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Virgin River

Virgin River Review – Trial By Fire (505)

Virgin River. (L-R) Zibby Allen as Brie, John Prowse, Miranda Edwards as Ivy Richardson in episode 505 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

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Virgin River just delivered one of its most intense and powerful episodes ever with Season 5 Episode 5. I know the show had some stellar writing, but who knew they had it in them to deliver something of that caliber?

Disclaimer — this review includes spoilers from the episode — proceed with caution.

The series proved that it’s so much more than romantic drama, bringing such tense situations to the forefront and throwing all of our favorite small-town residents in the line of fire, quite literally.

On top of that, we were dealing with Brie’s trial against Don, and Mel’s heartbreaking realization that the pregnancy was not viable. It was a lot—and quite frankly, felt like a season finale episode, though, I’m extremely glad it’s not. 

While wildfires created plenty of uneasiness throughout the episode, it was also, unfortunately, a very surface-level look at the reality that many are going through in our world today, with the fires currently raging through Canada and recently ravaging Maui. Since some of Virgin River is filmed in Vancouver, it makes sense that the series would want to bring attention to the dangers and extremely heartbreaking realities that result from wildfires by showcasing the events through the fictional characters we care so much about. 

The wildfires spread quickly, and before you know it, everyone was somehow impacted either physically or emotionally by worrying about a loved one potentially caught in the crosshairs. 

Denny and Lizzie volunteered to go check on Bert, making sure that Lydie evacuated her home along the way, but before they could even make it to their destination, they found themselves surrounded by fire and downed trees that were blocking the road. It was an apocalyptic site, and a terrifying one, as they appeared trapped with no escape in sight. Truthfully, I have no idea how they are going to find their way out unless someone happens to be nearby, sees them, and lends them a hand or clears the road. 

Hope was consumed by guilt as she initially allowed Denny and Lizzie to head into the dangerous area by following her Fire Evacuation plan that she created when she was Mayor. Nick only made her feel worse by hammering home that she was to blame, but I don’t really agree that things would’ve been different had she stayed by and allowed him to do things his way. Nick’s approach was passive, waiting to evacuate that part of town until the very last minute, which didn’t give anyone, particularly the sick and elderly, enough time to make their way out. You can’t wait until the situation hits the fan to do something about it. And if they’re already evacuating firefighters from that area, he basically gave the residents no chance to make it out alive. Hope was trying to do the right thing, so it’s not fair to say that this is proof that she’s no longer capable of being mayor. Did she overstep? Yes, but she had the best intentions, ones that likely ensured that Lydie made it out safely. 

Preacher spent much of the episode worrying about Kaia after it was revealed that two firefighters were injured—one impaled by a tree. Thankfully, Kaia was not at the receiving end of the stump, but she was the other firefighter in the situation. I’m hoping she’ll be fine after being checked for smoke inhalation, and that this situation will bring her and Preacher even closer together. 

Hope meddled and gave unsolicited advice, urging Preacher to tell Kaia that she’s “catching feelings,” which he did. It would be a shame if they put Preacher through any more loss, so I’m glad she was just in the field at the same time. 

Doc and Cameron responded to the call to assist Kaia and the other firefighter, and while things seemed uncertain there for a minute, they pulled through with some quick thinking in the field. Unfortunately, after bringing Jay back to the clinic, his health began deteriorating and no one could figure out why. By the end of the episode, it seemed as though they lost him as he began to flatline. 

Virgin River is definitely not equipped to handle such a tragedy with only two doctors and Mel volunteering. They were spread too thin as there were way too many patients for them to handle, mostly with burns and smoke inhalation. 

Mel was in a tough spot as she found blood on the toilet paper right as she arrived at the clinic. Of course, she assumed the worst due to her previous experiences with miscarriages and stillbirths, and her greatest fears were soon confirmed by the lack of a fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound. My heart absolutely sank in this moment because, like Mel, I was hopeful that this time it would be a successful pregnancy; this would be the one.

