Virgin River 3×02 “Sticky Feet” picks up right after that cliffhanger from “When There’s Smoke” in the typical Virgin River way, aka it was more the scare than anything, and yet, after a first episode focused on Mel’s issues, the fire brings out Jack’s issues, which this hour definitely focuses on.
The balance is always a good thing, because though Jack’s PTSD has never been ignored, the show also hasn’t spent as much time exploring his issues as it has on Mel. That’s a little per the norm for contemporary romance, there’s this sense that women are the primary readers (and viewers), and we want to focus more on the female lead’s issues first. But going into season 3, we need to get more of a chance to explore Jack’s, particularly as we’re now not just invested in Mel, but in the relationship, and for that to work, we need Jack to get better.
And fine, we like Jack too. He’s got the look – you know, that way of looking the romantic interest men in romance have to master if they want us to believe the romance – down pat, and he’s also very, very easy on the eyes. Plus, he’s got enough storylines outside of his relationship with Mel that he’s an interesting character in his own right.
We could do without Charmaine, though. We really, really could. She can go stay with Todd, and never come back. Which, ironically, it’s apparently what she wants, except, of course, she’s carrying Jack’s babies, so fine, I guess that’s complicated, and Jack has a right to see his babies, and she’s being the worst in new ways now, but …gah. I just don’t like her.
The fire brings out the best in Virgin River, of course, with Doc showing up to look after not just Jack, but Mel. Going into season 3 I was hoping the show would give me more of Doc and Mel, and though Doc still hasn’t shared his news with Mel, I gotta say Virgin River 3×02 “Sticky Feet” delivered. Doc has truly come to care for Mel, and it’s truly heartwarming to see them be a team in the little things, especially in bad moments.
Just as it’s great to see Mel putting Jack first, thinking of Jack, heck, driving the car as they get out of the ruins of his house. “A man can only take so much before he breaks,” is a phrase uttered in Virgin River 3×02 “Sticky Feet,” and as much as that feels like where this season should be going, it’s so hard for men like Jack to truly break, and it’s hard for romance focused shows to alone their male lead to break in the normal ways. This is one of my great hopes for this season, that Jack – a sensitive caring man always, gets a chance to break if that’s what he needs to, but truly break, not just when it comes to his relationship, but when it comes to the baggage he carries with him.
Old baggage is often the worst baggage, after all.
We didn’t get to see Mel be there for Jack as he was recuperating from his injury, which is a damn shame, but we do get to see her be there for Jack now, fully, completely, without letting her own issues get in the way of what he needs. She opens up her home, she’s opened up her heart (notice how comfortable she is with saying “I love you” first at this point), and she’s all in with Jack.
The issue, of course, is that Jack has a hard time trusting things that go his way. He really, really does. He’s had to fight for everything, including Mel, and it feels to him a little like things cannot actually be what they are. Mel can’t want him there with her, all the time. Except she does. She’s there. And though it takes Jack a little time – and some reverse psychology from his friends – I’m glad they don’t drag this out too long, and he gets there in Virgin River 3×02 “Sticky Feet.”
What I’m really not loving is the Hope storyline. I have no idea what’s going on with Annette O’Toole, but it feels like she might not be coming back, or not coming back for good, and the show feels so different without Hope in the middle of everything. But that’s not even the worse offense, the worst part is that after setting up Hope and Doc the way they dad, we now end up with Doc saying things like: “I can’t lose her. She’s everything to me” as we contemplate the possibility of Hope not returning. Add to that the fact that he seems to be getting a lot of scenes with Muriel and I’m just not getting a good vibe out of this.
I’d be lying if I said I watch this show for Hope and Doc, but I do like Hope and Doc enough that this is more than slightly upsetting, especially as we don’t really know what’s going on. The episode is saved by the Jack and Mel of it all and the hilarity of Lizzie and Ricky looking for privacy, but since this is Virgin River, and we gotta end in pain, Lily announces she’s got cancer – which means we’re losing her this season, and something happened to Brie in the past, something I presume will come to light this season, in a painful way, as well.
A part of me doesn’t understand what she sees in Brady, or why it’s him, of all people, she’s choosing to spend time with, but another part of me just sees a woman taking control of her life after what was surely a traumatic experience, and I can respect that. I really, really can.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Virgin River 3×02 “Sticky Feet”? Share with us in the comments below!
Virgin River season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.