Virgin River – Season 5 Episode 4 “Never Gonna Be The Same” Recap & Review

Never Gonna Be The Same

Episode 4 of Virgin River season 5 begins with Mel and Jack preparing to go camping. At the same time, Brie is prepping for testifying in court. Brady is noticeably absent after that big fight and she’s been ignoring his texts.

Preacher and Kaia spend the night together but she hightails it out in the morning. This catches Preacher off-guard, who confides in one of the waitresses about his lack of control in the situation.

Jack and Mel set up their campsite but their time together is interrupted by kids showing up with water balloons. After an initial encounter involving their dads, Jack and Mel agree to play ball with the kids. When the two guys admit they haven’t had time alone in years, Mel offers to watch the kids so they can go on a hike.

Elsewhere, Connie tries to mend the ties with Hope by inviting her and Lizzie to a spa day. Hope refuses initially, especially if Jo Ellen is going to attend. Connie encourages her to come along, promising that that’s not going to happen… and lo and behold, there’s Jo Ellen. This was Connie’s plan all along and she wants them to make amends.

Naturally, the spa day does not go to plan. Hope and Jo Ellen end up fighting, with the former calling Jo Ellen a traitor. The pair throw mud at each other and get kicked out. Outside, the fight continues but Jo Ellen reasons with Hope, revealing that she doesn’t want to lose another friend and is worried about Hope’s reckless behaviour while driving.

Finally Hope sees the light and admits that she’s angry with what’s happening with her, not necessarily with Jo Ellen. We’ve seen some of this earlier on in the series where she’s waved away her frustrations while writing up the council meeting agenda on her laptop. Eventually Connie cracks a joke and it’s smiles all round.

Brie and Mike run into each other and catch up. Notably, Brie doesn’t mention the court case but she does mention feeling like a mess. Mike gives her some advice, which actually works surprisingly well.

Brady shows up at Brie’s and gives her his dog tags from his time in the army. This is his way of giving her some strength, like that which he conjured in the Marines, pointing out that it’ll keep her strong in court. It’s a good start from Brady but he’s got a long way to go to properly make amends here.

Jack and Mel play games with the kids but the pair disagree over parenting styles. Jack explains to Mel later on that his father was super strict and all he ever wanted was a fun dad. Mel reassures Jack that he’s going to be a great father.

Elsewhere, Doc and Denny go fishing together and bond. They discuss Doc’s retirement, Donny’s diagnosis and, more importantly, what Doc will do when he’s no longer at the clinic. Denny has the perfect solution, believing that he’ll now be a grandpa.

Brady meets up with Mike and decides to admit the truth so he can make good with Brie. He explains what’s happening with Melissa, who has taken over Calvin’s business. He offers himself up as a whistle-blower for the whole operation. Mike is understandably cautious and distrusting but eventually convinces him to play ball.

As the episode starts to wrap up, we get another recap of events as Hope and Doc tell each other what they’ve been up to like the audience hasn’t been watching for the last 45 minutes. Honestly, can we stop doing this now please Virgin River?

We then cut across to Mel and Jack, who wake up in camp the next morning and smell something burning. When they get out of their tent, they look out at the horizon and gasp “That’s Virgin River!” Cut to smoke billowing out on the horizon. Chef’s kiss.

The Episode Review

Whoever the editor is for this episode absolutely deserves a raise. Two shots back to back at the end perfectly encapsulate these later seasons back to back, especially if you’ve got subtitles on. Mel and Jack looking shocked, explaining that “this is Virgin River.” We then cut to a smoky, ruinous mess (reflecting the writing) with some dramatic music playing. Isn’t that basically like every episode? And no doubt this will be wrapped up and resolved midway into episode 5 right? However, I will confess that we could be wrong here, given it was a part of episode 3 too with those first responders so we’ll have to see.

So far though, the usual idea of building character drama and then resolving that same issue in the same or the next episode continues, and in doing so, it makes the narrative feel directionless. There’s no urgency to anything that’s happening and, more importantly, no character building. Everyone is still in the same position they were 3 seasons back!

As we approach the midway point, it’s a shame that season 5 hasn’t remedied the issues fans have had with the last two seasons. And even worse, there’s no sign of it improving either.

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