Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8 Review: Life and Death

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What an incredibly emotional hour.

There was so much lightheartedness, sadness, happiness, passion, love, and more during Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8.

It was equal parts uplifting and heavy, making us swing wildly from smiling and laughing, to squealing and fist-pumping, to damn near crying our eyes out.

Tea with Lilly - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Of course, an hour where Mel and Jack made up after his Romantic Male Lead grand speech would also end with the stereotypical but utterly devastating death of a beloved character in her sleep.

But first, let's talk about Brady.

A night on the couch in his office prompted Jack to recall more memories of Brady's presence at the bar the night of the shooting.

As much as Brady reasoned why he lied about his alibi and didn't share that he saw Jack that night, it would've saved him more trouble if he at least told Jack the truth.

Brady in a Flash - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

The longer he acted as if he wasn't there at all, the less believable he became when the truth came out. And that's the type of self-destructive behavior that always leads to Brady screwing himself in the end.

Now, he's the primary suspect in his old Marine buddy's shooting, his legit lumber company is going under, everyone thinks he's a screw-up no matter what, and he messed things up with Brie, a woman with whom he made a genuine connection.

Brady brought enough this season to make you root for him, but his lies and omissions make it impossible sometimes. His meeting with Brie didn't go over well.

Brady was honest with Brie about his past criminal record, how he was there the night of Jack's shooting and did get into an argument with him but left, and he confirmed what Jack told her about his drug dealings with Calvin.

Brady Offers a Helmet - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 3

Brady laid it all out on the table in his desperate attempt to reclaim that happy bubble he had with Brie, but he did all of that too late. Brady's not a dumb man; he had to know that whether Jack knew about Brady and Brie or not, he wouldn't have the best things to say about Brady even before he suspected him.

He should've pulled a page out of Eminem's book in 8 Mile and told his own damn story first, get ahead of it and control the narrative.

Brady: Brie, I know I made a lot of bad choices, but I'm not the villain here. Hey, do you believe me?
Brie: Yeah. I believe that's what you think. But in my career, I've learned that people are capable of justifying their actions no matter how reprehensible.

The worst thing about it is Brie was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and you could tell when she asked Jack if he really believed Brady shot him and agreed to sit down with Brady to hear him out.

She's already coming off of a relationship where she chose the wrong man, so she's a bit fragile in that regard, and Brady had her questioning her judgment.

Brie has Doubts  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

It's awful all around. Brady and Brie were good with one another. He liberated her in that way she craved when she came to Virgin River, and she brought out a better and softer side of him. All they needed was for Brady and Jack to make some amends somehow, and this could've been something beautiful.

Naturally, Brie's rejection sent him spiraling, and he showed up at Jack's Bar. I wonder what his initial thought process was there. Did he expect to have another go at Jack? Did he want to see Brie?

Instead, he got into a bar fight with Mike, which will do nothing to endear him to Brie again after he shared that was an issue of his before. But what piqued a person's interest was the conversations he had with Mike before the brawl took place.

Brady has always carried the burden and brunt of being the perpetual disaster child of their unit, and that has effed him up and made it impossible for him to ever climb from beneath this image.

Brady Confronts Mike - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

But it turns out Mike isn't a squeaky clean man either. According to Brady, he did something shady in Iraq, and Mike never paid for any of his mishaps, unlike Brady.

It adds an intriguing layer to this setup where Mike insists that Brady is the shooter and wants to put him in prison. Is there anyone Brady doesn't have a shaky relationship with in Virgin River?

Well, I know what you did in Iraq, Mike. You got blood on your hands just like everyone else.


Mike has been hanging around Virgin River and focused on this case. He even lost his fiancee over his time spent there, and he's made it known that he wants to stick around more permanently. He's super involved in the Calvin case, too, and he's had some questionable roles in the investigation.

Brady is Brady, but it's doubtful that he's wrong about Mike having another side to him of which others are unaware. It makes you wonder about this case in the first place.

Jack Demands Answers - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 4

Brady is taking the brunt of the blame for matters even though he's the one who turned on Calvin. Somehow, Calvin knows about it and got away scot-free before the Feds came down on him.

It left Brady in the open for danger after getting deemed a rat and still on the outs with Jack. Mike is the go-between for every aspect of the drug case against Calvin and Jack's shooting.

What if Mike is the one who is in cahoots with Calvin, and he's setting up Brady and betraying Jack? What if he shot Jack to frame Brady?

And now Mike is showing some interest in Brie, too. Poor Brie. Things would've been a hell of a lot easier if she hit it off with Preacher instead.

Mike's News - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 2

I believe Brady when he says that he's done some effed-up shit, but he isn't the villain of this story. The problem is -- does anyone else?

