I was scrolling through Netflix looking for something to play while I was working, which something I do not recommend. Too often, I end up doing more watching than typing.
I stopped on Virgin River as I’m a sucker for anything with cabins, and small towns, and woods. I thought it would something just playing in the background while I wrote.
But, I paid far more attention than I meant to.
The show is pretty good.
I just had one gripe, and that it focused on the wrong storyline.
There are really three pairs of characters the show focuses on and I think one pair should have had the spotlight.
Spoilers ahead, though I don’t know why you’d click on this article if you haven’t seen it yet.
Jack and Mel
Mel is the show’s main character, played by Alexandra Breckinridge, her moving there is the cause of the show and it’s her story that we follow.
It’s standard city girl moves to small town stuff. But she also has a past, it slowly develops over a series of flashbacks. She lost a baby and then her husband.
She needs a change and takes a job as a nurse practitioner in the small town of Virgin River. Once there she meets local bar owner and former marine Jack Sheridan. If that sounds like the beginning of a romance novel that’s because the show is based on the books of the same name by Robyn Carr.
Jack is immediately infatuated with Mel, as what usually happens in this type of show. He builds her a cabin, he saves her from illegal pot growers. You know, the usual stuff.
I will say this. The two leads do have good chemistry. It’s fun to watch them on screen.
I mean you know exactly what’s going to happen but sometimes it’s not the destination it’s the journey. Mel slowly becomes a member of the small town. She rescues babies and burly tow truck drivers and deals with gossipy neighbors.
Jack keeps coming up with reasons to spend time with her. He drives her around after her car is wrecked. He helps with emergencies. He’s just around a lot.
To be fair, they pull it off. But in the beginning I thought it was a little too quick. Jack was instantly all in from the second he saw her.
I mean she was this close to leaving after realizing what that small towns are an adjustment. And Jack and the mayor conspire to keep her. But he just met her. At least the mayor wanted another medical professional as the town doctor was getting older. Jack just wants…well everyone knows what Jack wants.
Still it was just a little weird. They didn’t even do that romance/Hallmark movie where they keep getting thrown together and eventually start talking. No Jack is there all the time.
Also, in order to get her to stay Mel needs a place to stay. So Jack builds her a house. That is a lot of manual labor to do for someone you just met.
Like it were me I’d be like “Oh that’s too bad have fun in some other town.” There’s no way I’m doing that for someone I don’t know. I wouldn’t do that for someone I did know.
Of there’s the obstacles. Mel has to get over her past. Jack has a girlfriend. But you know they ending up together.
The Doctor and Hope
The Doctor, I forgot his name. He’s played by Tim Matheson. He’s the cantankerous doctor. He has old school opinions about medicine and doesn’t want Mel working for him. He treats he like a secretary and not a medical professional.
But he gets over it and realizes he was wrong.
There’s actually a rather touching moment where Mel walks into work and he’s added her name on the sign.
It turns out that he’s also married to the town’s busybody mayor Hope. I like Hope. She’s quirky and a little annoying. She’s the reason Mel moves to town and she has her nose in everyone’s business.
We also find out that Hope and the Doctor are married and have been separated for twenty years.
They too get over their differences as the show progressed.
But, there is a storyline and this is the raison d’etre for this article.
Paige and Preacher
This is my favorite storyline and the one the show spends the least amount of time on.
It’s honestly the c plot, if you count the marijuana growers as the B plot.
Paige runs the bakery truck. Preacher is an ex-marine turned cook in Jack’s bar.
Preacher is my favorite character in the show. He cooks high end farm to table food, including vegan options, while in a dive bar. Originally I just thought he’d be a fun side character with the culinary detail to add some characterization but he grew to be my favorite.
He also has a blossoming relationship with Paige. But Paige has a secret. It’s clear she’s on the run from something. She only deals in cash. Preacher finds an old license with a different name. She’s seen dying her son’s hair and she homeschool him.
You find out that she’s on the run from her husband.
I thought this was the most intriguing aspect of the show. Paige has this mysterious story. Preacher just wants to help.
Also, Preacher can’t see her as much because Jack’s running off to see Mel every episode. Like not even kidding unless Mel is in the bar Jack spends about thirty seconds there before he abandons Preacher to go do Mel’s laundry or whatever he’s up to.
Preacher is kind and clearly cares for her, and he’s nice to her son.
She comes clean to Preacher about her situation and he vows to help.
The season ends with Preacher finding their home abandoned with drops on blood in the ground.
It got picked up for a second season and honestly the only reason I want to watch it is because of this storyline. I was left wanting more.