Welcome to a new season of Virgin River! The community that supports its own through compassion, gossip, tough love, and meals at Jack's Bar is back with all the small-town drama that comes with it.
Sometimes it feels like a cast of thousands lives in this Northern California town, so here's a quick rundown of where we left them:
Mel's pregnant with a baby that might be Jack's and might be her late husband's.
Hope was in a car accident, prognosis unknown.
Preacher was drugged and left for dead in the woods while evil Uncle Vince made off with Christopher.
Brady was arrested when police found a gun in his car.
Ricky and Lizzie broke up after he lied about enlisting.
Charmaine got married and was the worst.
Is your memory officially jogged? Hope so! It's time to recap season 4.
NETFLIX MARTIN HENDERSON as JACK SHERIDAN and ALEXANDRA BRECKENRIDGE as MEL MONROE
Episode 1: Be My Baby
Can you keep a secret? If the answer is no, consider relocating to beautiful Virgin River. You'll fit right in!
Season 4 opens with Jack (Martin Henderson)'s stress dream about a big-bellied, suddenly blonde Mel (Alexandra Breckinride) smiling brightly at her late husband Mark (Daniel Gillies), who's never cast more of a shadow on their relationship than right now, with the paternity of Mel's baby in question.
Mel's OB explains their paternity test options, which Mel knows all about — she's a certified midwife, after all — then scares the bejesus out of Jack by talking up Mel's high-risk status.
Although Mel assures him that her body knows this pregnancy is different than the one she lost (um, is that a scientific thing?), Jack doesn't want her telling anyone quite yet.
Naturally, Mel immediately spills the news to her sister Joey (Jenny Cooper), and she patiently tolerates Jack's shopping spree for vitamins and baby books and the equipment she needs for a healthy pregnancy — all of which she already knows or has access to at the clinic.
Elsewhere in Virgin River, some of the residents are having trouble with their own secrets.
First, the good news: Hope (Annette O'Toole) is alive and out of the hospital! (And no, Calvin had nothing to do with her car crash, despite the mid-season rumors.) The crash left her with a brain injury that's affected her smell, taste, memory, spatial awareness, and even her personality. She's also forgotten that Doc (Tim Matheson) told her Lilly was dead, and he'd prefer to keep it that way until she's recovered a bit more.
Unfortunately, nobody passed that memo along to Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale), who stops by with some food for Hope and offers to take care of her roses, which are charmingly named Amy, Jo, Meg, and Beth. (That girl's had a personality transplant since her introduction in season 2, hasn't she?)
Lizzie lets it slip to Hope that Lilly now resides in the cemetery, then calls Doc in a panic. Hope realizes that there isn't a get-well card from Lilly in her stash, and Doc tells her the story of her friend's death as anguish washes over her face.
Changes are afoot at the clinic, where Doc's hired a new doctor. Cameron Hayek (Mark Ghanimé) is young and handsome (I know, control your shock), and I don't trust the way he smiles at Mel.
The women of the town are ready with a warm welcome and stampede to make appointments with Dr. Hayek. To his credit, he gamely keeps them all. He also notices when Mel refers to him as hot in passing and doesn't let it go unremarked. Watch ya back, Jack.
Speaking of people who don't wish Jack well, the last time we saw Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley), she was mad that Jack talked to a family law attorney… which she discovered when she was trying to hire a family law attorney of her own. *Jim Halpert stare into the camera*
She bumps into Jo Ellen (Gwynyth Walsh) and lets it slip that she's pregnant with boys, but asks her not to share the sex with Jack. Starting off the season strong there, Char.
The newly single Ricky (Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey) seems to have gotten into Mel's leftover blonde hair dye, and he and his frosted tips are being menaced by a raccoon outside Jack's Bar. Preacher (Colin Lawrence) identifies the raccoon as Bandit, and sadly that's the last we see of the trash panda this season.
Bolstered by his near-death wildlife encounter, Ricky plucks up the courage to tell Jack that he's enlisting in the Marines. Jack's surprised but pleased to hear it, which tells you everything you need to know about the sense of duty and patriotism in this man who's still deeply haunted by his war experiences.
Jack's also surprised that Brie (Zibby Allen) is sticking around town after the Brady thing — the "Brady thing" being Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth) begging her to believe that he's innocent as the cops haul him off to charge him with shooting Jack.
Brie, who's considering a job offer to do lawyering around Virgin River for the next year, bumps into Mike (Marco Grazzini), who reminds her that he was just doing his job when he arrested Brady after finding a gun in his truck.
Brady and his disheveled hair (seriously, my guy needs access to pomade or, at the very least, a light-hold gel) are in lockup on $500,000 bail. Unfortunately, he's in there with drug camp Jimmy (Ian Tracey), who's always hated him. Also, lockup very quickly left Brady prison yard swagger and poor grammar, but at least he's befriended a weaselly inmate who watches his back.
Alas, Jack's starting to realize that he may have pointed the finger at an innocent man. When Preacher shows Jack video of Paige's (Lexa Doig) dead husband's evil twin (Steve Bacic), Jack has a flashback and realizes it was Vince, not Brady, who shot him. Call somebody, Jack! Your buddy Mike, maybe? The district attorney? Brie? Get somebody on the horn before it's too late!
Ope, it's too late. Brady's reading a big ol' hardback during yard time when Jimmy approaches with a shiv. Brady successfully fights him off, but his weaselly buddy blindsides us all by stabbing him right in the gut.
Episode 2: Father Knows Best...?
Brady's going to be okay, y'all! He's got a lacerated kidney and Brie by his side after she lawyer-talks her way past the guard at the door like a total boss.
When he wakes up, an emotional Brie apologizes for not believing him. She tells him that she loves him and promises to get him home. Well, I'd hope so, since the victim now has a clear memory of who actually shot him.
Jack, who does go to Mike with his new memory of the Vince shooting, wonders out loud if his day could get any worse after he learns that his dad's in town. I mean, you could be stabbed in the kidney.
Jack and his dad do the emotionally stunted father-son handshake, and we learn that his dad's a very busy academic who's never seen Jack's bar before. He's there to harangue Brie into moving back to Sacramento, because favoritism is alive and well in the Sheridan household and he wants his daughter back.
Mel lets is slip that Jack got Charmaine pregnant, and these people have got to get better about making it clear who knows what and who doesn't. Jack's dad lays into him for not marrying Charmaine, and it's awkward because, hello, Mel is right there.
The woman who usually brings the awkward has gotten even worse following her brain injury. At cards with the ladies, Hope brings up Lilly with Tara (Stacey Farber) at the table, which brings the mood right down. This new version of Hope offers a flustered, angry apology and afterward tells Mel that sometimes words come out without her permission. She begs for help getting her life back.
Remember Doc's newly discovered grandson, Denny (Kai Bradbury)? Doc hasn't mentioned him to Hope, but he does invite Denny to stay in Virgin River a little longer. We learn that Doc dated Rose in college, but when she got pregnant, she sent him a Dear John for fear that a child would get in the way of him becoming a doctor. Denny then breaks the news that his father died last month, which has to be unbelievably devastating for Doc.
