"A man can only take so much before he breaks," and with that line, Doc essentially set up what feels like a theme of the season.
And while Jack's state was concerning throughout Virgin River Season 3 Episode 2, it's a quote that also seemed to apply to Doc himself and Lilly, too.
Pardon the pun, but Virgin River Season 3 so far is a heck of a slow burn as we wait for all the hell that we know is going to break loose.
It was a quieter hour that felt like an installment that served as a bridge between one big event and the potential for others. It had a great deal of filler and a gatekeep quality, so it's understandable if one feels antsy with anticipation, waiting for the moment when the season fully takes off.
Jack's cabin burning to a crisp is heartbreaking, and only weeks after getting shot in his own bar. Doc and Mel have reason to be concerned about Jack's mental state and how triggering all of these stressful events are on him.
Surprisingly, the fire investigators determined that it wasn't foul play, and it was faulty wiring that caused the fire. It almost seems too good to be true, and Mel noting that positive spin on it has to suggest that something else will come up down the line, yes?
It still seems as though it's either a direct connection to his shooting and possibly Calvin gunning for Jack or a result of something Jack may have done without realizing it as he continues to recover from the shooting and whatever psychological trauma that it triggered in him.
Whatever the case may be, Jack is hanging on by a thread, and it's only a matter of time before he starts to unravel. He may be well on his way as it is.
It's not a surprise that someone who spent the better part of two seasons chasing after Mel would become the flaky one that could impact their relationship's progress.
Bert: How's he holding up?
Doc: Honestly, I don't know. A man can only take so much before he breaks.
But Jack is a man who likes some control over how things play out. And while it's probably likely that he envisioned a time when he and Mel would move in together, living in domestic bliss, circumstances forcing that exact thing upon him in this manner wasn't exactly on his 2021 Bingo card.
For as much as he gets on Mel's case about letting others help and support her, he can't manage to do the same. It was a point that Mel astutely pointed out as she embodied the perfect, worried girlfriend.
Jack would rather keep pushing everything down and pretending as though he's fine, and there's only so much one person can repress before it spills out in all sorts of unfun ways.
To Jack's point, though, in his mind, it took so long for he and Mel to get to this beautiful place where they can bask in the love they have for one other unfettered that he's not ready for that bubble of happiness to burst under the pressure and reality of spending too much time together.
Sleeping over at each others' house and spending time with one another every day is different than living together. And Jack is a man with his fair share of demons, among other things. I'm not sure he's ready for Mel to see every side of him 24/7.
Although he won't come out and say it, the idea of that probably terrifies him. After all, what happens if he overstays his welcome, or Mel is exposed to parts of him that she doesn't like?
What if he scares her off, or the baggage he tries desperately to keep at bay overwhelms her and affects the newness and purity of their relationship?
It's no question as to whether or not Mel is the best thing Jack has in his life right now, nor what he'd do to protect that.
He doesn't want anything to affect what they have now, even if it's him, and you could sense most of his reservations were about dispelling the magic that they have going and this fear that Mel may pity him or something.
Nevertheless, he had to sense how hurtful it was to her that he was adamant about not staying with her. For Mel, she loves him, and she jumped at the chance to extend the same compassion, love, and support to him that he so generously doles out to her regularly.
You can imagine that in the interest of balance and her own desire not to feel like a burden, she seized this opportunity to show how much she loves him too, and he rejected it in his way.
It's also the issue with so much piling up on Jack and these unresolved scars he has from Iraq, and any chance Mel had to give him a safe haven was something she'd offer without question.
I can't lose her. She is everything to me.Doc
So far, they got past the living situation with some ease, but with every little thing that pops up between them, it feels like there is the potential for these problems to come crashing down on them.
Jack is pretending to be okay, but it's as clear as day that he isn't, and at every turn, you see a new stressor for him.
Jack could've returned to his apartment above the bar, but his sister was residing there during her visit, and now, she's extending her stay. Evidently, Brie has some demons of her own.
And Mike is sticking around town as well. If Jack does hit his breaking point, he'll have a hell of an audience for it.
Mike's reasoning for staying has to go beyond his enjoyment of Virgin River and close contact with one of his buddies. He seemed cagey about his answer.
Oddly, Jack didn't seem the most thrilled at the prospect of his buddy staying, but perhaps it was another case of too much on his mind.
Because, as if he didn't have enough on his plate, Charmaine swooped into the bar, and she pulled a Charmaine.
It was pleasing to hear her acknowledge some of her offputting behavior and entitlement. Jack didn't invite the conversation, but when she delved into their past and apologized, it was satisfying to those of us who honestly can't stand the woman.
She recognized that Jack was always clear about his relationship stance, and she was the one who pushed and waited for something he said he couldn't give her.
And you could hear the sincerity in her voice when she expressed herself. But then it suddenly hit that the only reason she had this epiphany at all was because of how she fell in love with Todd.
On the one hand, it's good that Charmaine is happy. A happy Charmaine means she isn't making others miserable with her bitterness, at least not to the full extent of a hurt Charmaine.
But the way she abruptly fell in love with this man we barely know is odd, and now he's become her entire life. Because of Todd, Charmaine insinuated that she understood how Jack fell hard for Mel.
Right off the bat, she's doing this compare and contrast thing with the two relationships, and while it's believable that she does love Todd this much, there's always this sense that she's rubbing things in Jack's face or attempting to elicit a reaction out of him.
