Virgin River Season 4 Review – A long, laborious, boring slog

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

 

Episode Guide

Be My Baby -| Review Score – 3/5
Father Knows Best…? -| Review Score – 3/5
Grilled -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Serious As A… -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Mayday -| Review Score – 2.5/5
All’s Faire… -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Otherwise Engaged -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Talk to Me -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Bombshells-| Review Score – 3.5/5
Fire and Rain-| Review Score – 2/5
Once Again -| Review Score – 2.5/5
The Long Goodbye -| Review Score – 2.5/5

 

If you’ve followed my reviews of Virgin River over the years, you probably already know how this review is going to go down. And apologies to those who enjoy this show but season 4 is another long, drawn-out, melodramatic slog. And instead of the usual 10 episode run, the creators have added another 2 episodes for seemingly no reason, given the series is already drawn-out at the best of times.

Just to preface here, I’ve been advocating for a long time that some shows should really return to the heyday of 22 and 24 episode seasons but Virgin River is here to firmly stamp its authority and show why that may not be the best idea. And boy, does this season test your patience.

Picking up after the events of season 3, Virgin River actually starts quite promisingly. The first episode briskly runs through our new storylines, with drama in town – and in prison. After finding a gun in his van, Mike arrested Brady and threw him in lock-up. Only, Calvin’s men are everywhere and Brady may not be as safe as he once thought.

Meanwhile, Jack and Mel wrestle with the implication of having a baby. Christopher is still gone, with Preacher on the hunt (when the plot calls for it anyway) while Hope is still suffering from her ordeal, but back home and suffering mentally.

Essentially season 4 plays with these same ideas again, but drags them out across 12 episodes. Some storylines – like that involving Christopher and Preacher – aren’t actually too bad. They have a good amount of tension, are drip-fed across the run-time and lead naturally into a conclusion that – while rushed – is written better than some of the other drama here.

Meanwhile, babies are the main buzzword this year as Mel and Jack clasp at the implication of parenthood and wonder whether Jack may even be the father. Given the embryo situation, it’s certainly a point of contention.

At the same time, Hope continues to try and recover from her brain injury, until her character does a bit of a 180 around episodes 6 and 7, reverting back to her old self, albeit with a little more self-pity than before.

Speaking of self-pity, Jack goes off the rails here too, allowing the new doctor in town – Cameron – to move in like a slimy knight in shining armour. Although there is an implication of a love triangle with Mel, the writers never actually commit to it and as such, it peters out into forgettable fluff.

A much more effective new character though is that of Denny, Vernon’s grandson who rocks up on his doorstep wanting to learn more about his life. There’s a lot of mystery around his character, including him acting hot/cold around Lizzie (building up a potential love triangle with Ricky) while the implication of screwing over Vernon and taking his money is a large part of the drama being flirted with. But don’t worry, all is revealed by the end!

Despite starting quite brightly though, Virgin River soon settles into a familiar rhythm – and that’s not a compliment. I’ve bemoaned this show before for clutching dramatic cliffhangers to lull you into watching the next episode after 25 minutes of meaningless driven and then resolving that in record time. Well, season 4 does that again, but this time it occurs for almost every single episode. In one, I actually timed how long it took for the “big drama” to resolve itself. 4 minutes and 24 seconds.

The problem with this approach is that it cheapens the drama. Since Jack has already survived a gunshot without the show even referencing what happens, we know that these incidents aren’t going to be a big deal. A pilot randomly gets a heart attack while flying? Ah, he’ll be fine. A character is mad at another because of a lie? Give it 10 minutes and they’ll be sharing a drink.

This egregious form of storytelling has become so vapid and transparent in this series, and it seems Virgin River is quite content to just repeat old tricks, regardless of how damaging they are for the plot. All of that would be fine if the characters grew and changed…but they don’t. Lizzie is still the same wide-eyed lovestruck girl she was in season 1. Jack is still suffering from ghosts of his past four seasons on. Doc is still worried about Hope. Ricky is still wanting for Lizzie. No one has changed!