Denny has more than just his grandpa to stick around for; he and Lizzie hop into a paddleboat, then head to Jack's bar for some food. Of course, Ricky catches sight of them flirting. No-nonsense waitress Hannah (Clare Filipow) tells him to win her back with a grand gesture, but instead he considers signing a regular contract with the military and shipping out for boot camp in two weeks rather than holding out for the officer candidate course.
Preacher seeks out a different kind of training in this episode, heading to an Aikido class to blow off stress as he continues to search for Christopher (Chase Petriw). But he's the oldest student by decades, and his child sparring partner drops him to the mat immediately, which amuses instructor Julia (Lucia Walters) and raises questions for me about Preacher's military training.
Okay, let's circle back to Mel and Jack. When a woman from the drug camp arrives at the clinic to give birth, Mel delivers a stillborn child and then a healthy twin. Once she's out of sight of the parents, she collapses with her own remembered grief.
She doesn't share any of this with Jack, but she does encourage him to be honest with his father. So the men have a heart-to-heart. His father chides Jack for throwing away his academic scholarship to Berkeley in favor of enlisting and "wasting" his life serving drinks. But he grudgingly accepts that Jack is happy where he is, which is a start.
At the cabin, Mel puts on a happy face when Jack brings his father home for dinner and shocks them both with the news that Jack's mother has asked for a divorce.
The episode closes with Brie getting stopped in a dark parking lot by Calvin (David Cubitt), who tells her that if Brady doesn't get Emerald Lumber's side business (psst: it's fentanyl!) up and running, bad things are going to happen to her.
Episode 3: Grilled
This episode dares to ask the question: Are the vibes weird, or am I misinterpreting smalltown nice? Because Cameron and Mel have an energy, and Jack and I are deeply suspicious.
It doesn't help that during her morning run with Brie, who's clearly not wanting to do anything alone after Calvin's parking-lot threat, Mel bumps into Cameron, and they make plans for him to have dinner with her and Jack.
Connie (Nicola Cavendish) is doing her busybody most, fretting about Christopher and giving Denny the stink eye when he and Lizzie agree to see a late showing of Pulp Fiction. Oh my Lord, how ancient must that movie seem to these fresh-faced teenagers?
Ricky's not quite ready to give up on Lizzie, but when he pushes for a second chance, she makes it clear that she still feels betrayed by his dishonesty about his military plans.
Preacher's having more luck in the lady department. He bumps into Aikido instructor Julia at the farmer's market, and they tell stroll through a commercial for the benefits of fresh local organic produce. Their day continues over charcuterie and wine in a gorgeous garden/greenhouse/vineyard, and if any of you know where this was filmed, you're obligated to tell me in the comments so I can visit.
He opens up about his service and says he chose gratitude rather than anger, and it's genuinely nice to hear him sounding so healthy about it all. Julia obviously agrees with me and offers him private Aikido lessons. *eyebrows eyebrows*
Hope's still struggling with her brain injury and tells Doc she's like a cat who just needs food, water, a litter box, and solitude. (Add WiFi and we're the same, sister.) Then Tara comes knocking on the door for a round of apologies and assurances that Hope is now the closest thing she has to her mother. The camera pans out to a vase of lilies, which is a nice touch.
Secret alert: Doc hasn't told Hope about Denny yet. Didn't Doc learn from the last time when he, you know, didn't tell Hope about Lilly and it led to all of this?
He and Mel have a lovely scene where she talks about her daily grief over her stillborn daughter and Doc mourns gaining a son and then losing him in the blink of an eye. "It's silly because I'm missing something I never had," he laments.
Over dinner, Doc finally brings up Denny. Hope is thrilled and even voices regret that she and Doc never had children, and oh, what a relief that the two of them are on the same page. Annette O'Toole is just marvelous this season, isn't she? Hope's still prickly and demanding, but her voice is softer, more frustrated and unsure.
Now to the Sheridan siblings. Brie signed that one-year lawyer contract, and Jack's thrilled she's sticking around, although he warns her away from Brady and his troublemaking ways. She, in turn, asks him to get Mike involved to help with Brady's case. (How is there still a case? If Jack's going to testify that it wasn't Brady who shot him, there is no case!)
The siblings agree to divide and conquer their divorcing parents, so Brie'll take Dad and Jack'll take Mom, who's apparently in love with her art teacher. But first, Brie meets with a former classmate and asks for access to the Emerald Lumber file hoping to figure out who tipped Calvin off about the police raid. Her friend isn't impressed by her relationship with Brady, but she gives Brie 24 hours with the files.
Time for the weird-energy coworker dinner! Mel gets delayed dealing with a man's medical emergency at the grocery store, which leaves Jack alone with Cameron.
The Berkeley grad turns down beer in favor of water and puts his foot in his mouth when he's dismissive of the military. Cameron's basically everything Jack's not, yet he and Mel enjoy easy rat-a-tat banter once she arrives. Is it any wonder Jack gives in to the sweet siren call of the liquor tucked in the kitchen cabinet?
We learn that Cameron recently broke off his engagement, and he celebrates not being yoked to someone forever by having a child with her. This does not help Jack's silent, panicky spiral. Once they're alone at the end of the night, Jack blows Mel's mind by saying Cameron's super into her.
Brady update! He gets the news from his hospital bed that he made bail. It's unclear who paid it, and I worry the answer's not going to be good for him.
He arrives home to find his place trashed, presumably from the police executing their search warrant. A knock on the door has him picking up a baseball bat, but it's Brie.
She asks to come in, and at first he resists, not even kissing her back when she embraces him. She says she wants to fix him, but girl, you can't fix another person. And at the same time, maybe should've believed him when he said he didn't shoot your brother.
Then "You?" by Two Feet starts playing (not to turn this into a commercial or anything, but this song has not left my playlist since I watched this episode), and just like that, it's on.
They strip in front of Brady's huge living room window, and respectfully, he stayed well waxed in lockup. His bandaged stab wound makes Brie pause to ask if it hurts.
His reply? "Not enough to stop."
*incoherent screaming at that top-notch romance novel dialogue* I cannot stress enough how much I'm rooting for these two.
Episode 4: Serious As A...
Wow, does Mel's planned romantic giveaway not go as planned in this episode.
After she broke down over the stillborn baby and the death of the man she helped at the grocery store (we didn't see it happen, just heard about it after the fact), Jack sweetly surprises her the following morning with a pendant engraved with their names. But as she plots to whisk him away on an overnight fishing trip, he's the one who starts spinning out.
It's bad enough that a comment from his dad has him working like a demon to paint the bar's exterior, but Charmaine comes along and lets it slip that she's having boys. Todd didn't want her to tell Jack, which leads to a (completely understandable!) eruption, because he's having twins with a literal demon.
At the clinic, Cameron and Mel are still figuring out their professional and personal boundaries, but they come together when Tara has a dizzy spell and admits to not sleeping well as she copes with her mother's death and cares for baby sibling Chloe.
They send her off to nap and make plans to get her help with meals and childcare. Then Cameron talks about being ready to settle down and asks if Mel's planning to stay in Virgin River. She's… all but engaged? To the owner of the only restaurant in town? I think that's a pretty good sign that she's there for good.
Doc then tells her about his frustrations with Hope, who's stuck in a cycle of poor impulse control, mood swings, and memory loss. Although Mel says it's no surprise that their relationship is strained at the moment, he's worried it's their new normal.
