OTT Review: Virgin River is back with its much-awaited season 4

This series is an enjoyable trundle of everything that is feel-good and sweet-natured; even the tragedies have a way of finding a silver lining


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 28 Jul 2022, 7:37 PM

Season 4 of Virgin River has just been released, and fans are already going into a tizzy about the impending Season 5 (alas, it’s going to be delayed, since filming has gotten postponed till later this year, so the earliest Season 5 can release will be in July next year). But first things first. Virgin River is not for those who want to be intellectually stoked — or want to be thrown into an array of complex contemplation. This series is an enjoyable trundle of everything that is feel-good and sweet-natured; even the tragedies have a way of finding a silver lining.

Having said that, Virgin River is ultimate binge-worthy material — along the lines of Gilmore Girls. You don’t need to think too hard, you are never really at the edge of your seat, at times, you will find it a little cringey, the screenplay — many will feel — is an open-and-shut case with absolutely no recourse to reading between the lines… and yet you will look forward to the next episode.

Virgin River is a fictional town somewhere in California (the fact that it’s been shot in British Columbia, Canada, is irrelevant), next to the river — a gorgeous sheet of crystal-clear waters, snaking through a picture-perfect setting dotted with blue mountains and green forests. Everyone is really nice in this little town. Neighbours care about you, friends are for life, and there are community events where everyone dresses up in quaint costumes.

It’s also a veritable analog town, with anything hi-tech nowhere in sight (most folks use landlines, and cellphones only make cameo appearances). Yes, there are some shady elements who have been inserted to give the series a little rattle of thrills and create a few “mysteries”, but those are mostly to punctuate the ‘niceness’ that may become boring.

The storyline of Virgin River, for those of you who haven’t watched the earlier seasons, is centred on Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge), a ‘highly qualified’ nurse (which, in television show parlance, means she can double up as a doctor if need be), who moved to Virgin River from Los Angeles — to get over a painful past and start all over again. Here, she meets Jack Sheridan, former war veteran and present owner of the local watering hole. Jack has some demons of his own, and he and Mel, after hits and misses, fall in love. The ensemble cast — including the fantastic Tim Matheson, who plays Doc Mullins, Mel’s boss — comprises the other well-meaning townspeople, who have their own yarns to spin.

Season 3 had ended with Jack getting shot and injured. One subplot is about figuring out who the assailant was and what the motive could be. Jack’s post-Iraq war PTSD, not so evident in the earlier seasons, comes out aggressively in this season, causing some amount of friction between him and Mel. A new doctor, Cameron Hayek (Mark Ghanimé), joins the clinic, and there seems to be a frisson of chemistry between him and Mel.

If you just want to put your feet up and enjoy a show with beautiful, uncomplicated people with almost zero areas of grey, simple plot twists, and some amazing scenery, then Virgin River is highly recommended as a weekend binge watch.

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