To make matters worse, late on, we get several time jumps that completely destroy the flow of the story, stretching what little character drama there is so thinly this time around that supporting players regularly have very little to do. Muriel has barely a sniff of an arc beyond playing the cheerleader to Hope, Connie is barely in this either, while Vernon and Hope haven’t really changed much since last season. While I’m not expecting Lizzie to become a choir girl or Hope to actually become likable (wouldn’t that be nice?) this is ultimately a plot-driven soap opera with a bunch of characters that are the exact same model as they were 4 seasons back with very little growth.

Given we’re operating with a much longer run-time than we were before, it almost feels inexcusable to find this show dragging its heels and wasting what time it has to play with. The resolution to some of these storylines – like the aforementioned Preacher situation – is so underwhelming and anticlimactic, while others are stretched thinly and baited for season 5.  Despite the gorgeous, lush visuals, season 4 of Virgin River is a dreary shade of grey and more of a laborious slog than it has any right to be. But there’s always hope that season 5 will improve… right?


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  • Verdict - 3/10
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3/10

43 thoughts on “Virgin River Season 4 Review – A long, laborious, boring slog”

  1. Okay, I really wanted to like Season 4 and was hoping the writers would pull it together and somehow get back to the energy and plot lines found in Season 1 and 2. That was far too unrealistic particularly after slow and boring Season 3. I agree with previous comments about the way in which the writers have been totally unrealistic with some of the story lines. The characters that were quirky and endearing like Hope and Doc, have become annoying and tiresome. The problem is not with the actors but with a meandering and mostly boring script that doesn’t offer them anything to work with. A large part of each episode is taken up with various couples saying, “I love you”. Followed by many of the men saying, “You’re so beautiful”!
    Lovely, but really? I see the problem as the writers relying on past storylines that have now been totally exhausted. There’s been little in the way of fresh new plots and characters to breath some energy and excitement into this story. Maybe they can save Virgin River in Season 5 by introducing some real excitement and interesting plot twists. We can only hope.

  2. Beautiful scenery but the acting is atrocious – with gushing and sugary sweet unbelievable characters – Mel with those expressionless puppy dog eyes and monotone depressed voice and Jack not much better – aaargh! Hope – well- no words! The Brady plot line is so far fetched and as for the long lost grandson – with nurse Mel not wanting to tell on him rifling through the drug cabinet – the last straw for me – had to switch off. Simply awful.

  3. This show is ridiculous. There is not a dude on this planet so in touch with his feelings as Jack. And if there was I wouldn’t trust him. Jack and Mel discussing their feelings ad nauseam is the main theme for S. 4.

  4. This season is the sappiest yet! I frequently press the “forward 10” key. Try counting how many times the characters say “Hey” or “ I love you.”

  5. We found the first three seasons to be like a fun hallmark movie. It seems like they have new writers now, because season 4 is like a ridiculous lifetime channel drama. It’s so bad, not sure we will finish the season.
    Fun drinking game: take a shot every time Mel says “sorry”. You’ll be drunk 15 minutes in and won’t have to remember the rest.

    Funniest part of season 4 so far: the renaissance fair. The thousand dollar costumes everyone was wearing, and the medical tent that was like a temporary surgical unit. There is fantasy, and there is far-fetched. This show has crossed the line into far-fetched.

  6. Only a couple of men watching this? Something wrong with me? I did think this season sucked.

  7. Most of you people are all haters. It was a show in line with father knows best, the brady bunch, etc. you are all people who are responsible for the evils in society. The shows of old are why we had a society that was more civil and pleasant.
    They portrayed how people and society should be. It was in the demise of our culture that TV entertainment started to go to realism over good examples of how life could be.

