Virgin River 3×04 “Take My Breath Away” takes a hilarious look at the issues facing two people trying to get used to existing in the same space, as the Brady and Brie romance heats up, Brie’s issues become even more obvious, and oh yes, Annette O’Toole is back – via zoom, but we’ll take it.
Hope’s appearance gives us no real clue about whether her storyline is going. In fact, the show establishes she’s not coming back anytime soon. But at least this storyline makes much more sense now than it did before, with her not showing up at all. It still sadly reads to me as they’re setting it up for Hope to leave, and I’m guessing this season without her will serve as sort of a trial run of whether the show can indeed work without her, with an obvious answer.
Yes, this show is about Mel and Jack, and as long as you don’t remove either of them, the rest can be made to work. That, however, doesn’t mean we want to lose Hope. It really doesn’t.
Of course, after her brief video appearance, Virgin River 3×04 Review: “Take My Breath Away” pivots as far away from Hope as possible, as it focuses on Brady and Brie’s budding romance – which, am I supposed to be feeling bad about Brady’s issues? – as Joey gets closer and closer to divorce, Tara knows something is up with her mom, Lizzie has enough of Connie, Preacher faces a medical crisis with Christopher and Muriel continues to flirt with Doc, which come on Muriel, you make it so hard to like you. Let me concentrate my anger on Charmaine here, who deserves it so much more.
Everyone agrees too, because the line “speaking of bitter, how’s Charmaine?” is uttered in this episode, so I rest my case. We don’t like Charmaine, and the show doesn’t expect us to. It’s trying to toe a different line with Muriel, probably because Hope’s return is still up in the air, but I just want to state, for the record, that it’s not working. Muriel is clearly flirting, and she’s making me angry. And Doc, come on, can you stop being such a man and put a stop to it? Can you?!
But once again, as have been the norm this season, and for most of the show, really, the episode rests on Mel and Jack’s shoulders, and it works because of Mel and Jack. Even if it starts rocky, with Mel sleeping in the car because Jack is snoring so loudly that she just couldn’t stay asleep.
Despite these issues, Mel really wants Jack to move in with her. She even explicitly tells him that she’s “looking forward to coming home and having you there,” which is as unequivocal as it gets. But it’s not as simple for Jack, it never is. Mostly because of who Jack is, and the relationships that have shaped his life. He’s very, very used to being the one that’s needed, to being the fixer, to being someone’s support.
He’s not so used to someone else being there for him, someone else compromising for him, someone else loving him enough to put up with little things, just because they enjoy his company.
This, however, is healthy. It’s what love is. Compromise. Mel points it out to Jack, and there are times when he seems absolutely floored she feels this way. Season 3 and Virgin River 3×04 Review: “Take My Breath Away” in particular have really delved into how Jack has never truly gotten any kind of security out of his romantic relationships. He didn’t think he wanted that, didn’t think he needed it, but it’s worth considering that the reasons why are very tied to the fact that he just didn’t understand it was possible to have that.
And by that, of course, I mean the kind of relationship he has with Mel.
So yes, Jack is going to struggle a bit to get there, just as Mel has struggled with other things. That’s not a real issue to worry about, especially as both of them kind of stumble but eventually, get there, together. In this regard, in particular, the romance has been A+ this season. I always appreciate when my TV shows understand that drama for the sake of drama isn’t what sells – it’s this, a couple facing obstacles together.
Of course, when we get to cliffhanger time, Mel queues up what’s sure to be the main obstacle for their relationship the rest of the season, the baby thing! The episode ends in the worst way possible, because Mel doesn’t really explain herself, and I don’t actually think she will when we pick it back up next episode, mostly because Mel is probably expecting an answer Jack isn’t ready to give.
Yes, he wants to have a baby with her, I’m sure. He wants a family. He loves her. But he already has two kids on the way with Charmaine, two kids he isn’t sure he’s going to be able to see, so thinking about another baby now has got to be overwhelming for Jack. That is understandable. Just as it’s understandable that Mel, once she figured out what she wanted, would want to discuss it with the man she loves, the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.
Now it’s just a matter of figuring out timing – not just for a possible baby, but for the two of them to have this conversation the way it needs to be had.
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Virgin River season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.