No! We did not sit through most of the season of Jack and Mel living in domestic bliss for them to end like this.
All of the angst came full force on Virgin River Season 3 Episode 7 as Jack’s inevitable breakdown came to a head.
The man has been teetering on edge, grasping to the last bits of control he had, but everything is closing in on him, and it’s too much.
Jack can’t win for losing, and in the end, he made the unilateral decision to cut off the one good thing he had going on in his life that kept him grounded and sane under the guise of loving Mel too much to stand in the way of her desires.
Was it noble or stupid? Maybe a bit of both, but you can understand Jack’s position here.
It’s frustrating that Jack doesn’t confide in anyone and seek the support he desperately needs. But it is equally irritating that Mel dropped this baby bomb on him this early into their relationship when she knows he has way too much going on right now. She didn’t think of how overwhelming it would be for Jack.
I love Mel, but the timing of this hasn’t been reasonable at all. Anyone could see that Jack was drowning with some of the baby stuff from before. I don’t understand why she wanted to add more into the mix without thinking about the complications for him.
In the end, he gave the answer he always had, and she knew from the beginning. They spent the majority of the season postponing this inevitable conversation.
And when you consider that Mel’s reaction is that if the timing isn’t right now, then she’ll wait until it’s better, it leads you to wonder why she even brought up this baby issue in the first place? Why not wait for better timing? Did radical honesty and sharing every single feeling serve them well in this case?
Jack: Man, I feel like the deck is stacked against me, you know? I … I keep trying to do the right thing and every where I turn there’s another roadblock.
Mike: Come on, that’s not the Jack I know.
Jack: It’s how I feel.
Mike: When we were serving, you remember what you used to say? The only way to fail is to quit.
Jack: Yeah, I just don’t feel like that guy anymore.
Mel wants a baby. She’s come to this realization rather abruptly, and from the second she had this epiphany, she’s gone full-speed ahead in bringing up this conversation without considering the effects on Jack, their relationship, or the timing.
She’s also decided that it’s not something she’s willing to compromise on, so can she really be upset with an overwhelmed Jack who is willing to make the tough call of ending things before it grows to resentment and other issues?
Mel’s stance is that she believes and wants a world where she can have both Jack and a baby. She never elaborated on what that looks like for her or mapped out all possibilities for this to happen.
But we’re left to surmise because she hasn’t explained things fully that she wants to get pregnant and have a biological child of her own with Jack.
And if she can’t have it right this instant, she’s willing to wait until things settle down a bit, but that’s something she still wants.
But to Jack’s point, which she somehow keeps overlooking, is that his twins aren’t even born yet, and he’s never hidden that the thought of them alone gives him anxiety. Jack doesn’t even know how he’ll feel about being a dad to the twins yet, and Mel plans for the two of them to have a child of their own.
Mel isn’t the one who’ll have three kids under the age of five or whatever. No, that’s Jack. And his stance on the issue is that he doesn’t know if he’ll even want another child once he gets over all of these other hurdles.
For some reason, it’s like Mel isn’t listening to that or viewing that as a viable stance. For Mel, the options are a baby now or later. For Jack, it’s maybe later or never. Good heavens, their signals are crossing something fierce.
You can respect Jack for saying that he loves her enough not to stand in the way of her having what she wants. And if she wants a baby that he can’t 100% be sure he’s willing to give her, he doesn’t want to waste her precious time.
But you can also be upset at Jack for deciding to end things by himself without listening to what Mel is saying. If Mel is saying that SHE loves him enough to stick this out regardless of his feelings, he needs to trust and respect that.
In his effort to protect her, he’s not respecting her, and that’s not cool either.
But again, there’s a lack of discussion on Mel’s part for what having a baby looks like for her that makes things confusing.
Jack is only left to assume that she wants his baby, or else she needs to find a stable, loving relationship that can still result in a child.
Jack: I feel like you’re going to get the short end of the stick.
Mel: I don’t understand what that means. Are you talking about money because I don’t care about money. Jack: No, not it’s not just money, it’s time too.
Mel, for the next year at least, I’m going to be juggling being a new father, fighting for custody, rebuilding my house, running the bar, I just don’t think I can have another baby on top of all of that. Sorry.
Mel: You know what? It’s OK. We can wait until you’re ready, okay?
Jack: And what if we wait and I realize I can’t handle supporting two families? You would’ve wasted all of that time. That’s time you can’t get back. Mel, I can’t be the person that stands between you and becoming a mother. I just can’t hurt you like that.
