What do you think Jane the Virgin Fanatics?

Do you think I may be onto something here? And please, share your best theories with me! 

The crazier the better is my motto! 

Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..

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Jane the Virgin Quotes

In English, in honor of today, I am overwhelmed by the love and support in this room. As I studied for my citizenship exam, I learned about 'E pluribus unum," "out of many, one." It is said that it originated by the famous Roman writer Cicero about family and friends. When each person loves the other, as much as herself, it makes one out of many. And as I look around this room, I understand what he meant. Out of many, one. You are all part of my journey. I spent so many years, worrying about being separated from all of you. And I am so grateful that I will never have to worry about that again.


Jane: Oh, I'm no good at this stuff. So, instead of telling you the reasons that I love you, I'm going to tell you the reasons that I don't. I don't love you because you're smart and kind. I don't love you because you're hardworking and competitive and way too defensive.
Michael: I'm not defensive.
Jane: I don't love you because you're incredibly sexy. I love you because you're my best friend and I want to grow old with you. And right now, I am confused about every single thing in my life, except you.