As a comfort watch show for many, Virgin River is still sitting pretty in Netflix’s top 10. The hit TV series, which is based on the bestselling book series of the same name by Robyn Carr, focuses predominantly on recently widowed Melinda Monroe and bar owner Jack Sheridan.
While the show has followed the books for some of its plots, it’s also safe to say the show has developed across four seasons to come into its own. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look to the books to see what we could expect to see in Season 5, which has already been confirmed by Netflix.
Looking at the book series, the TV show is somewhere between the third book, which focuses on Brie and the seventh book, which focuses on Ricky returning from war. Yes, we know Ricky has only just gone off to war in the fourth season but let’s just say that if the series follows the book on this one his experience will be cut short.
WHO COULD COME TO VIRGIN RIVER NEXT?
There are obviously some gaps in the book series to TV show coverage, which means that we haven’t seen the arrival of Marcie Sullivan. She comes to Virgin River in book four to find Ian Buchanan, who saved her husband’s life and gave her three more years to love him.
We also haven’t seen the arrival of Vanessa, a widow like Mel, who has just buried her husband Matt and given birth to their son. Vanessa’s arrival would also see the arrival of Paul Haggarty — Matt’s best friend who looks after Vanessa and her son, but has been secretly in love with her for years.
Then there’s also the arrival of the Riordan family, which could bring in Shelby McIntyre. She shows up in Virgin River after the death of her mother, looking for Mr. Right … who seems to be Luke Riordan. However, the latest season makes the arrival of Luke and the Riordan family less likely as Jack decides to use his plot of land to build cabins for people to rent, whereas in the books this is a business that Luke runs.
WHAT OTHER STORYLINES COULD WE SEE IN VIRGIN RIVER SEASON FIVE?
A relationship between Mike and Brie
Brie has a pretty solid relationship with Brady in the Netflix show. But in the books, Brady really isn’t explored that much. And I hate to admit this but despite how cute I find them, I think Netflix is gearing to follow the book storyline to a relationship between Mike and Brie.
There have been hints across seasons three and four that Mike likes Brie. When she invited him for coffee to discuss Brady’s case, for example, he thought she was asking to meet up about something else. There’s also the fact that Brie being a lawyer and Mike being a police officer makes more sense than Brie and …whatever Brady is, other than shady.
The arrival of Brie’s rapist and her decision to press charges could create a setting in which Mike and Brie’s relationship can blossom. Especially as in the book both Mike and Bree have pain that they help each other through. But, of course, there’s the fact that the series has already invested a lot of time into Brady and Brie’s relationship and they might not be willing to throw that away.
Preacher’s love life
Preacher’s had a hard time when it comes to love in Netflix’s Virgin River — from Paige running away and leaving her son with him only for him to get kidnapped by her abusive husband’s brother to Paige returning while Preacher was embarking on a new life with Julia. His love life has been complicated, to say the least.
The books don’t make it quite so complicated as he only has one love interest, Paige. Her story is pretty much the same except she doesn’t run away from Virgin River or leave her son. Instead, her husband goes to jail. Paige and Preacher then embark on a relationship.
Considering that at the end of season four we saw Paige return, a happy ending for Paige and Preacher seems to be the direction the show creators are going in. But that still leaves Julia, who doesn’t exist in the books. However, considering how much Preacher loves Christopher and Virgin River being the happy, warm, idyllic show that it is, it would make more sense that they’re moving towards a family unit with Preacher, Christopher and Paige.
In the books Denny doesn’t suffer from Huntington’s disease, nor is he introduced as Doc’s grandson. He is actually believed to be Jack’s son. In his book, which is book 16, called ‘Bring Me Home for Christmas’ we meet Becca Timm — his high school sweetheart who Denny broke up with before heading off to war.
None of this is portrayed in the series, but as his relationship with Lizzie seems to be more friendship orientated, we could see the arrival of Becca. Plus, Virgin River is known to pull at our heartstrings, so if Denny is dying, the show could set it up so that he broke up with Becca because of his terminal diagnosis and she arrives in town to spend the rest of the time he has left with him.
Ricky’s experience in the military and his relationship with Lizzie
In the books, when Ricky goes off to war they aren’t split up. Having gone through a stillborn child together, they are closer than ever. However, when his time as a Marine corporal is cut short due to him getting injured and losing his leg, his relationship with Lizzie becomes strained — as he tries to break up with her because he believes she deserves better than what he can give her.
Is this a storyline that Netflix may adopt for Virgin River? It’s hard to tell. Netflix has no issue discussing hot topics like grief and PTSD, but the show could see Ricky’s storyline as being too dark if they are playing alongside Denny’s illness. However, it would be a good way to set up Ricky and Lizzy to re-establishing a relationship as she could help him through his recovery.
Cameron doesn’t get a book to himself but his storyline is weaved throughout a couple of books. He dates Vanessa in book five, ends up having a one-night stand in book six with Abby (Vanessa’s friend) and Abby then becomes pregnant with his twins in book seven.
At the end of season four, Cameron is leaving, which obviously creates a problem for following the books. But actually, it’s not as far off as you might think because in the books Cameron has an unrequited love for Vanessa — which is similar to his situation with Mel. Additionally just because we haven’t seen him meet Abby doesn’t mean this couldn’t have happened off-screen, meaning if she announces she’s pregnant, Cameron may return or even stay in Virgin River.
What do you think is going to happen in Virgin River season five? Share with us in the comments below!