Aug 14, 2017

[TV] Jane the Virgin: Season 3 Review


When a show pretty much gets past its initial premise, you'd think that it spells the end of the story. But as we see in Jane the Virgin, there's still a lot to learn about this set of characters that makes for some great entertainment. Thus even though Jane is no longer a virgin, she is still a heroine to root for.

I really appreciate how this show has found a way to bring telenovela tropes to the mainstream US audience in a manner that is both approachable and yet still true to its origins. In addition, the show has become a vehicle for exploring various female stories including child rearing and all the complications that come with it.

And the show's supporting cast also have some great stories, shows how skilled the writers are. It's easy to get lost in Jane's drama alone but in truth Jane's story is closely tied to that of her family (as is the case with such Hispanic families) and it makes things all the better for it.

Synopsis: Jane the Virgin is a romantic comedy drama telenovela series created by Jennie Snyder Urman for The CW network. As of the time of this blog the show has already been confirmed for a fourth season.

The second season ended with a lot of crazy twists and turns and this third season begins with Michael (Brett Dier) still in critical condition after getting shot and Petra being replaced by her twin Anezka (Yael Groblas) without anyone knowing. The real Petra is being kept in a coma while Anezka tries to find blackmail material on Rafael (Justin Baldoni). So yeah, there's a lot of drama at the Marbella.

Meanwhile Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is still working on her novel for school thesis while her mother Xo (Andrea Navedo) is having a bit of a career crisis. Rogelio (Jaime Camil) is trying to make the crossover to American entertainment but it's not as easy as he thinks. And Jane's grandmother Alba (Ivonne Coll) may have a greater role to play in Jane's story, assuming that Alba is open to this.

What I Liked: In a mere three seasons it amazes me how far this show has evolved into something that remains entertaining. It's all about the advancement of character arcs but at the break neck speeds that are associated with telenovelas. With a new plot twists almost every week, this represents months of typical development in other shows. We started with a story about a girl who accidentally got artificially inseminated and are now in a full family drama with her juggling work, school and her son, finally resolving her complex relationship triangle and yet with larger plots related to drug lords, "evil" twins and all that good stuff. It's crazy but brilliant all at the same time.

Gina Rodriguez just keeps getting better and better and you can't help but fall in love with her performance as Jane. And this season really  had me respecting Groblas as both Petra and Anezka as the character arcs written for her really gave her a lot of interesting experiences to portray and explore. But man that huge mid-season twist was totally unexpected and it really took the show to an entirely different level.

What Could Have Been Better: I'm starting to feel like the writers are struggling to figure out what to do with Rogelio as his main arc in this season with his reality show and the attempted crossover to American entertainment had a lot of weird aspects to it. With everyone else taking some interesting steps forward, this felt like a lot of warbling and I kind of expected more direction for Rogelio after three seasons.

And I have very mixed  feelings about Michael's arc in this season. I was honestly rooting for him during season two but it feels like this season didn't quite deliver on that investment. I'm sure there were other reasons outside the show for why things turned out the way they did, but the way we arrived there didn't feel quite as organic to the show for me. It's a great television moment for sure but it still didn't sit well with me.

TL;DR: Jane the Virgin continues to push itself to new heights of writing, acting and great television and we're lucky to still have it. Its no longer the show we started with but it certainly demonstrates just how far a show can go when you really focus on character development. Thus the season gets 4 surprising reveals about Alba's life out of a possible 5.


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