If we're on the topic of believing in people, it seems Lizzie is losing faith in Ricky.

Why is Ricky lying to Lizzie so much? He's terrible at it, so he needs to stop.

Lizzie is a lot to deal with in many ways, but she doesn't deserve the nonstop lying. She already suspects that Ricky is showing interest in the Marines, and he should've told her his intentions, even if it means she won't be there for him.

Pink Lips and Pink Aprons - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 2

It's something he's passionate about, and it's not lost that he's keeping this secret from not only Lizzie but others too. His grandmother probably doesn't know about his plans. He hasn't told Preacher, or Jack, who we know has reservations about seeing Ricky join the Marines.

The season feels more like an ensemble than ever before, and spending this much time with characters like Ricky and Lizzie is a prime example.

Charmaine: I just don't understand why you changed your mind.
Todd: Well, I have a feeling Jack's going to make our lives complicated. I figured once we move to Eureka, it'll be out of sight out of mind.
Charmaine: Jack's not going to give up the twins just because we move to Eureka.
Todd: Maybe, not at first. But I figure if we make things difficult for him, eventually he'll back down. And then we'll have the freedom to raise our family in whatever way we see fit. Okay? Love you.

But it's a season that has done wonders with Muriel, who has been one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable characters. Words cannot describe how satisfying it was when she said hello to Charmaine after hearing that awful conversation between Charmaine and Todd.

Can you even call it a conversation when Todd did all of the talking? Todd's true colors have slowly unraveled over time, and it's been evident that this whirlwind romance wasn't all Charmaine desired.

Overhearing Gossip  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Charmaine is an acquired taste, but she doesn't deserve any of this. The only thing that would've made that moment with Muriel any sweeter is if she channeled us and told Charmaine to DUMP HIM.

To Todd, Charmaine is a trophy and something to control. He likes the aesthetic, but he has no respect for her as a woman and individual. Relationships are about communication and partnership, and Todd wants to run everything.

After everything he promised her, he didn't even tell her he planned to move them to Eureka. He made her career at the salon sound like a cute hobby that he would indulge in if he had to do so.

He insisted that they needed to get away from Jack, so they could raise their family the way they want, but as Charmaine noticed, it's not about her at all, but rather what he wants to do.

Todd Puts Down His Foot - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Charmaine is a glorified incubator for him, and he's insistent on stealing another man's kids. Todd is not a good man. He's not honest nor honorable, and maybe Charmaine didn't see that before, but she sure as hell has to notice it now.

Charmaine does awful things and responds emotionally, but she knows that the situation with Jack is going too far. She didn't need Muriel eyeballing her to get that.

If she goes through with this wedding to Todd the Terrible, it would be a hell of a surprise. #FreeCharmaine.

But let's get back to all the good men. Every time there's a flashback of the incredibly handsome Daniel Gillies as Mark, it's gutwrenching. He was such an adoring husband.

Sisterly Bonding -tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Mel's trip to Los Angeles to support Joey proved to be enlightening. Did we know anything about the frozen embryos before?

First, it sucks that Joey didn't get her desired outcome in court. She's right about the costs of motherhood in the modern era. If she were a woman who worked to support her family, then the criticism would be that she's not there taking care of her children enough.

But since she stays at home to care for the kids, that's used against her to imply that she's not financially stable. My gosh, there's no winning!

Joey is prime for wanting Mel to return to Los Angeles, so they can move in together and raise the kids, but I think Virgin River would be the type of fresh start Joey needs.

Mark Paints Mel's Toes - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

She'd get her sister and this inviting community. Assuming her ex-husband doesn't make a stink about it, it would be nice to see her there too. Can that small town handle two Monroe sisters?

Joey was the one who got to the concrete answers about Mel's expectations regarding a baby. Mel had access to embryos, so why did she think she needed Jack to have one?

Joey: You know, you don't need Jack to have a baby.
Mel: I'm just too exhausted to start over with someone else. I just wanna be with Jack.
Joey: I don't mean that. I mean you and Mark, you had two embryos, right?
Mel: Yeah.
Joey: Then use them.

It was interesting that Mel stated that she didn't want to raise a child alone. It was a fascinating thing to bring up with her now divorced single mother sister.

Doc would later talk about how strong-willed and such Mel is, and it made you wonder if Mel ever prepared for a possibility of single motherhood. And while that's no picnic for the strongest of individuals, it was bizarre that it was such a hard no for someone who wants a child so desperately.

Wants and Needs - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 4

It once again reiterated that Mel put all of her eggs in the Jack basket and wanted and expected his agreement.

She stated that she knew he was overwhelmed with the baby talk, and she hated that it led to him freaking out and breaking things off with her.

