Season four of “Jane the Virgin” premiered on Friday, Oct. 13 and created more questions than answers. The finale of season three saw the return of Jane’s teenage love, complicating her relationship with her son Mateo’s father. There was already an existing love triangle between Jane (Gina Rodriguez), Rafael (Justin Baldoni) and his ex-wife Petra (Yael Grobglas). But when Adam (Tyler Posey) arrives, bringing a letter from Jane’s lost-love
Michael, she confuses her feelings and nostalgia, further complicating her already complicated life.
The exaggerated, telenovela satire continues to be what makes the show unique. All the drama is over-the-top and completely unrealistic, but the feelings and the family are not, which is what keeps viewers tuning in each season. While viewers may not be able to relate to Rafael and his ex-wife joining forces to buy a hotel and bring down both of their evil sisters or notorious crime lord Sin Rostro scheming from her jail cell, they can relate to Jane’s financial struggles, her strong, matriarchal family and her mixed emotions over the new man in her life.
Tyler Posey’s character is refreshing on the show, as he’s completely disentangled from the crime ring and pregnancy plots. It’s also sweet to see him playing a character much like himself in reality and so different from his “Teen wolf” past. Adam is a comic book artist, who enjoys tattoos and playing guitar. The contrast between his comic book background and Jane being the author of romance novels is a sweet one. He brings a sense of innocence to the show, but it is clear from early on that he isn’t good for Jane. While revisiting her teenage romance, audiences learn some of what influenced the rest of Jane’s adult love life (he wrote her love cue), but she gets sucked back into a relationship she never got closure from when she was 19, causing her to act uncharacteristically and irrationally.
Two changes this season, apparent in just the first episode, were the change in the actor playing Mateo as well as the addition of a second narrator. The narrator of “Jane the Virgin” has always been like his own character on the show, adding another depth of humor to the telenovela trope. This episode, there was a new, female narrator who seemed to be there just to introduce Adam to the storyline. She acted as vessel for new audiences to be filled in or reminded of the plot.
“It’s a device we used to introduce Adam as a significant character moving forward. The theme of the first episode is that everyone is the hero in their own story. Jane has been the hero of ours, and we’re meeting somebody who is in the middle his own story, as we all are when we meet other people,” said creator and showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman to Variety. “We’ve been going out in our life, and our narrative collides with someone else’s narrative, and something new takes over. That’s what we’re exploring in the first episode, but it was just a device for the first episode.”
Jane’s hectic family remains one of the highlights and constants of the show. From her previously-estranged superstar father, to her feisty mother, to her disapproving abuela, to her adorable toddler son; their disjointed but also very connected nature adds to the show’s appeal.
Jane’s father, Rojelio (Jaime Camil) plays up his diva status and his naivity, which are major factors in the show’s comedy, and the new plot line where he faces a custody battle over his unborn child is sure to add even more drama to the season. The episode wraps up with the three generations of Villanueva women having a heart-to-heart, a familiar and comfortable scene in the series.
Some parts of the show are becoming a bit tired, though, like the plots including the ownership of Rafael’s hotel and Petra’s evil twin sister literally always surviving her near death experiences. The constant return of Sin Rostro, the female crime lord who was running an underground plastic surgery ring for other criminals, is also getting old quickly.
But the show remains honest and real despite these outrageous plotlines. The season premiere ended with a huge fight between Jane and Rafael over finances and raising their son, leaving audiences with a huge cliffhanger. According to the show’s creator, Urman, their relationship won’t be getting better anytime soon, as Rafael’s personal issues will continue to complicate his relationship with Jane.
While this episode wasn’t the strongest of the series, it did a great job of setting up the rest of the season.
“I’m excited to see where the new parts of the show go,” said Mary Vlamis, a third semester economics major. “As always, I’m a sucker for Raf and Jane’s story so I’m hoping things turn around for them. I really enjoyed the creative changes…so I’m interested to see how that continues on in the season.”
Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org.