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The Most Festive Moments in Virgin River's Holiday Episodes

After four seasons, the citizens of this small fictional town are FINALLY celebrating Christmas.
  • Mark Ghanimé, Teryl Rothery, Trevor Lerner, Ava Anton, Kai Bradbury, and Annette O'Toole in Virgin River (Photos: Netflix)
    Mark Ghanimé, Teryl Rothery, Trevor Lerner, Ava Anton, Kai Bradbury, and Annette O'Toole in Virgin River (Photos: Netflix)

    Christmas has finally arrived in Virgin River. The Netflix romantic drama, based on the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr, has just released the back half of Season 5, which consists of two episodes. The series’s glacial pace means this is our first taste of Virgin River’s holiday traditions, and even though its structure doesn’t really demand holiday specials, the truth is that nothing goes better with a small-town show than the Christmas season.

    The two episodes, which were released today, explore the town's Christmas traditions and how they mix with Mel and Jack’s extended families coming together to celebrate. Add Jack’s newly divorced parents, Lizzie and Denny keeping their baby a secret from her mom, and Mel’s quest to find her biological father, and there’s plenty of drama in Virgin River, even during the happiest time of the year.

    But there’s also plenty of cheer and love, romantic and otherwise. It wouldn’t be Virgin River if it were any other way. From Christmas musicals to tree-lighting competitions, there are plenty of moments in Season 5’s final episodes that will appeal to fans seeking out holiday specials, as well as those looking for more of the show’s signature romance.

    We’ve put together a list of the most festive moments in Season 5, Part 2 — so if you want to avoid spoilers, bookmark this post for later. Otherwise, get ready to enjoy the holidays in Virgin River.

    Mel and Jack Find the Perfect Christmas Tree

    The Christmas specials start with Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack’s (Martin Henderson) quest for the perfect Christmas tree. As they search, they discuss their first Christmas together — a chance for fans to once again marvel at how slow time passes in Virgin River — and the fact that their families are coming together to celebrate the holidays. There’s even some cute banter about if the tree they’re searching for is technically the Monroe-Brenner-Sheridan Family Christmas Tree or the Brenner-Monroe-Clivesdale-Sheridan Family Christmas Tree. Either way, Mel has a point: both sound a little like a law firm. The simpler the better when it comes to Christmas trees. Or law firms, really.

    The discussion then turns to Mel’s quest for her biological father, with Jack pledging that one thing he can promise for Christmas is his full support. It’s a pretty sweet moment, and one the show plays off perfectly, as Mel takes the serious declaration for what it is, then quips: “And maybe some jewelry?” Yes, Jack. No girl wants just support for Christmas. Support is a given. Jewelry is the real present.

    Mel Asks Doc to Walk Her Down to Aisle

    It might not be festive in the traditional Christmas sense of the word, but Mel asking Doc (Tim Matheson) to walk her down the aisle might be the biggest full circle moment in the Virgin River Christmas episodes. And it is festive in the same way Die Hard is a Christmas movie: It happens in the Christmas episodes, ergo — festive!

    Mel spends most of the holiday episodes searching for her biological father, but Doc has been a figure to her since she arrived in Virgin River. At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone else walking her down the aisle to Jack. Even if, by the end of the Christmas episodes, her father does come around and wants a relationship with her. Family is about more than blood. Family is about being there when you need it; Doc has certainly been that for Mel, and vice versa. If Christmas is a time for family, this was the perfect moment to include in the holiday specials.

    Hope and Doc Get Engaged — Again

    What’s more festive than a tree-decorating competition? And what’s more Virgin River than Hope (Annette O’Toole) getting super competitive about it? Doc makes the whole thing perfect by not just making sure they win, but adding a secret element to the tree that ensures they do it in a way that no one is even going to get mad about. And no one can really be upset about getting beat by a newly engaged couple.

    Of course, Hope says yes when Doc asks her to marry him again. How is she going to say no when Doc has lines like: “While I still can, I want to look you in the eyes and marry you all over again, Hope McCrea?” Especially when he’s saying them in front of the entire town, on Christmas Eve, and sealing their win while they’re at it. In that respect, Hope and Doc have always been perfect for each other. Marry someone with your same competitive spirit.

    Jack and Mel Finally Get to Ice Skate

    Things don’t really go Mel’s way in the Christmas specials, and yet somehow, she ends up not just having a really great holiday but discovering a new outlook on life. Sometimes, it’s not about everything being perfect, or even things going according to plan — it’s about spending time with the people you love. The people who’ve chosen you.

    When all is said is done, Mel gets to step onto the rink with the love of her life and finally ice skate, like she used to with her mom. That tradition is alive and well, and she has a lot of fun doing it. “I finally found something that Jack Sheridan isn’t good at,” she says with some amount of glee, just before the snow begins to fall. She’s now focused on the little things, and the promise of what is to come for her and Jack.

    Jack and Mel Organize a Joint Family Dinner — Plus, There's a Dog!

    The Virgin River Christmas specials come to an end with the joint family dinner featuring as much of Jack’s and Mel’s families as the two of them could possibly get together. Mike (Marco Grazzini) is back, Jack and Brie’s (Zibby Allen) parents are getting along, Joey (Jenny Cooper) and her family are there, and Mel looks at peace. Later, she and Jack return to the cabin and we learn that she did get the jewelry. Smart man, but that’s not all — there’s another present waiting for her.

    A puppy! The show might not have given us a baby in Season 5, but it has at least put Mel and Jack in the right headspace to start the family they both really want. Hopefully, that means that when Virgin River returns for Season 6, it will finally be ready to put an end to our — and Mel and Jack’s — suffering and deliver on the baby storyline fans have been patiently waiting for. For now, there’s a puppy. That’s one way to start a family. A trial run, if you will.

    Virgin River Season 5, Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Lissete E. Lanuza Sáenz is a lawyer, critic, and editor. She also hosts the I’m Not Yelling, I’m Latina podcast.

    TOPICS: Virgin River, Netflix, Alexandra Breckenridge, Annette O'Toole, Martin Henderson, Tim Matheson, Christmas, Holiday Programming