Virgin River season three dropped on Netflix just last week, and now that I’ve watched all ten episodes, it’s time to look at what went down, what didn’t go down, and where things are going! I was planning a whole ten-episode recap, but ain’t nobody got time for that, so let’s discuss where all the players ended up and the MULTIPLE cliffhangers!
Warning, MAJOR spoilers ahead!
RELATED: Read our season 2 recap
Doc and Hope
These two characters are my second favourites (second only to Mel and Jack, of course) and this season A LOT happens to them. Well, mainly Doc as he’s in Virgin River and Hope is away looking after a frail aunt (Google tells me the actress couldn’t return to the set due to the pandemic). If you recall, at the end of season two, Doc was attempting to say something significant to Hope but a surprise engagement party stopped him. We know something is wrong with him and we now discover what that was – his eyesight is failing! He starts headhunting for a replacement doctor for the clinic, and he wants to keep it under wraps. This is Virgin River though, so we know that’s going to blow up in his face later!
Doc is truly amazing this season. Not just because he’s a pillar of the Virgin River community and someone you can always rely on, but he’s grown so much since his days of a cantankerous, stuck-in-the-old-ways man, and in this first episode of season three, he ominously portends Jack’s character arc for future episodes by saying “a man can only take so much before he breaks”. By the end of this season, we realise it applies to Doc himself!
We see Hope via video chat and she’s just as vocal as ever, but this time Doc can quickly mute her with just a touch of a button! Not even a hurricane can stop Hope, but apparently, a dodgy rental car can! Towards the end of the season, she’s back in Virgin River playing the phantom because we still don’t see her physically, and we learn she’s been in an accident and is now in a coma. Cliffhanger #1 is introduced…Hope might not live!
Preacher and Christopher (but no Paige as she is still in hiding)
We see a lot more of Preacher and Christopher this season as our favourite chef juggled his work duties with looking after Paige’s son. Sure, he has Connie to rely on, But Preach seemed to manage okay, even when things got a little antsy. Like when Christopher goes missing at a community event and my heart momentarily drops as I think he’s been kidnapped by Wes’s twin brother, Vince! When Christopher turns up safe and sound, Preacher tells him he can’t run off like that, and I applaud with one hand as my other pushes my heart back into its proper resting place.
Also, Christopher struggles with making friends at day camp, believing his not cool enough because he doesn’t know how to play Fortnite. Preacher offers some sage advice and to buy some video games! He also offers to direct the camp play when whoever was supposed to do it quit. Yes, Preacher is a god among men! Even better, he’s here to stay now that Jack finally agrees to the partnership of the bar, and things are looking damn cosy.
Until…cliffhanger #2 arrives with Preacher being drugged and left stranded in the woods while Vince makes an appearance just as Christopher and Connie come home!
The best way I can describe Charmaine in season three is a pushover! And if you’re a Charmaine fan, then I’m sorry because she’s also annoying as ever. Yes, I know she’s pregnant and wants the best for her babies, but they’re Jack’s babies too, and she needs to remember that!
Right off the bat, we discover Charmaine is engaged. She wasn’t going to say anything, mind you but flashes the diamond ring right in front of Jack and Mel so that they know! The fiancé is some guy called Todd. I can think of at least ten better names for him, none of which are printable, and he has money and power, which he wields to his advantage. The Alpha is strong in this one!
Charmaine allows Todd to dictate everything to such a degree that each time Todd was in a scene, I was looking around for something heavy, weighing up the benefit of throwing it at my TV versus the cost of replacing it. Put simply, the guy is a jerk. Put even more simply, Charmaine needs to wake up to that fact!
In the final episode, she blindsides Jack by saying that she can’t see how they will manage shared custody of the twins because the jerk that is Todd doesn’t want Jack involved with their family! And this is where I started screaming! Jack tries to reason with her, but she is just impossible! And then she leaves! Say hello to cliffhanger #3!
