Did Hope from “Virgin River” leave the show?

Netflix’s Virgin River is a perfect show to watch on a lazy weekend. 

Viewers started binge-watching Virgin River for its will-they-won’t-they relationship between Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack Sheridan (Martin Henderson). Still, they stayed for the town mayor Hope McCrea (Annette O’Toole). 

It seemed that Hope truly had all the answers, and she never shied away from meddling in other characters’ personal lives. From getting Mel and Jack together to sorting out her own romantic life with her ex-husband Doc Mullins (Tim Matheson), McCrea had an interesting journey that kept people on the edge of their seats.

Hope’s Limited Appearance In Season 3

Fans were shocked to discover something when Virgin River’s third season was dropped earlier this year. Hope McCrea was nowhere to be found in the show. 

She only appeared via video calls but not physically. 

The show’s creators even used Annette’s absence to their advantage and didn’t leave her out of the plot.

Even with such limited screen time, her storyline kept the audience interested. First, it was told that she visited her elderly aunt in South Carolina, then the hurricane delayed her flight when she was returning. 

Fans were sure that they would get to see her in the finale, but then a tragedy prevented her from returning.

Aptly titled the “pandemic pivot” by Sue Tenny, season 3 ended on a twist that would set the stage for Hope’s return in future episodes.

In the season finale, the ominous cliffhanger was her getting into a near-fatal car accident and suffering a traumatic brain injury. From the expressions of Doc, it was easy to tell that things weren’t looking very good. 

Fans are really hoping that this doesn’t mean that Hope’s time has ended on the show.

Reason Behind Annette O’Toole’s Absence in Season 3

In an interview with Marie Claire, showrunner Sue Tenney finally cleared the air about Annette’s sudden disappearance in the third season. 

She said that O’Toole couldn’t join them in Vancouver due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The world was struck by the pandemic, resulting in closed borders, global lockdowns, and extremely tight working conditions.

For months, the production of the shows was halted, and when the crew was permitted to resume filming, it was under strict guidelines. The show had to follow protocol to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

Yet, the writer’s room brainstormed ideas that would keep Hope a vital part of the show, even without her being present. 

McCrea’s Fate In Season 4

While talking to Entertainment Weekly, Sue confirmed that fans don’t need to lose “Hope.” 

McCrea will very much be a part of the next season. Tenney even cleared that they did not write her accident as an easy plot twist only to make her bounce back in the first episode of the next season. 

Hope’s next chapter will focus on recovery after surviving such a brutal accident where her brain and body both were severely injured. 

The aftermath of her accident won’t be the only plotline she’ll have. Her interaction with Muriel will also get more interesting, as the banter between them is always one of the show’s highlights.

Actress Annette O’Toole also assured the fans that she isn’t leaving Virgin River anytime soon. Hope’s story still has so much left, and she wants to give her fans the show they deserve. 

Annette was happy that Hope remained a key character even when they couldn’t have her present on set. As Sue confirmed, the writers will surely bring her back with a bang for season 4.