TV Review: Jane The Virgin (Season 4)
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Jane The Virgin's fourth season has come to its conclusion, after its shortest season yet. Whilst the telenovela's latest offering might have gotten off to a rocky start, it went from strength to strength in the latter half of the season, culminating in the biggest shocker yet. Initially, I was skeptical about this season's offerings. The fourth season certainly started off in an odd place, with the introduction of Adam, who everyone knew was a "placeholder" boyfriend for Jane, as her love story has always been about Rafeal and Michael. There was no way that he was going to be around very long. Because of that, it was hard to invest in their relationship and the first few episodes, in which the relationship was a large focus, felt like they were just marking time. The first half of the season also sees the return of douche Rafeal. Through all of the manipulations he goes through trying to get the Marbella back from Luisa and Anezska (definitely one of the weaker plot lines of the season), it reaffirms, at least to me, why I have never been able to get behind Jane and Rafeal as a couple. They are too fundamentally different and no matter how many sweet moments they have together (and there are plenty in the back half of the season), that is always something that is going to be there. Jane The Virgin has established time and time again the class differences between Raf and Jane, and it's something that comes up again and again because it so influences who both of them are as people. Everytime I think I'm starting to like Rafeal, he does something to self-sabotage and we're right back to square one, and that speaks a lot both to his character and his relationship with Jane. We can never fully get behind their relationship because we're just waiting for Rafeal to self-sabotage once again, and these feelings definitely came to the fore for me throughout the latter half of the season. Even in their sweet moments, I'm just waiting for Raf to do something to screw it all up. The Marbella action does ramp up and get a little more interesting towards the mid-season finale, as the death the narrator hints about over the first half of the series finally happens (and has huge ramifications for the rest of the season) and the confusing Luisa storyline finally wraps up. We also finally get to see the culmination of Jane's publishing journey, with the arrival of Snow Falling. As a writer, I appreciated that they didn't show Jane's novel being a runaway success and to me, the best moments that came from this process were the little throwbacks to Michael and showing that even four years after his death in the show's timeline, Jane's grief is still an ongoing thing. A particularly poignant moment showed Michael's mother coming to support Jane at her book signing after three years of shutting her out.
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