  8. I agree S4 is a snoozefest with a too many microdramas, many with unresolved answers. Preacher drugged? No one knows?
    But just so you all know the scenery is not Vancouver. About an hour away in a smallish/growing yuppy town called Squamish, more specifically Brackendale. I’ve eaten at “Jack’s Bar” several times when they’re not filming and the food has been good, with a backdrop to die for. And BTW, Dairyland is Canadian dairy product not sold in the US (watch the fridge).

  9. This is the worst writing I can remember in a tv series that is going into its fifth season. It wasn’t great at first, but the scenery and some mildly interesting storylines kept it watchable for a couple seasons. This is just drivel. Mel is one of the most unlikeable characters in tv history. I keep wanting to say, “Run, Jack, run!” But he is as much of an idiot as she is an annoying whiner. Someone needs to pull the plug on this one – the patient has coded.

  10. Totally agree with an awful season 4. So boring. Fell asleep with each predictable episode. Zzzzzzxxxxx

  11. I don’t think I’ll be watching Season 5. Season 4 was a let down. No real story development, just same old thing. I’m still trying to digest the Mel pregnancy. So she’s going to see her sister while her divorce is getting finalized, she’ll be gone a few days or a week tops. The night before she leaves Virgin River, mel and Jack break up…again. So she’s with her sister and decides to get an embryo implanted. One: This doesn’t get done in a few days Two: You just broke up with your boyfriend. She comes back to Virgin River where she and Jack get back together almost immediately but she tells him she’s pregnant and isn’t sure who the father is? Are you kidding me??? They didn’t discover your pregnant when they did the IVF, so it’s probably the dead husband’s baby. She’s a nurse practitioner that clearly has impulse control issues, she’s making decisions like a teenager in high school. Also, why is she so clingy and whiny all the time? She never leaves Jack alone always pouting and asking “How do you feel?” If I had to deal with her every day I’d be drinking alot too for medicinal purposes. And who made Mel God? She didn’t tell Doc about the unlocked medicine cabinet with control II drugs? WTF? That’s a huge issue to be addressed immediately. It’s Doc’s clinic, not hers, and that shows Mel isn’t a good medical professional.
    This season didn’t cover much ground, it’s basically a “filler” season to justify making season 5. The story is getting old and boring and unrealistic.

  12. I was (sort of) looking forward to season 4, but it is just plain awful. I don’t know if I can finish it at this point. Mel is ridiculous. So judgy, and pompous. The whole thing is horrendous. And the time-line! Yes, what the H? How can Charmaine possibly still be pregnant.? And then it was revealed that Mel’s husband has only been dead for 1 year! How is that even possible? Everything in this season is so implausible one cannot even escape into their fantasy world because it just doesn’t add up. What a disappointment.

  13. I loved this show, but must admit I’m getting tired of Jack being “triggered” by every little thing and Mel becoming a whiny drama queen. These two were an adorable couple & now they are becoming very boring. What changed, writers? Please make some new storylines! And Doc & Hope? 20 years ago when they first got together???? That means they would have been 50!! wth? Please get some adults writing this instead of the junior high kids!!

  14. Jack seems more and more needy each season, comes off clingy and desperate. How did Preacher get away? The writers need to move in the timelines.. best thing about the show is the beautiful location where they film it.

  15. So how many seasons is Charmaine going to be pregnant???????????? And now we find out she’s only 5 months along? So that means all this time of Jack and Mel being together and all the drama has only been a few months! Come on writers!! Meaning that Mel and Jack broke up before the 3 month mark because she’s now 8 weeks pregnant. A lot of living is happening in a short amount of time! (And she had the nerve to call her sister out on doing things quickly?!)

    I agree with other comments; the scenery is beautiful. I watch the series because it’s like a train wreck; you just gotta watch it even though it’s all pretty bad. I like the established characters, i.e., the close friendships of the women. And I’m hoping the introduction of Melissa is bringing some juice to the show instead of the typical soap opera story style. I actually was happy to see the explosion!

