What a nailbiter!
One could envision a wildfire hitting Virgin River would be intense beyond measure, bringing all sorts of panic, drama, and heroic moments.
And Virgin River Season 5 Episode 5 didn’t fall short on that in the least, with a gripping installment ending in a cliffhanger with a girl on the edge of her seat.
Wildfires are terrifying, and we’ve unfortunately seen how destructive they can be far more frequently these days, so the notion of one touching down on the fictional ground of Virgin River elicited so many feelings.
As expected, heroes emerged, and the community is coming together in a way one anticipates.
The entire hour is devoted to the increasing danger of a fire spreading and destroying everything we love and hold dear about this small town.
A sense of urgency builds throughout the hour, as it starts with a casual awareness and caution about the fire, and eventually, things grow more frantic as it becomes evident that Virgin River will not be spared.
We’re accustomed to the series throwing festivals and little celebrations to bring the community together and highlight little dramas along the way.
But this is a much grander, higher-stakes way of exploring the communal element of this series, and the hour showcases that incredibly well.
You feel for Hope, who feels helpless amid such a huge disaster. Without her position as mayor, she doesn’t feel she can protect everyone without the power to back her for it.
And she’s so angry at Nick and judgmental about Nick that she focused on what she’d do in his stead.
Your memories aren’t in that house, Lydie; they’re in your heart and no fire can take that away from you.
Initially, it did seem like she was right regarding getting Lydie to evacuate. It would’ve made sense if the seniors and disabled individuals got a headstart on evacuating out of danger zones instead of seemingly sitting there and waiting.
But despite how well-meaning she was in jumping the gun in that regard, her plan resulted in poor Denny and Lizzie getting stuck in the middle of the wildfire.
The teens were terrified, and frankly, I was petrified for them as fire and smoke covered them, trapping them in place with no real escape. All they could do was cry together and hope they could find a way out.
And now Hope Mccrae has to reconcile with the guilt of sending two kids out in the thick of things without realizing they’d be headed into the brunt of the wildfire and not know what was happening.
If anything were to happen to Denny and Lizzie, Hope would never be able to forgive herself.
But you couldn’t help but admire these kids for getting Lydie to focus and evacuate quickly and spending their time searching for Bert to ensure he was okay.
Heroes truly emerged amid the crisis, and Denny and Lizzie were among them stepping up.
Of course, we also know that Brady and Jack Sheridan can always push things aside and come together for a common good when times are tough.
Jack didn’t hesitate to seek Brady out when Doc tasked him with convincing the folks at the camp to evacuate. He knew if anyone could get through to those people, it was Brady.
And Brady didn’t bat an eye when it came time to help Jack. Even when they disagreed on the methodology of searching for Hazel, Brady could fall back, take Jack’s lead and command, and they got the job done.
It takes bravery for them to search through an actual wildfire for a child when everything in you would scream for self-preservation.
The search for Hazel was so nerve-wracking, but thank goodness they found her in time, and they could take off before the fire reached them or the multiple explosives on site went off because of the fire.
I appreciate that there was no element left unacknowledged with this fire. The camp inhabitants are always these extra characters on the periphery of the town that you can forget about sometimes until something comes up.
It felt plausible that they would have to send someone out there to get those people to safety.
Doc and Dr. Cameron in the field also made for some nerve-wracking scenes. Fortunately, it wasn’t Kaia who got impaled but one of her friends.
Jay seemed nice, funny, and like a sweet guy. As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising if, after Doc and Cameron’s valiant efforts to save him, he succumbs to his injuries.
Hey, you are a warrior of this town, Hope, when warriors get wounded, we rally around them.
He’s a nice enough character to elicit sympathy, but he’s a tertiary character. Casualties during a wildfire are inevitable, and I fear Jay may be it.
Of course, we never got any word or confirmation about whether or not Bert was okay and made it to safety, and Mel also had the task of finding Ava and Chloe, which didn’t bode well.
Did Ava pass out from the smoke or something? Why did she never make it to the clinic? And why wouldn’t she be responding to a crying Chloe?
