REVIEW: ‘Virgin River’ Season 3 Does Too Much

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Virgin River Season 3

Virgin River Season 3, a Netflix original series, was released on Friday. The show, which is based on the Virgin River novel series by Robyn Carr, follows Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) as she moves to the town of Virgin River to continue her work as a nurse after experiencing a tragedy. Season 3 picks up a few months after the major cliffhanger from the previous season which saw Jack (Martin Henderson) lying on the floor after being shot. Jack, who survives the attack, and Mel are officially a couple. Mel continues her work at the local clinic but becomes worried after Doc (Tim Matheson) has different plans for the clinic’s future. To make matters more difficult, Mel confronts her desire to still become a mother while helping Lily (Lynda Boyd) with a medical crisis. Also, Jack gets a surprise visit from his sister, Brie (Zibby Allen), who has hidden reasons for coming to Virgin River.

Virgin River is known to end every episode with big cliffhangers. However, the Season 2 finale had by far the biggest cliffhanger with Jack lying on the floor after being shot. Even though fans didn’t have to wait long to know that the show would be renewed for a third season, the scene was still a rather risky decision to include. Including a scene like that would mean that Season 3 would end up having to deal with it. However, it was a surprise that the tragic event had no real impact. Within the first five minutes of the season opener, fans find out that Jack is in perfect health. There are no scenes that explain anything that happened in the hospital or Jack’s recovery. It’s a disappointment that such a major scene didn’t lead to anything. The months of anticipation to find out what things could lead to was wasted just for the sake of advancing the plot of the series.

One of the major components that was missing from Virgin River season was Hope (Annette O’Toole). She makes some appearances throughout the season but they’re through video call since her character was written to be visiting her aunt in another state during a hurricane. It’s not hard to imagine that some fans of the show are glad to see her no as present during season 3, especially the unlikable manner in which her character was written. However, her absence has made it clear that she is the heart of the town, especially with all the gossip that goes on. Most of the gossip that she was a part of in the previous seasons forced characters to deal with the situations rather than just let them be. She would’ve played a monumental role in helping Jack with his recovery or with helping Mel through her journey of wanting to still want to become a mother. Hope is the heart and soul of Virgin River and the lack of her presence really hurt the show with the possibilities of the storylines she could have been involved in.

Virgin River Season 3 hasn’t held back on showing the trauma that some of its characters have gone through or are still going through. Whether it’s the death of Mel’s husband or Jack’s trauma from serving in the army, the show hasn’t been afraid to have its characters go through vulnerable moments. Without going too heavily into spoilers, two new characters have their own trauma to deal with this season. The first is Lily, who has been a recurring episode since Season 1. As a single mother taking care of her kids, she has a medical crisis throughout Season 3 that completely takes over her life.

The other is Jack’s sister, Brie, who has come to visit her brother after having dealt with an abusive relationship. While it’s great that recurring characters are given the spotlight, the way their storylines are written lacks any display of trauma or emotion. Most of it has to do with having to balance so many storylines. Had they been given more time, or if the show had fewer storylines this season, their characters would have had a real impact on the series. There were also moments where certain situations were talked about but weren’t explicitly labeled as anything too risqué.

Even though the main focus of Virgin River has been on Jack and Mel, Season 3 really delved deep into the journey of Mel wanting to still become a mother. Having lost her first child, it makes sense for her to still want to be a mom. Though fans didn’t see her go through the trauma since that took place before the events of the series, they get to see her being ready to embrace the journey once again. This storyline for her was full of emotion, whether it was working up the nerve to tell Jack or seeing what Lily is going through while being sick and how it will affect her children. With how the season ends, and whether or not the series gets renewed for a fourth season, it will be interesting to see how this journey continues for her and what role those around her will play.

Ultimately, Virgin River Season 3 did not live up to the hype that Season 2 set up with its cliffhanger and all of its storylines. One of the major elements that hurt this season was the inclusion of too many characters and too many storylines to follow. Hope’s absence from the show is felt throughout the whole season and ends up hurting major plot points that could have used her involvement in. Whether or not the show will be renewed for a new season remains to be announced, but hopefully, it corrects several mistakes that were made in Season 3.

Virgin River Season 3 is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.


Virgin River Season 3
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Ultimately, Virgin River Season 3 did not live up to the hype that Season 2 set up with its cliffhanger and all of its storylines. One of the major elements that hurt this season was the inclusion of too many characters and too many storylines to follow. Hope’s absence from the show is felt throughout the whole season and ends up hurting major plot points that could have used her involvement in. Whether or not the show will be renewed for a new season remains to be announced, but hopefully, it corrects several mistakes that were made in Season 3.