“Cedar Cove: A Helping Hand” Review

By Ruth on July 23, 2015 in movie, review, television
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Synopsis: After Jack’s proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia’s trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.

If you would like to read my season three premiere review, please find it here.

Note: Although my reviews are essentially spoiler-free, I cannot guarantee that I won’t reveal something that you may not know or may potentially ruin the story for you. I do my best to only reveal what Hallmark has revealed via social media, but if you are concerned about potential spoilers, please do not read any further. If, however, you are ready to get a feel for what you will see on in the next installment of Cedar Cove , let’s jump right in.

Andie MacDowell as Olivia

Andie MacDowell as Olivia

Of course, no episode of Cedar Cove is ever complete without a healthy dose of Judge Olivia Lockhart as played by the vivacious and lovely Andie MacDowell.  And she definitely has some points of contention with which to deal during this episode. She is still considering Jack’s suggestion to move in together, but she is also getting to know the new district attorney rather well.  And there is not another actress who could portray our conflicted protagonist in just the way Andie does–with such warmth, depth, and credibility.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Andie MacDowell, Colin Ferguson  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Andie MacDowell as Olivia & Colin Ferguson as Paul

Speaking of the illustrious new D.A. (played by Colin Ferguson), I will admit that I was somewhat determined not to like him (even though that goes against my “open mind” policy as a reviewer). Last week, Barbara Niven encouraged me to give him time, and well, I must say that Colin is surprisingly good in his role this week (I mean I was surprised). It is as though he has finally “found” his footing, and he is fully embracing his role. While I still do not relish the character, I believe now I can separate the actor from the character. He and Andie have an easy way of working together onscreen, and I think that although I still long for Jack and Olivia to ultimately make a match of it, Paul may not be a bad character.  In fact, some of my favorite scenes are between him and Rebecca Jennings (Cindy Busby). Be sure to watch the way those two play off each other–brilliant! I would venture to say that Rebecca may have finally met her match in Paul.  I hope to see those two continue to connect over this season so that maybe his character can leave Olivia alone.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Andie MacDowell as Olivia & Dylan Neal as Jack

Unfortunately, the relationship between Olivia and Jack (played by Dylan Neal) is still rather rocky. I find it quite impressive that both Andie and Dylan are able to play their parts with such expertise that the frostiness in the relationship has become disconcerting. Don’t expect an idyllic episode–I won’t spoil it but just like in real life, trust does take a while to be restored. And there is no doubt that Jack and Olivia have a long way to go. It is worth noting, however, that the chemistry is still there between these two–in fact it’s even more evident in these scenes that are sometimes so emotionally painful to watch.

Bruce Boxleitner as Bob & Barbara Niven as Peggy

Bruce Boxleitner as Bob & Barbara Niven as Peggy

Uh-oh! It looks like there is trouble brewing for the Beldons (Bruce Boxleitner and Barbara Niven). What I can assure you is that their storyline this week is fantastically humorous and perfectly executed. There is no doubt that their scenes are simply precious and filled with impeccable comedic timing that I have no trouble saying that both Bruce and Barbara are masters at their crafts (I mean, I already knew they were, but it’s nice to see a lighter story for them after last season).

Cedar Cove Episode 3002 Final Photo Assets

And as you see, there’s even more. Enter Jack, and it would look like Peggy may be up to some kind of scheming with Jack (actually she is, but mum’s the word on what that is). Again, I don’t think I stopped laughing much while Peggy and Bob had their little spat. And poor Jack gets kind of caught in the middle.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Bruce Boxleitner, Dylan Neal  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

And where’s Peggy? Or you’ll find out come Saturday. I was so grateful to see the Beldons take a leading role in both this episode and the premiere, and I can only hope that we will get plenty more delightful story lines from this dynamic duo.

