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Virgin River Season 5: Episode 1's Steamy Kiss May Threaten A Key Book Couple

Contains spoilers for "Virgin River" Season 5, Episode 1 — "A Second Chance"

After a solid season of "will they or won't they?," things are officially full steam ahead for "Virgin River" youngsters Denny Cutler (Kai Bradbury) and Lizzie (Sarah Dugdale) after she kisses him during "A Second Chance." The steamy buss puts an end to Denny's season-long dither over whether or not he should commit to Lizzie in light of the fact that he's got Huntington's disease, an incurable and often fatal neurological illness. To be with Lizzie means to put a possible burden on her if his condition should decline precipitously. 

They've been dating since Ricky (Grayson Maxwell Gurnsey) left Virgin River during Season 4 to finally join the military after breaking up with Lizzie. He's currently undergoing basic training offscreen. While it's possible the character may resurface for the show's upcoming holiday special — after all, Patrick Sean Smith, the series' new showrunner, told TV Line in October 2022 that Ricky will be done with basic training in December — for the moment he's far away, and Lizzie has continued to grow up and mature without him while seeing other people.

This, naturally, completely changes Lizzie's storyline from the one she had in the book series. During the "Virgin River" books, Ricky and Lizzie never part. In fact, they manage to overcome a large amount of obstacles to stay together.

Lizzie and Ricky's romance goes quite differently in the book series

The course of events that take place in the "Virgin River" series of books move Lizzie and Ricky — who end up taking on the monikers "Liz" and "Rick" when they reach adulthood — to entirely different social strata than their series counterparts inhabit. They go through quite the tumult to end up together but ultimately do end up united seven books deep into the series.

Lizzie is a rebellious teenager at roughly 16, younger than her Netflix counterpart. Ricky is a few years older. Lizzie becomes pregnant as a teenager and ultimately gives birth to a stillborn baby boy in her second trimester. She and Ricky remain a couple, ultimately graduating high school together. Rick's idolization of Jack leads him to join the military, and Lizzie stays behind to attend college. He's shipped overseas to serve in Iraq but ends up injured within months of his deployment and returns to Virgin River.

Rick is angry about how his deployment has gone and anxious about how his severe battle scars have changed the way he looks. He pushes Liz away, something she refuses to stand for. In the end, Rick realizes his own value before he can lose her completely, and they marry and have a family. 

Naturally, Lizzie's fate remains completely up in the air and might be changed entirely for the series, but it just goes to show how many questions about her are explained by her origin point in the "Virgin River" books.