Why Is Hope Missing From 'Virgin River' Season 3?

·2 min read

It's impossible to imagine Virgin River without Hope McCrea.

The town gossip mayor knows everything about everyone, and she has a hard time keeping any of it to herself. Still, the only thing bigger than Hope's mouth is her heart. (Mel and Jack might've never gotten together without her!) So Virgin River fans were pretty worried when when Hope, who is played by actress Annette O'Toole, was largely absent from the Netflix drama's third season.

Read on for everything you need to know about Hope's absence from Virgin River—and whether she's ever coming back.

Where is Hope in Virgin River?

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

During the first episode of season 3, we learned that Hope had to leave town to visit her sick aunt. She never showed up after that, with the exception of a few appearances via FaceTime while video chatting with Doc (Tim Matheson). But it's still Hope we're talking about—and drama follows her wherever she goes! Cue a dangerous hurricane, a delayed return home, and a scary accident that left Hope's future very uncertain. (Uncertain like, say, when Jack got shot. No spoilers, though!)

Although Hope's presence was definitely felt in every episode, she was actually supposed to play a much bigger part in season 3. Showrunner Sue Tenney explained to Entertainment Weekly that her virtual role was a "pandemic pivot" to keep Annette and the rest of the Virgin River cast safe.

Hate to ask but...does Hope die in Virgin River?

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

We told you—no spoilers! Still, despite the ominous cliffhanger at the end of season 3, it sounds like Hope will return to Virgin River at some point in the not-yet-confirmed season 4.

"We've worked very hard to make sure she was still very much in the show," Sue said. "If we have a fourth season, everyone is now vaccinated and the pandemic is not what it was. So, I would hope that we would have Annette back."

Phew! Can't wait 'til season 4 to find out exactly what happens? There might be some answers in Virgin River book series!