She couldn’t even tell anyone or take more than a minute to mourn the loss, a scene that simply shows just how incredibly strong women have to be at any given time. She shed a few tears before pulling herself together and pouring herself into her patients, eventually leaving the clinic to go up to the farm to check on Ava and Chloe. As she made her way down, she saw flames everywhere and heard baby Chloe crying on the farm somewhere, which explains why they never made it to the clinic. It’s unclear if Ava inhaled too much smoke and passed out or if something else went down, but it seems that if it wasn’t for Mel, these two would’ve been victims of the fire. And still, we have no idea how this is going to pan out as Jack immediately made his way to the farm, informing Brady that Mel could be in danger. 

With cell service town, it’s a miracle that her text got through to him in time, and it’s possible she wasn’t even aware that the area was being evacuated.

There was so much to digest within the episode, but like Mel, there was no time to stop and think about it or even take a moment and sit with it—the action happening was so fast. 

Jack and Brady teamed up to head up to camp, at Doc’s request, to convince all the people living there to evacuate. Brady knew them all on a more personal level so he had a little more sway than Jack, but as embers began flying and shooting off ammunition, it was clear that they arrived just in time and no one could ignore the dangers for much longer. 

Unfortunately, one of the campers’ 6-year-old daughter, Hazel, went missing in the woods, and both Brady and Jack vowed not to leave until they found her. It was incredibly brave of the two of them, who put aside their differences to work together. Even when Brady suggested that they split up, Jack immediately shut the idea down, fully committed to not repeating the same mistakes as he did in Iraq. 

Together, they were able to look out for each other and swiftly found Hazel, before the situation became even more grim. 

Their heroic efforts were only underscored by Brie’s moving speech about what constitutes a hero—the people who run toward danger instead of away from it, who risk it all for others, who go forth into the uncertainty, and who rely on their faith to guide them. The heroes are all of those making sacrifices for others, not the lawyer who was trying to help an abuser win his court case by painting the women testifying as unreliable victims, or, in Brie’s case, as an addict and scorned ex. 

Brie was intimidated being on the stand at first, and being forced to relieve the events of the night of the sexual assault was hard, but she was determined to finally put an end to this and stop letting it control her life. She fought back at every turn, refusing to let herself be discredited, and with a little push from Mike—he was right, Sheridan does got this—she came back swinging with a poignant speech that even made the lawyer seemingly embarrassed to be defending Don amidst a flurry of accusations from multiple women. And Brie came with the facts on domestic abuse and rape cases; don’t ever say our girl wasn’t prepared to take back her power. 

The fact that Don wanted to marry her and even made the suggestion that evening had no bearing on the case, and I’m guessing that what happened is Brie brushed it off as a joke, which made him feel mad and rejected so he forced himself onto her. Don, you lose, buddy. 

Brie wanted to call Brady for moral support, but Mike just so happened to be there at the right place at the right time, and if I wasn’t shipping Brie and Brady, I’d totally throw all my love behind Mike, but I just can’t. Brady is trying to be a better man as evidenced by his decision to be a CI for Mike and how quickly he jumped in to help Jack save the campers with a second thought. Brady may have strayed off the path before, but he wants to turn his life around and seemingly can’t shake the control that Calvin, and now, Melissa have over him. He deserves Brie’s understanding and forgiveness. 

I can’t in good faith support Mike when Brie already has a great man who loves her and would do anything for her, but I am fine with Brie and Mike simply being friends who are there for each other when the situation calls for it… if that’s even a possibility. 

What did you think of the episode? Do you think everyone will survive the fire? Will it give everyone a new perspective on life? Did the writers really destroy Mel’s chances of having a child after everything that she’s gone through? And what does this mean for her and Jack’s future?

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Virgin River

Who Is Lark on ‘Virgin River’?

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Who Is Lark on 'Virgin River'?

