‘Virgin River’ Season 4 Review: Still Heavy on the Drama, but Full of Heart

Virgin River Season 4 Spoilers Ahead

Martin Henderson and Alexandra Breckenridge as Jack Sheridan and Mel Monroe in Virgin River Season 4
Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Virgin River Season 4 is a tremendous improvement from the third season, even when the drama continues to be a tireless presence. As the new season deals with the ramifications of last year’s cliffhangers, we find the residents in a river of secrets, heartaches, and joyous announcements. But perhaps, the best part of this season is how believable the romance feels this time around. While some relationships got under my skin last season, the romance is far more layered today.

Now, while the show isn’t fully part of the romance genre with its more dramatic edges, couples working together to deal with their issues worked to create something more enjoyable.

Jack and Mel have never been better, and learning to navigate through the pregnancy has been a joy to watch. Still, this is Virgin River, and their journey wasn’t going to be smooth sailing throughout. While Mel’s trauma is tied to her grief and fertility struggles, much of Jack’s is tied to the unresolved heartaches from his time as a Marine. There’s also the heartache linked to the guilt stemming from his brother’s death. The season ends with the abrupt cliffhanger that Jack isn’t the father of Charmaine’s twins, but up until that moment, his progress in therapy was the season’s highlight.

If there’s anything that we’ll always admire here at Marvelous Geeks, it’s the inclusion of therapy in media. In recent years, it’s more common to see but still impactful in showcasing that it takes more strength to ask for help than it does to bottle up our emotions. And this is especially critical for a character like Jack, who not only bottles up much of his heartaches but also takes on everyone else’s burdens. And while there’s still a ways to go, knowing with complete conviction that he could get through anything is the icing on top of a dramatic but great cake.

If nothing else, the proposal in Episode 11 tells us that Jack and Mel are more ready than ever to take on whatever comes their way. They were already there last season, but the growth the two experience as a couple and hopefully experience later as parents will be the most rewarding part to watch. As the season leaves them with baby news in more than one area, they leave our screens affirming that no matter what happens, they will keep choosing each other. Relationships aren’t easy, but Jack and Mel continue to prove that so long as they’re both transparent with each other and so long as they allow themselves to be vulnerable, their love for one another will only continue to grow.

Virgin River Season 4 tries to clarify further that asking for help is never a weakness but a strength through multiple characters this season, and it does so while simultaneously bringing romance front and center.

Tim Matheson and Annette O'Toole as Doc Mullins and Hope in episode 404 of Virgin River.
Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

Hope (Annette O’Toole) thankfully recovers from her accident, but there’s a dark road ahead as we learn that she suffers from a form of anterograde amnesia. She’s also battling grief after losing Lily, which undoubtedly makes it all much harder. But these moments make the series feel much more realistic outside of the contrived drama as it deals with the aftermaths of losses many of us have lived through.

As one of the essential characters in the series, it would’ve been hard to continue watching if something had happened to Hope. But thankfully, she’s still with us, and her arc this season was fascinating to watch. As she and Vernon navigated through her experiences and grief, along with the news of Vernon having a grandchild, they also proved that transparency in a relationship works wonders. It also authenticates the importance of working through grief not only with characters like hope, but Tara and Jack too.

What also works wonders is people allowing themselves to be taken care of even when that’s the last thing they want. Hope needs help more than ever this season, and while that was initially difficult for her to accept, the friendships she’s strengthened along the way have also been a highlight. One of the show’s appeals has always been the town’s means of coming together to help those in need, which is better than ever this season for multiple characters. The specific scene of Hope imagining as though Lily is beside her in the garden is the most beautiful part of the entire season and something I’m so glad the series decided to bring forward.

Benjamin Hollingsworth and Zibby Allen as Brandy and Brie in Virgin River Season 4
Cr. Courtesy Of Netflix © 2022

The most surprising part of this season is how much the romances continue to be something to look forward to. If you had told me that I’d find myself actually rooting for Brie and Brady, I would’ve believed you but with many apprehensions. There’s so much about Brady that we still don’t know, and there’s a lot that we can doubt, but Virgin River Season 4 makes it clear that his love for Brie isn’t one of those things.

Their romance was the most surprising bit of joy this season, bringing something delicious to our screens with the couple who shouldn’t have been together, proving that they’re incredible as a pair. Since Brie has now decided to fight against Don and everything he’s done to her, we can likely expect terrible things to come, but perhaps we can be confident that Brady’s presence might make it a little easier. And now that we have proof that Brady isn’t the one who shot Jack, perhaps the men can patch up their friendship too?

As another surprising relationship in the mix, Preacher opening his heart this season has been lovely to see. Still, as we leave him in a more dangerous state than ever, my anxiety is through the roof. Like Hope, Preacher is a crucial player in Virgin River, and any time his life is threatened, it makes the season harder to enjoy. This year we learn that Vince was clearly after him when he shot Jack and with Christopher back in town, but Paige gone once more, the drama in Season 5 will be stressful. (Just let the man be happy!)

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Virgin River Season 4 is a lot to take in, but it’s more comforting than ever to know how much these characters care for one another and the lengths they’re willing to go through to prove that. Denny’s presence has been lovely this season, but learning about his Huntington’s disease will likely destroy Vernon, as well as Mel resigning with the belief that she’s doing it for him. The drama on this show isn’t going anywhere, but at the very least, we can be sure that some of these relationships aren’t either. And with a lot more unanswered questions than answers, we’ll be waiting eagerly until next year.

Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Virgin River Season 4? Let us know in the comments below.


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