Mel: As long as I know how you feel about it, it’s my choice.
Jack: No, that’s it, you shouldn’t have to choose. You deserve to be someone that can give you everything you want. I don’t think that’s me.
Mel: Are you saying you want to end this?
Jack: It’s not because I want to.
Mel: Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening right now.
Jack: Mel, you’re an amazing woman.
Mel: You’re not listening to what I want.
Jack: I’m listening to what you want that’s what I’m trying to say, I know what you want, I just don’t think I can give it to you. This is killing me. I know I’m doing the right thing.
Mel: Get out. Get out of my house.
We still don’t know if Mel can get pregnant again. Mel hasn’t mentioned anything about alternatives if Jack said no. Even though she said it was his choice, and she wanted his honest response and that it would be OK either way, it felt like she was banking on him giving in eventually.
Mel doesn’t have a plan for having a baby that doesn’t include Jack. And while her optimism is lovely, she unwittingly put Jack in this position where he has to play the bad guy. She pressured the hell out of him without meaning to do it.
More likely, as time goes on, the option for Mel to take custody of Chloe when Lilly passes away seems plausible. Tara’s severe epilepsy, stress, anxiety, and grief would make it difficult for her to manage a child alone.
And Mel loves Chloe. It’s a sensible solution and theory, but we have no idea what Mel’s perspective is on alternative avenues of having a child of her own. She made it seem as if the itch she has is limited.
Oh, you’re not ready. You’re not ready. You wanna know something? When it comes to all of this, I’m not ready either. Don’t tell anyone.
Jack [to Chloe]
Without any clarity, Jack and viewers are in this weird limbo of uncertainty regarding Mel’s wishes.
And the amount of stress piling up on Jack is astronomical by the day. He’s not asking for help, which is irritating, but Mel’s gentle words of encouragement, offers of support, and platitudes feel performative and empty after a while.
They feel like just words. “Let me know how that works or if you need anything.”
If Mel wants a child with Jack, and hell, maybe marriage — which she will probably have a different set of tumultuous emotions and triggers about if that was legitimately on the table– then shouldn’t she have a more hands-on role in some of what’s going on with Jack right now outside of her?
Up until this installment, when Jack told Mel about meeting with the family attorney about custody, it didn’t even seem like Mel knew anything about the custody battle issues Jack was facing with Charmaine and Todd.
He didn’t talk about it with her, but she never inquired about any of it either.
At this stage in their relationship, before they can jump into babies, both of them have to figure out a better way of communicating and opening up to each other.
To Jack, his life feels like a mac truck is coming at him full-speed, and there’s no give anywhere. He can’t seem to catch a break. It’s a wonder the man didn’t end the hour with chest pains.
The trouble he ran into with rebuilding his home was enough to make anyone snap. It takes a long time to get a permit, and the odds of him getting one are already slim. His plans to have his house rebuilt before the twins are born were shot to hell, even if Charmaine does have the longest first trimester in the history of humanity.
He’s not going to make out if he sells the property, and he probably doesn’t have the funds to buy a new house right now. Money is tight, and he’s catching it left, right, and center.
And he knows that without a stable home, it’ll get used against him by Todd and Charmaine. He can’t afford to have that strike against him when he has an uphill battle ahead if it comes to this custody battle.
Now, he needs money for Valerie, the attorney too. And she’s right about how long, messy, and costly custody battles are. Todd is such a dick that he’ll drag it out as long as possible, knowing that Jack can’t afford it.
Jack probably assumed that Valerie was giving him a deal or maybe helping him out pro bono or something, but $20k isn’t pocket change. Some deal!
I feel like you have what you want and what I want doesn’t matter.
You know Jack reached his limit when he even told Mike that he feels the deck is stacked against him, and he doesn’t have the same optimistic approach of the past.
And now, he believes one of his best friends is the person who shot him. I knew the second he saw Brady in that hood that it would spark a memory. Between what he’s piecing together in his mind and Mike telling him that Brady is the primary suspect, Jack has every reason to believe Brady is the culprit.
It probably effed him up to see Brady making out with his sister. Brady and Brie’s relationship coming out was bound to happen. But it was plain stupid for Brady to come to Jack’s directly after getting interrogated for his shooting and being told to stay away from him and then make out with Brie in front of Jack’s place.
It was bound to end badly. And now a confused Brie has to grapple with the guy she’s developed feelings for being the prime suspect of her brother’s shooting.