Dylan Neal as Jack & Julia Benson as Jeri

Dylan Neal as Jack & Julia Benson as Jeri

I know I don’t normally include Jeri (Julia Benson), but I have to say that this gal continues to be a necessary evil for Jack. No spoilers, but she is responsible for something life-changing that occurs in Jack’s life. So be sure to watch as it affects every part of his life. And in case you were wondering, I always think Julia Benson does a masterful job of playing Jeri–she must since I truly can’t stand her character–always a sign of a great actress.

CEDAR COVE - SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE - In the fallout from Olivia and Jack's explosive fight, Olivia worries Jack's drinking could return as they take a break, and her friendly connection to Paul grows. Warren refuses to back down when his father cuts him off, and goes into business with a surprising new client. Then, Grace takes on her first project as Town Manager, with a disappointing outcome. And when all of Cedar Cove comes together, a picture perfect moment proves there is much more than meets the eye in this small, idyllic town.  Photo: Timothy Webber  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eika Schroter

Timothy Webber as Moon

What is an episode of Cedar Cove without our fount of knowledge Moon (Timothy Webber)? And although Moon’s part is relatively small on this episode, he has some dazzling interactions with Warren and his father (I’ll cover Warren momentarily). No matter what, whenever Moon is around, you can always be certain of wisdom and wit, and Timothy definitely delivers both in his unfettered way during this episode.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Elyse Levesque, Teryl Rothery  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Elyse Levesque as Maryellen & Teryl Rothery as Grace

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) has come home as I was heartbroken to see her leave to New York and not come back last season (one of the few episodes over which I cried). And she is back and looking as gorgeous and full of energy as ever. And of course, Teryl Rothery is still playing the lovely Grace (notice the hair change–just watch on Saturday and that will make sense) in her skillful and darling way .  To be honest, it is as if Maryellen never left. These two play the perfect mother and daughter on-screen.

Cedar Cove Episode 3003 Final Photo AssetsI have to admit, however, Grace’s character was as stupefied as I with the potential bombshell news. I will not give you any hints, but be sure to listen carefully. Hallmark does such a masterful job of leading us down the potentially wrong path (remember “When Calls the Heart”?). I adored Grace’s part in this episode and appreciate the fact that Teryl always brings  such “joi de vivre” to the role in her characteristic way.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Teryl Rothery, Eyse Levesque, Giles Panton  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Teryl Rothery, Eyse Levesque, Giles Panton (John)

Remember John, Maryellen’s artist boyfriend? Not to belabor the point, but although the character is the same, the actor who plays him is not. Giles Panton is new to me, and I think he will be fine as he settles into the groove of the show. Hopefully, he will be present more in the upcoming weeks as he was only briefly on this episode. There is no doubt, however, that this will be a couple to watch as I think there may be some conflict and difficulties coming their way. We’ll see if I’m right.

Jesse Hutch as Luke & Sarah Smyth as Justine

Jesse Hutch as Luke & Sarah Smyth as Justine

It warms my heart seeing these two together again as they are so delectable and enchanting. I applaud the way Luke (Jesse Hutch) only wants the best for Justine (Sarah Smyth) , and he continues to encourage her to become independent.  It also seems that Luke has old-fashioned values which is so good for Justine–she needs that to be sure. I took great delight in the story that Luke had during this episode–though short, it was sweet, and the way Jesse plays Luke just makes me adore the character more and more. Justine is having a bit of a crisis at times during this episode, and that brings along…

 move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Cameron Bancroft  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Cameron Bancroft as Will

For those who love Cliff and Grace as I do, you probably furrowed your brow in disgust when you realized that Will returned to Cedar Cove for the duration of the season.  Played by Cameron Bancroft, it is clear that Olivia’s wayward brother has not changed. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be chasing after Grace (let’s hope that continues), but he is still scheming. And he and Justine have a couple of provocative scenes together that may cause some conflict between them and Olivia. Speaking of Olivia, Will has his best scenes with Olivia. I admire the way Andie and Cameron play off each other, and there’s no doubt Olivia could take her brother down in a heartbeat–not physically but she does have her nonviolent ways. Although Will doesn’t ever listen (or doesn’t appear to at least), his character’s behavior does evoke worry that unavoidable conflict is coming to Cedar Cove. He has already planted some seeds, and although his scenes aren’t explosive during this episode, I think that will still be coming.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Brennan Elliott  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Brennan Elliott as Warren