Lark (Elise Gatien) made her debut on Virgin River Season 5, specifically, during the episodes that tackled the wildfires that ravaged parts of the picturesque town. 

Warning – this post has spoilers from the Virgin River holiday episodes. 

After Jack and Brady risked their lives to save Lark’s daughter, Hazel, who went missing from the campsite during the fire evacuation, the single mom began to bond with the latter, extending her gratitude to him for going out of his way to prioritize her daughter’s safety. 

When Brady found out that Lark and Hazel were squatting, he offered them up a place in one of the lumber yard trailers, a selfless gesture that speaks to his big heart. 

Lark definitely set her sights on Brady, especially on the heels of his generosity, and a connection sparked around the time that Brady’s relationship with Brie crumbled and he was looking for some companionship. Lark also helped Brady see the better parts of himself, as Brie held his lies (even though he couldn’t tell her anything about being an informant) against him and made him feel guilty. 

One thing led to another and eventually, Lark and Brady began a relationship after his romance with Brie ended. It was also helpful that Hazel really took to Brady, and thus, he became a bit of a stepfather figure in her life.

Fast forward a few months to the timeline of the holiday episodes, Brady and Lark are going strong, fully embracing their romance and sweet little family together. Lark even invited Brady to meet her mother, though he claims that’s a little too fast-paced for him, which is understandable considering he still harbors strong feelings for Brie, who has currently moved on with Mike. 

However, Brady seems to be in a good place in life, particularly as everything with Melissa Montgomery’s money laundering/drug smuggling at Emerald Lumber has finally settled down. He’s finally able to move past the nightmare that started when he was roped in by Calvin when he was young and reckless, or so fans thought. In retrospect, I guess we should’ve been more suspicious of Lark’s attempts at inserting herself into Brady’s life, though she definitely made it seem so natural. 

In the final moments of Virgin River Season 6 Episode 12, Lark sneaks off to pick up a call from Hazel’s father, who turns out to be Jimmy, who is serving time in prison. Lark informs him that “Brady doesn’t suspect a thing,” which shows that this is Jimmy’s form of getting close enough to Brady to get revenge. 

It’s an awful and disappointing twist considering all the progress Brady has made to turn over a new leaf and hit refresh. He can’t seem to shake this whole Emerald Lumber fiasco, no matter how hard he tries. Bad luck just seems to follow him based on one bad decision he made way back when—and it’s cost him so much, including his friendships and his romance with Brie. 

I’m hoping that Lark realizes just how good of a guy Brady is and how much he’s sacrificed for her and Hazel and decides not to go through with whatever she and Jimmy have planned.

Lord knows that Brady deserves some sliver of good news and positivity in his life, along with a storyline far removed from the lumber yard. 

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Holidays

Virgin River Holiday Episodes Season 5 Episode 11 and 12 Review – Father Christmas

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Virgin River Holiday Episodes Season 6 Episode 10 and 11 Review - Father Christmas

Virgin River is getting into the spirit of the holidays!

While most of Virgin River, including Mel and Jack, were under the impression that this was the “best Christmas ever,” even despite a few hiccups with the “extraordinary” family dinner they planned, if you’ve ever seen an episode of this series, you were likely waiting for the other foot to drop. 

**Warning—spoilers from the episodes ahead!**

Things on Virgin River are typically perfect—until they aren’t, but it’s also a very accurate reflection of real life; it’s made up of a blend of good and bad moments, many of which help you realize just how lucky and thankful you are. 

Virgin River Season 5 Episodes 11 and 12, titled “The More the Merrier” and “Father Christmas,” gave fans the very first Christmas in the quaint and charming town, and, if you’ll believe it, Mel and Jack’s first Christmas together. Is it just me or is the timeline exceptionally slow on this show?

Then again, Charmaine made a pointed joke about the length of her pregnancy, which honestly feels like it has spanned decades at this point, so the birth of her twins, which yes, finally happens during this momentous episode, ends up feeling slightly rushed. 

