Viewers who checked out Virgin River Season 1 on Netflix saw that the small town romance was not afraid to go to some dark places when it came time to deliver the drama for the main characters. And, while that set of episodes did end on a cliffhanger, nothing could have prepared fans for the shock that would come with the Season 2 finale, roughly a year later. The season ended with big trouble for Jack and Mel, and now we know why Virgin River ended on that major cliffhanger.

After a Season 2 which had already seen our favorite folks deal with things like PTSD, abusive partners, and hiding bodies, to have Mel and Jack's story end with such a shock was a huge deal. This was especially true because the two had finally declared their love for one another and made with the sexytimes more than once. Now that we know for sure that Virgin River Season 3 is on the way, though, we've gotten an explanation from showrunner Sue Tenney on why they left fans with such a major cliffhanger. Tenney told Parade:

It’s easy to view Virgin River as a place devoid of malice. But even bucolic places have their share of trauma. We wanted to explore how our characters would handle an intense, external conflict in their relationship, given their past. Jack is a vital member of the community and putting him in crisis will impact everyone differently.

Sue Tenney makes a very good point when it comes to the small, remote, fictional town of Virgin River. In real life, a lot of people either move to small towns or stay there to get away from not only what's seen as the over-activity of larger cities, but to try and escape things like crime. But, wherever people are there could be random (or not so random) acts of violence, which was directly shown earlier in Season 2 of Virgin River, and has been in the back ground for both seasons.

While Mel was nearly the victim of a knife-wielding drug fiend early in Season 2, mostly thanks to local crime boss Calvin and his wayward goons, what we saw in the finale definitely took everything up several notches.

SPOILERS COMING! In the last minutes of the finale, after Mel and Jack had enjoyed another night of some very adult entertainment, she heads to the bar so they can have a quiet dinner together. Instead, Mel finds Jack bleeding out on the floor behind the bar, having been shot in the stomach by a currently unknown assailant. END SPOILERS!

The town does rely heavily on Jack, and he takes that responsibility very seriously, and tries to serve as a mentor for kids like Ricky, who works at the bar, and adults alike, such as Brady, the Marine who served with Jack and has been a serious thorn in his side for quite a while now. On top of that, Hope sees Jack as a surrogate son, so she will likely be devastated when she finds out what happened (which might keep Doc Mullins from telling her about whatever's going on with him and delay that reveal, as well).

Mel, of course, has already been through the bloody death of one partner, so who knows how our tough nurse will be handling things when Season 3 starts. But, I really, truly hope that Charmaine (if she's not the one who tried to kill Jack), is 1000% sorry for the way she's behaved toward both him and Mel lately. While Jack does have some blame for what happened with his romance with Charmaine, she's not being fair to either of them or accepting her part in their failed relationship.

Ultimately, we can probably rest assured that Jack will be OK eventually in Season 3, but everyone will have to make some big adjustments, which means we're going to get some guaranteed juicy drama when Virgin River finally returns with new episodes.

Virgin River Season 3 does not have a premiere date from Netflix yet, so be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest. For more on what to watch in coming weeks, check out our guide to all of the holiday premieres and see what's coming in the new year!

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