Virgin River 3×03 “Spare Parts and Broken Hearts” picks up with the Lily reveal, and with the confirmation of what we already figured, considering what show we’re watching. Lily’s cancer is terminal. She’s not going to get better. This is pretty per the norm for a show like Virgin River, centered on a small town. I was expecting Lily to be our one loss this season from the moment she showed up at Mel’s, but that still doesn’t mean it hurts less. Lily’s become a little bit of a comfort character, and it’ll be hard to see her lose her cancer battle, not just because she won’t be around anymore, but also because of how this will affect other characters.
But make no mistake about it, Lily is not indispensable. The tow might be, but the people who populate it aren’t. Virgin River is mostly about Mel and Jack, then about Doc and Hope – which is why Hope’s absence has rankled so much. The townspeople are easily interchangeable one for the other, the main characters not so much.
Though Virgin River is trying, hard, to make us care about Brie – something they might succeed at – and Brady – something I’m still iffy about. Their relationship feels like it’s gotta be headed for disaster, especially as it starts with both of them clearly wanting different things, and then it escalates very quickly, and I know this is a romance, but so far, at least, what these two have together is mostly about avoidance, and that’s just not a good foundation for anything other than future pain.
However, the fact that Brady is capable of being this person, of behaving the way he’s behaved with Brie, makes it seem like, despite the fact that he spent much of the first two seasons as the person we wanted to shake, hard, he might still become a character we can root for, consistently. Maybe not with Brie, but that now looks like a possibility, something I hadn’t expected.
But then again – other than the Mel and Jack of it all – and we’ll go into that later, because they were the best part of this episode, and have consistently been the best part of this show, there’s so much about what’s happening this season I did not see coming, and those things probably have a bigger reasoning behind them that I hope will be explained. I’m not talking about Parker and the hints of a love triangle with Lizzie and Ricky, that’s on par for the course. I’m not even talking about Connie being the one person Preacher can count on – Connie, of all people! – because that’s also very much I line with what this show is. No, I’m once again talking about this Hope storyline, whatever it is.
Clearly Annette O’Toole was unavailable for parts of this season, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the way the show has handled that so far. We live in 2021, and the hurricane as an excuse can only last so long. So, hopefully O’Toole is available to at least do a zoom call or two this season, because if not, I’m afraid the show is going to have to deliver another surprise cliffhanger, the life-threatening kind, and despite the fact that I admittedly watch this show mostly for Jack and Mel, I have a hard time imagining Virgin River without Hope.
In this episode Mel and Jack are in top form, as Virgin River 3×03 “Spare Parts and Broken Hearts” goes back to focus on Mel’s issues, namely her baby issues, because getting a sonogram in the mail from someone who knows what that might do to you (judging you, Stacie) is a low blow. Thankfully, Mel recognizes that this isn’t just her overreacting, Stacie is doing it in bad faith, and that’s not on her. Her feelings are valid.
Jack helps with this realization, because Jack is very, very good with other people’s issues. He’s on top form when the spotlight is not placed on his. And though this episode is just setup for Lily helping Mel realize she does want to try again, she wants a baby, and she wants it with Jack, the man in question does a great deal to be supportive, and to help Mel realize that her losses, her pain, doesn’t make her weak. The fact that she’s still standing after all she’s suffered, that makes her strong as hell.
Also, bonus points for the fact that we got a morning after scene – even if we didn’t actually get anything before, and that Jack understands that being in a relationship doesn’t mean Mel can tell him everything, especially when it comes to secrets that aren’t hers. The cherry on top of the cake? Jack answering the door to Mel’s cabin without a shirt, and June staring at his chest, as we all would, if we were in her shoes.
We’re not even going to go into the Charmaine of it all, because it’s always the same with her, isn’t it? She’s always trying to manipulate Jack, and using her babies to do it. Because, for Charmaine, all that matters is herself. Not Jack, and certainly not her kids. She’s looking out for number one, and number one alone. And considering the show she’s on, and the people around her, Virgthat just sticks out.
This episode ends on a decentish cliffhanger, because the identity of Jack’s shooter hasn’t been treated as a big thing so far this season. The real thing to worry about is Doc, and his very understandable desire to go get Hope, no matter what. Hopefully we can get some clarity on the Hope issue next episode, because at this point, we’re starting to disagree with Mel that he needs to be stopped. We want answers too!
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Virgin River 3×03 “Spare Parts and Broken Hearts”? Share with us in the comments below!