CEDAR COVE – CIVIL WAR – Olivia and Jack confront each other about their trust issues and wonder if men and women can truly be just friends. Olivia is concerned after Grace ends her engagement to Cliff and insists she’s fine while but Bob and Peggy conspire to prove Grace is only kidding herself. Olivia serves Will papers to stop his real estate plans but unsolicited advice from Paul makes her second guess taking things that far. And Jack helps Alex navigate a test of her sobriety while Olivia spends even more time alone with Paul.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: While I am regularly assured that my reviews are essentially spoiler-free, I do always make it a point to warn people that I might reveal something you did not know about the show and/or episode. If you’re worried, please do not read any further. However, if you trust the fact that I will not spoil the upcoming episode, let’s dive in!
We have come to the halfway point in the season, and if you have been following along, you know this is an explosive season full of twists, turns, new characters, and emotional rollercoasters. While this episode follows suit, there are some positively dazzling moments contained therein. And, of course, some of that comes from this new duo–Olivia and Paul. I will admit that in the beginning, I was suspicious of the new district attorney (kind of like Bob is), but I kept my mind open and decided this guy was okay. For me, Colin has provided an opportunity for Andie to demonstrate her lighter side as far as acting goes. All too often, Olivia is quite intense, but with Paul, she relaxes a bit. Probably because (and this is just my opinion), she doesn’t see Paul as a potential suitor, and he is able to get family issues and Jack off her mind in creative ways. In her mind, she is doing nothing wrong (and to be fair, she isn’t). But Paul? Well, I tend to think that he is attempting to determine just how far Olivia will let him go. In this episode, they are still spending time together, but not to worry as Paul continues to be the perfect gentleman.
Andie and Colin seem to have an easy way of working together (of course, we are talking about Andie whom I think could put anyone at ease–after all I have “interviewed” her live, and it is one of those experiences I shall never forget). While I still hold out hope that Olivia and Jack will ultimately get back together, until they do, I don’t really mind watching these two. In fact, Colin has been given some great comedic lines, and Andie perfectly matches him whether in comedy or drama.
If I have one criticism, I really miss seeing Jack (Dylan Neal) and Olivia together. I realize that trust has to be rebuilt, but I sometimes sense it is a little past the breaking point. While I enjoy Olivia and Paul, I miss Jack. I can thank the writers that we finally do get an immeasurably tender moment between Jack and Olivia that reminds me of why I adore them together. While I often say two actors have chemistry, there has always been something ostensibly special between Dylan and Andie that can only be described as magic. When they are on-screen together, I find myself putting faith in second-chance love. I have to keep reminding myself that this is Hallmark, and I am convinced a happy ending is imminent. However, the beauty of Hallmark is always the “how” rather than the “what.” I am extremely anxious to see how these two mend things, and with Andie and Dylan, you know it’s going to be dynamically spectacular!
One note of caution. There is a cliffhanger at the end of this episode which involves these “fantastic four.” You may wish to get your stuffed football (or some other item that will not harm your television set) lest you become enraged and start throwing things. I wasn’t overjoyed with the ending, but again, Hallmark knows what they’re doing because this episodic conclusion ensures viewers will come back next week to see what happens next. Incidentally, Rebecca Marshall (Alex) gives a stunning performance in this episode. As much as I don’t want Alex and Jack to spend so much time together, Rebecca and Dylan appear to work effortlessly together. In fact, it’s a treat to see the two of them deliver both humor and drama so expertly (kind of like Andie and Colin), so maybe this is Hallmark’s purpose. In order to deal with this time of trust reconstruction, it’s refreshing to have lighter storylines for both Jack and Olivia. And I believe Paul and Alex provide just that.
In addition to this, for those who have been affected by alcoholism or addiction of some kind, the story the writers have given to Jack and Alex to portray is fully relatable. Moreover, viewers who tune in Saturday night will be treated to a credible yet entertaining performance by Dylan and Alex that deals with an issue many networks refuse to tackle.
