The town of Virgin River came together to say goodbye to one of their own, and it was tragically beautiful.
While there were a couple of developments on Virgin River Season 3 Episode 9, memorializing Lilly was the primary focus of the hour. In that mourning and honoring her memory, it paved the way for some deep discussions and exploration for other characters.
But the hour started with an additional tragedy and ended with the possibility of another.
Lilly's impact on other characters predates the series, and through eulogies, speeches, and reflective conversations among characters, we learned how beloved and pivotal to the town she was.
It made her funeral and the reception after meaningful, and it was an effective way of adding some background to Lilly and many of the other characters who loved her.
Lilly's death is tragic beyond words, but one of the reasons her death was an effective one is that she was a familiar background character for the entire series.
We knew her, but we didn't know every single thing about her, and this season, they were able to build on that; by the time she passed away, it was a devastating blow.
Tara's implementation into the series is similar. After a season of watching her assist her mother and look after Chloe, it feels as if we've known her the entire time. She, along with Brie, is one of the new additions who fits seamlessly within the series this season.
She's one of the first people you thought about when it was time for the funeral procession. How was this young lady going to cope during the day, saying goodbye to her mother like this?
Doc: Your friends and your family, they want to be there for you. Let them.
Tara: I'll try.
Doc: Just remember your mother loved you with all of her heart. She would not want you to suffer.
My heart ached for Tara. And Lilly and her family provided many parallels to other characters, which the hour touched upon often.
For example, Mel could relate to Tara's plight as a daughter who lost her mother way too soon. It's a pain like no other that only those who've experienced it could understand.
It was a beautiful scene when Mel admitted to Tara that she thought the younger woman was brave for her ability to even attempt to do something that Mel couldn't bring herself to do at Mark's funeral and regretted.
Doc and Mel were such consummate supports to Tara for this entire journey. Tara's trepidation about speaking at her mother's funeral was sad, and yet you could sympathize with her initial decision.
It was too hard for her, and she didn't think she could handle it. But Doc didn't want her to have any regrets, and while he wasn't pushy about it, he did urge her to go for it.
I'm happy she took his advice. But I also appreciate that even when she tried to string her words together, she couldn't make it through her speech. It was more realistic that way.
And Mel went from barely being able to walk inside of and sit through the funeral, reminded of losing Mark and probably also her mother, to finding the strength to rush to Tara's side and finish the speech on her behalf.
And the entire town was all the better for hearing it. Tara's beautiful words about Lilly and sunsets were inspiring and enough to initiate the waterworks.
But Doc's words about Lilly were beautiful, too, and it was more painful than ever knowing that he had to speak on behalf of himself and Hope, who couldn't make it to her best friend's funeral.
Connie's words about how sweet Lilly was -- it hit the mark coming from the self-professed cranky pants, and the reflection on Lilly and her late husband Buck's love story was enough to inspire every couple on the series, including Jack.
Hell, even Jack's speech was enough to bring the tears. Sometimes it's easy to forget that Jack isn't a Virgin River native. He's a transplant, too, and you could envision this closed-off, stubborn man, fresh out of Iraq, trying to build a bar all by himself and not seek help or support.
And Lilly wouldn't let him, welcoming him into the community before anyone else did, giving him that first piece of home, that extension of this family that has formed in this small town.
We didn't have to see it to feel the importance of that and how deeply Lilly impacted Jack.
The gathering sparked some great moments and scenes between all types of characters.
The maturity Christopher displayed at the funeral, trying to be like Preacher, was enough to make you smile.
And Preacher, who does seem to have a natural gift for bonding with others, also had an unexpected but delightful moment with Ricky. It's no secret that Ricky has looked to Jack as his mentor and a fraternal figure, so it was a refreshing change of pace for Preacher to instill some advice.
Preacher: Listen, it doesn't matter what other people think. You know I'd say you're the one with doubts.
Ricky: No, I'm not as confident as you are.
Preacher: Believe me, I wasn't as confident at your age. That's a part of growing up, figuring out who you are and how you want to live your life.
Ricky is an adult, and he's allowed to make choices of his own. However, he knows it wasn't right that he lied to Lizzie so much about the Marines thing and omitted his plans from his grandmother, Jack, and others.
Jack and Preacher are honorable Marines who served their country proudly, but there's also a sense of concern when it comes to how they feel about Ricky enlisting.
