In the first episode of the fourth season of Jane the Virgin, EVERYTHING IS A LOT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma/PTSD
Ah, it’s time for a new season! That means predictions are folded into this review of the fourth season premiere. I am writing this part before I’ve started said episode to preserve my unspoiled guess of what season four will be about. I know this is also completely futile on my part, so let’s first go over last season’s predictions.
1) Michael survives the shooting. This one… is almost laughably awful if it wasn’t so damn sad.
2) Luisa is kidnapped by Sin Rostro/Rose. Kidnapped is a… word.
3) We’ll find out that Mutter was instrumental in all this happening, too, and she allowed herself to get arrested as part of some bigger plan. So much happened in just one season of this show that I barely remember Mutter.
4) Rafael will not figure out that Anezka is masquerading as Petra until episode four. Episode 5! I was close!
5) I think Anezka will also go to prison with her mother because of what she did. Well… nope. Not at all.
6) Magda’s sentence will be extended. Unfortunately not, but at least she’s still not around!
7) After Michael recovers, Jane and Michael will finally have sex! LOOK I GOT SOMETHING RIGHT.
8) Rafael will begin to date someone else other than Petra or Jane in this season. And another!
9) He will finally be “over” Jane by the end of the season. Only to be hit by this truck.
10) I think Xiomara is going to get an abortion. Wow, this also happened! On a mainstream television show!
11) Rose will ACTUALLY die this season. Nope, still alive!
12) So will Mutter. But she’s not!
13) Rafael and Jane’s custody situation with Mateo will change drastically this season at some point. I actually think this counts, but not for any reason I actually anticipated.
14) Donaldson will warm up to Jane over the course of season 3. SHE GENUINELY DID.
15) Jane will finish her new novel by the end of the season! oh my god SHE DID but it’s so SAD
16) Jane and Michael will finally go on their honeymoon by the end of the season. This just… hurts.
17) This is wishful thinking, but Rogelio and Xiomara will get back together by the end of the season. WISHFUL THINKING WORKED OH MY GOD.
18) Rafael will find Derek. Technically?
19) Derek will get arrested for what he tried to do to Rafael. Well, he tried.
20) Petra will fall in love with someone other than Rafael by the end of the season. This actually happened, too!
So… mostly not great? But I got a few good ones in there. Thus, it’s time for me to talk about season four, and probably perform just as terribly.
1) Jane’s book will get published this season!
2) Adam will be around for an eight episode arc.
3) Luisa will be running the Marbella for half the season.
4) Rafael will have to find a new job and a new source of income!
5) Mateo will start public school!
6) Jane will start working on another project.
7) Petra will move on from Chuck definitively.
8) Xiomara’s dance studio will unexpectedly take off and she’ll have to expand.
9) Which will also happen when Rogelio can’t find a new telenovela to work on after his has ended.
10) We will also see Fabian twice more.
11) And Bruce once.
12) Jorge and Alba will get married!
13) Jane will be dating someone new by the end of the season.
14) So will Petra.
15) Speaking of, I don’t believe Anezka shot Petra in the finale. And that’s because…
16) Anezka will die. (Hey, someone big has to go, right? THIS SHOW DOESN’T CARE.)
17) Rogelio and Darcy will have to spend most of the season learning to co-parent their child.
18) I’M STILL NOT READY.
It’s genuinely hard to predict this show!!! But now that I’ve got that down, I’m off to watch the season four premiere.
Oh. Oh, that was a LOT.
In a lot of ways, this was a stressful episode to watch. There was so much conflict? An arguing? It was like every plot collided with one another in a terrible pile-up on the Jane the Virgin highway. This isn’t the first time this has happened, of course, but I wanted to start out with some joy. Because one of the very best things about “Chapter Sixty-Five” was the introduction of Adam. There’s so much delight around him! He seems like a genuinely interesting person, first of all, and when he’s paired with Jane, there’s an electricity there that felt very, very new. He’s utterly unlike any of the guys that she has dated in the past, and I love what he brings out in her. Part of that is because both of them are creative types, and there’s an understanding there between them. It’s something I want to see more of, especially since we got that incredible moment where both of them talked about storytelling from their respective mediums! Adam uses visual images to dig into character; Jane uses words!
That combination then appears in a meta-textual way in the new narrator, the one who follows Adam. I can’t really explain why, but I love the idea that Adam’s had his own narration outside of Jane’s for 428 issues prior to this. THIS IS VERY PLEASING TO ME. And his narration has visual cues from the comic book/graphic novel world!!! IT’S SO FUCKING COOL. What this does for me is show me potential. I think there’s something interesting to be explored in this relationship! From a creative standpoint, from a romantic one, from a storytelling angle… oh, there are so many ways for this to go! I am hoping, then, that after the tense and somewhat disastrous events between Jane and Rafael (more on that later), there’s space for Jane and Adam to reconnect. How have they changed in the last nine years? How will Adam’s penchant for seeing signs in the universe affect them? Do they still have lots in common? I WANT MORE, OKAY.
Petra and Luisa
I feel like there have been so many plots on this show that I could summarize by saying, “Wow, this was a mess.” Yet here we are, with a new type of mess! Look, it was bad enough that Luisa was making this move to sell off the Marbella and Petra had to pretend to be her twin sister in order to get it back. Wrapped up in all of that, though, were her complicated feelings towards Rafael. Despite them, though, she still worked with Raf in order to try to get the hotel back, which wasn’t easy for her! Rafael didn’t believe her and called her delusional when she rightly pointed out that Jane still had feelings for him. Ugh, it was a disaster, y’all! I don’t know if the scene in the stairwell was enough, either. For their relationship, I mean! I do believe that Jane and Rafael have truly realized they’re not going to work as a couple, but are Petra and Rafael going to be able to work out their own issues even without that one to worry about?
