Virgin River season 5 recap guide: All 12 episodes explained

Virgin River. (L to R) Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe, Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan in episode 511 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
Virgin River. (L to R) Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe, Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan in episode 511 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /
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Virgin River
Virgin River. (L to R) Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe, Jenny Cooper as Joey Barnes in episode 511 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /

Season 5 episode 11 recap: The More the Merrier

In the opening moments of the first holiday episode, Mel and Jack search the woods for the perfect Christmas tree as they prepare to ring in the holiday with their whole family, including Mel’s sister’s family, Jack’s parents, and his sister Mary’s family.

Unfortunately, as Brie learns, Mary and her family are snowed in back in Boston, leaving Brie and Jack to wrangle their divorced parents — and their mother’s new boyfriend Javier — on their own. But Mel and Jack have Joey and her kids to keep them company, as well as the lingering mystery of the letters from Mel’s biological father.

Meanwhile, Doc and Hope prepare for the town’s Christmas tree decorating contest with Lizzie and Denny, and they are all excited about Lizzie’s pregnancy. (They’ve decided not to test the baby for Huntington’s Disease in utero.) However, she still hasn’t told her mom about her pregnancy, fearing her reaction. When they first reunite, Lizzie chickens out on telling her mom the big news.

During preparations for the town Christmas musical, everyone has their eyes on Cameron and Muriel’s budding romance. Back at the cabin, Mel and Joey dig into the romance between their mother and father… and Mel’s biological father. They discover that their mother told Mel’s real father about her and he wanted to be in her life, but her mother chose to stay with her dad to keep the family together. From the letters, she has his PO box and nickname “Champ” as clues to find him.

Preacher talks on the phone with Paige about the fact that DNA hasn’t been found with the body that had been discovered. He’s lucky Kaia doesn’t overhear his conversation when she pops her head in the bar’s office to grab him to join the Toys for Tots festivities. It’s clear he feels guilty about what he’s keeping a secret from Kaia and from everyone.

In spite of Brie’s mounting stress over her parents, her mother isn’t sorry for bringing her new boyfriend Javier to town for Christmas. Brie’s even begrudgingly roped in to talk to her father about the situation. Speaking of dads, Jack jumps on board to help Mel find her father, their first stop being Hope to track down the old postmaster to identify the PO box.

Brady and Lark have some fun while ice skating, and he reveals he once lost out on a hockey scholarship, which led to him enlisting in the Marines over going to juvie. She thanks him for changing her life and asks him to meet her mother. While looking for Hope, Mel and Jack run into Charmaine, who’s having Braxton Hicks contractions. Hope reveals the original postmaster’s name was Chip Cooper, and she sends them to Lydie, as she was his high school sweetheart.

Lydie tells them, in confidence from the sewing circle, that they can find Chip Cooper as the Santa Claus at the community center in Clear River. She and Chip are still in touch, and it seems like it’s in a romantic way. You go, Lydie! When Mel and Jack ask Chip who sent the postcards. He shares a story of how often the man came in to send the postcards and how the staff became wrapped up in the romance until Mel’s mom’s letters stopped coming. While he doesn’t know who “Champ” is, but he does know he won the 1976 Lumberjack Games.

A quick online search uncovers the winner of the 1976 Lumberjack Games as Everett Reid. There’s no photo, but now they know the name of her biological father. (Sorry, fans who wanted it to be Doc!) Everett was seemingly off the grid, but they connect with Preacher and ask for his help to ask his private investigator friend to find her biological father.

While Hope reassures Lizzie about her pregnancy and telling her mother, Lizzie’s mom overhears the word “baby” and puts together the fact that her daughter’s pregnant. And let’s just say her reaction is enthusiastic in the wrong way. The holiday musical is the perfect setting for all kinds of drama to take place, including Cameron’s ex returning to make amends with him now that she’s six months sober and in AA. Jack’s dad threatens to leave because of Javier, and Brady and Brie have an awkward run-in.

Preacher tells Mel and Jack that the private investigator found Mel’s biological father, and here’s the good news: He’s still in Virgin River!

Written by Reed Gaudens