Mel and Jack are back on track, thank goodness.
Jack has truly stepped up this season and shown how much he’s evolved as a character, and Virgin River Season 5 Episode 9 is a perfect display of this.
He pushed Mel to open up to him and communicate; he was so giving and vulnerable with her about his brother and the dark place he was in, and he helped her talk through her rash decision to give up on her dream.
And by the end of the hour, Mel realized that she still wanted to have a child, and she accepted that it was okay if it didn’t happen the way she wanted.
It was a lovely series of events that led up to this rewarding moment for this pairing, and it’s refreshing to see them show each other grace and work through their issues in such a healthy way.
Jack meant well taking her on that hike, and in the end, it was what they needed despite a few bumps in the road.
Getting lost and rained on was amusing, but the forest hike followed by the reward of that breathtaking view was the perfect metaphor for their situation, their relationship, and both of their resilence.
Jack: Can we talk? I mean, you’re the one who told me to open up to you, so don’t push me away.
Mel: Honey, I’m not pushing you away.
Jack: You’re running away. You’re literally running away. Look, I get it. You’re hurting, I’m hurting too, but you’re not alone in this. I’m with you every step of the way.
Mel Monroe is strong, and she’s gotten through so much. She can certainly get through all of this.
Her choice to stop trying felt like a knee-jerk, impulsive reaction, and she let her fear take over rather than overcome it.
Jack recognized that, and he did some great work, obviously using some of the tools he’s picked up along the way from his therapist and his experiences with others, like Denny.
He gave Mel the space to talk things out, even if it meant lashing out a bit at him because while they both lot this child, she’s been through this more than once.
And it isn’t the same for her as the person carrying the kid as it is for him. It doesn’t invalidate his feelings on the issue, but it’s no less true.
Jack Sheridan was so kind and patient, prodding her when she needed it, trying to get to the bottom of her choice and why she made it.
It would’ve hurt him if he didn’t get to pursue this newfound dream of fatherhood with her, but he would’ve gone along with it for Mel if he believed it was what she really wanted.
But the more he spoke to her, the more he realized it wasn’t what she wanted, so he pushed back on that, including the tricky topic of addressing other options like surrogacy and adoption.
Jack: I know how hard it is. I know, believe me, I know, But Mel, we can keep going too. We can still have our dream, Mel. It may not look the same way we thought it would. It may not happen in the same time frame as we expected, but it can happen. Our children may not have your mother’s eyes, but it doesn’t mean they can’t have her compassion or her cool taste in music. We can teach them that if it’s still what you want.
Mel: Yeah, it still is. It’s what I want.
There is nothing wrong with Mel wanting to have a biological child of her own and tying it back to her wanting to see the people she’s lost, like her mother or father in this baby, were valid enough.
But Jack rightfully pointed out that she can pour so many things into a child that she passes down from her mother. Blood doesn’t make a family. Mel has immersed herself in a community that shows that every day.
She’s tried the methods of having the child herself and gotten some of the experience from that, if not the full gamut of labor and delivery.
If this is her dream, she has to be willing to make some concessions to reach her goal, and I’m glad Jack gently navigated her through that process.
Mel and Jack are just so healthy this season. They’ve earned this. We, as viewers, have earned this.
They’re this backbone couple keeping the series grounded this way, and I’m so glad they’ve reached this place.
Because so many of the other relationships are messy.
The Brie, Brady, Mike Valenzuela, and Lark situation is grating.
Our love triangle has expanded to a square.
It wasn’t even surprising when Mike and Brie made out at the game in the rain. They’ve been leading up to this for a while. It’s probably what makes this angle of the love triangle so hard to swallow.
It never stops feeling like Mike didn’t sabotage, plot, angle, and exploit the situation. Even if you aren’t a Brady and Brie Sheridan shipper, it’s hard to get on board with Brie and Mike because it feels so perfunctory.
They’re checking off boxes here; we knew where it was headed. And the way of getting to this place doesn’t mainly do Mike any favors in this.
If Brie is in a vulnerable place from the trial, despite Don going away to jail or her breakup with Brady, should Mike be taking advantage of her state?
That’s precisely what he’s doing, which adds an ick factor to this development.
What are the odds they returned to her place after that makeout session?
It’s like Mike set Brady up for failure and then exploited it, which is a bit gross. And now Lark is in the picture, and she cannot make her intentions toward Brady more known.
Brady: When I was growing up, I used to lie to keep my sisters safe and myself. I guess I made a habit of it.
Lark: There’s nothing wrong with protecting the people you love.
Brady: Yeah, my ex didn’t see it that way, though.
