By Andrea Park published
Warning: Major spoilers for season two of Virgin River ahead (if you couldn't already tell from the headline). The second season of Netflix's Virgin River was somehow even more twisty than the first, with the residents of the namesake Northern California town plagued by love triangles, surprise arrivals, medical scares—basically, any shocking reveal you can think of popped up at least once in the latest batch of episodes. Cruelest of all to the characters and viewers alike were the multiple cliffhangers we were left with at the end of season two. Of those, hands down the most distressing was when, literal seconds before the credits began to roll, Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) discovered Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson) bleeding out from a gunshot to his stomach on the floor of his bar.
Obviously, the internet has now been flooded with theories about who shot Jack. And while the show has yet to be renewed for a third season, there's some evidence that it's already filming, and the cast and crew have been talking about the future of the show on their recent press tours in ways that make season three sound like a done deal. With that in mind, it's about time to start diving deep on all the biggest theories about the identity of Jack's shooter.
Here, find a (tentative!) ranking of those theories from most to least plausible, bearing in mind what showrunner Sue Tenney recently told Parade of the incident: "The only thing I can say is that not everything is as it seems." (For the record, she also hinted in the interview that Jack will survive the gunshot, since he and Mel are supposed to end up together.)
This one's obvious: Jack spent pretty much the entire season focused on taking down Calvin's illegal marijuana growing and distribution scheme, which he found out mere minutes before the shooting had recently expanded into fentanyl production. It makes perfect sense that Calvin (David Cubitt), who has already proven to be extremely vindictive and unafraid of ordering hits on his enemies, would seek deadly revenge on Jack for getting him arrested.
But is this theory too obvious? Maybe, based on Tenney's warning and on Breckenridge's recent speculation that this line of inquiry might be a bit of a red herring. "The writers definitely are leading you to believe that it's that group of people, it's the Calvin group of people," she mused to Entertainment Tonight, but added, "If there's a season three, maybe there will be a twist in that."
This one is really just an extension of theory number one, since Jimmy (Ian Tracey) is Calvin's go-to guy for carrying out the dirty work. There's also the fact that earlier in the season, Jimmy expressed a desire to "put a bullet right between [Jack's] eyes." If he's the culprit, his aim was quite a bit off, but hey—we can't all be sharpshooters.
Brady's a solid maybe. On the one hand, Mel told Jack that she was getting the feeling that Brady (Ben Hollingsworth) wanted to get out of Calvin's gang and go straight. He was also the one to shut down Jimmy's death threat, and it was eventually revealed that he hadn't been able to kill Spencer after Calvin ordered him to do so, making it seem even less likely that he'd be able to shoot his former friend and fellow Marine.
On the other hand, Brady did willingly join Calvin's gang, and we learned right before the shooting that he was going to be arrested in connection with their drug distribution scheme. Plus, Jack was shot in the stomach, which in the world of movies and TV is usually a survivable injury, potentially indicating that the shooter wasn't actually aiming to kill.
Annoying if true, but definitely a real possibility. It would certainly be the type of twist Tenney and Breckenridge have hinted at, and there's even some evidence to support it, like how the shooting seemed to be a rush job—it happened right before Mel was supposed to show up at Jack's Bar and resulted in only a couple of overturned chairs—and how previously unseen characters are constantly popping up all across the town of Virgin River. Once you start entertaining this theory, though, you have to consider the possibility that Jack wasn't even the intended target, so this all might be too big of a can of worms to even crack open this early on.
Least likely of all is that Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) shot her casual hookup-turned-baby daddy, though this theory has one major supporter: Jack himself. "It's definitely Charmaine. I mean, do the math. I'm convinced," Henderson told ET, semi-jokingly.
Sure, Jack's lack of commitment is certainly frustrating, and sure, Charmaine got angry in their final meet-up of the season when she felt he was treating her like she was crazy, but it just seems so out of character—though, again, maybe that makes it the best fit with Tenney's hints. The gunshot's location would make sense here, too, since Charmaine probably didn't want the father of her children dead, but may have gotten so frustrated that she did shoot him in the stomach. Wait—is this actually the most sensical theory of them all?
Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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