It’s the question Virgin River fans have been asking since the end of season 2: who shot Jack?
We thought we might get some answers in season 3, which hit Netflix earlier this month, but no such luck. Jack (Martin Henderson) still can’t remember who shot him, and Brady (Benjamin Hollingsworth) has been arrested as the culprit in what’s most likely a frame job.
But while audiences are still hungry for answers, Henderson confesses he has the answer. “I know,” he tells EW sheepishly. “And the fact that I know makes me feel like the audience is going to find out.”
Why does he know? It’s not purely for acting reasons. Showrunner Sue Tenney considered making the big reveal this season. “They toyed with the idea of revealing that in season 3,” Henderson reveals. “There were drafts where we were going to actually get a little more information, and you would find more out. But for a bunch of reasons, they decided to extend that. So that can be dragged out a little bit.”
He promises that an answer will eventually come, though (echoing what Tenney also shared with EW while answering our burning season 3 questions). “It would be unfair to the audience to not have that result,” Henderson adds. “That would feel a little tacky to string them along and then keep it a mystery. There has to be resolution, and obviously, it further complicates his relationship with Brady and it’ll be nice to see some of that stuff resolved hopefully too, and maybe heal going forward.”
We caught up with Henderson on all things season 3, including what he thinks about Mel’s (Alexandra Breckenridge) huge pregnancy reveal, how that complicates things with Charmaine (Lauren Hammersley) and the twins, and whether he and Brie (Zibby Allen) can repair their sibling relationship. Grab a drink from Jack’s Bar and dive in.
Martin Henderson as Jack on ‘Virgin River’
| Credit: NETFLIX
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Jack finally goes all-in on Mel and is ready to propose when she hits him with a doozy of a confession. How might that shake his faith in her and their relationship?
MARTIN HENDERSON: It’s obviously going to be a tough pill to swallow. Because initially there’s going to be this mystery around who the father is. So Jack’s asked to follow through on this commitment with this giant question mark, and I imagine all of the feelings that go along with the potential of her carrying someone else’s child, but also the rationale that went into that decision and how that makes him feel. There’s clearly going to be some damage control there that they’re going to have to navigate. Their relationship’s going to be tested. It’s calling on both of them to display a degree of maturity and acceptance because of the situation. But ultimately, it’s that big question of, “Does love triumph? Is love enough when a bunch of other internal and external factors threaten to undermine the dream?” Everyone can relate to that. No matter how deep your love is, life’s just not perfect, and people aren’t perfect. It’s going to be interesting to see how these guys navigate those waters.
Well, I assume he’s not going to be immediately getting back down on one knee. He’s probably going to hit pause on that, right?
I imagine. I don’t know exactly how he’s going to feel about it. There’s some other unanswered questions that have to be figured out. That’s definitely something that we have to wait and see.
Do you think he even wants to know the answer to who the baby’s father is? Might someone of him just want to skip a paternity test and move on?
I imagine there’d be a few sleepless nights where he wrestles with that. I know I would want to love my woman’s child unconditionally. In a way, I think not knowing would allow me to approach it with a wholeheartedness that wasn’t tainted by having to get my head around the fact that it was someone else’s child, particularly someone who is no longer here that was this great love of hers. It’s just such a complicated emotional territory to go through. Not knowing would help simplify that. He could just be like, “I don’t care. I’m going to love you and I’m going to love this child and I’m all in,” and he meant that. In order to follow through with that level of commitment, it might help not to know.
Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack (Martin Henderson) share a loving moment on ‘Virgin River’
| Credit: NETFLIX
He’s also already expecting twins with Charmaine. So, how does this news complicate or compound that situation?
It complicates it a lot because he’s got twins with someone that he doesn’t love in that way, yet he cares about her and is steadfast in his commitment to supporting her. He’s their father and he wants to be in their lives, and he wants to assume as much of a fatherly role. Yet that gets tempered with the influence of this other man, who is for all intents and purposes seeming to want to wrestle away Jack’s influence on his own children. That’s a really complicated and delicate thing to also navigate. He’s got this influence of this other man on the potential raising of his children, and he’s now got a child that could potentially be another man’s. I imagine there’s a part of Jack that just wants to have a child that’s his and that he’s going to have influence over with the woman that he loves. It seems like that dream is being held at arm’s length from him, at least for now, until we clear up the issue of paternity.