It was still strange that she didn't express sympathy for Jack losing a house he got because of their twins until after she suggested that Todd plans to take care of her and the twins in the big house they have together.
She probably doesn't intend it to sound the way that it does, but by suggesting that it's no big deal or no rush on Jack rebuilding his home because she and the twins have somewhere better to stay anyway, it implies that she was using Jack until she got a better offer.
Regardless of the state of Charmaine's relationship with Jack, their twins are THEIRS, and they have to co-parent together. It's not some all-or-nothing deal where Jack is "off the hook" the second she finds a new man.
Charmaine: Listen, I came here to apologize.
Jack: For what?
Charmaine: I was really hard on you throughout our breakup, and I shouldn't have pushed you the way that I did.
Jack: It's okay.
Charmaine: No, it's not. I get it now. The minute I met Todd it was just like, "wow," you know? And you and I were never like that.
Jack: I was never looking for anything permanent.
Charmaine: I know, and I was, and I should've listened to you.
And it's absolutely absurd that she's having these discussions about their twins, custody, and other things with Todd before so much as having a conversation with Jack.
Charmaine's idea of talking to Jack about the twins is mentioning her intentions and plans after the fact, informing him of her decisions without his input, and there's nothing remotely acceptable about that.
She alone, nor she and Todd get to decide whether or not a custody agreement is worth it, and this notion that he can drop by and see the twins whenever he wants as if they're not his children is ridiculous.
Right off the bat, she's implying that they won't have a joint-custody situation, and she gets to hide behind Todd, the lawyer, to ensure that.
But since the moment she announced her pregnancy, she's behaved as if the babies are hers alone and not his, and she's tried to dictate how involved he should be in their lives or how he should react to them based on their relationship.
For some reason, Jack never directly confronts her about any of these things. Instead, he lets it fester until it gets to a boiling point, putting it on the back burner for other things.
Jack needs to be more assertive with Charmaine. It's not about them anymore.
Understandably, this, on top of everything else, is something that could set him off down the road as he continues to bury all of his feelings. But the worst part about this particular situation is that you can't put it past Charmaine to insinuate he isn't stable enough for joint custody in the first place.
Lilly: I don't know who else to tell?
Mel: What is it?
Lilly: I have cancer.
Never mind the fact that Jack has no idea what's going on with Brie. And it's doubtful he'll be okay with her getting down and dirty with Brady. But then, who didn't see that fling coming a mile away?
Brie is running from something. Between the vague tidbits that she shared with Brady at the restaurant and the physical reaction she had to a guy bumping into her at the store when she was with Mel, it's likely she's trying to escape a toxic and abusive relationship.
Jack knows something is up, but he doesn't push enough, and Brie is good at deflecting.
If anyone will get the story out of Brie, it's Mel. The two get along well together, and it was nice to see them bonding with each other and spending the day together in Clear Water.
Aside from Hope, it's Jack and Doc who seem to consume most of Mel's life in Virgin River these days, so her getting to bond a bit with a woman around her age was refreshing.
And the two seem to have things in common, including their alma mater. Mel is an observant one, and while she didn't push too much when she noticed Brie's behavior, she probably filed it away for later.
If Brie has relationship woes, then Brady is an enticing distraction. But damn, how much lower is Brady willing to sink when it comes to screwing up his friendship with Jack?
He has to know that nothing good can come from messing around with Jack's sister, and yet he was all-in on that stress-relieving, steamy make-out session.
Brady has a lot going on, too, trying to keep the construction project afloat, but that'll be the least of his worries when Jack finds out.
Elsewhere, Doc is still keeping his condition and plans to bring in someone to take over the practice secret from everyone. But Muriel is piecing things together. The question is if she'll talk to him directly about it or start gossiping.
She's always hanging around with Hope away, but at least it doesn't seem as though Doc will cheat on Hope. Although, it doesn't bode well that a natural disaster has kept Doc and Hope from communicating.
What gives here? Is there another reason beyond story-building that Annette O'Toole is M.I.A? Was it a COVID restriction thing?
Admittedly, the town and series are missing something without Hope's particular brand of extra. So far, most of Doc's storyline is him sitting around being sad and secretive.
It's more compelling than the teenage love affair between darling Ricky and Lizzie, though.
Ricky is such a sweet boy, and you feel for him as this young and in love teen. But no matter what he does, Lizzie operates at a different speed, and it's not in him to keep up with her.
He loves Virgin River and his grandmother. What Lizzie considers obstacles or nuisances aren't for Ricky. And it takes a lot for him to appease her.
The two of them running off to some cabin lodge a town over to have sex and privacy was one of those storylines that felt like filler. Until we get an unplanned pregnancy or Lizzie talks Ricky into moving in with her or something, there's not much interest here.
And Preach's situation with Christopher also feels like we're slowly biding time until the big stuff happens. He and Connie are doing a great job raising him in Paige's absence, but there's always a sense of danger looming over them with this whole situation.
Also, what were we to make of the letter Paige sent him and other things he had in his closet?
I can't wait until Paige returns; it's happening soon, yes?
On another heartbreaking note, Lilly has cancer, and I cannot even fathom what this will mean for her and the baby. She's had such a rough road, and life keeps handing her blow after blow.
How does she overcome this one?!
Over to you, Virgin River Fanatics.
Do you believe the fire was an accident? Was this a bit of a slow hour for you?
Do you have any interest in the Ricky and Lizzie storyline? Are you worried about Hope and Lilly?
Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.