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Virgin River Season 5 review: Despite a raging wildfire, this show still remains icy

The first 10 episodes of Season 5 are now available, with the rest set to drop on November 30

Virgin River Season 5 review: Despite a raging wildfire, this show still remains icy
A still from the show

Last Updated: 11.23 PM, Sep 09, 2023


Story: A wildfire threatens to engulf Virgin River and change life as they’ve known it for many of its residents. Amid the challenges of keeping the blaze under control and ensuring the safety of all, new relationships are forged, some gains and some losses. There’s also a bright future to look forward to for most of them.

Review: Virgin River was not what I’d expected it to be, when I began watching it and I don’t say that as a good thing. I’ve said it before and I do again – I have no idea why I persevered even when nothing held my attention and some of the plot twists were beyond silly. So, when I’d watched Virgin River Season 4, the only way to get through the soppy drama of 12 episodes was to do so at 1.5 speed. Season 5 returns with a first set of 10 episodes that pick up right were Season 4 left off and 1.5 was the go-to yet again.

Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) is still determined to take a break from work at the Virgin River clinic because she’s got a high-risk pregnancy, which, incidentally, doesn’t stop her from going on rigorous runs or forest treks with her fiancé, Jack (Martin Henderson). But you know this isn’t going far when she thinks she needs to sew a baby blanket and the whole town knows they are expecting. And that’s exactly the route the showrunners decide to take – after all the drama about the paternity of the baby Mel’s going to have in Season 4, it all comes down to her having a miscarriage and not wanting to try again. That’s some serious piece of shoddy writing.

Preacher (Colin Lawrence) goes from saving Paige (Lexa Doig) and Christopher to losing them again, when she decides she’s had enough of Virgin River drama and leaves town. His love life remains complicated, when the next woman he sets his heart on turns out to be married. Complicated is his specialty, apparently. Hope goes from being Mayor to losing the post and getting it back, while Dr Mullins’ (Tim Matheson) struggle with macular degeneration begins to affect his work. That’s about some of the ‘major’ drama that unfolds on this season, all while a raging wildfire destroys large parts of Virgin River.


There are other sub-plots - there’s Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth) and the fact that the drug trade in the area is far from over, the mystery about who actually fathered Charmaine’s twins; Dr Mullins’ grandson Denny (Kai Bradbury) staying back in Virgin River and convincing Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale) too that college isn’t for her; Dr Cameron (Mark Ghanime) agreeing to stay back and eventually taking charge of the clinic; Brie (Zibby Allen) confronting her worst nightmare and emerging stronger from the ordeal; The twist at the end of episode 10 that Mel’s connection to Virgin River is a lot deeper than she’d imagined is nothing short of ridiculous and the reveal to this mystery will happen only when the rest of the episodes drop in November. It is times like these that makes one wonder how Netflix goes about putting together its content basket. How is it that a show as unexciting as this gets to return season-after-season, when, say, something like Snowpiercer doesn’t get any takers for its final season, even though it’s been shot and ready?

Verdict: The problem with Virgin River is that even with all the so-called melodrama thrown in, the show is still too saccharine sweet. And that’s not good for health, but given that the show routinely makes it to the streamer’s top 10 list, it seems there’s a sizeable population willing to ignore this warning and indulge their sweeth tooth after all. Sigh! Virgin River Season 5 Part 2 returns on November 30. 


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