Virgin River 3×08 “Life and Death” sets up one of the silliest twists in the history of twists – or at least, it presumably does. But since this show is anything but groundbreaking, let’s go with it does, and I get to be mad as I write this review, watch the next two episodes, and write those two reviews. Because this show sends Mel to LA where the very next day after she breaks up with Jack, suddenly IVF is an option, and we’re all rushing into decisions.
And look, Mel has a right to make whatever choice she wants with her body. Let’s get this out of the way. No one should get to make decisions about her body and her life for her. But it’s hard to argue Mel is making informed decisions – not that this episode attempts to, this is just the setup. So let’s save this rant for if (when) that actually comes up, and let’s focus on the way the people of Virgin River come together during Virgin River 3×08 “Life and Death” not just to take care of Lily, but to try to get things back into some semblance of order.
First question in that regard has to be, of course, with Mike now testing the waters with Jack on whether he can ask Brie out, where exactly is this going? Are they setting up an unnecessary love triangle? Are we supposed to root for Mike …or Brady? And does anyone believe that Brady shot Jack? Everything points to it, of course, but when a show like this one gives you one clear answer that’s stretched out for this long, it’s typically because they’re trying to trick you.
Brady is also very clear in Virgin River 3×08 “Life and Death” that he wasn’t the one to shoot Jack. Before we could all point out to the fact that Brady hadn’t actually denied it, now, however, he has. And though he isn’t exactly a trustworthy suspect, the fact that they’ve dragged it out this long also points to the fact that it probably isn’t him. Unless, as I said before, this is meant to be another heartbreak for Brie, the one that leads her to Mike? I’m not sure I’d want that, though. If Brie is going to end up with Mike, I want it to be a decision, not rebound.
In the background of this Brie/Brady/maybe Mike thing, Jack has a few things to say to Brie, which, typical brother. The fun thing is, Brie has a couple of things to say back to Jack, including calling him a few names for breaking up with Mel. And Brie is absolutely right, and she’s also the person who should say it. That’s what siblings are for. To tell you that your whole “I love her, that’s why I’m hurting her now so maybe I don’t hurt her later” reasoning is flawed, at best.
Brie also delivers some more truth during Virgin River 3×08 “Life and Death,” in the form of this line: “Relationships are built on emotions. If you go through life closed off, then, you know, you’re not really living at all.” On the surface, this doesn’t feel like Jack. He’s been more honest with Mel than he has with anyone else. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a little closed off, because the truth of the matter is, Jack’s still making the practical decision. He’s putting his feelings – and worse, her feelings, aside, for what he considers “the greater good.”
Ironically, it’s Doc – who makes a joke about how unsolicited advice is Hope’s thing, which just reminds me I miss Hope – who manages to talk some sense into Jack. That he even tries shows how much he cares, not just about Jack, but about Mel. When Mel got to Virgin River she was nothing but a nuisance to Doc, now she’s like a daughter, and Doc hates seeing her hurt because of something so easily fixable. And he is right, too.
Because Jack knows Mel, or he should. He should know that if Mel tells him something, he should respect her enough to trust her. Not just trust her feelings in him, but trust that she knows herself, and she knows what she wants, and what she needs. His job isn’t to make decisions for her, but to stand next to her and make decisions with her.
This gets through to Jack, who’s waiting for Mel as she gets back into town, presumably after only a day away. It’s unclear if they truly make up, but they do have sex, because the setup for the twist absolutely requires it, and though not all is well with the world, it starts to feel like it might be. Jack and Mel are going to be thrown a big problem their way (I promised I wouldn’t rant about that till the time came), but for now they’re trying harder to communicate than they have before. Hope is coming back soon. Things are …starting to look up.
Which is, of course, when the show hits us where we knew they would. So now, in an episode that is, perhaps, the beginning of one life, we have to lose one too. And lose it in that casual, cruel, unexpected way life has of taking away the people who mean the most to us.
Goodbye, Lily. We will miss you. And we will mourn you next episode, I’m sure.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Virgin River 3×08 “Life and Death”? Share with us in the comments below!
Virgin River season 3 is available to stream on Netflix.