Alexandra Breckenridge reveals Mel’s pregnancy went differently in original Virgin River script

Virgin River. Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in episode 512 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
Virgin River. Alexandra Breckenridge as Mel Monroe in episode 512 of Virgin River. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /

Now that the entirety of Virgin River season 5 has now landed on Netflix, with the arrival of the two Christmas-centric episodes on Nov. 30, fans are looking for any and all details about what went into the season’s twists and turns and what’s to come in season 6.

In the fifth season, Mel and Jack begin the season looking forward to getting married and raising a family with their baby girl on the way. Unfortunately, during the stress and trauma of the wildfire that enveloped and threatened the livelihood of the town, Mel experiences a tragic miscarriage and loses the pregnancy of her miracle baby.

Virgin River season 4 had introduced Mel’s exciting pregnancy, though she wasn’t sure if the father of the baby was Jack or her late husband Mark. In season 3, Mel had sought out using embryos that had been frozen while she was still with Mark prior to his death. Because she underwent that IVF procedure, she was caught in a potential custody battle with her former mother-in-law, though Mel gratefully learned that Jack was in fact the father.

However, that apparently wasn’t always the case, according to Virgin River star Alexandra Breckenridge. In a new interview with Deadline about season 5, Breckenridge reveals that the original scripts for season 4 called for Mark to be the father of Mel’s baby, and because of her objections to the twist, the writers changed course.

Here’s what Breckenridge told Deadline:

"“In season 4, originally the writers were going to have it be Mark’s baby. I was pretty upset about that. I was like, ‘This is terrible, you can’t have Jack having twins with Charmaine and then Mel is having Mark’s baby.’ I was very vocal about it, I said if it is his, she should probably have a miscarriage. And then by the end of the season, they changed it to Jack’s baby. This was still at a point where we didn’t think she was going to end up having a miscarriage. So the idea was that she would continue with the pregnancy, and that it would be the miracle baby, and I said, ‘You can’t have her miracle baby be with her dead husband, I just can’t, sorry, I can’t.'”"

Honestly, fans should be glad Breckenridge fought back against that paternity twist. She’s right that the optics, at that point, of Jack being the father of Charmaine’s twins but not Mel’s baby would be disappointing. And the fact that Jack ended up not even being the father of Charmaine’s twins would have been an even more depressing twist of fate for Jack. In the end, Breckenridge probably knows Mel best, having been in her shoes for five seasons now, and made the correct call.

The actress admitted that prior to new showrunner Patrick Sean Smith’s arrival in season 5, which also brought along some new writers, she had a hand in standing up for Mel and working through dialogue and the heart of certain sequences with her main scene partner Martin Henderson. She expressed her gratitude for the writers who have been grounding the story:

"“I’m very opinionated, and over the years, I’ve helped to reshape themes, Martin [Henderson] and I have worked on rewriting scenes together. […] There’s been a lot of that over the years. Luckily, we have a team of writers that are really honing in on trying to make things cohesive and smooth and more realistic, which I appreciate, so I feel like I’m doing a lot less of that now than I was.”"

Season 5 threw Mel and Jack another curveball with the pregnancy loss storyline, which was the decision of Smith. The idea of the storyline was to bring Mel and Jack closer together, to see them go through it together, when losing a child was what tore Mel and Mark apart. After the season they had in season 4, coming together in this way, especially with that beautiful scene in the woods in season 5, they definitely came out stronger.

From an audience standpoint, a decision like this runs the risk of being polarizing, since so many fans are emotionally invested in the happiness of Mel and Jack. Breckenridge commented on being sensitive to the fan reaction but also wanting to depict the fertility issues women face. As she told Deadline, “[We] felt like we were doing a disservice to the women who have had trouble conceiving and have fertility issues — which are so many women — and this storyline felt very real and very powerful for those women.”

Moving forward into season 6, Mel and Jack will be renovating their farmhouse on Lilly’s property, planning their wedding, getting to know Mel’s biological father, and looking ahead to what starting a family could look like for them. In season 5, they agreed not to try again for another pregnancy but to pursue parenthood in a different way. Mel’s new puppy Pony is the cutest start at a family, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

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Next. All 12 Virgin River season 5 episodes recapped and explained. dark