And we got that scene of her at the fertility clinic, but we have no idea what transpired there. She had her reservations about using those embryos and having a child that made her miss Mark more and kickstarted her grieving process all over again.

It was a backup plan for Mel, but little did she know it seemed all of Virgin River was working on changing Jack's mind and telling him he was an idiot for letting Mel go.

Stressed out and Aggravated - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 7

I'd love to hear you guys' reactions to this baby situation and breakup in the comments below. Am I the only one who found it offputting that everyone was pressuring Jack into caving on having a baby with Mel?

If their roles reversed, this would prompt a lot of conversation about women's rights issues. Everything boiled down to Jack loves Mel, and therefore, rather than be unhappy and alone, he should start a family with her.

Doc: You know what, um, unsolicited advice is usually Hope's arena, but, uh, for you I"m going to make an exception. Mel is a self-sufficient, strong-willed, extremely capable woman who happens to have a very big heart right in the center of her tough exterior. She's not someone who is fragile. She's not someone who has been shielded from life's hardships. And if you have been transparent with her.
Jack: I have.
Doc: She knows exactly what she's getting into. She would not go forward if she didn't think she can handle it. And you think you might need to protect her. That's not what she needs. That's not what she wants. I think it would be a tragedy for you to go through life alone because of a misguided perception of the woman you love.
Jack: You know I don't ever recall you stringing together that many words together. Ever.
Doc: I do say my piece when it's absolutely necessary.

Everyone talks about him having another child as if it's no big deal, and he's not entitled to have mixed feelings on the issue or get any space to process what it means for him.

Brie called her brother out on closing himself off again, and she implied that it's a trait he shares with his father. She implied he was self-sabotaging and that he can't take this rational and logical approach to a relationship that's steeped in emotion.

Overwhelmed and Stressed  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 7

I struggle to understand why Jack's practicality makes him in the wrong. Mike reminded him that his relationship was doomed since his former fiancee didn't look at him the same way Mel looks at Jack.

Preacher could speak to what it's like when Jack makes a unilateral decision about something without considering other people's perspectives. Fortunately, Jack is learning a lot about how he comes across and likes to steer the wheel in his relationships via the bit of tension he had with Preacher.

And it's a relief that he made the official partnership offer to Preacher, too. Kudos to Preach for making Jack sweat it out before he answers.

Jack decided that he knew what was best for him and Mel when he chose to break up with her, and he didn't give her any say in the matter.

Doc Pearls of Wisdom - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

And if he didn't get the message drilled into him by everyone else, it was Doc who nailed it home.

Doc isn't the one who gives a lot of relationship advice, but his scene with Jack doing just that was easily one of the best scenes of the hour.

Doc knows that Mel has been through hell and back, but she doesn't take on anything she can't handle. Jack wasn't sparing Mel by denying both of them what they want, their relationship, and trampling all over her agency.

Whether he believes Mel or not, he has to respect her assertions, and he screwed up by not doing that. He messed up by running away from their relationship rather than talking things through and fighting for them.

Jack's All Smiles - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 2

His talk with Doc left him in such a raw and emotional state. Have we ever witnessed Jack this vulnerable with his emotions? Also, damn, the man's hot even when he's crying.

The romance has been sporadic this season, but we got the full-blown romantic lead treatment when Jack waited for Mel at her cabin and begged for her forgiveness.

I still maintain that Jack owing Mel an apology for breaking things off with her and dismissing her feelings on the matter is different than essentially saying he's sorry that he didn't feel the way she did about having a baby.

But my personal sentiments on this aside, a girl loves a great romantic gesture and speech, and Jack always delivers on both.

Making Up and Making Out  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

The man makes you swoon, so damn if they weren't well onto their way of practicing making babies by the end of his pleading, then Mel would've been a stronger woman than I.

It's as if someone told Jack to state vows without officially doing so, and he understood the assignment. How do you say no to a man who promises he won't walk away from you again?

Jack: Look, I underestimated you. The only reason I broke things off was because I was afraid you would get hurt.
Mel: I told you, I don't need protecting.
Jack: I know. I understand that now. I should've had more faith in you, I get that. I just got overwhelmed. I let anxiety get the best of me, and that wasn't my decision to make. I'm sorry. I never should've ended things.
Mel: Jack, what do you want from me?
Jack: I want you back.
Mel: Jack, no. You broke things off for a reason, the twins, the custody battle.
Jack: Forget all of that. I realize I acted out of fear, that's not who I am.
Mel: Jack, things are only going to get harder. You know? How are you going to react then?
Jack: I truly believe that anything worth having is worth fighting for. That's who I am, and you, Mel Monroe are the love of my life.
Mel: Jack...
Jack: I know you love me too. And I swear I will spend the rest of my life fighting to make you happy.
Mel: Jack, you walked away from me.
Jack: Mel, please. I am begging you. I screwed up, I know, but I am begging you. Please, give me another chance? If you do, I promise, I'm never going to walk away from you again. I promise you.