    Yeah I will be back next season, but with a smirk on my face.

  16. Just gonna say it …Mel is Super annoying this season. She’s nosey and all up in every body’s drama. She seems whiney and constantly feeling sorry for herself. Just not sure why the huge change in her character.

  17. Ugh, Season 4 is unbelievably horrible! Must be new writers who are 12 years old. I’m playing a drinking game where I take a shot every time someone says “I get it.” I‘m really drunk right now! Just trash!

  18. As others have said, I stopped watching after the fourth episode. Soap opera, especially bad soap opera, is not my favorite. Too bad as I did enjoy some of the characters, but this is just too hard to wade through.

  19. I have never seen a more boring, sappy, drawn out show in my life! I’ve had to stop watching – it’s that bad! I don’t think many Aussies will fall for this drivel!!!

  20. It’s a great show to kinda pay attention to while cooking dinner. You can enjoy the mini dramas without worrying you’ll miss a detail that will show up later

    If they want to be more realistic, the town needs a wildfire l, because it’s Northern California. But I don’t watch this for realism.

  21. I love the show and have finished season 4, I’m confused how Charmaine is only 5 months pregnant and Mel is 2 months, Charmaine has been pregnant forever

  22. Jack and Mel are cute together, but borderline annoying season 4. If I hear Mel say, “I’d really like to talk about this one more time” I think I might vomit. The forlorn looks, the deep talks… just a lot of drama and not enough fun.

    Hope- barf. Seriously they make her more unlikable each season… but this time instead of just being stubborn and selfish she’s constantly whiny too.

    Lizzie- Denny- and several others- with the over-the-top sappy lines… no one is that friendly and kind all the time.

    And I like how Jack is “the glue that holds Virgin River together” yet he’s only lived there 7 years.

    Last, they build up suspenseful, climactic storylines but then they fizzle out and resolve in the blink of an eye.

    The writers have some great ideas but really need to put a little more real life emotion (not constant SAP) into their characters and some guts into the storyline.

  23. Ugg, used to love Virgin Tiver, but season 4 was so boring. It was painful to watch the full season. Mel got on my nerves; she complained and whined about everything and it just got to the point where I no longer like her on the show. One thing I hated was Mel catching Doc’s grandson in the medicine cabinet and she doesn’t tell Doc because the grandson told her not too. Come on!! So unrealistic.

  24. Honestly, i really think the writer was really asked to make a lot of hook points in every episode. Season 4 is a lot over the top. It was really annoying to see Mel being stubborn or having a problem about everything. Couldn’t handle it after a while. Almost looked to me like she couldn’t deal without problems. So was Hope. I understand Hopes character is supposed to be strong, stubborn, independent but again it was unnecessarily in the edge. I regret watching this season. The only thing proba ly interesting was the place/scenaries.

  25. Mel needs to say screw it with everyone’s drama and over compensating for them. Her character comes across as weak. A nurse not telling a doctor right away about a medicine cabinet break in is just not realistic.

  26. Love love love all!!!!!
    Martin is just as HOT!!!
    I wish season 5 and all others were filmed faster and we did not have to wait so long before another Season. Season 4 is actually one of my favorites. The cast makes the movie feel so real. I have to benge watch. Mel an Jack are made for each other so natual and sexy together! Bring on Seaso 5..I would cancel Net Flix if Virgin River was cancled. Love u all!

  27. Have to agree with many of the remarks above. Virgin River resumed in Europe last Wednesday and as it’s so long since the last episodes, I and others have forgotten what they hell is going on. The time in between series is far too long, and half of my friends cannot remember what the hell took place so long ago, and who half the characters are. Too many time gaps in between series and it’s too hard to remember what happened in the previous series. I agree, they are dragging out too many episodes, needs editing. Everything is too predictable. Loved the 1st few series, but it’s not worth watching anymore.

