[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Virgin River Season 5 holiday episodes.]
At first thought, episodes where Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) looks for her biological father, finds Everett only for him to reject her, then has him show up at her door with an ominous cliffhanger might not seem like light ones for the Virgin River character. But they were, especially compared to the first part of Season 5, according to the star.
“We approached it as kind of like a rom-com,” Breckenridge tells TV Insider. “I mean, it’s not really a rom-com, but we definitely knew that going into Christmas was going to be much lighter, much more jovial, and we just wanted to give that to the audience. [It’s] a nice cozy Christmas series that’s easy-watching and fun.”
Everett brings her mother’s letters to her — a way for her to “hear [her] voice one more time” — before saying, “I’ve got something I need to tell you.” We have a theory about that, and as it turns out, Breckenridge’s first thought lines up with it. Below, she discusses the two holiday episodes, teases what she can about Season 6, and shares her thoughts on Mel’s ideal wedding for her and Jack (Martin Henderson).
This has been a tough season for Mel — the miscarriage, then everything with her biological father. Talk about Mel and Jack’s journey to parenthood. What stands out about it to you, what does it mean for their relationship, and what is the show exploring as a result?
Alexandra Breckenridge: I think that their relationship has moved quite quickly through the seasons. Mel’s big arc throughout the show is really wanting to have a family, and I think she misses the family that she lost between her mother, her father, her previous husband, and the baby, and then multiple miscarriages. So within that world, her having a family with Jack, somebody that she has found to be her best friend, feels like home for her, and it’s such an impactful relationship. He’s helped her move on from all of those losses, and they’ve bonded in such a tremendous way, even through their traumas. And so when they lose their baby, it is absolutely devastating and traumatic, and she has a very hard time coming with that at first.
You were so good in those episodes — the not telling him, then when they actually do get a chance to talk, it was so heartbreaking.
It was hard to play. But as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve, I don’t know, matured as an actress, I guess, it’s become, I think, easier for me to dive into where my character is emotionally than in the past. And especially working with somebody like Martin Henderson, who’s extremely present and available, and we’ve been working together for so many years now, it all felt like the natural progression for their storyline and their relationship. And it was sad. It was so sad. It was heartbreaking to watch as well, but I think it was an important story for us to tell.
Everything with Mel’s biological father was a rollercoaster journey because the scavenger hunt was almost fun at times; then, he turned her away and showed up at her home at the end. How does Mel feel about letting him into her life now? Because he explains the lie, sort of though he doesn’t see it as one.
Right. When she goes into finding out that she has another father, that all seems to happen quite quickly. But I think for Mel, the idea that she could possibly have a parent that’s alive is — I don’t want to say exciting, because that’s not the right term — intriguing and hopeful for her that she might have another father figure in her life. But when she goes to his house, she does anticipate that he may turn her away. He’s never looked for her. She didn’t know he existed. Obviously, her mother made it very clear that she wanted to have her family and keep her family, and he respected that. So, there is some trepidation going in, but I don’t think that she anticipated the reaction that he gave her. And so that was really sad. I felt so bad for her when we were playing that scene out with him at the doorway, and he said, “I’m not the man you’re looking for.” I just thought, “Oh, this poor woman.” And I’m curious to see where this leads them in terms of Everett saying to Mel, “There’s something I have to tell you.” I don’t know where that’s going yet.
Did anything jump to mind when you first read that in the script? It seems ominous, and of course, my first thought is there’s something going on with his health.
To be honest, that’s what I thought as well. I was like, oh, no. But I think hopefully we’ve seen enough of that for her; to have another parent just die again would be — well, we’ll see. I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that yet, so I can’t speak to it, but it should be a very interesting journey for her and Jack in Season 6, for sure.
Speaking of, Mel and Jack are solid right now — they even made it through the holidays with their families together — and it seemed like they got to relax in terms of their relationship in these two episodes because of everything else going on. Do you think they’re the most ready to get married that they have been?