The fact that she has a quick labor isn’t just great for her—it’s a blessing for Mel and Doc as it allows them to get back to all their Christmas Eve shenanigans without missing a beat. 

Despite all that transpired between Mel, Charmaine, and Jack, Charmaine still finds a source of support within them, especially Mel, who stands up for her when Calvin arrives at the clinic when Charmaine goes into labor. Mel might be the only person in town now who knows the identity of the father of Charmaine’s twins, and she’s all too content with keeping it to herself. Personally, I’d be as bad of a secret keeper as Hope, blabbing the news to Jack at the earliest convenience. But Mel is a trusted source who can keep a secret, especially with the patient confidentiality at play. Though, hopefully, Charmaine decides what she’s going to do about her little Calvin problem sooner than later because he seems adamant about being part of those boys’ lives. It’s true that parenthood changes people, sometimes for the better, but Calvin’s caused so much pain in town that I don’t know if it’s possible for him to turn over a new leaf. 

The good news is that come Virgin River Season 6, Charmaine won’t be pregnant anymore, and we can close the book on the longest TV pregnancy ever. 

Mel’s quest to find her biological father was a huge part of the Christmas episodes. Through love letters unearthed by her sister Joey, Mel found out that her mother had a secret love affair with a man named “Champ” in Virgin River, thus making her connection to the town much more significant. 

Together with Jack and her new bangs (love ’em!), she set out on a merry scavenger hunt to uncover her dad’s identity, eventually learning that he won the 1976 Lumberjack Games in town before finding his name: Everett Reid. If you’re slightly disappointed that this isn’t someone we already know, well, join the club. It feels like a missed opportunity… for now, though I’m waiting to hear Everett out fully before I officially cast my judgment. While he initially denied being Mel’s father when she first approached him, even though it was obvious that he was lying, Mel didn’t question it, simply focusing on the people who chose to be in her life—her chosen family. 

And there are plenty of them, including Doc, who agreed to walk Mel down the aisle during her wedding to Jack. 

However, at the end of the episode, Everett arrived at the cabin and changed his mind about wanting to be in Mel’s life. He explained that the initial shock of seeing her—his daughter who looked just like the woman he loved and lost—threw him for a loop. And it’s understandable considering Mel essentially ambushed him without any warning. He needed time to process and think about what it was that he wanted out of this new relationship.

Everett then says that he has to tell her something, but naturally, the episode ends right before he gets the chance, leaving fans on a cliffhanger till next season. What could it be? Is Everett dying? Has he been following Mel’s whole life from a distance? Did he know she was in Virgin River?

And how is it that there is someone in Virgin River who has managed to keep his identity a secret? Living in a secluded cabin has its benefits, but how has he managed to fly under the radar for so long? The fact that no one knows him is kind of a hard sell for me… at the moment, at least. 

Who Is Mel’s Father in ‘Virgin River’?

Jack and Brie were dealing with family matters head-on as their parents, fresh off of a divorce, came to town and immediately started bickering. Brie was running interference before Jack stepped in and basically used one of their old plays against them—sit in your room and don’t come out until you’ve talked through everything. By the end, they emerged as friends, with dad accepting of mom’s new relationship with Javi, as they both acknowledged that they needed to make an effort to bring the family back together. It was a sweet moment showcasing that things don’t always pan out the way we hope in life, but we have to be open to making things work for the sake of the children, even when they are grown adults.

In the end, the big family dinner that Mel wanted was able to happen—and everyone enjoyed themselves. 

Mel not only got the gift of jewelry this year, but Jack also went out of his way to give her the gift she’s been asking Santa for ever since she was a little girl—a pony! A dog named Pony that is. 

Maybe it was the spirit of Christmas but Jack was so fun, silly, and cheery throughout the episode. He wasn’t carrying the weight of his past and trauma, and it was refreshing to see him almost act like a little boy again around everyone he loved and trusted. I need more of this Jack in the future, please. 

