Does Preacher leave Virgin River?

Cole Lawrence as John 'Preacher' Middleton in Virgin RiverNetflix

With Virgin River Season 5 Part 2 just around the corner, fans might be wondering: does John “Preacher” Middleton stick around or leave the town for good? Here’s what you need to know.

Preacher is an absolute fan favorite of Virgin River. A former Marine, town chef, and Jack’s best friend, he’s a loyal and kind man, one who dedicates his love and time to those around him. 

With the release of Season 5 Part 1 of the show, which is adapted from Robyn Carr’s books of the same name, Preacher finds himself on yet another roller coaster when it comes to his romantic relationships – and the proverbial ghost of Paige’s abusive ex-husband. 

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But does all of this cause Preacher to leave Virgin River for good? Here’s what you need to know. Warning: Spoilers ahead for Virgin River Season 5 Part 1!

Does Preacher leave Virgin River?

No, Preacher stans will be pleased to know that he doesn’t leave Virgin River. Instead, his ex-girlfriend Paige decides to pack up and move away from the town with her son Christopher to start a new life after the Wes and Vince incident. 

To refresh your memory, Paige had initially moved to Virgin River with her son to escape her abusive ex-husband Wes, and she strikes up a relationship with Preacher. But in Season 2, Wes catches up with Paige, attacks her, and threatens to kidnap Christopher, leading to a scuffle in which she accidentally pushes him down the stairs and kills him. 

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In a panic, Paige calls Preacher and, in a bid to protect her, he helps to hide the body. This storyline has continued throughout the seasons, with Paige eventually fleeing Virgin River and leaving her son in the guardianship of Preacher.

Preacher and Paige in Virgin RiverNetflix
Preacher and Paige have been through a lot together

However, the past comes back to haunt them both, as Vince – Wes’s twin brother – tracks Christopher down and kidnaps him. When Paige finds out, she comes back to Virgin River in the penultimate episode of Season 4, explaining that she’s been staying at a women’s shelter. 

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Eventually, Preacher finds Christopher – but he realizes Vince has taken Paige with him. This builds up to the finale when all three are involved in a showdown, as Vince threatens to shoot Paige if they don’t reveal what happened to Wes. We also find out that Vince shot Jack while trying to track Preacher down, although Jack survives.

Preacher manages to put a stop to the attack, and at the start of Season 5, local police officer Mike and his team turn up and arrest Vince, who tells them about what happened to Wes. Luckily, the police aren’t buying it and Paige and Preacher are ready to start afresh – that is, after Preacher ends his short-lived relationship with ​part-time martial arts instructor Julia.

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However, as soon as they vow to see where things go, Paige has a change of heart. “Before I left Wes, my entire life was consumed by him because that’s how he wanted it,” she tells Preacher. 

“So when I finally left, all I wanted was to not see him anywhere. And that’s what made Virgin River so special. Until it wasn’t.”

Paige explains that she really wanted to be able to get over this for him. “I know I don’t have to run anymore but I can’t stay,” she says. Visibly upset, Preacher asks if she’s leaving with Christopher, to which she says: “You could come with us.”

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And this is where some fans might think that he’s leaving the town. However, as much as he might want to, he says: “I wish I could. This… this is my home.”

But the rollercoaster ride is far from over for Preacher, as the past comes back to haunt him once more when a wildfire rips through Virgin River. One of the firefighters who arrives on the scene is a character named Kaia, who starts dating Preacher. 

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Preacher and Kaia in Virgin RiverNetflix
Preacher starts dating Kaia in Season 5

The pair fall for each other hard, and Kaia decides to stick around in Virgin River. But a serious curveball arrives in the Season 5 Part 1 finale when Kaia receives a call from one of her colleagues telling her that they found a body in the wildfire cleanup – which fans presume is Wes. 

At this point, no doubt Preacher wants to leave Virgin River and get as far away from the situation as possible, but for now he remains in the town he calls his home. As for how the situation will play out in the future, we’ll just have to wait for Season 5 Part 2 to arrive. 

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Virgin River Seasons 1-5 are streaming on Netflix now. Check out our other coverage below:

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