I don’t know. I don’t have the same excitement over Petra/Rafael as I do for Jane/Adam. Part of me agrees with Petra’s assessment early in the episode: The two of them just don’t work well together. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, and maybe Petra/Rafael is endgame.
I’m more concerned, however, with Luisa. I misinterpreted this because I thought Luisa was making this power play as a form of reclamation. After her conversation with Anezka in the car, I mistakenly did not see that the two were working tother. My assumption was that Anezka merely inspired Luisa to take back her life, and this was how she was going to do it. She was going to stay the owner of the Marbella as a way of getting some stability in her life! However, not only did I find out that she plotted with Anezka to kidnap Petra, but she actually wanted to sell the Marbella to…. help Rose escape.
Oh, lord. I got excited for a story that wasn’t ever going to happen. This wasn’t about Luisa dramatically attempting a new life free of Rose at all. It was about her trying to get Rose back. I feel like a broken record because I have frequently said that I want Luisa to have a story that doesn’t revolve around her toxic relationship with Rose, and yet! We’re back to it again. It’s not even that I necessarily agree with her decision to throw Rafael under the bus to get the Marbella; I simply thought it was an interesting story for the writers to tell. What if Luisa tried to be a hotel owner? How would she fare on her own, especially if Rafael and Petra weren’t on her side? I would like to see that! Instead, Luisa remains the only character who can’t seem to move on from something toxic and negative, and it’s frustrating to watch. After three full seasons with this narrative, I’d just like something new. ALSO WHAT A FUCKED UP PLAN TO GET MONEY. Like!!! Holy shit, maybe Luisa forgot or didn’t know, but Petra has a LOT of trauma around being kidnapped? And being replaced by Anezka??? THIS WAS VERY BAD.
Oh, lord. This was also a lot? At times, this was hard to watch, as it was so blatantly clear that Darci and Rogelio couldn’t stand one another. Props to these actors for portraying this so well! I don’t know what the fate of them is, since I have to accept that the telenovela influence on the show can pull characters in literally ANY direction. It was clear, though, that Xiomara was right: No matter what these two felt for one another, they couldn’t co-parent with such a combative nature at the heart of their interactions. Plus, Rogelio did have to be the one to try to make peace first. Look, I also get why Darci is so furious, especially since Rogelio is never going to make a romantic relationship with her work. So why not do what she can to make sure she succeeds and thrives as a single mom? I do look forward to seeing what sort of compromises the two of them make moving on from this moment. Will that peace last now that their daughter has arrived? WHAT’S HER NAME, I NEED TO KNOW.
Yet I must confess that who I am most concerned about is Xiomara. Y’all, she’s barely been married a few days, and her entire marriage has been focused on someone else. There’s been no honeymoon, and Rogelio has paid more attention to Darci than her! It is a sad situation because I want Xiomara to be happy, and I want her to be centered in this relationship. I’m sure there’s a part of her that also feels insecure because she didn’t want to have a kid with Rogelio, and now, even after she’s married to the man she loves, she still has to deal with all of this. I hope the attention shifts and that she and Rogelio can start building their future, you know?
The Future of Mateo
First of all, welcome to Elias Janssen, who is now playing Mateo! Y’all know how much I completely adored Joseph Sanders, so this is going to be an adjustment. But even in just one episode, I was impressed that Janssen was able to channel the beautiful chaos of Mateo. So, wanted to state that and say that I’m excited to see what he does with this character moving forward!
And this is also where I get to talk about how Rafael REALLY went too far. I know that I sympathize with Jane because I grew up poor, I spent most of my twenties barely scraping by and living paycheck-to-paycheck, and I know exactly what it’s like to be looked down upon for not coming from wealth and for not currently having it. Earlier this year, I actually cut off contact with an author friend who was so insensitive about money and money issues. They were privileged enough to have sold multiple projects for high-six-figures and had sold so many foreign rights/translations deals that they couldn’t understand what a struggle it was for all us “regular” authors who don’t get that kind of financial support. Still! I’m thirty-six, and I’m still dealing with people like this! (Well, not anymore, obviously LMAO GOOD RIDDANCE.) After that interaction at Mateo’s school—which was absolutely rude and insensitive—I get why Jane was ready to plan for Mateo to attend another school instead of paying tuition again. I also understand her anger at Rafael for dipping into Mateo’s trust fund to pay for tuition AND the Marbella deal. (Christ, HOW BIG IS MATEO’S TRUST FUND.)
But then Rafael revealed how he truly felt about money, and y’all… it doesn’t matter how nice and charming he is. Which he is! But unfortunately, when it comes down to it, a whole lot of rich people have a core anxiety at work within them: They are terrified to not have money. I say this while fully acknowledging that it was scary that Luisa had swept in and ACTUALLY taken away Rafael’s access to money, so I know this situation was complicated. And I also know that Rafael is coming from a place of concern. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with wanting the best for your child! But the way he threw money issues in Jane’s face during that argument? Oooh, I did not like that. I didn’t like that he reduced the situation to such an extreme! There is a whole middle ground that he can’t see because he’s so used to being at the top.
I think that there’s a way for Jane and Rafael to work through this… but as co-parents. Not romantically. If this is ever going to be a real thing—and something tells me that at least for now, Jane/Rafael is over—then Rafael has to work on his behavior surrounding money.
The video for “Chapter Sixty-Five” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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