Mel Monroe put her all into the distraction of finding Ava and Chloe because it was infinitely better than sitting with the realization that she had a miscarriage.
Fertility issues are such a difficult topic to explore, and there aren’t too many series that will devote this much time to that journey and its long-lasting effects on a character.
Mel’s experience is one that so many people face, and there’s likely some comfort in having that type of representation in a series.
It’s tough because of that and not wanting to disregard that very real experience. Because the overwhelming thought at all times is, “Why can’t Mel and Jack be happy?”
It’s like neither of them can ever catch a break. It hardly seems fair for someone to endure so many obstacles and this much loss all the time.
It’s trauma on top of trauma, and it feels like too much. At this rate, I don’t know how Mel can get up in the mornings with some of the things she’s had to deal with, and the same goes for Jack.
The second we saw her in the bathroom, it was apparent things were headed in a bad direction. Her spotting was cause for concern, but not too much.
But then she gave herself an ultrasound and didn’t find her baby’s heartbeat. Not only that, but she had to proceed to go about the rest of the day treating and helping other people without getting to process her own loss.
Yes, it shows how resilient and strong Mel Monroe is, and that’s admirable and makes you love and respect her even more.
But this woman should not have to be this freaking strong!
She was on the cusp of having a happy family, a future husband, and the child she’d always dreamed of.
It was right in her grasp, and now, she’s facing yet another loss because heaven forbid this woman be happy.
Frankly, the season was starting to feel like things for Mel and Jack were too good to be true, so this development shouldn’t be that shocking.
But it’s no less frustrating and painful.
We know all the ways this impacts Mel. And then there’s how it’ll affect Jack, too. The man just got over losing the prospect of twins, and now he’s lost his biological child.
My heart aches for Mel.
Meanwhile, Brie Sheridan was having some battles of her own on the stand during Don’s trial.
Everything she suspected would happen did with the information about her Xantax use and mixing it with alcohol getting thrown in just to poke holes in her account.
I know how this goes. I’ve played the hero before, but now I know real heroes are not well-paid, well-dressed lawyers making well-rehearsed arguments from the safety of the courtroom. Real heroes are the ones with the courage to do what’s right. Who walk toward the things most people would run away from. They’re the people who push past their fears. Who face the unknown. And hold onto their faith even when the deck is stacked against them. And I hope if you ever end up in my position. You hold onto your faith, too, because statistically, in a country where one in six women are sexually assaulted, and more women are killed by their domestic partners in this century than men who have died in war, someday you just might.
Even though Brie was prepared, it didn’t seem like she thought through how hard it would be on her, and that’s why I wish she had someone there to support her through it.
But she got some support from Mike, who keeps showing up at the best times when she needs him most and making her feel better.
They’re so clearly setting Mike Valenzuela up as the other romantic foil. They keep making a case for why he’s what Brie needs right now, and it’s not looking great for Brady if this pattern keeps up.
Brady will do anything for Brie; that much is clear. And he’s actively working to clear himself and be free of everything so he can be with her and they can be happy.
But I’m worried that Brie may tire of all of this, especially after the trial situation, and she may require a longer break despite how much she genuinely loves Brady.
If she decides that he’s not good for her at this point in time, then what? What if she thinks Mike is providing her with the emotional support and stability she prefers?
Ironically, while it’s abundantly clear that Mike likes Brie and wants to be with her, Brie hasn’t regarded him as anything beyond a good friend and still treats him as such.
Brie: It’s nice to see your face.
Mike: It’s always nice to see yours.
Regardless of how this love triangle is playing out, at least Brie had someone who cares about her around during a time of need.
It’s concerning to wonder if Don will get away with everything.
Her speech on the stand about heroes, intercutting with flashes of the heroes of Virgin River doing heroic things, was a lovely touch for this installment, though.
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Are you devastated by Mel’s loss? Does it frustrate you that she can never catch a break? How intense is the wildfire? Hit the comments below!
Stay tuned for more of our Virgin River Reviews!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.