He does convince Hope to come with him to the botanical garden where they had their first kiss, despite her nervousness about being in a car.
As they stroll, Doc tells her he sees the woman he fell in love with 20 years ago — and he really does see her because his eye treatment is working well. He floats the idea of Denny staying with them, but Hope's frustrated waiting for her body to heal and wants Doc to protect her solitude while she does.
But that night when Muriel (Teryl Rothery) pops by with a cheesecake and she and Doc play backgammon on the deck, a sad, jealous Hope cries as she watches them through a window.
There's more jealousy afoot as Ricky, clearly dying inside, offers to cover Lizzie's shift at the bar so she and Denny can trek to a waterfall.
Lizzie, who's not a natural-born hiker, tells Denny that things with Ricky ended because he lied about joining the Marines. She plucks up the courage and asks him to be her Romeo and Juliet scene partner at the upcoming Renaissance Faire, but he declines. Oh, Denny. That was a missed layup.
Things are going better for Preacher, who makes Julia a special order of artichoke dip when she comes to the bar, bartering a private Aikido lesson for it. He tells Jack he's not romantically interested, as he's just hired a second PI to look for Christopher and his evil uncle Vince, but he's clearly got game to spare.
In Brie and Brady land, she's freaked out to discover he has a go-bag in case he the police come looking for him again. But at least she doesn't keep Calvin's threats to herself, and although Brady's ready to go commit an actual murder to protect her, Brie suggests setting a trap to bring the whole Emerald Lumber enterprise down.
They head to the great outdoors to brainstorm but mostly seize the opportunity to make out. Thank you to this couple for keeping Virgin River at a boil all season long.
Afterward, Brie meets Mike to talk about flipping Calvin and finding his boss in the fentanyl pipeline. (Poor Mike thought they were on a date.) She says Brady's too convenient a suspect, but Mike says local and federal law enforcement put too much time into the case to let Brady go.
Oh, and despite Brie's openness about Calvin's threats, she's not willing to tell Brady or Jack that her ex-boyfriend raped her. She tells Mel that she hasn't seen a therapist about it because "that stuff" is in the past. It's not just a river in Egypt, Brie!
As the episode wraps up, Mel gets her getaway plans back on track when Preacher calls in the man brigade to help Jack finish painting, gently shooing him off to get on a floatplane with Mel to take them to Whispering Rock Island.
All signs point to romance until halfway through the trip, when Brad the pilot has a heart attack mid-air.
Episode 5: Mayday
Truly, Jack is the Charlie Brown of Virgin River. If it's bad, it's gonna happen to him.
While Mel grabs aspirin and nitroglycerine from the first aid kit, Jack grabs the wheel and makes a triumphant water landing. (He's been taking lessons from Brad himself, thankfully.) Gotta say, Jack's ego's taken a beating recently, but landing a plane in an emergency should pump it up a bit.
After the hospital gives Mel and the baby an all-clear, they return to the question of paternity: she wants to know, but Jack doesn't. Mel reminds him that the truth usually comes out (which we've seen at least 50 times so far this season), but Jack prefers to keep his head in the sand. *grimace emoji*
At the clinic, Mel and Cameron examine Bert's (Trevor Lerner) wife Shirley (Ellie Harvey) for possible lupus, which her aunt has. When Mel fills Doc in, he points out that problems don't go away if you don't face them and says Denny's in Virgin River because "understanding your family tree helps some people understand themselves." So all of that definitely isn't going to make Mel and Jack's paternity test conflict any worse. *grimace emoji forever*
Speaking of conflict, Jack finds Brady on his big logging truck and asks if he remembers anything about Vince on the night of the shooting. Brady's hostile, and says Jack almost got him killed in lockup. For somebody who's in love with Jack's sister, he sure isn't trying to smooth things over, but what do I know? I've never been shivved after being framed for attempted murder.
Jack gets home from seeing Brady to find Mel still focused on the paternity test. He finally admits that he never wants to know in case it changes his feelings about their baby. Hey, you know what? It's not what Mel wanted to hear, but it's honest, and that ain't nothing.
Brie and Mike head to the bail bondsman's office to see if they can learn who posted Brady's bail. While Mike haggles with the bondsman, Brie pals it up with the female assistant, who's treated horribly by her boss, and asks her to pass along any info she gets. Then Brie takes Mike to lunch.
Gotta say, Zibby Allen has great chemistry with everybody. She and Jack are utterly believable siblings throughout this season, and she and Mel have fantastic sister-in-law rapport, too. And while I adore her with Brady, she and Mike have definite sparks. That latter bit is interesting since — BRACE FOR INCOMING BOOK SPOILER — Brie ends up with Mike, not Brady, in Robin Carr's novels. Consequently, I'm watching those two like a hawk in all their scenes.
Anyway, we learn that Brady came to the bar the night Jack was shot to tell Jack that he'd turned state's evidence against Calvin and was getting out of the drug business. If anything happened to him in the upcoming raid, he just wanted someone to know.
Jack's kind of a jerk about Brady trying to straighten out his life, and again I'm confused about how Brady's still in legal trouble if Jack knows he's not the shooter and Mike knows he's going to testify against the bad guys. Can some lawyer make this make sense?
In less complicated stories, Ricky offers to play Romeo to Lizzie's Juliet, and Connie's not thrilled to see him back in her niece's orbit. Ricky bashfully admits that he spent all day cramming his lines, but Connie ruthlessly crushes any hopes he might have of winning Lizzie back. A grudge-keeper, that one.
Things are still going well with Preacher and Julia. They picnic, they kiss, they bond over their experience growing up as one of the few Black kids in their communities. But Julia finds a sketch of Preacher, Paige, and Christopher at the bottom of the picnic basket, and it raises some questions for her.
Hope does a bad, bad thing in this episode and cancels her neurology appointment behind Doc's back. Her conflicting stories to the sewing circle as they work on Ren Faire costumes get back to Doc via Muriel, who also urges him to be cautious about Denny. After all, Laney Baxter's niece took all her money and skipped town.
Nevertheless, Doc invites Denny, who's been passing time flipping through pics of Lizzie on his phone, to move out of the B&B and into the room above the clinic.
We close this installment with Denny creeping downstairs that night to pick the lock on the clinic medicine cabinet. Mel catches him, and we go to credits before learning what he's up to.
Episode 6: All's Faire...
It's Renaissance Faire time, and not only is everyone — and I mean everyone (with the exception of Brady) — in period garb, but Martin Henderson gets to bust out an accent that's a heck of a lot closer to his native New Zealand than we're used to hearing from him. This episode is a real turkey drumstick of a good time, in other words.
The day goes downhill quickly for Jack when Tim Lonergan, the brother of the man who died in Jack's arms in Iraq, shows up with a letter Chris wrote his parents before he was killed.
Tim insists that nobody blames Jack for Chris' death, and Jack pretty much shuts down. Blowing off Mel's suggestion that he cut the day short, he starts pouring lager for himself and his customers at the tavern tent.
Doc, amusingly dressed as a jester, confronts Hope about the canceled neurology appointment, and then Denny strolls up. Doc finally introduces him to his wife, and she surprises both of them by inviting Denny to stay at their house. She tells Doc it's her attempt at a truce, and I want to believe that, but it also seems like a pretty great change of subject.
