Things are never what they seem on the outside looking in.
We see that a few times throughout Virgin River Season 4 Episode 8. But namely, Jack and Mel come to mind when everyone always assumes that they’re this perfect couple when they’ve been going through so many issues.
But everyone assumes that Jack is a perfectly functional guy, but he’s not doing okay at all.
Fortunately, Joey and Mel could resolve their issues, and Joey’s wedding was back on. It’s a relief that while Joey stated that Mel was right to be worried and validated her sister’s feelings, she still stuck by herself and married the man she loved.
It didn’t feel like Mel was in the right on this one, and Joey deserved Mel’s support from the start rather than this hiccup that almost delayed her wedding to the charming Nate.
Mel made up for it by throwing Joey a lovely surprise wedding, and it was such a nice affair for the residents of Virgin River. Did Joey and Nate not have any other family or friends they wanted to consider when it came to their wedding, though?
It’s a nice event for the town, but Charmaine was right to scratch her head over the fact that an LA resident came to Virgin River to elope with a bunch of people she barely knows.
Speaking of Charmaine, she’s always going to be Charmaine, but despite her whole shtick about Mel stealing Jack and all that hoopla, she appears content these days, and she wanted to extend an offer that they could potentially be friends one day.
It sounds like she understands now that Jack wouldn’t have been the best man for her, as he didn’t love her the way he does Mel if he ever loved her.
But she believes that Jack and Mel are this great love, and she assumes Mel was lying and was the one who was really getting married.
Everyone has their relationship on this pedestal, and they have no idea how many issues the two have behind closed doors.
Mel: I don’t think that you’re being honest with yourself.
Mel: You keep telling yourself that if you just work harder, that you can handle everything with Lonergan, and fighting with Charmaine and Todd, and having to make more money for a baby you didn’t expect.
Jack: Well, I can. I mean, I am.
Mel: Yeah, well, by self-medicating.
Jack: No, that’s not what I’m doing, but um, okay. Look, if it bothers you that much, then I’ll stop drinking. Mel: You will?
Jack: Mhmm. Yeah.
Mel: Okay, great. You know, with alcohol abuse, it’s really just a symptom you need to find out where the pain is coming from.
Jack: Okay, but right now, this is what I can do, okay? And if it’s not enough…
Mel: Honey, it’s not about being enough. And I just, I don’t want you to do this for me, I want you to do this for you.
Jack: Everything I do is for us.
For most of the season, they’ve had Cameron on the bench, and the initial implications that he could ever be some sort of threat to Jack and Mel seemed ludicrous and unfounded.
But now that Jack and Mel are hitting the biggest rough patches this season, they’re back to centering Cameron and have others noting how attracted he is to her.
I wish they would have built this up a bit better throughout the first half of the season. Now, they’re trying to tell us how Cameron feels via other characters and their observations rather than invest any time showing us.
Now, we know how much he craves love and a chance at settling down with someone. Besides that, he’s also been a bit of a mystery, not a fully-formed, developed character.
Doc: There are a million reasons to love Virgin River and for your sake, I hope Mel is not one of them. Cameron: Mel and I are just colleagues.
Jack not showing up at the wedding is disappointing, but frankly, so was Mel initiating such a heavy discussion early in the day when Jack wasn’t ready for it.
It becomes a routine pattern where Mel decides what she wants to discuss, and she expects it to happen on her terms, and Jack typically relents because he sees it as a way of showing how much he loves her. But it often goes against his own desires.
They must learn to compromise better, so it doesn’t feel so one-sided.
Also, Mel never knows when to quit, bypassing genuine concern and heading into straight-up nagging. No one denies that Jack has issues and Mel’s concerns are valid, but her approach is not the greatest, and it would cause most people, especially someone like Jack, to shut down.
At the beginning of the day, when Jack was prepared to get his morning started and accomplish a few things and was on his way out the door wasn’t the ideal time to pick up their previous disagreement where she could browbeat him about how unwell he is.
It’s a discussion that takes more time and a nice sit-down where they can air things out as they see fit and maybe even sleep on it afterward.
That discussion was prime for ruining a person’s day. And no amount of ending things with “I love you” changes all the other emotions stirred up when these conversations happen.
Mel went on and on Jack about drinking again. Fine. She expressed that she wanted him to stop drinking. He agrees to that. It should have been the end of the conversation for the moment.
But then she went on and on about alcohol abuse and how Jack is self-medicating and needs to address the problem at its origins.
While she’s happy he agreed to stop drinking, she also needs him to do it for HIM and not her, and even the most logical of people would’ve gotten defensive or wanted out of that conversation as quickly as possible.
She psychoanalyzes the heck out of him and doesn’t give him room to process any of what she says before she’s onto something else, and it’s too much.
Mel is right, but she still came across as such a nag. And that’s how they had to end things for the day as Jack went off to search through his storage unit with things like that on his mind.
He likely went to the storage unit with a dampened spirit as Mel implied that his airstream idea was one of many ways he throws himself into work to deal with things and prove himself. And then he inevitably got triggered by some family photos.
Was that Jack’s brother? Finding that photo set off a series of events that has us wondering where Jack is right now.
Jack’s conversation with Nate didn’t help matters either. It sounds like Nate endured some grief of his own, which knocked him off his feet and changed the course of his life, too.
He didn’t end up where he intended because of it, but he’s since found this happiness with Joey, and it seems like he’s working through his stuff.
It resonated with Jack, but it also must’ve made him feel like he has a lot of things he hasn’t dealt with or sorted out either. And then Jack was presented with a shot of whiskey. He likely was putting it all together.
I thought at this stage of my life, I’d at least have a plus one. I know it makes me sound like a sap, but I want what they have. the chance to build a life with someone.
We saw him take off when he should’ve been getting ready for the wedding. Do you think he will talk to Chris’ brother, Tim? One can only hope that he’s gone off to face some of his demons productively and not in a scary way.
But he has Mel genuinely concerned, and Preach too.
And all of this happened, and he still doesn’t know about the bloody knife at the bar. It wasn’t a good idea to keep that from Jack. He was the one who got attacked, and it’s his bar. It’s one of many ways where Mike always comes off.
It’s a development that could blow things open with the Brady, Vince, and so forth fiasco.
Trust is hard to build, easy to break.
Brady took a backseat for most of the hour, but he and Brie showed that they communicate well and can work through things.
It’s unfair that Brady allows his issues with Jack to interfere with doing things with Brie. And it also sucks that he’s gotten so accustomed to alienating himself from the rest of town that he turns his nose up at gatherings.
He recognized how messed up it was, though, and he showed up at the wedding for Brie, and they’re honestly one of the sweetest couples right now.
And Hope and Doc are precious, too. Hope still needs to tell Doc about the fender bender, but overall, they’ve vastly improved their dynamic, and it’s endearing to see it.
The primary issue these days is Denny, who took another turn for the worse.
Doc noticed the financial paperwork lying out on the bed, but he probably hasn’t put anything together yet. But now that Lizzie has told him about the Klonopin that Denny had under a different name, there’s reason to believe he has a drug problem.
The most shocking moment was when we saw Denny transferring all the money out of Doc’s account or perhaps the clinic. Holy crap!
They upped the ante with the drama with this installment, didn’t they?
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Where do you think Jack went? What will come from the bloody knife? Are you shocked by the Denny thing? Sound off below.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.