Jack is the most vocal about this, and you could sense that he feels Ricky is a good boy, and he doesn't want to see him experience all the darkness that he and others have.
He knows what it's like to enlist right out of high school, and he doesn't want that for Ricky, but it's also Ricky's choice to make. He's made it clear that he wanted to join the Marines since he was a child.
But part of making big boy decisions is standing in them, and Preach was right to point out that Ricky is the one who comes across as if he has doubts since his actions were shrouded in secrecy.
Not only did Ricky score in the top-tier on his exam, but he's supposed to consider base camp in South Carolina. He has many things to think about, and it's going to be hard on his loved ones when all of this comes out.
The funeral also brought Charmaine and Jack together, and without Todd around, they had a civil, hell, a pleasant conversation.
It's confounding that Jack doesn't lay into Charmaine more or even tell her about half of the things that Todd has done, but I suppose he's a better person than I.
It was good of him to sit with Charmaine, listen to her grapple with how she feels about Todd and their relationship, and not be brutally honest with her.
Charmaine is still reeling from Todd's decision to move to Eureka without consulting her. And upon reflection, she has recognized that this is a pattern in their relationship that she doesn't like.
She kept saying she was confused and didn't know what to do, but the answer is clear as damn day. Charmaine, honey, leave him!
Jack is so damn diplomatic. He gave Charmaine advice without an "I told you so." Despite his stakes in all of this, he wanted her to do what was best for her.
Charmaine: Todd decided that we're moving to Eureka without consulting me.
Charmaine: I don't know what to do I- I love him but everything always needs to be his way.
Jack: todd's got a strong personality.
Charmaine: I know you don't like him.
Jack: Well it's not about me.
Charmaine: But you're thinking I told you so.
Jack: No, I'm not. I'm not at all. Relationships are tough. I always said I want you to be happy.
Charmaine; I thought I was and now I don't know. I don't know what to do.
Jack: Why don't you try talking to Todd, explain exactly how you feel and if he's not willing to meet you halfway then you find someone who will. You deserve that.
Jack recognizes that relationships are hard because of what's going on with him and Mel. Despite what appeared to be a reunion, Mel woke up the next morning feeling as if Jack was telling her what she wanted to hear.
I love Mel, I do, but I don't understand her, especially this season. Sometimes, it feels like she lives for the complications and angst, and she can't fully allow herself to be happy.
Basically, Mel got upset with Jack, but she ended up saying and doing the same thing as him.
Mel said she was worried about Jack if he had to support two families and got overwhelmed. Isn't that all Jack was telling her in the first place when he wanted to think about it and chose to step aside?
Mel: Look, I've been thinking about everything you said.
Mel: And breaking up was definitely the safe thing to do.
Jack: Mel, I love you...
Mel: I know. I love you too. That's why my heart is telling me to stay with you.
Mel wanted to withhold getting back together because she didn't want Jack to eventually resent her, despite Jack telling her he was all-in. Is that not what Jack was doing when he broke up with her in the first place?
He didn't want to hold Mel back or for her to resent him.
Mel, who got mad at Jack for making a decision about their relationship without her and not listening to her or trusting her judgment and words -- you guessed it, wanted to stay broken up with Jack and wasn't listening to his words.
Bless their hearts; they deserve each other. All of this whiplash and angst, and for what? You're soulmates, dammit!
Jack: There's something that I need to get off my chest.
Mel: Look, Jack, if it's about us.
Jack: It's always about us. At least it is for me. You know from the first day I met you every decision I made was for you. I'm serious. Like, even breaking up with you was about me not wanting to stand in the way of your dreams.
Mel: Yeah, and I'm accepting of our breakup because I don't want you to be unhappy.
Jack: Right. We both want the other to be happy, that's love.
Mel: Jack, I don't want to get into this here.
Jack: Mel you gotta hear me. Today at the funeral hearing about everything that Lilly and Buck went through and how their love prevailed, that's what makes life beautiful and that's what I want with you, so I just need you to know that I'm not going to give up on us ever, and I know in my heart that you did not end up in this random town by accident.
All of the hemming and hawing for them to inevitably agree to stay together seemed unnecessary. But, hey, we got two swoon-worthy romantic leading man speeches from Jack, so that's always a plus.
He saw parallels in him and Mel and Lilly and Buck and figured that if they could have an enduring love, then so can he and Mel.