Ricky and Lizzie
The young ’uns have their own little story to tell this season and it’s awkward, to say the least. Scratch that – Ricky is awkward. He’s also paranoid that Connie is watching him like a hawk (she is), and it’s starting to affect his relationship with Lizzie. They try to get some alone time by going away for a night in a nearby town but it’s even more awkward than ever! But it also makes me smile because they are just so cute.
There’s trouble ahead with Lizzie’s ex-boyfriend turning up and Ricky telling multiple fibs as he looks at joining the Marines. Lizzie finds out and is understandably upset, and it seems like their little love bubble has finally burst. But will Ricky commit to becoming a soldier? Cliffhanger #4 awaits!
Good vs Bad
Remember Mike and Calvin? The former is Jack’s war buddy turned detective and the latter is the nasty criminal using a logging company as a front for running drugs.
So, Mike is trying his damnedest to get the goods on Calvin to put him where he belongs behind bars. But Calvin is onto that, of course, and has all the bases covered. Calvin also warns Dan aka Brady that he’s virtually a dead man walking, and I’m afraid of where this arc is headed!
When Mike decides his staying in Virgin River, which frankly I would also do with the stunning landscape that this picturesque town offers, it looks like good may triumph over bad. Calvin does walk free, but it’s not over by a long shot, and here comes cliffhanger #5.
The Crafting Ladies
Muriel, Connie, Jo Ellen, and Lilly are the characters that make Virgin River seem like an old family friend. These four ladies together are a blast, and their camaraderie is so next level it is easy to believe they have been best friends for a very long time. If I were a regular at Jack’s bar, I would be pulling a chair up to their table and joining in because who doesn’t love crafts and a good gossip session! This time around, we see a lot more of the ladies, but more so with Muriel and Lilly.
The ladies tease Muriel a lot and believe she is still hankering after Doc. Given that Hope is conveniently away, and Muriel seems to crop up quite a bit wherever Doc is, it’s conceivable. However, I didn’t get any “while the cat’s away” vibes this time, which could mean that A) she’s an excellent actress or B) I’m that bad a judge! Either way, the jury’s out!
Okay, so now I’ve come to one of the difficult parts, and this one broke my heart as we discover that Lilly has cancer. It’s devastating news for everyone – especially her daughter who moved back home to help Lilly with the farm and baby Chloe. As an eternal optimist, I’m like, that’s okay, she’ll pull through, but the writers slay me just a few episodes later when Lilly passes away in her sleep.
Side note – I have a daughter called Lily (one L like the flower), and when I started to
cry sob howl like there’s no tomorrow, my husband came into the room to ask what was wrong. All I could manage was “Lilly died!” and when I realised how that sounded, I hastily pointed to the TV!
In the final episode Jo Ellen who wasn’t on screen all that much, unlike her other crafting friends, is given the honour of delivering cliffhanger #6 – although it’s beginning to feel like #656 – when some guy arrives at the inn wanting a room for the night (wouldn’t it be funny if he’s name is Joseph?). Nameless guy says he’s looking for his grandfather, and when Jo Ellen asks who that may be, a clanger is dropped…Doctor Vernon Mullins!
Brie and Brady
A new season means we get a new character, yay! Her name is Brie, and she automatically drops into my good books because she’s also Jack’s sister who came to Virgin River to help her brother after he got shot. She’s also very jumpy, which leads us to believe something terrible happened to her from wherever she came, and in a later episode, our suspicions are heartbreakingly confirmed.
Brie also meets Brady and the chemistry between these two is off the charts. They hook up, and it’s interesting to see an affectionate side to Brady. I am a big fan of this guy – who doesn’t love a bad boy? But Brady isn’t that bad and often misjudged, and I’m delighted when we find out that his idea of hanging out means watching old movies…be still my heart! Oh, and there is absolutely no freaking way he shot Jack!
However, Mike disagrees with me and a gun is found in Brady’s car. The gun. And despite Brady’s protests of being framed and his painful plea to Brie, who shakes her head at him, we’re left to deal with cliffhanger #7!
Mel and Jack…FINALLY!
Okay, I had to leave the show’s stars to last, and maybe you should get a cuppa because we could be here a while!