  28. I love love love love Virgin River the characters are really amazing but God can we do a little less of babies babies babies and a little more romance and enjoying life the storylines are good but if you’re gonna make such a great show you can’t leave us hanging for a whole year till you make a new season The scenery is great preacher is dynamic and so is Jack and Mel and doctor but his wife is a little over-the-top little too boring so are the knitters maybe they could be spiced up a little bit but it’s a great show love watching it love the characters love everything about it of course you’re always gonna have some criticism but it sure beats listening to all the stupid politics or nothing

  29. I guess I am not as invested as everyone else here, but my comments have been since S4Ep1 did they get different writers? It’s not the same, and I am not enjoying this season at all. The dialogue is making me dislike all the characters. yuck. I no longer want to go to Virgin River. Cross that off the bucket list.

  30. It’s great 👍 don’t find it boring it spreads the story around, everyone I know loved it 5 stars from me waiting for 5 for the knockers go watch another streaming service !!!!

  31. I have to agree, I skimmed most of Season 4, paused, skimmed some more. When it got really boring I flipped over to Blown Away Season 3–much better.
    What was solved in this season? I mean really on screen solved?
    1. Christopher reunites with Preacher albiet in a very contrived and strange WHAM there he is way.
    2. Paige shows up just before Preacher declares he’s moving on with someone else…..well, how convienent.
    3. Brady gets cleared of the charges that he shot Jack.
    4. Jack finds out he is and isn’t the father.
    5. We get two new characters that could have morphed into two new story arcs but……..nope.

    What didn’t happen this season? SHOW not tell. Examples of what we are told and not shown:
    1. Hope’s recovery from the hospital to the house
    2. Preacher. That’s it, just Preacher. Why did Sally drug him, when did he wake up/how’d he get back to town, how did he…there are too many there that were left on the floor.
    3. Mike. Yes, MIKE. So he’s working narcotics in San Diego and Viola shows up to live in Virgin River…um…WHAT?
    4. The list goes on and on and on…
    5. The timeline. We are told only once how much time has elapsed with 1 line from Jack telling the 911 operator that Char is 5 months pregnant. 5 months and she looks like she is about to pop which leaves the viewers with the idea that more than 5 months has elapsed since we saw her last. Seriously, I thought she was in labor when she called Jack asking for help.

    I started watching this show out of curiosity and for the gorgeous photography of Vancouver. If I put it on mute, pull up some nice music and just gaze at the photography, I honestly think I’ll get more out of the show than what the writers are trying to do.

  32. Definitely has gotten tiring.

    For those not paying attention (SPOILERS!)
    1. Preacher was drugged so Vince(??) Could get Christopher
    2. Charmaine husband always off on business, setting up the infidelity/leaving her/her and Jack getting along but WAIT! These arent your babies scenario
    3. Cameron didnt leave ..yet..

    I dont think Cameron is really leaving. Somehow i see Charmaine and Jack interfering with jack and Mel….making cameron an option

    Brie/Brady is awesome. Love the pairing and love how Brady sought information how to support her without being a goon.

  33. I’m stuck on episode 6. My daughter and I keep making up excuses why we can’t watch it. It’s really bad this season.

  34. Season 4 is just awful. The spark and interesting story lines have disintegrated into a long series of ‘feelings’ moments. Jack and Mel can’t go 15 seconds without some soppy ‘how are you feeling?’ drek.
    Clearly this shows a criticism of Netflix: the beginning and end to some series are often good, but they pad a lot of just uninteresting gibberish in between.
    If you have insomnia Virgin River season 4 is a cure.

  35. I’m delighted to know that the father of Mel’s baby is jack. Not surprised that Charmaine’s twins is not Jack’s. You just don’t meet a very successful lawyer and get married in a month. That part just was to much of a stretch.

