The Ending of 'Virgin River' Season 3, Explained

I! Need! Answers!

virgin river season 3 ending
(Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers for Virgin River season 3. The final episode of Virgin River was a smorgasbord of cliffhangers. I had barely recovered from Lilly's death, and now Hope is in critical condition, Preacher is God knows where, Brady is behind bars, and Jack has three children on the way and still doesn't know who shot him. I need to talk about the Virgin River season 3 ending, y'all, and I need to talk about it now.

Some of the twists and turns of the final episode had been building for a while—I mean, we knew Mel was going to fall pregnant—and others came out of the blue (Hope! Preacher!). Come with me on a deep-dive into the final episode of season three, because I know you need to process what just happened as much as I do.

Mel is pregnant...but the baby might not be Jack's!

Like I said, the pregnancy news wasn't exactly unexpected, but the twist certainly was. In the final moments of the last episode, Mel and Jack are watching the California sunrise (technically the Vancouver sunrise, but you know). "You were brave enough to open up to me, and for that I am forever grateful," Jack says. "And there's something that I've been wanting to ask you..." He gets down on one knee and starts to pull out the ring.

Mel stops him. "I need to tell you something," she interrupts. "I'm pregnant."

"This is good," a shell-shocked Jack says. "This is good. I told you I was all in, I meant it...We're having a baby! This is amazing news. Whatever it is, we'll get through it."

"Jack," Mel says, "I don't know if you're the father."

And—end credits! So Mel did use the frozen embryos from her pregnancy attempts with her late husband Mark—something we did not know until this exact moment—and didn't tell Jack about it. It's pretty clear when this happened: The two broke up for a couple of episodes, which is when Mel must have undergone IVF. Not to mention, even if they hadn't broken up, Jack was clearly horrified when Mel told him she wanted a baby—given that Jack has twins on the way by Charmaine and is revving up for a massive custody battle over them—so Mel would have assumed that Jack wouldn't have wanted to be involved.

virgin river season 3 ending

(Image credit: Netflix)

Which means that not only is Jack knee-deep in what looks to be an ugly custody fight, his girlfriend (and potential fiancée) is expecting a child—potentially by her late husband. So he has three children on the way, but he won't be able to see two, if Todd has anything to do with it, and the third may be fathered by his girlfriend's deceased husband. It's, um, it's a lot.

Preacher is poisoned!

Preacher, also known as the only thing keeping Christopher away from Paige's menacing ex-husband, Wes, and Wes's twin brother Vince, is lured into the forest under false pretenses by an old friend of Paige's. En route, Paige's old friend buys Preacher a soda. It turns out to be a poisoned soda, for Preacher collapses as soon as they wander into the forest, and the "friend"—who clearly brought him there for a reason, and not a good one—grabs his phone and runs off.

This, as you may have guessed, is the final chapter of Wes's long game. Later in the episode, Connie and Christopher return to Preacher's home and are surprised to find that Preacher isn't home. But someone else is home—and it's Vince, who's sitting on the sofa in the dark and waiting, we presume, to kidnap Christopher.

Brady is arrested!

As viewers, we're finally getting on board with Brady; we've seen his soft side in season three as he falls in love with Brie, and we're even starting to believe that he couldn't have shot Jack (even though Jack very much believes he did). But when Brady loses his alibi—his former boss, the evil drug kingpin Calvin—police issue a search warrant for his home, and in the process find a gun that's exactly like the one used to shoot Jack.

"You planted that! It's not mine!" cries Brady. "That's not my gun! I'm being set up!" But Brady is arrested, and Brie watches him with tears in her eyes, clearly not believing Brady's claim that he didn't shoot her brother.

Hope is in critical condition!

As if surviving a hurricane wasn't traumatic enough for one season, Hope gets into a car accident on her way back to Virgin River and is taken to hospital. She has a brain injury, and at the end of the episode she develops a fever, indicating that she might have an infection on top of everything else. Things aren't looking good for Hope, basically.

virgin river l to r tim matheson as doc mullins and alexandra breckenridge as mel monroe in episode 304 of virgin river cr courtesy of netflix © 2021

(Image credit: Netflix)

"It feels like she's just slipping away and there's not a goddamn thing I can do," Doc sobs to Muriel, who is the very definition of a vulture in this scene, just waiting for Hope to die so she can pounce on Hope's husband/ex-husband/future husband/Doc.

Good news: Hope will probably—probably—pull through. The reason she wasn't in season three aside from in video calls was due to COVID-19 restrictions, and hopefully that won't be a problem for season four. Showrunner Sue Tenney has said that the show adores Hope and wants to keep her around, and that they have storylines planned around their wedding, so...take that, Muriel.

But speaking of Doc...

Doc has a secret grandson!

A sweet-looking 19-year-old guy from Seattle shows up to stay in the town's local bed and breakfast. "I'm looking for my grandfather," he says. "Doctor Vernon Mullins?"

In promotional interviews for season three, the cast and crew offered more answers. Said showrunner Tenney to Entertainment Weekly: "Everything is going to be complicated. The father of the grandson that shows up and the woman that he has a child with and all of these things are pieces that will all be dealt with in the coming season." And Doc himself—or the man who plays him, Tim Matheson—told EW in a separate interview: "He really wasn't ever a father, so now to have a grandchild—that's pretty radical."

Ricky is joining the Marines!

Seemingly out of nowhere, Ricky goes to a Marines career day and takes an exam to see if he's eligible to join. When the Marines come calling, saying that they'd love to have him, Ricky has to tell Lizzie about his plans—and she's devastated that he never mentioned enlisting to her. She decides to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, who has inexplicably been hanging around Virgin River for a good half of this season, and we're left hanging: Will Ricky and Lizzie get back together? Will she move back to LA with her slimy new boyfriend—and will he enlist?

virgin river l to r sarah dugdale as lizzie and grayson maxwell gurnsey as ricky in episode 302 of virgin river cr courtesy of netflix © 2021


While the Marines twist "seems’s not,” Tenney told TV Line. “It’s something he’s wanted since he was 13. In the books, that’s how Ricky is. For Ricky, it came to a head when he met Jack and Preacher. He’s always been into the military, but he wants to be Jack. He wants to be the hero.”

Whew. Right. I don't know about you, but I can't wait another year for answers to all of this?!