It seemed losing Mel brought Jack's mojo back, and Jack recaptured some of that fighting, optimistic, against all odds spirit that he apparently possessed in the Marines.

He'll fight like hell for them and their relationship, no matter what stands in their way. But they were understandably playing tongue-hockey before they could revisit what this means for the baby situation or whether or not Mel plans on using or used those embryos.

Walking Horses -tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

But in true Virgin River fashion, the high of Jack and Mel's reunion was followed by a devastating low.

Jack, Mel, and their relationship are unquestionable at the heart of this series and the season. But Lilly brought so much soul to the season, and we'll feel her loss for some time.

Lilly and Tara's storyline has been one of the strongest arcs. They brought a different tone of the season, and the series was all the better for it.

The season belongs to Lynda Boyd, who got to dig deeper into this character with whom we were familiar but still hadn't known well, and she added so many layers to Lilly.

Lilly is Touched  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Lilly won our hearts completely, only to break it entirely when she passed away in her sleep. Even though you knew it was coming, and her death happened in the most predictable way possible, it didn't lose the devastating effect.

Lilly had such a beautiful final day. Her time spent with Tara was precious, and I'm grateful the series introduced us to this character. Boyd and Stacey Farber had great chemistry, and every second they were onscreen together, you felt their characters' journey to the bones.

Lilly: I never wanted you to give up your life for me, and I still don't.
Tara: I could've done more.
Lilly: Listen, I'm so grateful you're going to adopt Chloe.
Tara: Well that's without a question, she's my sister.
Lilly: True, but you're taking on a huge responsibility that's not of your own making. So I hope when I'm no longer here.
Tara: Mom, don't like that, please.
Lilly: Let me finish. When I'm gone, I don't want you to think that you have to stay in Virgin River because you feel obligated to raise Chloe here. I want you to go wherever makes you happy.

Tara lamenting the time she spent away from home was such a natural reaction an adult child would have in a time like this. And Lilly did everything in her power to instill as many pearls of wisdom, encouragement, and love into her moments with Tara.

In her absence, she still wanted Tara to flourish and thrive, even if means leaving Virgin River and the family farm behind.

Tara and Lilly - tall - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 2

It turns out Tara will be taking care of Chloe despite her health issues. For Tara, it was a no-brainer. But fortunately, she will have a support system surrounding her.

I'm so happy the Sewing Circle threw their rules out of the window, and all of them showed up at Lilly's house for one last session. They had no way of knowing it would be the last time they spent with their dear friend, but it couldn't have worked out better for them.

When I'm gone, no matter where they're living, I need each of you to watch over and Tara for me because she's not going to want to ask for help. And Chloe, would you please tell her our stories and remind her over and over again how much her mother loved her? Please. Oh, I just love all of you so much. Thank you for being my friends.


As Lilly's day progressed, and she was so happy, fulfilled, surrounded by love, and seemed in high spirits, it was evident that she was having that surge before she passed away.

Lilly's moments with the circle were equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. The crew talking about how they had the hots for Lilly's late husband was amusing, but Lilly's tearful request that they look after her children for her, followed by that group hug, was enough to have you reaching for boxes of Kleenex.

Sewing Circle Hug  - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

Even Doc got to spend some time with her before she passed away. I'm grateful he accepted their invitation for dinner. Otherwise, Tara would've been all alone when she found her mother, and that poor, sweet girl didn't deserve that.

But then, neither does Hope. The worse part about this Hope situation is no one did anything wrong here. Lilly deserved the chance to tell Hope the news herself how she deemed fit.

It wasn't Doc or anyone else's right to disclose the information even though everyone else knew by then.

But it won't stop Hope from feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed when she returns home to find her best friend is dead, and everyone knew about Lilly's cancer except for her.

Hope Calls Back - Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8

She missed out on so many things, time spent with Lilly, and the opportunity to say goodbye. Ugh, there are no words to describe that level of pain and heartache.

We knew Lilly's death was coming, yet I still was not prepared for how devastating it was.

Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics. Where do you stand on Mel and Jack's breakup and makeup? How devastating was Lilly's death? Are you suspicious of Mike? Hit the comments.

Life and Death Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Virgin River Season 3 Episode 8 Quotes

Joey: You know, you don't need Jack to have a baby.
Mel: I'm just too exhausted to start over with someone else. I just wanna be with Jack.
Joey: I don't mean that. I mean you and Mark, you had two embryos, right?
Mel: Yeah.
Joey: Then use them.

Jack, relationships are built on emotions, if you go through life closed off then you're not really living at all. If you need an example look at dad.