At the med tent, Mel delicately asks Doc if he maybe left the drug cabinet open the night before. Then Cameron arrives and brings up the drug cabinet again, but Hope hustles him to the maypole to avoid that conversation with Doc.
The show made the odd choice not to show Mel's encounter with Denny, opting instead to have her tell Cameron about it. Apparently Denny claimed he was looking for aspirin in the Schedule II drug cabinet. Yeah, she needs to tell Doc about this.
Jack tells Preacher how thrown he was by Tim, but he ignores Preacher's suggestion that he call it a day. Then Preacher's pulled away to give an archery lesson to Julia's niece, who's obsessed with The Hunger Games. (Never tell me how old that child was when the books were originally published.)
Brady's only concession to the festivities is a Henry the Eighth hat with his leather jacket, and if I may? He is pulling. it. off. He tells Brie about Jack's confrontational visit the day before, complaining that Jack always treated him like a dumb kid no matter what he did to win his respect. (We saw the first three seasons, Brady. You didn't try that hard.) Then he gets a text from Calvin and pivots to the "make the bad guys think I'm still on their side" plan.
Three things to note: Calvin texts in all caps, which is how we know he's a villain. Brady's never had cotton candy before and uses that as an excuse to make out with Brie, bless his heart. And like Monica Geller, Brady hates it when animals are dressed as humans.
At the Calvin meetup, the all-caps texter tells Brady that the raid took a big bite out of the profits, so Emerald Lumber's nightshift will be used for fentanyl trafficking. If not, Brady gets in the way, he'll have him arrested again. Brady agrees as long as Calvin stays away from Brie.
Back at the Faire, the whole town's enraptured by the dramatic performances onstage, and Denny positively glows as he watches Lizzie and Ricky kiss. He brings her flowers afterward and showers her with compliments, but he says he can't be with anyone romantically right now. She kisses him anyway.
Connie rightly busts Hope for holding a grudge that Doc didn't tell her about Lilly's cancer, since basically the whole town kept that information from her. So she finds Doc in the med tent and apologizes, making him laugh when she refers to herself as "a little difficult."
She acknowledges that Lilly's death and her car accident happened to Doc too, and they agree to work as a team again, provided Hope stays honest with him.
On to the next difficult conversation: Mel tells Doc about Denny and the drug cabinet. He wishes Mel had told him before he agreed to Denny moving into his house. Gee, ya think?
At the tavern, Jack's hitting the mead and rejects Mel's repeated request that he just go home, insisting that he's fine as he audibly slurps his lager. LOL. Brie comes in for an ale and asks Jack to be civil to Brady, but Jack just doesn't trust him.
Jack's all worked up just in time to assume his role as the villainous Sir Sheridan to duel Preacher as King John. I kind of assumed they'd joust, but Netflix didn't pony (ha!) up for horses, so it's a sword battle.
The duel is obviously a bit Jack and Preacher do every year at the Ren Faire, and the assembled audience has absolutely never seen anything better in their lives as the men ham it up. Ricky jumps in as the squire to assist the king, but midway through Jack spots Tim and has a wicked flashback to Chris' death. When he comes back to himself, he's holding tight to Ricky in front of a nervous crowd.
Afterward Preacher reminds Jack that he's not to blame for Chris and urges him to talk to a counselor, but Jack refuses.
Back at home, Mel also suggests Jack talk to someone, but he denies that his drinking is a problem and promises tomorrow will be better. Then he leaves the house barefoot with a bottle of liquor to read the letter and sob by the fire.
Jack, baby. You've gotta get counseling. What you're doing now clearly isn't working.
The letter's full of praise for Jack's leadership, and he burns it after he reads it. Um, not cool. I'm assuming Chris' family might've liked to have that back at some point.
When Mel wakes up later that night, in pain and afraid, Jack's not in bed next to her.
Episode 7: Otherwise Engaged
Jack's bad day is about to become a bad week, but at least Doc's ultrasound reveals that everything is a-okay with Mel's baby.
Afterward, though, she makes it clear to Jack how upset she is that her maybe-baby daddy was passed out when she thought she might be having a miscarriage.
Their brewing fight is interrupted when Mel's sister Joey arrives with a surprise fiancé in tow. Nate's her old high school boyfriend, they've been together for a month, and they're getting married at city hall the next day.
Mel goes straight to Jack to unload about how unhinged that all is, but he warns her not to get involved. Too late! Joey notices that Mel's not on board and says she's not going to pass on a great guy just to prove she's okay being single.
You know what? It sounds like she's given it some thought and made her decision. Mel might want to respect that. (LOL Mel does not respect that.)
Hope offers up the amazing advice that you have to go through certain seasons with someone before marrying them, including the holidays, winter, and tax season. She's slowly sounding more like her old self, and again, Annette O'Toole's doing a fantastic job with Hope's progression.
It helps that things seem to be okay with her and Denny at the house; when the remote controls confuse her, he patiently sets it to record Jeopardy! for her.
At Jack's bar, Lizzie accepts Denny's offer to join him at Hope and Doc's for family dinner. After he's gone, she tells Hannah that Denny confuses her by running hot and cold. OMG WHAT IF HE'S SECRET TWINS?
Preacher steps away from the bar at lunchtime for an Aikido lesson with Julia. (Isn't… isn't he the chef?) They do some sexy sparring, but when she asks about the drawings she found in the basket, he's evasive about the details, and Julia cancels their lunch date. Good for her, honestly.
When Mel stops by the bar, Jack's serving a hipster couple who chatter about glamping in an Airstream. His proverbial ears perk up and start to vibrate. Then he gives Mel food to deliver to Hope and tells her to talk to Joey from a place of love.
Hope, too, counsels Mel to trust her sister. After all, she and Doc got married after a month. Awww, those lovebirds!
Armed with all that advice, Mel stops by Joey's gorgeous glass box of an Airbnb, but only Nate's there. It's awkward top to bottom, and after Mel leaves, Nate calls Joey to ask why she didn't mention that she's fighting with her sister.
Time for the crime portion of the episode. Brady reluctantly heads to the station to talk to Mike, and when he learns that all charges against Emerald Lumber employees have been dropped despite him working with the DA, things are immediately so tense that Mike ends up giving Brady a shove. Um, did a cop just commit a battery? Also, it really looks like Brady's phone wallpaper is himself on a motorcycle, which is certainly a choice.
Anyway, Jimmy's in lockup for an unrelated crime, and Mike asks Brady to push his buttons to get him to cooperate with the DA against Calvin. Do the police usually let random dudes talk to people in interrogation?
Brady comes through, reminding Jimmy that Calvin generally kills the people who displease him, and he takes the deal. Mike then advises Brady to cut Brie loose so she doesn't get tangled up in his legal troubles. But Brie refuses to let herself be cut loose. I appreciate these women making their own decisions and communicating their own needs to the men in their lives in this episode!
Now for some quick hits of drama:
Doc and Cameron hike to the scene of an accident deep in the woods, where they find Charlie with a broken leg and a concussion after falling through the rotted-out floor of a deer stand. They give him morphine, and Doc hikes back out to get the EMTs. It's unclear why nobody brought the EMTs in the first place or thought to toss a splint into their supplies.