The biggest mistake that the series has ever made was driving Brie and Brady apart. I mean, why? What was it for? No one benefitted from it. Brie and Mike just don’t have the same chemistry, unfortunately. They are cute, but it’s nothing compared to the electricity between Brady and Brie, even when they see each other in passing. 

Brady makes a great family man with Lark and Hazel, but I couldn’t get invested in the relationship either, and it turns out that there was a good reason for it—Lark is playing him completely. 

In the final—and biggest twist—of the episodes, Lark answers a call from Hazel’s dad, Jimmy. Yep, you know it’s bad news when Jimmy, from prison, calls to check in on how things are going and Lark informs him that “Brady doesn’t suspect a thing.” I hate everything about this, solely because of how hard Brady’s been trying to become a better man and distance himself from this life. He thought he was finally coming out on the other side after helping to take down Calvin and Melissa, but all of that is about to blow up in his face because he let his guard down.

Lizzy and Denny are expecting a baby girl, a genuinely uplifting storyline that has warmed the hearts of everyone in town, except Lizzy’s mother, who was initially distraught by the news and assumed her daughter was throwing away her life. Lizzy managed to convince her mother that this is what she wanted—to be a mom and have a fulfilling career, and from where I’m standing, Lizzy has a good head on her shoulders. She’s come a long way from the girl who arrived in town initially. And quite frankly, she cut her mother way too much slack!

Doc figured that the annual tree decorating competition was the perfect time to repropose to Hope—and their love definitely inspires everyone around. There’s so much to celebrate these days! 

Virgin River Holiday Episodes Season 6 Episode 10 and 11 Review - Father Christmas

Virgin River. (L to R) Annette OÕToole as Hope, Tim Matheson as Doc Mullins, Kai Bradbury as Denny, Sarah Dugdale as Lizzie, Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan, Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in episode 512 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

Muriel and Cameron are going strong, with everyone in town acknowledging their deep connection and chemistry. However, when Cameron’s ex fianceé blew into town as part of her apology tour during her recovery process, it forced Muriel to look at their relationship a little differently. If Cameron stays with Muriel, he’s giving up the possibility of having a family and children in the future. And while he says he’s okay with that, Muriel wants him to be sure as she doesn’t want him to resent her for it in the future. Nothing would break her heart more than taking this opportunity away from him. Cameron promises he’ll think about it, but it definitely seems like he’s made up his mind about what he wants out of life and who he wants to spend it with. The life he imagined with his former fianceé once upon a time is long gone now that he’s met Muriel—but I’m glad that she’s prioritizing his happiness rather than being selfish, proving that she’s a mature adult who just wants to be realistic about their relationship rather than allowing herself to get swept up in the moment. These are real issues that need to be addressed. 

And finally, Wes’ death is about to blow up Preacher’s life now that the body has been identified. In case you need a refresher, he helped bury the body after Paige accidentally pushed her abusive husband down the stairs in self-defense. Had they just reported his death at the time, it would’ve likely been a lot less problematic than what they are facing now, but considering that Wes was a respected cop with a lot of pull on the force at the time, the self-defense claim might’ve not held up at the time either. 

Kaia realizes something is wrong based on the call and questions him about it immediately, though it’s unclear if Preacher will come clean to her. She is the fire chief now, so it’s likely better for him to tell her upfront in the privacy of their home, but will she be receptive? This is a huge bomb dropping on their otherwise idyllic relationship, particularly after she accepted a new job to stay in town and be with him. Do you think she’ll stand by his side or will this be the demise of their relationship? 

What did you think of the holiday episodes? Did you enjoy the festivities? Do you think everything with Mel’s dad will turn out okay? Share your thoughts! 

Who Is Lark on ‘Virgin River’?

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Virgin River

What Happens to Mel and Jack’s Baby on ‘Virgin River’ Season 5?

