Picking up from last season’s cliffhanger finale, the fourth season of “Jane the Virgin” premiered on Oct. 13 on The CW drawing a meager 700,000 viewers, making it the lowest-rated episode yet. Despite these ratings, which could be attributed to the decline in quality witnessed during season three’s second half, season four’s premiere changed the show’s mood, and viewership should increase as the season continues.
While the appeal of “Jane the Virgin” dropped as the show attempted serious telenovela-level tragedyーsuch as killing off Michaelーthe program’s producers seemed to recognize that what originally attracted people to the show was its farcical capers and tongue-in-cheek melodrama, rather than the sober drama which the show’s infrastructure is, frankly, unequipped to handle.
Returning to this levity, the premiere focused on the burgeoning love square between Petra, Rafael, Jane and the newly introduced character Adam (Tyler Posey), Jane’s ex-boyfriend from her teenage years. Taking its deserved back seat was the scheme devised by Luisa, Rafael’s problematic sister, and Anezka, Petra’s corruptible twin sister, to kill Petra, disinherit Rafael and seize ownership of the hotel, with the end-goal of getting Rose, aka Sin Rostro, Luisa’s criminal lover, out of prison.
Even though it occupied a minor portion of the episode, Rogelio’s entanglement with his pregnant ex-producer fails to add real entertainment value, as do most of Rogelio’s frustratingly silly parts.
A new, upbeat romantic lead, Adam refreshes the show’s dragging love muddles and tired, repetitive conflicts between Michael, Rafael and Jane. A welcome contrast to the uninspiring Michael and the untrustworthy Rafael, Adam, a hip cartoon artist, introduces a more youthful element that allows us to forget that Jane is a widow and revives the show’s girlish character.
Another change in this episode is a female narrator who takes charge of Adam’s backstory. Although it was clearly intended to showcase droll banter between the two narrators, the supplemental narrator is superfluous as the narration was the one part of the show which did not require changing.
Although “Jane the Virgin” has always had its weak points, the latest season promises to veer away from a solemnity it cannot handle and reintroduce a much-needed playfulness. By prioritizing personal relationships plagued by awkward shenanigans over tragedy and vexingly ceaseless criminal enterprises, the season four premiere returns the show to its roots with a rediscovered spirit. However, if the season fails to deliver, it may spell “adios” for Jane Gloriana Villanueva and company.
Show: “Jane the Virgin”
Network: The CW
Premiere: Oct. 13
Rating: 4/5 Stars