Lizzie hangs out with Denny while he makes Japanese stir fry, but when he sends her to get his phone charger from his room, she's alarmed to discover a bottle of Klonopin prescribed to someone named Ryan Cutler in a desk drawer.
Hope drives Jo Ellen to the hardware store but rear-ends someone when a bicyclist darts in front of her and a big truck rumbles by. She freaks and admits she wasn't actually cleared to drive.
Without consulting Mel, Jack buys the first of what he hopes are many Airstreams for his property as part of a fishing/hiking/guided tours glamping experience with Nick as his investor.
Mel's way cooler about this news than I would've been, and just as she brings up his drinking again (he blames it on his stress over Chris' death, Charmaine and the twins, his burned-down house…), Joey storms over to say that Nate called off the wedding.
Babe, if that's all it took to get him to bolt, maybe it wasn't meant to be.
Episode 8: Talk To Me
Who's ready for a surprise wedding?
Yep, the Joey and Nate nuptials are back on now that everyone's made up, and Mel wants to make it special, so she dives into planning a big day — but this is only after she urges Jack to face the reality of his drinking and tells him to get help for himself and not because she's asking him to. Yeah, guess who's not quite ready for that yet…
Her first step is picking out a wedding dress for Joey, and while she's at the shop, Charmaine rolls in and starts making assumptions about who's actually getting married, despite Mel insisting over and over that it's her sister, not her.
Charmaine then "forgives" Mel for "stealing" Jack and says she hopes they can be friends, and I'm not saying this woman is setting feminism back by decades, but I'm not not saying it.
When Doc and Cameron arrive back a the clinic having rescued Charlie from the woods (it was a fairly major rescue operation, for the record), Mel invites them to the surprise wedding. An observant Doc quietly warns Cameron not to cast his lustful eye on Mel because she's taken.
At Hope and Doc's, Denny finds a box of financial records under the guest room bed and starts photographing everything. Baby, what is you doing?
Doc pulls him into his office to talk about the drug cabinet, and Denny claims he jimmied it with his Swiff Army knife because he had a headache and wasn't thinking clearly. This boy has flimsier excuses than an Ikea loft bed.
A leak at Jack's bar requires the staff to move some equipment around, and they find a bloody knife that Mike carts off to test. Meanwhile, Jack himself is with Ricky going through storage to find items for the Airstream. He turns down a chandelier, which seems like a huge mistake if he's going for a glamping vibe, and when he stumbles across an old picture of two little boys, he hustles Ricky out.
Mel then sends him off with Nate while the women finish up their bridal prep, and Jack gives in to the groom's request to do shots with him. So much for his promise that he'd cut back. Afterward, he stares at the photo before he peeling out of the parking lot, texting Mel that he'll be late for the wedding.
Brie's work at the bail office pays off when the assistant calls with information that leads to the person who bailed out Brady: Melissa Montgomery. (Why why why must it be so similar to Melinda Monroe? As if this show doesn't already have a billion names to juggle!) She and Mike are also on the lookout for the boat that Calvin may be hiding on.
Brady's feeling weird that someone as driven as Brie has ended up with a slacker like him, but she assures him she loves their balance. Then he digs in his heels and refuses to go to the wedding, in part because Jack will be there. My dude, my bro, my curly-haired king, that's no way to nurture a relationship you already feel insecure about.
Speaking of healthy relationships, Hope reluctantly agrees to let Muriel help her build a bench in her garden sanctuary, and Muriel stays abnormally calm in the face of Hope's, well, Hope-ness.
Muriel admits that her research into TBIs told her to stay calm no matter what, but Hope wants her to be normal, and soon the women are bickering like old times. It's kind of great to see, actually, and the bench eventually collapses because Hope refused to read the directions.
Time for the wedding! Hope comes downstairs with curled hair and a dress Doc bought her five years ago. Weird gift from your estranged-at-the-time husband, but she looks fabulous.
Doc goes to turn off the guest room light and finds one of his financial records on the bed. We then cut to Denny giving a bank employee a name and account number to transfer a whole heap of money around, and the banker calls him Mr. Mullins. Baby boy, what are you up to?
The wedding is a lovely affair. Joey walks down the aisle in their mother's earrings that Mel gave her that morning, and Brady slips in late, whispering to Brie that he'd do anything for her. Good boy.
After the ceremony, we got some nice beats with the various town members. Brie jokes about throwing Mel and Jack a surprise wedding even though Jack hasn't made it to the reception yet.
At Connie's urging, Lizzie tells Doc about the Klonopin, and Doc gives a huge sigh. Then Ricky pulls Lizzie aside to say that he's an idiot for screwing up the best thing in his life and asks if they can write to each other while he's at boot camp.
Mel's fretting about Jack's absence, and Cameron swoops in to lament not having a plus-one. Then he looks at her with his greedy, greedy eyes. Around them, everyone's dancing, even Brady, despite his previous-season protestations that he doesn't like it. He and Brie are cute together, as are Cameron with Muriel, Lizzie and Ricky, and Connie and Lydie. It's small-town wedding perfection, and Hope and Doc cuddle and watch it all.
But Mel's frantic about Jack now, and the townsfolks finally take her seriously enough to launch a search.
Episode 9: Bombshells
Jack's okay, everybody! And more importantly, he's going to get the help he needs to be even more okay over time!
After six hours missing and a town phone tree, GPS tracking, and searches of the streets, riverbanks, and morgue, Preacher finds him asleep in the parking lot of McGill's Taphouse. Jack has the audacity to be surprised by all the missed calls and texts.
Although we don't get to see this particular conversation, Mel apparently told him to stay the night with Preacher, but Jack convinces him to swing by the cabin anyway, just in time to see Cameron leaving. Ooohhh that's gotta burn. He's there to apologize for missing the wedding, but Mel's beyond frustrated that he doesn't understand the way his behavior terrified her. She orders him to leave.
A postcoital Brady tells Brie that he understands the dark stuff Jack's seen, especially because he didn't handle it well himself at first. The fights, the jail… he went through a lot to get where he is and encourages Brie to just be there for her brother.
Then he refers to himself as a pitstop on Brie's journey back to her life in the big city. She insists that she loves him, and he replies, "Right now that's true, and that's good enough for me." Well that says a heartbreaking amount about his self-esteem, no? Between that and his tough childhood and his attempts to straighten out his adult life, we're really seeing his vulnerable underbelly here.
The next day, Preacher takes Jack back to his Bronco and urges him to see a therapist. When Jack scoffs at a civilian understanding his trauma, Preacher tells him that he sees Barry Martinez (Zak Santiago), a vet who runs a support group and offers individual counseling.
Honestly, Jack's reluctance to seek help for his mental health feels like a throwback to earlier decades (including the time when Robin Carr's books were originally published), but it's 2022 and I kind of want to shake this man. Therapy's become so common and normalized, particularly in recent years when the U.S. has seen an increase in the number of people seeking mental health treatment, that this level of resistance is frustrating.
Jack turns up at the clinic to talk to Mel, and Cameron attempts to chat with him about what's been happening. It's beyond awkward, and Mel hauls Jack outside.