Speaking of Paul, he is still residing at the Thyme and Tide much to Peggy’s delight and Bob’s chagrin. Indeed, this beguiling couple still doesn’t agree concerning his intentions towards Olivia. So as expected, there are more great scenes. But it is entirely possible that his motorcycle overshadows everything else, right?
Ah yes, the character that no one likes–Will (played by Cameron Bancroft). I am still not a Will fan, so I maintain that Cameron is quite the actor since I detest Will so profusely. In fact, I think all the hatred I once had for Warren, has been transferred to this character (poor guy). But that’s probably an understatement as I probably loathe Will more than I ever did Warren. If there’s one person who can handle Will though, it’s Olivia. In fact, things become quite incendiary between these two. I often say that Andie rarely raises her voice when portraying any of her characters, but this is one time you will see the “tigress” come out. And rightfully so. There’s something about the way Cameron and Andie interact in their respective roles that just draws me in. One of my favorite scenes in this episode is when they butt heads (I almost like Will when Olivia puts him in his place). I won’t give away any details concerning what happens, but be prepared for a bit of a jolt. That’s all I will say.
Let me first set the record straight. When I watched this episode, I watched it in tandem with last Saturday’s. Originally, these two were a part one and two, so I wasn’t certain where the separation would be. I took a guess, and I was wrong. Justine (Sarah Smyth) and Kelly (Laura Mennell) have an delectable exchange (at Warren’s expense) that you do not want to admit. (But as a loyal Warrenite, I have to say “Poor Warren.”) But on the flip side, the humor is absolutely stellar!
After Warren’s flagrant outburst concerning their former relationship, Justine is having her own set of issues. Luke (Jesse Hutch) is struggling because Justine didn’t divulge her former relationship to him. Thankfully, we have a couple who seems to weather any storm, and they are so precious whenever together on-screen. The interactions between Sarah and Jesse are always some of my preferred scenes because they appear so comfortable together with each other and their corresponding roles. It’s nice to have a couple that just doesn’t get caught up in needless drama.
At least usually. Moon and Justine have a few moments, and off Justine goes to try to save the day. One thing we can always anticipate with Justine is that her soft heart will seek after those who are struggling. And there is no one better to portray the empathetic Justine! Furthermore, I will never forget Moon (Timothy Webber) as he is such an integral part of Cedar Cove that I think there would be an uprising if he were ever removed from the show or another actor replaced him. Just not happening.
Last week, I was very tight-lipped about Laura Mennell because Hallmark had not officially promoted her appearance. Since that time, everyone has become enchanted with just how lovely & talented Laura is. I personally feel she is one of the most underrated actresses today, and I am glad to see that Hallmark has recognized her talent and chosen to place her in roles where she can display her prowess. “Hearties” will remember her as the female lawyer in the season two premiere of When Calls the Heart, but she has been in so much more. Lifetime’s Stolen from the Womb was my introduction to her, but she most recently appeared in A Country Wedding (as a blonde).
These two actors are not strangers either. Both appeared in small but important roles in Flight 93. And together, they are the indomitable couple. We all suspected that Warren had a wife, but to discover just how exquisite and accomplished she is was quite bewildering (it would appear to have been quite the shock to Warren too.). The easy way in which Laura and Brennan relate shows that they have mutual respect and are skilled at bringing only the best performances from each other. When actors are able to relate in this magical way, the viewers can always sense the electric environment thus adding to their overall enjoyment.
This is the episode where I almost cried. Although I love the character of Warren (almost as much as I love the actor who plays him), I had no idea that a softer and romantic side of him existed. Interestingly enough, I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised when they see this side of Warren. I predict even more Warrenites to enter the fold.
The real question is–will Warren and Kelly get a divorce? Well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but as far as I’m concerned, that is some kiss! Is it possible that after a kiss like that Kelly will say goodbye forever? You will have to watch and find out.
