Virgin River, season 5, it’s a well-oiled machine

Annette O'Toole in Virgin River

Virgin River is back with season 5. Netflix released 10 of the episodes together, and promises two more Christmas themed episodes on November 30. Everything about this series works. The cast has settled in to their roles convincingly and comfortably, the storylines are full of love, friendship, family, and plenty of perilous moments to keep things moving.

I’ll withhold some of the spoilers and surprises, but a few things must be revealed to even talk about season 5.

There’s a forest fire. Many people in Virgin River lose everything. The town pulls together to fight the fire and its aftermath. The way the people support each other in this small town is inspiring and moving.

Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack (Martin Henderson) lose their baby to a miscarriage in the midst of the fire. Mel was caring for injured firefighters and townspeople and knew what was happening to her, but she forced herself to keep working and help people.

Alexandra Breckenridge in Virgin River

Mel falls apart later. The scenes between Mel and Jack regarding the lost baby were so skillfully and beautifully done. These two gave brilliant performances throughout the season relating to their struggle to have a family. In the five seasons of working together on this series, these two actors have become one of the best teams on television. Real, genuine, and authentic looking performances from them both.

Martin Henderson in Virgin River

Jack has other loses, too. Something heartbreaking happens because of his former relationship with Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley).

So many subplots in Virgin River

Many other couples, friends, and families are featured as well. Some are continuing stories from past seasons. Some are new. Doc (Tim Matheson) and Hope (Annette O’Toole) struggle with his worsening macular degeneration, Doc’s surprise grandson, Denny (Kai Bradbury) is with them. Denny has a romance going with Lizzy (Sarah Dugdale). Hope is desperate to hang on to her position as mayor of the town.

Preacher (Colin Lawrence) gets a new love interest. She’s Kaia (Kandyse McClure), a firefighter. There are complications in this relationship.

Doc and his new associate in the clinic, Dr. Hayek (Mark Ghanimé), have to learn how to co-exist. Doc’s old friend Muriel (Teryl Rothery) starts working in the clinic and making sparks with the new doctor.

Jack’s sister Brie (Zibby Allen) starts off the season involved with Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth) as she was in season 4. Brady does his best to redeem himself from his criminal past in season 5. He does something he can’t tell Brie or anyone about. By the time he can reveal what he’s doing, Brie has changed. But there’s still hope for Brady. Brie has an important storyline involving her court testimony against a man who sexually assaulted her that is well handled.

There’s a lesbian character, Ava (Libby Osler). She doesn’t get a romantic interest. Instead she gets to care for her sister’s baby and she gets endometriosis. Ava’s decisions about her disease connect nicely with Mel’s problems carrying a baby to term so she and Mel have some interesting conversations. I wanted her to have a girlfriend like all the straight couples in this story. Lesbians need love as much as anyone else. At least they didn’t kill her off.

The big community event this season came at the end, as usual. In the last episode the town had a Labor Day Carnival. A couple of big surprises at the carnival set the stage for the two Christmas specials in November as well as season 6.

We’ve been watching this series since 2019, but in Virgin River only a few months have passed. We walk minute by minute through these lives.

Directors in season 5 included Monika Mitchell and nonbinary director Jem Garrard.

4 thoughts on “Virgin River, season 5, it’s a well-oiled machine”

  1. Season 5 is full of clichés and relies on current events to come.up with a storyline – fentanyl, wildfires, etc… and inserting new gay characters (Ava, camping dads with kids…) with no real plot points is just obvious pandering. Losing my interest.

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