Season three opens where number two left off with Jack shot and now in hospital, being tended to by a group of doctors and nurses. Jack is not looking good at all, and we’re dealt our first drama-packed punch when he goes into arrest! It’s all good, of course (this is Virgin River not Game of Thrones) and this main star is here to stay!
Three weeks later and Jack is back at work with no memory of who shot him. And we don’t find out! Which was a massive disappointment for me after the end of season two. I want closure, dammit! It’s also Mel’s birthday and she doesn’t want to do anything special despite Jack’s cajoling. So, a cupcake and shared bath it is! And as she and Jack are getting all hot and steamy, the suspicious smell of smoke registers…Jack’s house is on fire!
They escape, of course, and I can’t help but think Jack has superpowers because he donned a pair of jeans mightily fast between leaving the bathroom and reaching the front door. As mentioned earlier, Doc proclaims Jack is at breaking point, which may trigger his war demons. The fire turns out to result from faulty wiring, which I think is code for Calvin did it, and Mel tells a shellshocked Jack he can stay with her.
As things get cosy for Mel and Jack on the home front, Mel receives a letter from Mark’s sister, Stacie, which is a sonogram picture of a baby and a one-worded note…surprise! As I call Stacie a few names she rightly deserves, Mel reminisces to when she was pregnant.
Later, Jack talks to Mel about not telling him that Charmaine was thinking about moving to Oregon, and I just love seeing two people openly communicating instead of resorting to some blame game. A humorous moment follows when Jack wakes up in bed alone and goes hunting for Mel – she’s outside asleep in her car! Apparently, Jack is a snorer! Yes, the superpowers have diminished and he’s human, after all, folks!
But of course, it’s not all smooth sailing for these two! Virgin River is a drama and we’re reminded of that when Mel and Jack discuss a baby – their baby! Although Jack says he’s glad Mel told him she wants a baby, he is clearly uncomfortable, and a sense of foreboding settles in my stomach.
That comes to fruition a few episodes later when Jack does indeed reach breaking point. I can’t blame him when he’s dealing with a snarky Charmaine and the jerk that is Todd, worry over Brie who is dealing with her own set of demons and then a flashback to the shooting that reveals Brady was there that night! But then he goes and splits up with Mel, and it’s deathly quiet in my house because I’m at a loss for words!
An opportune visit to LA to help her sister with an impending divorce gives Mel a break from the drama, as well as time to reflect on said drama, and when her sister reminds Mel that Mark’s sperm is frozen and just waiting for her, I’m like; what! The sister is like; you go, girl, and Mel’s like; I dunno. Later, her mind is made up and she’s going to see her doctor!
Meanwhile, Jack is at Doc’s getting a check-up and he announces that he broke things off with Mel. I just adore Doc’s awed reply – but you love her – and his follow up advice that Mel is strong and capable with a huge heart! It clearly resonates with Jack because when Mel returns to her cabin, he is waiting for her!
Mel attempts to give a cold shoulder, but Jack explains that he split with her because he was afraid that she’d get hurt – he was also feeling overwhelmed. He wants her back and Mel doesn’t seem convinced, reminding him that it will only get more challenging. Jack persists and Mel caves, and I’m sorry to say this felt way too quick for me. As much as I love these two, they broke up in one episode and made up the very next! It would have been way more convincing had it just been a fight that separated them. But Jack, you called it off!
Side note: I’m having my own flashback now, and it’s 1997 where Ross and Rachel were on a break. Damn you, Virgin River for reminding me of that episode!
And so, we have come to the finale where we know three things: Jack has a ring and is preparing to propose. Mel has a secret and it’s a text from her doctor confirming her pregnancy. And I’m in awe of their surroundings, vowing that if I win Lotto the international borders had better be open because I am so visiting this place!
We are transfixed when Jack begins to fumble for the ring and the bended knee position. Mel realises what he’s about to do and quickly intervenes – I’m pregnant. Jack is all smiles – we’re having a baby! And Mel drops cliffhanger #8 – I don’t know if you’re the father!
End scene and commence the agonising wait for season four!
While you wait – catch up on the series by Robyn Carr
Written by Jo-Ann Milne