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?
What Happens to Mel and Jack’s Baby on ‘Virgin River’ Season 5?
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.
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.
When Will the Holiday Episodes of ‘Virgin River’ Premiere? See the Trailer Now
Virgin River is giving a holiday gift of two bonus episodes.
After all 10 episodes of the fifth season arrive on Sept. 7, fans can look forward to two additional holiday-themed episodes streaming a few months down the line as “part 2” on Thursday, Nov. 30. It will be the show’s first-ever Christmas offering, bringing the episode count to 12 in total for season 5.
The 10th episode, the unofficial “season finale,” even included a time-jump four months into the future, setting the scene for the additional episodes as Mel and Jack can be seen gearing up for Christmas by decorating their cabin with wreaths and lights.
Mel is chatting with her sister, Joey, as Jack asks if she and the kids are excited for their first Virgin River Christmas.
A few days after the fifth season premiered, Lauren Hammersley, who plays Charmaine, shared the first look at the holiday episodes, revealing what fans can expect—and yes, Christmas in Virgin River looks just as magical as you’d expect.
As the town goes all-out for the Christmas tree decorating competition (the grand prize is a Yule log and bragging rights), Mel, who is sporting some chic new bangs, explains that she’s looking for her biological father as she wants to know “what happened.”
By the end of the brief trailer, she informs Jack that they’ve located him, with Preacher noting that he’s “still in Virgin River.” There are a handful of possibilities as to who it could be, which we break down in full right here!
Lizzie’s pregnancy is also addressed as she has doubts about whether she’ll be a good mom as Hope (likely) gears up to give her some incredible advice.
And speaking of pregnancies, one of the longest in TV history is finally coming to an end as Charmaine begins experiencing contractions at Doc’s practice and Mel jumps in to help.
As for Brady and Brie shippers, there may still be hope for their reconciliation after all as she approaches her ex and accidentally meets him right under the mistletoe. One fan in the comments suggested that she’s now doing the chasing, though a later scene, which seems to be a holiday dinner with everyone in town, sees her cozying up to Mike, so it seems she’s still very much conflicted on matters of the heart.
The only upsetting storyline includes Preacher, who may have found love with Kaia, but whose life might also blow up now that they’ve located Wes’ body after the fire.
“This thing is about to blow,” Mike tells him over the phone as Kaia inquires if he can clue her in on anything.
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We have to wait till Nov. 30 to see how everything unfolds, but remember, despite the drama and love triangles, it’s still the most wonderful time of the year!
Will There Be a Season 6 of ‘Virgin River’? And If So, When?
Virgin River Season 5 ended with a handful of cliffhangers for all the inhabitants of the picturesque small town, so it’s no surprise that fans are wondering if and when we’ll get more of the popular romantic drama.
In addition to the two bonus holiday episodes coming later this year on Nov. 30, the Netflix series starring Alexandra Breckenridge and Martin Henderson has already been renewed for a sixth season.
Virgin River Season 6 was officially confirmed back in May 2023, though for now, no release date has been announced.
And the series will likely experience some delays due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in Hollywood.
Mark Ghanimé, who portrays Cameron, the clinic’s newest doctor, confirmed the renewal, revealing in his Instagram post that the sixth season has yet to start filming.
“I am hoping our lovely gang of writers can get what they need so they can continue writing this show for 5 more seasons and we can get right into shooting our 6th!!” he wrote.
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The series, based on Virgin River novels by Robyn Carr, has no shortage of source material as there are 24 books in the collection, and considering the early renewal for season 6, the streaming giant clearly believes in it as there’s plenty of fan interest to keep visiting the idyllic small town with its fair share of drama.
“I think we definitely see more longevity and growth with the show,” Netflix’s Head Of Drama, Development Jinny Howe told Deadline, noting, “As long as the audience asks for it and shows up — and I think we see with Season 4 that the fandom is very strong and growing in many places as well — it feels like based on what we’re seeing with Season 4 and the anticipation for Season 5 that there is a lot more storytelling to offer us.“
As of now, the family faces, aka the main cast, which includes Breckenridge, Henderson, Colin Lawrence, Tim Matheson, Annette O’Toole, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Lauren Hammersley, Sarah Dugdale, Zibby Allen, and Marco Grazzini, are all set to return.
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