New Beginnings -| Review Score – 3/5
Taken By Surprise -| Review Score – 2.5/5
The Morning After -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Rumor Has It -| Review Score – 3/5
Can’t Let Go -| Review Score – 3/5
Out of the Past -| Review Score – 3/5
Breaking Point -| Review Score – 3/5
Blindspots -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Hazards Ahead -| Review Score – 3/5
Blown Away -| Review Score – 3/5
Virgin River has always been a sicky syrupy melodrama and for those with a sweet tooth, this will definitely hit the spot. For others, this may be a touch less palatable and this second season only doubles down on these ideas, adding in an extra dollop of sugar for good measure.
With contrived scenarios, plenty of uneven love triangles and a cliffhanger ending to boot, season 2 does everything it can to keep this soapy train rolling for a possible third season renewal.
At the end of season 1 we ended with Mel deciding to head back to the city and the rest of the Virgin River characters stuck with unresolved conflicts. Well, season 2 wastes absolutely no time picking up the pieces shattered during the finale, stitching them together and breaking them again for a number of new issues our characters have to face.
Mel returns to Virgin River and decides to work through the rest of her contract at the clinic. Of course that causes issues between Jack and Charmaine, with the latter pregnant of course and expecting Jack’s baby. Across the season a love triangle of sorts plays out between the three, as the two ladies fight over Jack’s affection.
That’s not the only love triangle though, there’s also a manufactured triangle of Mayor Hope’s making. With her now back dating Doc again, she’s worried about what the people around town will think so she sets Doc up with Muriel and encourages him to get cozy with her. As the season progresses, Hope becomes more jealous of the issue she herself created.
Speaking of self-caused issues, Paige and Preacher are back this time and they’re not alone either. A familiar face from the past returns and spells big trouble for them both. An accidental death causes Preacher to go out of his way to make this look like suicide, consequently incriminating himself in the process. Across the season a constant sense of dread and a ticking clock hangs over him but to be honest, everything still remains unresolved by the time the second season ends.
The final sub-plot here is not only the most intriguing, it’s also the most under-developed too. Brady’s now working with Calvin who’s concocting a dastardly scheme outside town, one that could potentially involve buying up Lilly’s farm for reasons unknown. As Brady worms his way back into the spotlight, the stress hanging over Jack almost becomes unbearable.
And that’s ultimately where Virgin River Season 2 is at its strongest. When Jack’s inward demons and issues from the past are explored, the show becomes so much more than a daytime soap and there’s some genuinely good moments here to mirror those in the first. Unfortunately these are few and far between, with lots more emphasis on contrived, forced drama instead.
If there’s one thing that this show excels at though, it’s the location. Filmed exclusively up in Vancouver, some of the visuals are absolutely breathtaking and mirror the picturesque beauty of places like Switzerland. The falling waterfalls, the towering cliff-faces and lush woodland areas all combine to make this one of the prettiest soap operas on TV.
While it may have all the hallmarks of what makes soap operas so appealing, the narrative work and plotting are lacking, to say the least. There’s a few nasty plot holes here and the big cliffhanger ending will undoubtedly leave many fans frustrated too.
This has potential to be better than the first but unfortunately poor character writing and a lackadaisical script do this melodrama absolutely no favours. Now the real question comes from whether Netflix renew this for a third season or not and perhaps that is the most realistic bout of drama to come from this show.