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Virgin River Season 3 Episode 3 Review Spare Parts and Broken Hearts

There wasn’t a dull moment on Virgin River Season 5, from the wildfire threatening the picturesque small town to Brady’s team-up with Mike to take down Melissa, the new woman running Calvin’s drug empire, and even Brie’s trial against her predatory ex—and weaved in through the fabric was Mel and Jack’s pregnancy storyline. 

Disclaimer — this post includes spoilers from the episode — proceed with caution.

Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack Sheridan’s (Martin Henderson) pregnancy started off as one of the more positive storylines, juxtaposed with the shocking revelation that his ex, Charmaine, spent months lying to him about the paternity of the twins. In the Virgin River Season 4 finale, Charmaine suffered a medical episode during which she came clean that Jack was not the father of the boys as she led him to believe. I won’t spoil who the real father is revealed to be in the final moments of the season (you can read that in more detail here and here).

Mel’s pregnancy was immediately considered high risk because of her previous miscarriages, yet it was filled with hope that this time would be the one. Until it wasn’t. 

Sadly, Mel lost the pregnancy about midway through the season at the worst possible time as she was volunteering at Doc’s (after quitting her job to make sure she had a safe pregnancy), so she didn’t even have time to fully process what was happening. As she was gearing up to treat patients affected by the wildfires, she stepped away for a bathroom break, which is when she noticed blood on the toilet paper. She confirmed the heartbreaking news with a quick ultrasound showing that there was no longer a fetal heartbeat present. 

Instead of having the fully-deserved breakdown, Mel composed herself and gave the people of Virgin River her all, including baby Chloe, who nearly perished when the fire took hold of Lilly’s farm.

Eventually, when the fires got under control, Mel was able to let the feelings in, and they flooded in all at once as she reunited with Jack and broke down crying as she offered up a heartfelt apology, a clear indication that something tragic happened.

Jack fully supported Mel in the aftermath of her loss, allowing her to grieve the way she needed to, and when she was ready, he asked Hope to convey the news to the rest of the town so that Mel wouldn’t have to tell everyone and re-live it every single time.

When Jack brought up trying again, Mel kept avoiding the topic, seemingly not ready to talk about it. She was being honest with herself, so she couldn’t be honest with Jack, however, in a moment of honesty and clarity during her girls’ night with Brie and Ava, Mel confirmed that she didn’t have it in her to keep going and experiencing hit after hit. Not only was it emotionally taxing, but it was physically and mentally draining. Mel didn’t want to get her hopes up again thinking this time would be different only to feel crushed by the realization that it wasn’t. 

When Will the Holiday Episodes of ‘Virgin River’ Premiere?

It definitely wasn’t what Jack wanted to hear—or expected to hear—and his side of things was also valid as he lost three prospective children in a very short time period, however, he remained committed to finding a solution that pleased them both without being pushy or forceful. 

He didn’t want to give up on his dreams of being a father, and he knew that deep down, Mel also wanted a family, despite feeling broken and discouraged at the moment. He suggested trying a different method—and there are so many to explore with adoption and surrogacy at the top of the list—reminding her that it doesn’t matter how you get there, it simply matters that you do.

She was a bit hesitant at first as it wasn’t what she’d always envisioned, but things rarely go as planned. And she, of all people (she ended up in Virgin River spontaneously), should know that. 

The more she thought about it, the more she realized that Jack was right. This hiccup, though heartbreaking, didn’t have to be the end of their journey towards having kids. They didn’t come this far (she didn’t come this far), to only come this far. 

The final moments of the episode found Mel and Jack agreeing to buy Lilly’s farm to start their dream life and family together, all while planning their future wedding in the most perfect spot. 

It’s not the outcome many fans were expecting, but given her history, it’s one that made sense, while also allowing the writers to deepen Mel and Jack’s bond while showcasing their journey toward parenthood in a realistic way. 

Will There Be a Season 6 of ‘Virgin River’? And If So, When?

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