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‘That Old Gut Feeling’ Drop Dead Diva’s ‘Welcome Back’ Episode Review

By on June 7, 2012

Brooke Elliott and Jackson Hurst in Drop Dead Diva. Photo by Bob Mahoney. Image © A&E Television Networks

The thing about a really great cliff hanger finale is that it necessitates an even greater season premiere to do it justice. The bar has been raised. The stakes are higher. Expectations are set. Drop Dead Diva’s season three finale gave us one of those episodes. Parker left the firm. Grayson kissed Stacy. Jane told Fred. Fred left Stacy and Jane left home – with Owen in tow – for the sunny shores of Italy. With such a tidal wave of entropy sweeping across the decks, it was hard to image how the first episode of a new season could possibly hope to pull all the individual threads back together again. But we needn’t have worried. Diva’s season four premiere ‘Welcome Back’ not only did justice to the previous season’s ending, but threw us a whole new set of juicy revelations to play with.

The episode kicks off in Italy where Jane and Owen are living their happily ever after … with the exception that they are both bored and homesick. Cue Terri (I love Terri. Just sayin’) who has tracked Jane down in order to deliver the news that ‘Acting Managing Partner’ Kim is struggling with the firm’s finances. A high-profile murder case might just solve their money woes, provided Jane agrees to be First Chair. With Owen offering support, it doesn’t take much convincing to get Jane back home.

Meanwhile, Grayson admits to Stacy that he hasn’t been able to to stop thinking of Jane since she left for Milan. Grayson has been nurturing the germ of an idea since season three’s finale, and in ‘Welcome Home’ we see it start to take root. When he confronts Stacy over her previous claim that ‘Jane is Deb’ she attempts to backtrack by passing off her previous remark, telling him that Jane and Deb are simply quite alike: “If I close my eyes they could practically be the same person.”

Yeah. Grayson’s not buying it either.

Jane ignores her gut instinct at her own peril in 'Welcome Back'

I have to admit that this muddying of Jane and Deb’s personas is one of the aspects of the show I love most. Where does Deb end and Jane begin? I love that Jane has found something real with Owen, but Deb refuses to be denied and doesn’t Grayson deserve love too? It’s a love-parallelogram that’s short one body, and whichever way it plays out someone’s going to come out losing. Grayson takes off to the airport to greet Jane (with an adorable bunch of flowers in hand) but takes off when he spots Owen. It’s a setback, but Grayson is not about to give up yet.

Back at work, Kim, who is settling into Parker’s office, fills Jane in on their latest case which involves Emily Horne, an old college acquaintance of Jane’s who is charged with the murder of her lover. At first, all the evidence points to Emily, leaving Jane struggling with the rather open and shut nature of the case. However, Emily pleads with Jane to represent her, insisting that she is innocent, and reminding Jane of how brilliant she was in their college days. “If you believe in someone, if you feel it in your gut, you are amazing.

Hmm. Why do I get the feeling these words will come back to haunt Jane before the credits roll?

As Jane delves further into the case, she begins to suspect that it is Emily’s husband, Anton, who may be responsible for his wife’s lover’s death. She persuades Emily to testify against him in return for immunity from prosecution.

Meanwhile Stacy is confronted by the reappearance of Fred – and Fred’s new girlfriend. Distraught, she turns to relationship guru Nicki LePree, who advises her to ‘leave nothing on the table’ and come clean about her feelings for Fred.

Stacy meets Fred and lays her feelings bare but is rejected by him. Fred later realizes that Stacy is in fact his Cindy Lauper (and not just juice) and returns to tell her he has broken up with his one-minute girlfriend (who presumably was just juice!). However, Stacy has in that time returned to Nicki, who has advised her to move on, and Stacy, being Stacy, takes her advice at face value.

Kim Kardashian as Nicki LePree. Photo by Bob Mahoney. Image © A&E Television Networks

Was it just me, or did anyone notice that Stacy takes off with the wrong cell phone? As Kim Kardashian’s no-nonsense Nicki is set to recur as a guest-star this season, we’re betting this will become important later on. Either that, or we’ll put it down as the mother of all continuity errors.

Fred tries to reconcile with Stacy but she rebuffs him. Realizing their relationship is over, he comes clean about his identity, and having done so, is forced to leave Earth. As he walks out the door, all memory of his existence is wiped from Stacy’s little confused mind. Or is it? Is this really the last of Fred? After all they’ve been through it seems such a sudden departure for actor Ben Feldman. Time, and future episodes, will tell.

Grayson, meanwhile is a man on a mission. Digging through old newspaper articles online (I love how any secret can be unearthed with the power of Google!) he discovers that Deb and Jane died on the same day. In a lightning bolt moment, Grayson finally realizes that Jane is Deb. Or Deb is Jane. Whatever! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Meanwhile in court, Emily Horne’s husband is cleared of murder when Emily voluntarily produces evidence that places her, and not Anton, at the scene of the crime. Jane realizes she has been duped, and that Emily and her husband are in fact working together. By securing immunity from prosecution, Emily is now free to help her husband escape a murder charge. As a visibly shaken Jane leaves court, she is confronted by Fred, who tells her he is leaving, and that a replacement guardian angel has already been found.

The double whammy of the day’s events sees Jane alone at the firm. Perhaps she’s mulling over skeevy Emily’s words about being amazing when you feel it in your gut. I know I am! Jane took the case without a strong conviction regarding Emily’s innocence and although the outcome was a success for the firm, she is left with quite a hollow feeling. Enter Luke Daniels, the firm’s newest Angel Investor – aka Jane’s newest guardian angel. Note to the writers. He can stay!

Luke reminds Jane about her priorities, and receives a sharp rejoinder from Jane that although she may have Jane’s body, she will always be Deb. And to prove it, she follows up with a trademark hair swish.

The game is on.

Drop Dead Diva continues with Home Sunday June 10 at 9pm on Lifetime.

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