Do you think he’ll ever stop fighting for the twins or that’s not in his DNA?
I don’t think so. At the end of the day, I’m at the mercy of what the writers choose to do and sometimes those choices are made out of the need for titillation and scandal and shock and intrigue and drama and conflict. In a weird way, Jack’s fate in that way is in the hands of the writers. But I imagine that he would fight tooth and nail to be a presence. The relationship with his own father is sort of hinted at throughout the show, but they’re pretty estranged. And there’s some long lasting effects of that. He knows that he suffered from a bad relationship with his dad. That makes him double down on this commitment to be there for his children to make sure that they don’t suffer in the same way that that he did. So I’d say he’s prepared to fight.
We’ve watched his journey these past three seasons with PTSD and it being something that’s compounded from his need to be a caretaker to make sure that no man is left behind. How will both the shooting, which we’ve already seen parts of the impact of, and the prospect of being a father make his mental health a little more of a challenge?
I think that would undoubtedly take a toll and start to fray at the edges of his mental health. He’s struggling with demons, and there’s grief there and a lot of it’s unexamined. He has this caretaker effect where he feels like it’s his responsibility to take care of anyone in the town that needs it. He goes out of his way and, and although that’s a nice positive attribute, it’s also potentially a compensatory one where he’s also nursing some of his own wounds and regrets and guilt, you know, and I think, I think that’s definitely at play. And, if we are lucky enough to get more seasons, it’ll be nice to explore that aspect of the characters psyche. And, it’ll be nice. I won’t say it’s fun to play, but it’ll be interesting.
What might lie ahead in his relationship with his sister? It seems like Brie is struggling to trust him, but is there hope for repair there?
There’s definitely room, right? Jack’s sincere in that he would like his sister to stick around. It’s been hinted that he’s quite estranged from his family. Brie makes an accusation and calls him out on that, and he does a half-hearted defense but I think the reality is he is somewhat estranged. Having her around is something really nice and comforting for Jack, and that relationship is going to be a lens through which he’s probably going to explore the bigger relationship with the rest of his family. It’d be nice for them to come closer but it will be fraught with challenges because she’s harboring her own secret and doesn’t want to open up to Jack necessarily about that. It might be a ways coming before she’s really ready to be totally honest with him. But it’d be nice to see them lean on each other and turn to family in times of need.
Is his relationship with Brady beyond repair at this point do you think? Can they get back to a good place?
I hope so. That bonding of men that go through combat, the closeness that is established when your life’s on the line — albeit Brady clearly let that side down and acted foolishly or selfishly and it led to the death of one of their men. Jack understands Brady’s culpability, but he also lets him off the hook as well because Jack feels responsible that he was the leader and he should have been able to protect everybody. It’s very complicated, but ultimately, there’s that bond there that hopefully will serve to re-establish their friendship, but there’s a degree of forgiveness that has to happen on both parts. Brady has to forgive jack and Jack has to forgive Brady. And men being men, that’s probably going to be an awkward process for both of them.
With Brady pretty clearly not the actual shooter, is Jack still potentially in danger with the real culprit still out there?
That threat’s real. Until it gets solved, then Jack won’t really necessarily know who he’s supposed to be protecting himself from. There’s always the threat of Calvin, and if he remains free and has influence, then like he’s expressed, he’s got all the time in the world. There’s always that threat, but whether it was Calvin or someone else in Calvin’s camp because it remains a mystery we’re not really going to know how safe Jack is and what the motive really was.
Jack has a lot on his plate, but he also welcomed Preacher as his official business partner. But then we ended the season with Preacher left to die in the woods basically, so is Jack going to be part of searching for him? Might he get involved more with the whole Christopher situation?
I’m not sure exactly what the writers intend to do there. For now Jack’s pretty unaware of what Preacher’s going through and what he’s struggling with, so obviously if it’s kept from him then he’s not going to be aware. But if he disappears for a long time, then I imagine Jack would do everything he can to find his buddy.
What do you wish for Jack if there’s a season 4?
(Laughs) Just an easier time, but I don’t think he’s going to get it. It might be wishful thinking. It’s fun playing this character, but damn, I’d love to give him a break.