Lark: Maybe you should be with someone who can appreciate you for being who you are.
Through Lark, we at least hear a bit more about Brady’s childhood and past. It helps fill in the blanks with how he’s become the man he is.
But the dialogue for that isn’t organic and feels very forced to drive more friction into the love triangle. It works too hard to suddenly sell this narrative of Brady and Lark, whom we’ve barely spent time with or known.
It feels odd that Brady has randomly opened up to this woman in a way he hasn’t with anyone in such a short period.
It’s a lazy way of selling a narrative and back-drafting some Brady character work while cashing in on Brady’s abrupt connection with this woman who is only working as much as it is because the actors sell it.
Lark felt like she was overstepping in stating that Brady deserves to be with someone who appreciates these things about him because she doesn’t know the state of Brady’s relationship with Brie. She barely knows Brady.
She just knows that he’s been kind to her, and that’s all she has to go on, so her words, while the boost that Brady needs when he’s surrounded by people who only see him one specific way, also feel hollow.
But all this only drives Brady to want to wrap this investigation up with Melissa sooner. It was only a matter of time before Jack caught him in the act of something.
I hope that Jack will hear him out and help. It would be disappointing to rehash this same friction between the two. The “troubled Dan Brady the screwup” chronicles have gotten old and stale by now.
What’s worrisome is that Brady isn’t doing his best to keep his intentions under wraps. His efforts to take pictures of Melissa’s operation and record things haven’t been the most fruitful, and Melissa’s henchman has been onto him for a bit.
This will inevitably all implode, which sets us up for a pulse-pounding finale.
As we’ve seen during Virgin River Season 5 Episode 5, Jack and Brady make one hell of a team, so hopefully, we’ll see them in action.
Conflict also arose with Rose’s appearance in Virgin River in more ways than one.
Doc: I did love your Rose, but it is very clear to me that you did not love me or you didn’t know how to love me. Otherwise you would’ve told me the truth.
Rose: Vernon, I wish you could see it. I did what I did because I loved you.
While I could understand what Rose said about not wanting Doc to give up or subvert his dreams because they had an unplanned pregnancy, it still doesn’t justify keeping a son from him for 50 years.
What stopped her from reaching out to Doc after she heard he became established as a doctor? She had decades to tell him the truth and didn’t.
Her reasoning may have held up when she was pregnant, but not the decades since then.
I could understand why Hope was so protective of Doc and annoyed by Rose. Of course, Doc’s feelings were valid as hell, as he never got the chance to know he had a child or raised him.
Fatherhood was ripped from him. He didn’t get the opportunity to decide for himself, and that’s not fair. It’s also one of the many reasons the series needs to revisit the Charmaine paternity situation if only to touch on this random man’s perspective in all of this.
But the season has been fantastic, and the limited Charmaine Roberts did the body good.
Rose is full of opinions, and it is no surprise that she has some things to say about Denny and his choice to stay in Virgin River. She doesn’t get him giving up on his plans to be there with Lizzie.
And as harsh as it is for her to impose on all of this and suggest that, one can understand her point, too. She cares about him enough to want to know for sure that he’s making the best decision for himself and not just doing what he thinks will make Lizzie happy.
Doc: How could you not have told me that I that we had a son?
Rose: Because you told me that you did not want to be a father.
She has certainly given him a lot to think about. Nevertheless, it’s a relief that Doc and Rose could set their differences aside for Denny’s sake.
He cherishes family so much.
With all this going on, it’s doubtful Doc will give a damn about Cameron and Muriel.
They went back and forth with whether or not they should pursue their relationship together, finding all the reasons why it makes sense.
And they’re right. It’s a small town, and Dr. Cameron doesn’t have that many options in the sense that it’s better if he dates a coworker than a patient.
He has a connection with Muriel, and they both deserve the chance to explore it. I am glad that the conflict in their relationship isn’t their age difference in any way but workplace difficulties.
Nothing is going to keep these two apart, so I’m glad they’re realizing that they should just go for it.
And things are still going well for Preacher and Kaia.
While I wonder how her jet setting off to Alaska for her next adventure as part of the job will impact their relationship, unlike Jay, Preacher can handle it.
Jay went from being charming to a colossal dick, but at least Dylan Bruce is pretty to look at when he’s playing jerks.
Preacher got the last word, so good for him. Hannah would be proud of his comeback. Their friendship is criminally underrated.
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Are you shipping Mike and Brie? Will Brady enlist Jack’s help to get out of this mess?
Are you rooting for Muriel and Cameron? Sound off below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.