He claims the previous night was an exception that won't happen again (I feel like we've heard that before!) but he's decided to be done drinking, to be done with the past. Mel accurately says trauma's not a switch you can turn on and off.
Back inside, Doc tells Mel that it took him 30 years before he could even say "Tet offensive" and urges her not to give up on Jack. Yeah, but like she said earlier, he has to want to help himself.
Unfortuantely, a new stress has popped up in Mel's life: her late husband's sister Stacie (Melinda Dahl) is in Clear River, demanding to have lunch with her. Doc tells her to do what's best for her, not Stacie, which is probably the best advice anybody's ever given on this show.
Off to lunch Mel goes, and Stacie surprises her by apologizing for asking Mel to return her wedding ring and for mailing Mel a pic of her sonogram. (In case y'all forgot, Stacie was downright terrible to Mel.)
Stacie says she's naming her daughter Monroe in honor of Mark and then drops the bombshell that her mother's hiring a lawyer to get custody of Mel and Mark's last two embryos so she can raise Mark's kids.
HAHAHA yep, just when you thought you'd hit the sudsy drama limits, we've got a brewing legal battle over embryos that may or may not be living in Mel's womb right now.
Also bringing the drama? Ricky busts Lizzie for lying to avoid going on a date with Denny, and she admits to finding the Klonopin. Ricky, who I'm starting to think is either the simplest or the most selfless person on this show, says Denny might have a good reason and encourages her to talk to him. He says Denny doesn't seem like an addict, and oh buddy, that's some evidence for the simple side of the equation because all kinds of addictions hide in plain sight.
Doc actually gets there first and confronts Denny about the Klonopin and the financial files. Denny then announces that he paid off the clinic's mortgage as a surprise to Doc with the insurance payout he got following his dad's death.
I have so many questions. So that was his own account he moved money from? Why did they call him Mr. Mullins, then? Also how does the clinic still have a mortgage? Hasn't Doc been in business for literally decades? Wait, is this because almost nobody he treats has insurance? A pox upon you, American healthcare system!
Hope, meanwhile, is trying to be better, making blueberry muffins for Muriel and having tea with Tara, who encourages her to pick a spot where she can feel close to Lilly to help her remember her friend.
When Hope gets to her garden, she finds that Muriel's completed the bench and filled it with cushions. Naturally, she's annoyed at how well Muriel's winning her over.
As she sits, Lilly (Lynda Boyd) appears, giving Hope a chance to say goodbye. It's the closure she needed, and she'll likely she'll visit that bench to feel her friend's presence in the future.
Jack has a good encounter too, with Charmain, surprisingly. She back-handedly invites him and Mel to her fancy country club baby shower, then says she's glad that the twins will have parents who love and support them. Also, she says she finally believes that Mel was telling the truth about her sister being the one who was getting married. GAH, this woman!
But hey, at least Jack googles Preacher's counselor Barry and eventually invites him to come to the bar.
Barry tells Jack he does what he does because he lost more friends to suicide than in battle. (This is true, by the way; since 2001 more veterans have died by suicide than in combat.) Barry's a calming presence, and he talks Jack through the therapy process.
When he sees Mel again, she's glad to hear that he met with a counselor and is tired of pretending everything's okay. Yes! This is a great start!
Also a great start? Preacher apologizes to Julia for the mixed messages he's been sending. He's not a clean slate, but he can be honest with her moving forward. They admit to their mutual feelings and kiss, and then we cut to them lounging in a surprisingly unrumpled bed. Good for them!
So is it smooth sailing from here for Preach and Julia? Ha! Not quite. Preacher takes a call from an unknown number, and it's Christopher, who swiped the phone from Vince while the scary man's asleep.
He says his uncle's been acting weird, and they've been driving around a lot with him hiding in the backseat. Christopher has to hang up fast when Vince wakes up, but you know this has reignited Preacher's fire to find him.
And now we come to the most exciting 10 seconds in Virgin River history.
Brady finds the mysterious Melissa Montgomery (Barbara Pollard) waiting in his Emerald Lumber office. She's best described as a blonder, store-brand Margot Martindale, and she tells Brady that Calvin's been demoted, so she's going to rely on him moving forward. As per usual, Brady agrees to whatever the bad guys want as long as it keeps Brie safe.
But Brie seems intent on putting herself in danger, sending Brady to voicemail and heading out with Mike to a reservoir where Calvin might be hiding out on a boat.
Sure enough, he's there, and Mike calls for backup. Just as Calvin notices their presence on the shore, his boat explodes.
An explosion! On Virgin River! I may never recover from the adrenaline of this.
Episode 10: Fire and Rain
A week after the fireball that rocked the Virgin River reservoir and killed Calvin, we've got the invasion of the grandma from hell.
Mark's mother Cassandra meets Mel at a posh restaurant to cooly inform her that she already knows Mel's "utilized" the embryos, and she'll expect to receive half of the parenting time of any resulting child, despite Mark's will granting Mel all rights to any embryos and children.
Mel urges her former mother-in-law to let go of her anger, but Cassandra insists that she has rights as a grandparent. Eh, not really, but it looks like she has the money to drag the issue out in court.
Brie bumps into Mel post-meeting and offers to help when Mel vaguely describes the threats. Also, Cameron overhears Mel on the phone at the clinic mentioning that she's eight weeks pregnant, and he has a hugely surprised reaction.
Charmaine, meanwhile, is full-on freaking out that Todd's away on business for her elaborate baby shower, so Jack's pressed into service. He even reschedules his therapy to help her.
Brie arrives to say that their mom's demanding she host a shower for the twins in Sacramento now, and she and Jack razz each other a bit. She also mentions that she and Brady are helping their mom move in a few weeks, and Jack's surprised they're at the meeting-the-family stage. They sure are, Jack! Get on board already.
On the topic of Brady, Melissa Montgomery warns him that with Calvin dead, he's in charge of the drugs now. And if he screws up, he's dead too. Then again, Mike tells Brie that they haven't found Calvin's body, and I watch too much TV not to be a little suspicious about that. (No, but seriously, I do think he's actually dead. No conspiracy theories here!)
Mike's not done, though. He also found Sally, who set Preacher up at the end of season 3. She says Vince threatened to kill her if she didn't, and she might be able to lead them to Christopher.
Finally, busy beaver Mike tells Jack that the bloody knife from his bar is a match for Vince, but he's not sure it's enough to get the DA to stop pursuing Brady.
I still don't understand this. Jack! Is the victim! And he said Vince did it! Between this and Mike telling Brady that he'll go down for any crimes he might commit while he's working undercover—which I'm pretty sure isn't what happens when someone turns state's evidence — I'm starting to wonder how good Mike is at his job.
But you know who is doing well this episode? Muriel. She teaches Hope how to play backgammon to give her something new to do with Doc, even making her a cheat sheet when she struggles and resigns herself to living a separate life from Doc.
They have a nice, friendly afternoon, and I'm absolutely Team Muriel as she befriends Hope almost against her will.
That night, Hope surprises Doc with a game of backgammon and says she's been feeling untethered since losing Lilly. Then Doc gets a call from their insurance agent, who tells them they're being sued by the man Hope rear-ended. Uh-oh.