Indeed I have saved the best for last. And lest you think Alex (played by Rebecca Marshall) doesn’t figure into this, oh just wait for the roller coaster ride and the explosion of fireworks. This episode is the time for Warren (played by the charismatic Brennan Elliott) to truly show his mettle. As a follow-up to last week’s premiere, his father is still around and calling the shots. And there is additional fall-out this week. Again, the way Brennan plays Warren is authoritative and brilliant.  Furthermore, I am convinced that no one else could play this role in the impressive way he does. For him to be able to engender sympathy, distaste, and even some sardonic humor, Brennan must be a creative genius. Every time he is on the screen, I find myself captivated. Moreover, in my opinion,  his prowess has inspired his nemesis (Alex/Rebecca) to embrace her role even more. In other words, Rebecca has definitely brought her “A-game” this season, and she may be the only one who, as Alex, can handle the incorrigible Warren.

CEDAR COVE - A HELPING HAND - After Jack's proposal to move in together, Olivia is consumed with doubts about their future, especially as she begins spending more time after hours with her new co- worker Paul. Meanwhile, Grace welcomes home daughter Maryellen, but its clear Maryellen is keeping some big news from her. And as Justine scrambles to find a job in time to move out, she gets some unexpected-and possibly unwelcome-help from her Uncle Will. Then, when Jack sets up a grand gesture to win back Olivia's trust, her overtime with Paul puts their relationship in jeopardy once again.  Photo: Brennan Elliott  Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Eike Schroter

Or maybe not. One thing I have learned in watching Cedar Cove is never to underestimate Warren. And this scene was the one that brought out the worst in me. Okay, I’m a #Warrenite to be sure, but this particular scene caused me to call Warren a snake (come to think of that, Warren/Brennan would probably accept that as a compliment). Although Alex has made it clear who hired her (dear old Buck Saget, his daddy), Warren is still attempting to foist his dominance in this business relationship. But it is towards the end of the episode when this brief scene foreshadows what trump card Warren just may play in the next episode. Needless to say, I greatly anticipate how he will accomplish his diabolical scheme. Without giving anything away, it is possible that Warren’s next move may finally put him back in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

Be sure to tune in Saturday night July 25 to the Hallmark Channel for this next exhilarating chapter of Cedar Cove. It is something you don’t want to miss!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

11 Comments

  1. jennifer stone July 23, 2015 Reply

    A great review!! I am really gonna watch this now.

    • Author
      Ruth July 23, 2015 Reply

      Oh I’m glad Jennifer. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

  2. Jesse S July 23, 2015 Reply

    This looks like an interesting series for sure. I will check it out, thank you for sharing!

    • Author
      Ruth July 23, 2015 Reply

      I’m so glad Jesse. Enjoy!

  3. desiree July 23, 2015 Reply

    the idea is this is good and then i like it alot

  4. Sandra Watts July 23, 2015 Reply

    I like Andie MacDowell & Colin Ferguson. I have yet to see this however. Thanks for the review.
    Sandra Watts recently posted…Win a Henri Bendel Shopping Spree!My Profile

    • Author
      Ruth July 23, 2015 Reply

      Sandra I hope you get a chance to see this because if you like those two you will love this series!

  5. barrie July 24, 2015 Reply

    I’ll have to check this out as I’ve not seen this …yet!

  6. Linda Manns Linneman August 2, 2015 Reply

    I just love the Cedar Cove series. I have read all the Cedar Cove books from Debbie Macomber and really enjoyed them. Thank you so much for sharing

    • Author
      Ruth August 3, 2015 Reply

      Glad you’re enjoying! Happy to be able to provide this review.

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