While it’s doubtful Brady shot Jack, and Brady and Brie are cute together, both of them had this coming when they embarked on this relationship they did not tell Jack about, with both knowing the bad blood there.
Brady withheld a lot from Brie about Jack. He’s kept her in the dark about too many things and flat out lied to her.
And if Brie thought it was cool to start something with a former friend of her brother’s, she would’ve mentioned it in passing to Jack but chose not to for a reason.
Jack and Brie haven’t done much talking or hashed things out since their conversation during the LumberJack games, so I feel like they’re overdue for a serious talk.
Jack: Get away from my sister.
Brady: Jack, calm down.
Brie: Hey! We are seeing each other. You’re the one who shot me!
Brady: That is not true!
Brie: What are you talking about?
Jack: You were there.
Brady: Yes, I was there. But I did not shoot you.
But more than anything, it remains confounding that Jack got shot roughly a month ago, and no one outside of him seems to be thinking about this mysterious shooter out there or how the inconclusive investigation is wreaking havoc on the man whether he shows it or not.
There’s so much odd disconnection happening this season among the characters.
With all of this, Jack sitting in his truck crying after breaking up with Mel was inevitable. In hindsight, we all should’ve seen this coming a mile away. He made a rash decision at the end of a stressful day, and he’ll regret it by morning.
Jack sobbing in his truck is a heartbreaking thing.
And so is everything with Lilly. But we learned that she’s probably the only one doing well with her terminal illness. She’s reached this point where she’s not afraid of dying, and she wants to be with her husband.
Her concerns are more for the people she’ll leave behind and the issues in her absence.
We keep getting all of these hints about things, so is it too outlandish to think that there’s a way that Jack can take over her farm when she’s gone?
She spoke about the life she has there. Her kids were born at the farm, her husband’s gravesite is there, and her kids got married on it.
She wants Chloe to have all of these experiences, too. But she also knows that Tara can’t handle all of this by herself. Her seizure scared the hell out of everyone, and too much stress will cause them to increase in frequency.
But is there a world where a homeless Jack can take over Lilly’s farm? Maybe Mel can take care of Chloe, and the two of them can be happy together, with a home, a baby, space for the twins, and honor Lilly’s memory to boot?
It would be a suitable solution that speaks to the strong sense of community that this town possesses if that were to happen.
In Hope’s absence, it’s been Muriel who has cut through Doc’s defenses and looked after him in a way that he doesn’t feel bothered by, as is the case with Mel.
Muriel has been a damn good friend to Doc this season, and it was her who gave Doc some much-needed advice about how he handled things with Mel.
Finally, he told her the truth about his failing vision, and despite their bickering, they’re family now. They have their disagreements, but they manage to work through anything.
I loved Muriel for telling Doc that he can’t rely on the age-old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Yes, the clinic is his entire life, and it’s natural for him to be possessive and protective of it and have a hard time handing it over and making any changes, but Mel works with him.
She deserves to know everything that’s going on there, too. Doc reserving the right to tell her about his vision is one thing, but it’s another trying to keep her out of the loop about hiring a new doctor to take over.
He’s postponed his search for now. But it’s doubtful that this is something that’ll go away.
Preach and Connie became family, too, and Preacher’s intentions were pure and well when he thought he was giving her a break.
So many of the people in this town have a hard time accepting help. Connie lives for the caretaking, so she’s enjoyed every second of looking after Preacher and Christopher.
Mel: You’re going blind?
Doc: In a word, maybe
Thankfully, the two of them made up, and she told him how he hurt her feelings. And now, the wealth of information that she is, he doesn’t have to direct the camp play by himself. It’ll be another chance for Muriel to shine instead.
Christopher now has Tucker, too. So despite his mother’s absence, he’s doing well these days in Preacher’s care. I’m still waiting for Paige to show up and throw everything out of whack.
Preacher and Christopher’s story tends to fit the theme of family and the different ways it looks, community, and so much more. But it’s also obvious filler, allowing some of the key points of the season to drag out longer than necessary.
And Ricky and Lizzie’s storyline is the same, except for the most part, not the least bit interesting.
Ricky and Lizzie don’t need to move in together. It was an impulsive decision of hers, and when she said that she feels like he always gets what he wants, it was enough to give a person whiplash.
Seriously?! When does Ricky get everything that he wants and she doesn’t?
Fortunately, Lizzie and Connie made up, and she’s back at home with her. But again, it pains to say it, but it’s hard to care.
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Are you devastated by Jack’s decision to break up with Mel? Do you understand his point? Do you think Brady shot Jack? Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.