  36. UGH!

    Ok.
    1) Preacher’s main concern is Christopher yet he’s spending the whole first few episodes flirting with a Kendo lady? Where’s the urgency? He sure spends a lot of time chopping vegetables. Big Fat NO to this storyline. Plus, that lady looks exactly like Paige. And where IS paige, did the actress quit??
    And why was he poisoned in the last season ending?
    2) The Hope story- boooooooorrrrring! For godsake. What a cliffhanger ending in Season 3, then all of a sudden she’s home and cranky? No.
    3) Ricky Lizzy storyline – boooooooorring. Just end this. He acts like a 12 year old. Not believable. End it.
    4) Brie-Mike, Brie-Brady, Brie-Mike-Brady, is she obsessed? End it. Brady is a small-headed wally, we all know there’s nothing in that story. End it.
    5) Doc being concerned about Hope is just not believable. Nope. People don’t act that way in real life. They’re too “extra” with her. It’s overacting.

    Now for the good;

    6) Charmaine seems to have a good storyline again. She’s an interesting nasty/nice/awful character.
    7) Mel’s wardrobe/hair/temperament got better this season. She acted pissed off/ frumpy/tired all last season. THey’ve given her highlights and told her to lighten up with the acting. It works.
    They’ve also done the same with Muriel St.Clair who seems less like a caricature this time round.
    8) Lizzy acts less annoying this time, better than before. I guess her acting notes were “calm it down”.

    BIG plot holes and no answers to the following;
    Why was Preacher drugged?
    Where is Paige?
    Why did Hope reappear without a glitch?
    WHere is Charmaine’s husband, when so obvious last season? Does he matter or not?
    WHy drag the Hope TBO storyline out? We all know it’s going to end with a huge emotional climax then she’s OK. OR….like in the books, she dies. Either way, this current storyline just isn’t interesting mainly because it just isn’t believable. She would look way more messed up if she really had a TBI. She wouldn’t have the same hair for example. Make the story realistic or cut it.

    It’s a nice Season 4. Slow build. Annoying and convenient plot holes unanswered. WHy invest in Charmaine and her attempt to get Jack out of her life, if not to continue that story? Lots of stories like this unanswered from S3.
    Good character relationships. Takes the time to have each story between the couples – Jack/Mel, Doc/Hope, Preacher/empty space, Brie/Brady, Lizzy/Denny.

  37. You are so off base, you have no idea what you are talking about, season 4 hit number one in less than 24 hours. We all love it. The opinion is only for you to try and make yourself look important.

  38. The best thing about Virgin River is by far the gorgeous scenery. Like the writer stated, the same characters are doing the same old thing. Lizzie is mad at Rickey for “lying” to her because he made the decision to join the military before discussing it with her first, Big deal Lizzie! He just graduated from high school, isn’t in a committed relationship with you at all, his plans for his future ought to be more of a discussion between him and his grandma. Plus it isn’t like Lizzie is Miss Perfect. She got sent to live with Connie because she was getting into so much trouble at home and she seemed to get a real kick out of pushing things to the limit with her Rickey when they first met. Sneaking him into her room, leaving the pastry trailer unattended, and jumping Rickey’s bones every chance she got.

    And poor Hope. After surviving the horrible car accident she has reverted back to being mean and hateful to Doc again. This storyline has needs to change because it’s so negative and they’ve made Hope into a nasty woman. Let her lighten up and enjoy life with Doc for a change.

    Another season with the same old Paige and Christopher drama dragging on and on. Boring!

    The writers should’ve kept Cameron on the show. He was some new blood and added some life to the mix.

    Tired of Brady being a loser. Let him improve his life and be successful too.

    Charmaine, what a piece of work. I can’t imagine she was always like this or Jack surely wouldn’t have been with her as long as he was.

    Preacher is always awesome. Doc is a wonderful character also.

    Jack and Mel are fantastic together! So excited to watch their story continue.

    I know that this show is a fancy soap in a gorgeous setting, but it can be pretty frustrating sometimes. I sure do enjoy it though and will keep tuning in!

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