Ahh, Adam fans, welcome back to this show about Adam, with its comic-book graphics and its astrological puns, and its eager narrator whom we all love so much! Wait, where am I?
Jane the Virgin kicks off its fourth season with an unexpected perspective shift: A new, female narrator takes us back to the time when Adam Eduardo Alvaro (Tyler Posey) pulled back a loose floorboard and found a letter from someone named Michael to someone named Jane. Michael’s feelings for Jane reminded Adam what love should be (SAME, BUDDY), inspiring him to break up with his girlfriend and keep the letter in his wallet. Now, three years later, he’s standing at the Marbella with the aforementioned Jane, who also happens to be our Jane, who also happens to be his Jane, or so his narrator would have us believe.
You see, dear reader, Adam the Virgo and Jane the Person This Story Is Actually About were in a whirlwind romance back in the day. At 19, Jane fell hard and fast for Adam, and he got down on one knee to convince her to follow him to New York, where he’d just been accepted to NYU’s studio art program. They planned to marry in a week, but on the day of the ceremony, Adam showed up at Jane’s door in a totally wedding-inappropriate beanie and admitted that everyone was right: They weren’t ready. (As it turns out, both Xo and Alba ordered him to say that.) He left her with the hope that they’d find their way back to each other.
And now, thanks to a series of straight-out-of-a-telenovela coincidences, here they are. Adam tells Jane that he’s making a living as a comic-book artist; Jane tells Adam everything that happened in the first three seasons of this show. Not to belittle Adam, but her life update is probably more exciting.
Actually, Alba and Xo would be happy to belittle Adam — as Jane and her first love move on to skinny dipping, Jane’s family watches from a hotel balcony, and the ladies fret that Jane is about to fall back on old habits with the boy they call “Babe Adam.” Mateo overhears their concern and runs off in his superhero pajamas to save Mommy from “stranger danger,” thwarting the former lovers’ near-kiss and treating everyone to a full-frontal view of Babe Adam.
Cementing his place in the constant love triangle that is Jane’s life, Adam goes home wet and alone, and Jane goes home to find Rafael napping on her porch swing — but not napping too hard to hear Alba mentioning Jane’s newly rediscovered feelings for him. Jane comes clean about the way her heart’s been glowing for Raf lately, but he’s more concerned with the fact that he brushed off Petra when she suggested that Jane wasn’t over him. Raf is having a really great night: Luisa kicked him out of the hotel and froze all of his money, he can’t find his phone anywhere, he botched things with Petra…
But let’s not make this all about Rafael; Petra isn’t having a great time either. She gets a text from Rafael’s phone — turns out Anezka stole it — asking her to meet where they first fell in love. At the dock, Anezka pulls a gun on her sister, then gets distracted by a text from an impatient Luisa, who wants to lock Petra in a storage locker so she and Anezka can sell the Marbella. “Is it done?” Luisa texts. Anezka, who is definitely not done, texts Luisa a thumbs-up emoji. Good to see she hasn’t changed.
The next day, Petra is sitting in the back of an ambulance and telling Rafael and Jane everything — almost. She says the texts she got from Raf’s phone were about a “business emergency.” Apparently that emoji was enough of a distraction for Petra to lunge at Anezka as the gun went off; they both went into the water, but the current was strong, and Anezka was bleeding. “I just hope she’s dead,” Petra sniffs, prompting Adam’s narrator to call her a “real charmer.” Back off, lady. You don’t know Petra’s life!
As for our narrator, he’s just worried this is actually Anezka masquerading as Petra after all. But she seems like the real deal: She’s confused when Luisa asks about their plan, and as soon as she figures out what that plan is, she calls Rafael to hatch a scheme of their own. Luisa needs to sell the Marbella in cash — which she’ll then deposit into a certain redheaded criminal’s Cayman Islands account in order to jumpstart her escape plan — so Petra and Rafael just have to keep her fooled long enough to amass the cash they need to buy out her shares.
But Rafael and Jane have been arguing about money lately. Since Luisa froze his accounts, Raf’s payment to Mateo’s karate class was declined, and Mateo does not appreciate being told he can’t go to karate. Mateo whines about having no money; Rafael, coming in late to the conversation because he’s hot off a steamy rich-person shower, assures his son that there’s plenty of money, then scolds Jane for even bringing it up in front of their child, even though shielding kids from financial troubles is a privilege a lot of parents don’t have.
Jane could use a night off, yes? She puts on her sweetest dress and meets Adam on the roof of his loft for a date, and after dropping the bombshell that he wrote her love cue — which, according to his narrator, is also Adam’s love cue — Adam cozies up with Jane on some inflatable furniture to do some stargazing. The tattooed artist has a soft spot for astrology (apparently thanks to his sister, who died of cancer), but Jane can only pretend to get it. When she looks up at the stars, all she sees is Rafael’s face winking at her.
