Virgin River Fans Have Theories About Who Could Be Mel’s Biological Father
His identity will be revealed when the new Christmas episodes premiere on Nov. 30.
Note: Major spoilers for Season 5 of Virgin River are ahead.
The writers for the Netflix series Virgin River love two things: an end-of-season plot twist and a good ol’ paternity mystery. As evidenced by Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) and her twin boys for five seasons, although they did solve that one in the end. When Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) was pregnant in Season 4, we had to wonder if the father was her beloved fiancé Jack (Martin Henderson) or her dead ex-husband. Now Mel is being dropped into even more paternity drama, although this time it’s her own father. And boy oh boy do fans have some theories about who it could be.
Season 5, Part 1 of Virgin River ends with a huge cliffhanger about the identity of Mel’s dad.
The very last scene of Season 5, Part 1 sees Mel and Jack preparing to host her sister Joey (Jenny Cooper) for Christmas at their Virgin River little cabin. The two sisters are on the phone when Joey tells Mel that she’s been sifting through some of their late mother’s things and come across some letters. Love letters. From a man in Virgin River who Joey thinks their mother was having an affair with for some time. Joey tells Mel that she believes her real father was from Virgin River, and a trailer for the special holiday episodes that will drop on Nov. 30 shows us that Mel figures out who her father is.
Virgin River executive producer Patrick Sean Smith has given us a couple hints. In an interview with Glamour, Smith confirmed who is not Mel’s father: “Other than Jack’s dad, everybody else is a suspect.” And speaking with TV Insider, Smith said that Mel’s dad is a “man who she knows nothing about but has a very personal connection to her.”
That still leaves us with several contenders. And, according to Virgin River fans, here’s who they think it could be.
Is Vernon “Doc” Mullins Mel’s biological father?
When we first learned that Mel’s father might be living in Virgin River, many people’s thought turned to Doc (Tim Matheson). The two have built a very close bond since Mel first came to work with him as a nurse in his medical practice, and he is around the right age. Plus, he already had one son that he never knew about and now has a grandson, Denny Cutler (Kai Bradbury) who lives with him, so it’s familiar territory. And a turn of events that would prove popular for Virgin River fans.
“If it was Doc, I would be happy because they already have a father /daughter relationship,” wrote one Reddit user. “It would be a natural fit. Doc lost a son he never knew, and gained a daughter. One who shares is passion for practicing medicine.”
Another fan agreed, calling Doc “the best option. I would just hate to have mel related to Denny! And how many secret love child’s can one man gain in like 5 months?”
Or is it Lilly’s husband Buck?
Another theory circulating is the possibility that Lilly’s (Linda Boyd) late husband Buck might be Mel’s father.
“Maybe it’s Lilly’s husband that died? Could make sense considering her draw to the farm, Chloe and Tara??” wrote one Reddit user, pointing to the Season 5 plotline of Mel getting closer to Lilly’s daughter Ava (Libby Osler), who just returned to Virgin River after moving away to Portland. Mel and Jack are also planning on buying Lilly’s farmland after the house burned down because they have such a strong connection to it.
There’s only one slight snag in this theory; in the trailer for the Christmas episode, Mel tells Preacher (Colin Lawrence) that she found her father and he “still lives in Virgin River.” And, well, Buck is dead.
Or could it be Nick?
Nick (Keith MacKechnie) is a strong contender for Mel’s possible father based on one throwaway scene in Season 5 of Virgin River alone.
His wife Jo Ellen (Gwynth Walsh) is talking to her friends in the sewing circle when she offhandedly tells Hope (Annette O’Toole) that she can’t imagine a secret child coming back into someone else’s life. So perhaps her husband Nick, who had a busy fifth season between his sister’s drug deals and his short-lived term as mayor, could be Mel’s dad.
Also, some Reddit users who have read Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books noted that Nick has long had a “handsy” past. “I think it’s Nick. He’s known as ‘handsy,’” wrote one user while another pointed out that he had gotten “handsy” with Mel, which would make the discovery that he is her father a touch complicated. “But never seen as ‘handsy’ It’s funny he’s ‘handsy’ in the books and actually gets ‘handsy’ with Mel at the bar. I think they just mimicked the characters but forgot about it!”
The identity of Mel’s father will be revealed the Virgin River holidays episodes.
We will have to wait until Nov. 30 to find out who is Mel’s biological father. Smith told Glamour that one clue fans can work with is the fact that one of the letters is signed “Champ,” and it’s “the only thing that Mel really has to go off of” on her search.
“Part of what Mel and Jack are going through in those two episodes is like the scavenger hunt through Virgin River trying to track down the man who is her biological father. They’re going from clue to clue,” Smith told the magazine. “I think the fun of the two upcoming episodes is looking around and realizing it could be anybody in Virgin River.”
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