Virgin River season 3 spoilers: Is SPOILER leaving Virgin River?

VIRGIN RIVER - Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea of VIRGIN RIVER - NETFLIX (c) 2020
VIRGIN RIVER - Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea of VIRGIN RIVER - NETFLIX (c) 2020 /

Virgin River season 3 has finally arrived and what a season it was!

Season 3 of Netflix’s soapy romantic series based on Robyn Carr’s bestselling books hit all the right notes with a season filled with plot twists, shocking developments, plenty of drama and, of course, romance. The season also left us with many questions to ponder over the course of the next break as we wait for season 4 to drop on Netflix.

** Warning: The following post contains spoilers from Virgin River season 3 **

From the paternity of Mel’s baby to questions over whether Brady indeed was the one who shot Jack or if he’s being framed, the writers pulled out all the stops with a string of cliffhangers to process. Those cliffhangers were all well and good, but nothing quite compares to the season’s biggest mystery: the fate of Annette O’Toole’s character Hope and her future on the show.

Why wasn’t Hope in Virgin River season 3?

Heading into season 3, it was expected that all of our favorite characters would be back for another exciting season and that was the case for the most part. However, there was one glaring absence this season: Annette O’Toole’s beloved mayor and notorious town gossip Hope McCrea.

It is explained early on in the season that Hope left Virgin River to take care of her ailing aunt. The trip was originally anticipated to be brief, but Hope ends up needing to stay away longer than anticipated which keeps her away for nearly the entire season. When she does make her way back to town, she’s involved in a car accident which sends her to the hospital in the final episode of the season.

While Hope’s absence in season 3 was explained through the above storyline, it seems the storyline was dictated by O’Toole’s availability.

Is Annette O’Toole leaving Virgin River?

At this time, it is unclear whether Annette O’Toole is leaving Virgin River as Netflix has not released any official statement regarding O’Toole’s future with the show. However, there definitely seems to be a reason for concern.

Across the third season of the show, O’Toole only made one brief appearance and never once shared the screen with any of her co-stars in person.

If that wasn’t enough cause for concern, as the season came to a close Hope was involved in a horrific car accident which left her in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. As the season came to a close, Hope’s condition was very much up in the air leaving us unsure of whether she’d pull through and recover from her injuries.

It seems highly likely the storyline was written into the show as a possible exit storyline for the character of Hope and seemed to indicate O’Toole’s future on the show was up in the air. Considering season 3 was filmed during the pandemic, it’s possible that O’Toole simply wasn’t able to travel to Vancouver to film season 3 and will be back as Hope in season 4.

Once any confirmation from Netflix regarding O’Toole’s future with the show becomes available, we’ll be sure to update this post. Until then, we’ll have to wait to see whether we’ve truly seen the last of O’Toole’s beloved mayor.

Virgin River season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix.

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