Jane comes clean about her confusing, lingering feelings for the father of her child, and Adam gallantly tells her to go take care of it, and suddenly every signal in the universe seems to be pointing Jane toward Rafael. He texts that he’s glad the date didn’t go well. She gets home to find a glass of wine left out for her — and a note that Rafael is in the shower (again). Jane downs the wine. She heads for the open bathroom door. She unzips her dress.
And it turns out Raf just wants to talk money. Jane was upset that Mateo’s school was so callous about their financial issues; she wants him to be raised in a less condescending environment. Rafael announces, like he’s fixed everything, that he paid next year’s tuition with Mateo’s trust fund. He then reveals his big plan to get the Marbella back: He’ll dip back into Mateo’s trust fund (along with Anna’s and Elsa’s), and together he and Petra will have enough cash to appease Luisa. He pulls back the shower curtain to find one very angry Jane wriggling on the floor, trying to get her dress back on. (Recap continues on page 2)
Jane’s been misreading all of Raf’s mixed signals. The wine was just to help her relax, obviously, and he was happy Jane’s date was bad because Alba has not kept her feelings about Babe Adam to herself. Rafael blames Jane for ruining what he had with Petra, and Jane blames Rafael for this chestnut of a sentence: “I am done feeling guilty because I don’t want Mateo to have some small life where he counts pennies and doesn’t get on a plane until he’s 20 years old.” Yikes.
The next day, Rafael tracks down Petra; he got his iPad back, and with it his texts, so he knows it wasn’t a business emergency that lured her to the docks. They kiss, and he promises he’s done getting caught up in Jane’s “stuff” — or, as our narrator puts it, Jane’s story.
Reader, a confession: I was Team Michael. I like Rafael (when he’s not being so smug about money), but I worried it would cheapen Michael’s death if Jane and Rafael ended up together; it would make Michael seem like nothing more than a roadblock. But in the words of our narrator, “Everyone is the hero in their own story.” For three seasons, Jane has been our hero, but Michael was also Michael’s, and Rafael is Rafael’s, and Adam is Adam’s, even if his narrator needs to take it down about a thousand notches. And tonight’s Battle of the Narrators was a reminder that no one’s story plays out in isolation. People are more than roadblocks.
Jane the Virgin was born as a telenovela about telenovelas, but when Michael died, the show moved into more complicated territory. Jane might still see signs pointing her toward one “meant to be” or another, but her future is harder to fit into a predictable narrative because the people around her have stories of their own, and maybe they’re not all telenovelas. Maybe they’re comic books or spy dramas. With this new narrator, it’s possible that season 4 will see Jane explore the idea that she’s a player in others’ stories as much as they are players in hers. How does her idea of a happy ending match up with those around her? The only safe bet left at this point is that it probably involves sitting on that porch swing with Xo and Alba.
Speaking of the Villanueva ladies, married life hasn’t been bliss for Xo and Ro. They’re barely hitched before Darci is announcing her pregnancy on Twitter, spinning it like Rogelio turned his back on his unborn child. She tries to keep him out of the loop, but when she records a live Instagram video from her sonogram appointment, Rogelio busts in with his own camera rolling — and inadvertently broadcasts Darci’s cervix to his millions of followers.
Ro’s been cerved. Darci baited him into violating the terms of their contract, which guarantees her reasonable expectation of privacy. “Revenge porn” will definitely be enough to get her sole custody. Crushed, Rogelio tracks down footage of Darci trying to punch a PA on the set of The De La Vega-Factor Factor; she missed the PA and accidentally punched an adorable puppy in the face (nooooooo). He threatens to release that footage if Darci doesn’t honor their contract, and Darci angrily relents.
But Xiomara — who, don’t forget, should be on her honeymoon right now — reminds Rogelio that a bitter co-parenting system won’t do his child any favors, and he makes nice with Darci. Even when she tests him by aiming below the belt, Rogelio stays civil, his face going blank like he’s fighting mind control. (“You’re a horrible actor.” “Well, art is very subjective.”) Darci’s water breaks on the spot.
And because this is Jane the Virgin and not Adam the Virgo, that’s not even a wild enough twist to end the hour. As Jane and Adam set a coffee date, Petra meets Luisa to hand over Petra’s not-so-forged signature, only to be met in the corner by her not-so-dead twin. As for Rose, she’s in prison asking a guy, “Does anyone besides you know him?” before strangling him to death. Now that’s how Jane ends a season premiere.
- Petra’s white caped romper is the stuff dreams are made of.
- “Who’s Babe Adam?”
- #HotDad (gestures at face)