Oh, yeah. I think Jack and Mel are ready to get married. They’ve definitely gone through many rollercoasters together — emotional rollercoasters, family rollercoasters, his family, her family, the loss of their daughter, their unborn daughter. It’s a lot. And I think what is beautiful about it is that you find these two people that have really found a home in each other and a best friend in each other, more so than just being in love or attracted to someone. Their intimacy is their connection through all of this.
I have to say, the scene of Mel telling Doc she wants him to walk her down the aisle was so sweet. Talk about filming that with Tim Matheson.
We knew that that was coming, and we felt that that was very obvious for her. If she didn’t ask him, it would’ve been weird. But Tim is always such a pleasure to work with, and I felt that it was endearing and it was nice to have that moment for Mel and Doc because they have a father-daughter dynamic, and I can’t wait to see the wedding episode — but where’s Everett fit into all of this is the question.
Both of them can always walk her down the aisle if that’s where her relationship with Everett is at that point.
Right. Yeah. We’ll have to see. I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me to tell you, but…
What does the ideal wedding look like for Mel at this point in her life with where she is at the end of Season 5?
I think that Mel wants to have a really beautiful but simple wedding, really just close friends and family. However, I have a feeling that the entire town is going to show up.
There’s no way that the entire town won’t show up. They will force themselves upon them.
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’ll be super… super. No, I think that when we get there — I’m hoping that we see Mel and Jack get married in Season 6, and I know that they’re planning to build a house, and I’m excited to see what kind of house they build and what kind of animals they have. She said she wanted to have a farm, so I’m curious to see where they land with that and where she lands with that in terms of being from the city; I don’t think she knows how to have animals, so we’ll have to see.
Do you think they’ll write their own vows?
Yes, for sure.
Mel and Charmaine’s (Lauren Hammersley) dynamic was great, and it feels kind of realistic because they’re not forgetting about the past. But Mel is the best at what she does and the person you’d want if you were in labor. So, how does Mel feel about Charmaine right now?
Mel and Charmaine’s dynamic is so very layered. They really butted heads, obviously, and they have both forgiven each other for a lot of things and what they’re capable of forgiving, and they’ve found a way to understand each other in a way that, I think, a lot of times, it’s hard for us as being people to be able to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes, but that’s led them to — I mean, how else would Mel have said, “Yes, I’ll still deliver the babies that you lied to my fiancé about?” I don’t know another person that would do that. That’s a side of Mel that I don’t really relate to because I think if someone had done that to me, I probably would have a hard time saying, “Oh, I get it. Okay.”
And how does Mel feel about Calvin (David Cubitt) being the twins’ father and keeping that from Jack?
I’m sure she feels that it’s dangerous. It’s very dangerous. He’s a dangerous person, obviously. She’s had firsthand experience with him at the pot camp, so she knows what kind of man he is and the position that that’s putting them in. I don’t think that Mel likes to keep secrets from Jack. I’m waiting for her to tell him. I’m sure she’ll end up telling him, hopefully, sooner rather than later.
What can you say about what you know about Season 6?
I don’t know very much about Season 6. I think we’re looking towards a wedding — at least, I hope so. I hope that doesn’t end up in some kind of cliffhanger. We’ll see. Or maybe that’s fun? …I know that there’s going to be some interesting dynamics between Mel’s new relationship, potential relationship with her biological father and her getting back into the clinic and starting up the birthing center, and then just how everything looks in home life with Jack.
Are there any characters you’d like to have Mel interact with more in the season?
I feel like Mel hasn’t really interacted with Hope [Annette O’Toole] very much recently. There’s a lot of characters. We sort of have all split off into our own storylines, and Mel kind of touches upon most of the characters every now and then, but more interactions with Doc and Brie [Zibby Allen]. I’m just anticipating how many birthing scenes I’m going to have to do.
And you never know who could show up at that center.
I know! You never know.
I assume we’ll get Mel and Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale) stuff then.
Oh yes, absolutely. I’m sure there’s plenty of storylines, but I am not sure exactly how much into the future we’re going or how far along she’ll be in her pregnancy.
Virgin River, Season 6, TBA, Netflix