And Mel's epiphany came from telling Tara that she does believe love heals wounds. Jack's love has healed her and made things better. Why should she give that up and not fight for it?
Jack wasn't the only one who got a romantic leading man speech in, though. Surprisingly, Brady got in on the action, too.
Brie is such a beautiful, troubled woman, and you just want to shield her sometimes. When she called Jack, curled in on herself with her hand covered in blood, it was apparent what was happening.
Can we protect the Sheridan siblings at all costs? I could watch an entire hour devoted to these two. Brie barely had to say anything, and Jack was right there and ready to take her to the clinic.
Based on Brie's previous actions, it wasn't surprising to learn that Brie had no idea she was pregnant, so the miscarriage caught her off guard. It's such a catastrophic thing to happen to someone, but not knowing about the pregnancy doesn't make it any easier.
Brie carries so much we don't know about from her previous life and what she fled, and this appears to be another chapter of this unknown story.
Brady: I'm sorry. But you're different from any other woman I have ever met. You're smart. You're funny. You stand up for yourself which is sexy as hell. You got this edge to you that's I don't know, it's like a freaking magnet. And I know I have no business asking you this but please give me another chance to show you who I really am?
Brie: why should I?
Brady: Because I've never said this to anyone. I'm in love with you.
Jack not wanting to leave his sister's side was quintessential Jack and touching. Part of me wishes that he had stayed. But Mel was the perfect person to talk through things with Brie, and it's another way that these two women feel interconnected.
The sisterhood between Brie and Mel is such a highlight, and assuming Brie is sticking around, I hope to see more of her relationships developing next season.
But with Jack and Mel away, it left an opening for Brady to come to visit. While she hasn't shared many personal things with Brady, and that hasn't changed with the miscarriage, anyone with eyes can see the man is head over heels for her.
Typically, it's a bit offputting when a male's redemption hinges on his love for a woman, but that's not the exact case here, and this storyline has worked for him.
Brady was on his path toward redemption before Brie. But it's through Brie that we've learned more about Brady, added some layers to a character who at best was annoying, and it's a vehicle for Brady to express himself, explain who he is, and the changes he's made.
He couldn't have done all of that through other characters who already have a certain perception of him.
Brie was a fresh start for Brady. And from the sounds of his troubling times, he needed that.
Brady pled his case, insisted he didn't shoot Jack, and that he does have a dark past but paid for it. Brady shed light on why Calvin's operation appealed to him, but he managed to do so without justifying his behavior.
Brie is a tough cookie to crack, and her experience as an attorney has led to her seeing the worst in people and left her jaded regarding whether or not people are capable of change.
But that's a challenge that will make their romance interesting.
Brady caught her off guard when he said he loved her -- something that Brady has never shared with another woman before -- so you know he's serious.
And damn if I don't want her to give him another chance! It didn't seem possible, but Brady's redemption is one of those things that sneaked up on a person.
Who would've imagined rooting for him like this? And the worst part about it is knowing that his underdog shtick may continue since he's still considered a suspect in a shooting that he didn't commit.
Brady doesn't deserve to be a scapegoat.
Does Doc deserve Hope's ire? If you set emotions aside, the answer is a resounding no, but I can't imagine how I would feel if everyone knew about my best friend's illness, didn't tell me, and then she died.
It sucks that we didn't get to witness that conversation or Hope's reaction to the tragic news.
Jack, please come, I need you.Brie
But goodness, Hope has to be in so much pain right now. She didn't know like everyone else. She didn't get to say goodbye like the others.
And because of a series of unfortunate events, she couldn't make it to the funeral in time. Then, she didn't make it to repast either.
Hope's last message to Doc was an angry and hurt one as it hit her that despite her best efforts, there was no way she'd make it say goodbye to Lilly.
And now Doc will hold onto that. The sheriff sought him out to tell him about an accident. It has to be Hope, right?
Connie: We got a problem.
Preacher: Sorry, what am I looking at?
Connie: Scroll left.
Preacher: Vince. Where did you take these?
Connie: Clear River.
No one can catch a break, including our hearts and feels!
And if that isn't anxiety-inducing enough, Vince is in Clear Water and probably on his way to Virgin River.
Preach said Paige's friend has been trying to reach out to him, which means that Paige cannot. Do you think he caught up to Paige and did something to her?
And if Vince steps foot in Virgin River, will he try to take Christopher? Why is this show so stressful?
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.