Also a big uh-oh? Lizzie finally asks Denny about the Klonopin, and he says he got it from someone else because he hates going to the doctor. Excuse me, what? Back away slowly, Lizzie.
Let's head to Charmaine's Real Housewives-nightmare of a baby shower, where Mel and Brie eyeball the oysters and speculate about the cost. But Brie's party mood vanishes when her ex calls to bully her into vouching for him so he can make partner despite his assistant's complaints that he harasses her. Mel hustles a shocked Brie outside.
We jump over the rest of the shower and get to Jack loading wrapped gifts into his Bronco. Charmaine tells him he can spend as much time with the twins as he wants, leading me to wonder how she's not eternally dizzy from all the spinning on a dime she does. I swear, Charmaine makes me hate women. And rivers. And men. And virgins.
Later that day, Brie's in bed crying when Brady finds her. He assumes the drug people threatened her again, but she says it's not that and declines to give him any details.
He doesn't push her to talk, instead telling her that writing about his war trauma helped him stop internalizing it. It doesn't matter if you give it to someone or throw it away; you just have to get the poison out. Although she's still not willing to confide in him, she does ask him to stay the night.
Mel's overwhelmed too, and when Jack realizes it, he agrees to the paternity test. Um, obviously. This is going to become a legal necessity with Cassandra waiting on the sidelines.
This decision leads to the steamiest sex scene I think we've ever seen between Jack and Mel, so it's good to see them, ahem, reconnecting.
And we close with a surprising reappearance: Paige! It's like she knew Preacher was settling in with his new girlfriend and decided to throw a wrench into everything. That's some incredible timing…
Episode 11: Once Again
Once upon a time, Jack had an older brother, Adam. One night, the two boys snuck out a bedroom window, but Jack hesitated. Adam turned back for him and fell off the roof and died.
Jack discusses this memory with Barry and now dreams about it in a flashback so overly dramatic that I feel terrible for inappropriately laughing. It's just… Adam pinwheels off that roof with a flailing of arms that the show maybe should have reconsidered. Don't get me wrong, it's unbelievably tragic, but… less pinwheeling next time.
Thankfully, Jack opens up to Mel about this loss, and she realizes what we do: this man should've been in counseling for decades. At least he's doing it now, I guess.
Three days later, Jack and Mel are at the OB for the paternity test, and afterward they head home to make plans for the glamping business, clearly in a better place with each other. Jack even tells Brie about Mel's pregnancy, and she jumps into congratulatory mode. She also offers up her savings for his Airstream empire if he needs it because they're siblings, and they love each other.
And Brady loves Brie too. He visits the clinic to talk to Mel in confidence about Brie and her ex. Yet again we didn't get to see this particular conversation, we just hear him tell Mel that he knows about her ex raping her, and now he has all this rage that he doesn't know how to help her.
Mel gives him a pamphlet from a rape crisis center on how to support sexual assault survivors: verbalize your support, don't make threats against the perpetrator — "Too late for that. But I'll stop," he mutters — and so forth.
She also says that Brady's going to have feelings about it, too, and suggests resources for him. When he helplessly states that Brie didn't deserve that to happen to her, Mel replies that nobody does.
Listen, if this whole season was designed to teach the audience that it's important to process your trauma, ideally with a mental health professional, and to offer advice on how to support sexual assault survivors, veterans, and people with traumatic brain injuries, I'm here for it. Entertainment education works!
Outside the movie theater where they're headed to a Steve McQueen film festival, Brady tells Brie about his conversation with Mel. She wants to forget about it, but he's not sure that's healthy and voices his uncertainty about how to be there for her. I do think this is all a good start, but at the same time, it probably shouldn't be happening in front of a movie theater.
Bad news for Brie, though: a stranger's rolled into Jack's Bar pushing for information about her whereabouts. Thankfully, Hannah has no patience for this and flatly says she doesn't give out personal information and tells him that his smarmy charm offensive won't work on her because she's not into men. And just like that, Hannah becomes my favorite resident of Virgin River.
Anyway, Brie's monster of an ex Don (James Kot) is in town.
Speaking of exes, we're about to learn more about Cameron's former fiancée. But first, Mel notices that he filled the kitchen with tea, orange juice, and fresh food and bought a fancy fan since the AC isn't quite up to the job. That's actually really sweet of him. (What he's about to do is way less sweet, though.)
She takes him to lunch and tricks him into admitting that he knows she's pregnant by threatening to order the tuna. Ha! In his defense, she was having a private conversation at work with the door open when he overheard her.
He agrees not to tell anyone about the pregnancy, then proceeds to make things weird. First, he admits that he has feelings for her. No! Next he says he's concerned about Jack's suitability as a partner and father. Gah, noooo!
You see, his ex-fiancée was an alcoholic, so he knows the signs and the dangers. Infuriated, Mel storms out. Uh, did they drive together? Is Cameron stuck walking back to the clinic, or does Virgin River have Uber?
I'm torn on this, honestly. Cameron never ever should've brought up his feelings for his pregnant coworker. But Jack really has been kind of a mess since Cameron's been in town, so expressing his concern as a medical professional, a colleague, and someone who's been through it with an alcoholic partner himself doesn't seem totally out of line? I dunno; hit the comments and weigh in.
At least the sewing circle hasn't gotten wind of this drama; they're too busy gossiping about how Nick's sister makes the financial decisions for his trust. Could that be a problem since Nick's hoping to invest in Jack's glamping business?
When Denny arrives to paint signs with Lizzie for Ricky's big boot camp sendoff, he refuses to explain why they can't be together. When she won't accept his evasiveness, they end their relationship. I mean, Lizzie did break up with Ricky for keeping things from her, so it's not like this is out of character for her.
Also not out of character is Hope's frustration with her neurologist's suggestion that she have home health care to make sure she's okay during the day. Muriel jokes that she'd be fine with it if the person did the laundry (ha, same!) and reminds Hope that it's a blessing to have someone care for you the way Doc does.
In the end, Hope agrees to try it out, but she insists on veto power and promises not to abuse it. Then Denny arrives home and dramatically collapses to the floor. Genuinely, genuinely, what is going on with this boy?
At least Preacher gets some answers. Paige has been living at a women's shelter with free legal aid, and she had no idea Christopher was missing. Woman, you up and left your child with a kind of random man in northern California knowing about your ex's evil connections! I'm not sure what you were expecting here.
She explains that Vince contacted her and offered to give Christopher back if she turns herself over to him. Preacher acknowledges that they can't call the cops because they'll both be arrested for covering up her husband's death. (I know I wasn't recapping Virgin River then, but wow, covering that up was a mistake from top to bottom, and now here we are.)
Preacher gets the coordinates to Vince's cabinet and stakes it out, crouching on high ground and looking a little like a rugged werewolf hunter. Take a second and imagine that spinoff...
When he enters the cabin, he finds incredibly well-drawn crayon drawings that are either the result of an extremely gifted child or a competent adult set decorator. But the cabin itself is empty, and when he arrives back home, Christopher's there and Paige is gone.
Yep, she struck a deal with Vince behind his back and left behind a note that presumably says "do not lose my child this time." So Preacher's two steps forward, one step back.
