The Original Virgin River Plan Kept Mel Pregnant... But The Baby Wasn't Jack's
The new showrunner has taken Virgin River in an entirely different direction.
- Season 5 of Virgin River feels different from its predecessors due to a faster pacing and some additional drama.
- Most of these changes were made by the new showrunner, Patrick Sean Smith.
- Alexandra Breckenridge recently revealed that Mel's miscarriage arc happened with the arrival of Smith.
- Before that, Mel was supposed to keep the pregnancy.
Virgin River Season 5 is coming to a close with two highly-anticipated holiday specials premiering on Netflix tomorrow, November 30. While the specials promise to be lighthearted and magical in the spirit of Christmas, the first part of the season was far from it.
New showrunner Patrick Sean Smith brought some changes in the form of faster pacing and added drama that divided the show's massive fandom. Some loved the new twists and cliffhangers, while others thought they were a bit forced and out of character.
But there was one storyline that broke the hearts of absolutely everyone. That, of course, is Mel's miscarriage arc. After a long struggle to conceive and allowing viewers to enjoy Mel's mother-to-be status a little, the show showed Alexandra Breckenridge's protagonist lose the baby.
The whole storyline was beautifully acted, but felt completely devastating and unexpected. If you were one of those who thought the miscarriage came out of the blue, you were not far off. It turns out that the original plan was to keep Mel pregnant.
New Showrunner, New Storyline
Alexandra Breckenridge sat down with Deadline earlier this week to discuss Season 5 and revealed that the miscarriage scene wasn't originally part of the plan. It came with the new showrunner.
'We changed showrunners, and we have a lot of new writers. I think the original plan with our previous showrunner was to keep the pregnancy,' the Virgin River star said. 'We did consider it, I think we all just felt that it was an important place to take [Mel and Jack].'
But the surprises don't stop there. It turns out that the paternity of the baby was also in question. At some point it was supposed to be the child of Mark, Mel's late husband.
'In Season 4 originally the writers were going to have it be Mark's baby. I was pretty upset about that,' Breckenridge said, adding that she actively resisted such a development. 'I was very vocal about it, I said if it is his, she should probably have a miscarriage.'
Fortunately, the writers listened to the actress and changed the baby's father to Jack, which felt like a nice climactic moment for the lead couple. A few episodes later, however, the miscarriage still happened, and the actress said she was in full agreement with that.
While both Smith and Breckenridge were aware that fans would be devastated by the shocking twist, they felt it was the right direction for the character's arc and more realistic and grounded than having the protagonist have a 'miracle baby'.
Well, that may be the case, but how are we supposed to get over something as traumatic as that? Hopefully the Christmas specials will help.