Virgin River 3×07 “Split” is called split for obvious, dumb reasons. We really should all have seen it coming, and if we didn’t (we did), we shouldn’t really be surprised by this twist, because in so many ways, it’s the predictable twist. That’s partly why I wish the show hadn’t done it. It’s a little too predictable, and though I will admit the last two episodes have done a lot to flesh out Jack’s internal struggle, there’s still a sense of oh, this is the obstacle you chose, to this season, that’s kind of unnerving.
Because in the end, as I’ve said before, it’s not really an obstacle. It’s miscommunication and fear all mixed together. And it’s not going to last, of course. But still, the entire season has been building up to the end of Virgin River 3×07 “Split,” to Jack just crumbling under the strain of so much, and though I don’t like what that means for his relationship with Mel, that part I do get.
Jack is the kind of guy who’s used to being in control. That’s partly why, before Mel, he didn’t really want a serious relationship. He likes being in charge of everything, even his feelings. I don’t mean this in a bad, or a mean way, though there are certainly some people who are so in control that they never show emotion. Jack just likes to regulate his emotions.
Of course, Mel changed all of this, and that’s why, right now, Jack is struggling, and it feels like every time he tries to catch his breath once again, something bad happens. He feels like he’s being pulled in twenty different directions, and he cannot be all that people expect of him. Except he’s the one placing these unfair expectations on himself. No one else expects him to be anything else but Jack.
This keeps getting worse and worse because, of course, he and Mel are not truly talking. They’ve been skirting around the real issue for a bit, and though they aren’t ignoring each other, they’re also not getting to the heart of the matter. Once Jack’s mind is made up, and he’s so deep in his fear that he can’t really find a way out of it, the conversation is actually more productive. Because I cannot believe it’s taken this long for them to discuss that no, they don’t need to have a baby now.
Once they get to that point where Mel can be open with her feelings, with her desires, with the fact that she wants a chance at her own family, and she wants that with him …she runs into the Jack wall. Because he hears that she just wants the possibility, but he’s too caught up in the idea that he’s gotta put her first that he forgets his feelings can also be taken into account. He’s so afraid that, at some point, she’ll resent him if it doesn’t work out that he doesn’t even want to take the chance.
But that isn’t really Mel, and this Jack …isn’t really Jack. The selfless play might sound like the best thing to do, but when it means making decisions for other people in your life without giving them a say in the matter, it’s really not. We don’t get to decide what other people want, much less what they deserve. Relationships are, among many other things, about respecting your partners choices, and Jack isn’t doing that when he breaks up with Mel.
He isn’t the only misguided soul in Virgin River 3×07 “Split,” either. Preacher also attempts to give Connie a break she hasn’t asked for, also in a misguided attempt to save her from something she hasn’t asked to be saved from. Connie isn’t the kind of woman who’s going to stick with a situation she doesn’t like – and keep quiet about it, to boot, and Preacher should try giving her more of the benefit of the doubt. If he’s truly going to be the father figure Christopher deserves, he’s gotta realize, in his situation, it truly takes a village.
I’m not even going to go into Jack’s issues with Brie and Brady, because that was sort of an obvious thing, and I’m still not sure what game the show is trying to play here long term. Are they testing the waters to see how people react to Brie and Brady? Are they setting up Mike and Brie? What is your play, show? What?
But there’s a saving grace in this episode – despite the fact that I still don’t know or care about the Muriel part of his storyline – and it’s Doc. Everyone’s been making questionable decisions, not communicating with the people around them, and Doc has been keeping a big secret from Mel, about an issue that directly involves her. He ends that this episode in the absolute best way, by telling her himself. It would have been such a cop out if the show had Mel guessing, or finding out some other way than Doc coming clean, and I’m glad they didn’t, because Mel and Doc’s relationship deserves this moment.
When he said: “I took my frustrations out on you. I hope you will forgive me,” I thought …well, there’s hope. For Jack, for Preacher, for Ricky, and for everyone in Virgin River making bad choices, keeping secrets and making decisions for other people without consulting them. If Doc can find the way, so can you. I promise.
Just don’t take too long, okay? There’s only three episodes left.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Virgin River 3×07 “Split”? Share with us in the comments below!
Virgin River season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.