Finally, Nick helps Jack set up his first Airstream and hands over a check for triple the amount they talked about as an investment. Jack's in business.
That night, he and Mel hang out on the fancy deck area of the now-fixed-up Airstream. She steps inside briefly, and when she comes back out, she finds him on his knee with a ring.
Not a drill! It's happening!
Episode 12: The Long Goodbye
Reader, she said yes. Jack and Mel are engaged!
They take their celebration to a suite, and as they lounge in bed, Mel's email dings with the paternity results. After a brief hesitation and a pep talk from Jack, she opens it to see that Jack! Is! The! Father! And it's a girl!
At the clinic, Doc wraps her in a hug when she shares her engagement news. Awww, look how far they've come. Cameron notices the ring right away and offers his congratulations. He also acknowledges being out of line, which is why he's put in his two weeks notice. He doesn't want a front-row seat to her marriage.
Brie, meanwhile, wakes up to find Brady making breakfast for her. They promise to be honest moving forward, and it's nice to see them being so open with each other.
Then Brie heads to the clinic, where she congratulates Mel and immediately picks up on the weird vibes with Cameron. Mel pulls her outside to explain… sort of. She says Cameron doesn't think Jack's the right guy for her, which definitely isn't the full extent of his concerns. Regardless, Brie gives the very good advice that Mel should quit blaming herself for his resignation and let him move on.
Jack shows up next, and Mel explains that Cameron thinks he's unreliable. Dang, how many softened versions of this story does Mel have? I'd be more concerned that she's holding back on Cameron's real concerns if Jack wasn't currently in counseling, but it is interesting that Mel's censoring things for the Sheridan siblings.
Elsewhere, Mike gives Brady the good news that he's a free man after Brie's DEA friend led authorities to the person who planted the gun in his truck. Mike apologizes for following the evidence (but he doesn't apologize for, and I cannot stress this enough, not listening to the actual shooting victim). Anyway, the charges are dropped, and the case is closed.
Brie's about to embark on a different legal battle, though. Her monstrous ex surprises her behind Jack's bar and orders her to sign a nondisclosure agreement, calling her a bitch when she refuses.
She's furious that she upended her whole life after her assault while he had no repercussions at all, and that man has the audacity to apologize if he did something to upset her. So she spells it out for him: he raped her, and now she's going to file a police report and press charges. He sneers that no one will believe her, and that thread's left danging for season 5.
Hope tells Doc that her one good brain cell (she calls it Chuck) suggested Lizzie as her home health aide. But now, she's definitely sounding more like the old Hope, although it's still tempered by the brain injury. What a masterful journey O'Toole's taken us on this season as Hope slowly comes back to herself.
Denny gets a call on the house phone (why not his cell?) and says the news from his doctor is that he collapsed from dehydration. Doc's still worried about him, but Denny says it's under control. Raise your hand if you actually believe anything is under control.
Denny's the reason Lizzie turns down Hope's offer to be her home health aide; she's worried it'll be awkward after her falling out with their grandson.
Sidenote, but I can't let this season end without mentioning that the bakery truck is magical. Every single thing in it looks more delicious than the next, and I'd visit Virgin River just to have breakfast there every morning.
When Mel visits Doc at home, Denny overhears Doc explaining the Lizzie/Hope/Denny situation. Mel offers to fill in until he can find somebody, but how on earth is that going to put in the 25 hours a week Hope needs alongside her job at the clinic?
Oh, right. She's not going to have that job for much longer. She tells Doc that Cameron's too important to the practice and resigns so he'll feel comfortable staying. Oh honey, no.
Time to send off Ricky. Lydie gives him cash to get a fancy coffee in San Diego (my heart! It's too much!), then sends him with Jack to the bus station.
Jack takes a detour to swing Ricky by his townwide farewell organized by Lizzie. Everyone's there with signs and good wishes, and it's truly a lovely sendoff. Lizzie gives Ricky a fond hug but doesn't run after him for a final kiss, which surprised me a little bit.
Also, Jack takes a call from an upset Charmaine, who's worried that Todd's cheating on her. He and Mel agree that it's sad she doesn't have anyone else to talk to about it. Not surprising, mind you, but sad.
Sidenote the second: who's running the bar right now? Is Queen Hannah in charge?
At the bus, Jack reminds him that it's okay to be scared. Ricky says he loves him, and Jack says it back, and how dare these two make me feel all these feelings? Jack gently salutes him, and Ricky tries to hold it together in front of his father figure as the bus pulls away.
When Hope, Muriel, and Jo Ellen realize that Lydie wasn't at the farewell, they check in on her, and she admits that she wasn't able to stop crying long enough to join the group. The circle gathers around her and does what they do best: companionship, support, a little bit of meddling, and lots of Virgin River-style love.
Now let's get into the big shocks that are sending us off into the void as we wait for season 5.
First, Denny tracks down Lizzie to tell her to take Hope's job offer, finally explaining why he can't be in a relationship: he has Huntington's Disease, and it's terminal. Gasp!
Next, Preacher finds Vince threatening Paige with a gun in the cabin. He doesn't wait for Mike to arrive with backup and crashes through the door as we finally get the full flashback of what happened the night Jack was shot: Vince showed up looking for Preacher, and Jack picked up a knife and sliced him. He grabbed Vince's gun, but Vince had a backup piece and shot Jack with it, kicking the bloody knife under the bar in the struggle.
In the present, Preacher announces that he's the one who buried Wes, which gets Vince to let Paige go. They grapple, and Paige picks up the gun. But she hesitates to shoot, and Vince knocks Preacher to the ground, leaving him with a nasty-looking head wound. Then Vince gets distracted taunting Paige, and Preacher leaps up to knock him out.
I sincerely hope these two don't decide to bury Vince next to his brother, if that's how this all plays out. Guess we'll see next season!
Finally, Jack and Hope go to dinner with Nick and Jo Ellen, where they're joined by Nick's mystery sister, Melissa Montgomery, aka Great Value Margot Martindale. Gasp gasp triple gasp! No, really, this is a fantastic plot twist. Did she approve Nick's investment to keep her fingers in Jack's pie? Will this somehow pull him into the fentanyl ring? I can't wait to find out!
Melissa immediately spots that Mel's pregnant, and they confirm it and drink a toast. Then Jack gets an SOS text that Charmaine is in crisis, and he and Mel excuse themselves to rush over. (I think dinner was winding down, so it's not that rude of them to bail at this point.)
When they arrive, she's a mess, sobbing on the floor in pain and afraid that Todd's going to leave her. She says it's karma for lying because… wait for it… the twins aren't Jack's. Gasping into infinity!
So there you have it, friends! We have many of the answers we've been waiting for, and we also have new mysteries needing to be solved. It's exactly how Virgin River likes to leave us.
So what are your hopes for season 5? (Rember, the show's already been renewed!) My personal wish list involves Hope continuing to recover with Doc by her side. More Jack getting healthy. More Brady and Brie goodness. No more legal jeopardy for Preacher and Paige. Charmaine getting hit by a meteor. A peek at Ricky post-boot camp. And heck, let's get Muriel a man of her own, and let Hannah land the woman of her dreams, too.
In short, I'm already ready to head back to Virgin River. In the meantime, meet me in the comments and tell me what you thought about season 4!
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