Finally! My favorite couple has come back to their own. In this episode, I am so relieved to finally see Cliff (Sebastian Spence) and Grace (Teryl Rothery) behaving more like the couple of my dreams. While both have been fantastic in their own right, together, these two are the ones in whom I have placed my faith in love from season one onward. This season has been overflowing with stumbling blocks and pitfalls along the way, but it seems that possibly we have reached the rainbow’s end.
In the last episode, we saw Grace give up the man she loved more than life itself because she was so indecisive. Although there were times I wanted to shake Grace till she couldn’t see straight, I was convinced that their “break-up” would be temporary. After all, if Grace and Cliff couldn’t work things out on the show, no one could. This was the couple that was meant to be from the beginning. But, of course, Grace is fighting her own past demons.
Enter Bob (Bruce Boxleitner) and Peggy (Barbara Niven). After all, Bob and Peggy know these two belong together, and they are determined to do all within their power to see that a happy ending for them is imminent. Bruce and Barbara interact with both Teryl and Sebastian as only they can in their respective roles. What ensues is delightfully written (though I wish the scenes had been just a bit longer as they were so clever.)
In case you were worried, Cliff and Grace fans, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
To say that I think this couple has on-screen chemistry that few couples possess is an understatement. I can remember many people claiming in the past that Teryl and Sebastian had no chemistry whatsoever, but I ask you–do pictures lie? As far as I’m concerned, Sebastian and Teryl are the absolute epitome of on-screen chemistry. I also relish the fact that Bruce and Barbara get to watch from a distance. This quartet should be quite gratified with this episode as they all worked incredibly hard to make the dreams of thousands of fans come true. What’s left? A wedding perhaps? Well, we shall see.
While Bruce and Barbara have some of their most engaging scenes so far this season (in my opinion), it is their characters’ relationships to Cliff and Grace that raise the level of the story to sweet and sometimes humorous heights. Bruce plays the role of Bob exactly as he should–cool, calm, collected, and nonchalant. Barbara plays Peggy as the polar opposite (which makes for sheer delight between her character and Cliff). In this reviewer’s humble opinion, there are not two other actors who could bring these beloved characters to life in the masterful and almost reverential way they do. My sincerest desire for both Bruce and Barbara is that the second half of the season will treat them as kindly as the first half has.
As for Teryl, she shines as Grace in this episode in a way she hasn’t all season long. No longer is she caught up in her indecisiveness that seemed so extreme this season as compared to the other two seasons. We all understand her character’s fears, but it does seem that they have rather incapacitated her in recent times. Unfortunately, I suppose fear can do that to people. She nearly had me in tears at the end with one of her best lines of all three seasons (that she delivered with absolute perfection).
For Sebastian, this episode (even though his role is still tiny, it’s stellar) allowed him to show incredible depth, warmth, and sorrow through the eyes of Cliff. As Cliff, he wears his emotions on his sleeve (while Grace tends to conceal hers). All you have to do is look at Cliff, and you know he’s hurt. Sebastian gives us the kind of performance that few actors can, and as this is a favored role, it’s clear that he is essentially content with his part in this episode. There is no doubt in our minds that Cliff loves Grace and will do anything to get her back. Cliff just cannot “teach Grace a lesson” as that is not the Cliff we know and love. Sebastian is able to take his character on a soul-searching journey that ends at the feet of Grace, his only true love. Mercifully, the writers didn’t let Cliff destroy himself as he would have if reconciliation were not a viable option. I do believe that those of us who are endlessly devoted to this couple and overflowing with adoration for them will probably respond favorably to this episode (and unfortunately, we may be the only ones still ecstatic by the end). Indeed, Hallmark is finally beginning to give us COVErs a portion of the happy ending they promise (but we still have a long ways to go).
Oh, and as a side note, did I mention how absolutely dashing Sebastian looks as Cliff in this episode? While I don’t tend to get caught up in the looks of the various actors and actresses, I just cannot go on without saying the look the show gave Sebastian in this particular episode is my favorite all season so far. I mean, I could get lost in those pools of blue (dear me, what am I saying–it’s already interrupted my review on more than one occasion). Indeed, Grace is a lucky lady to have someone as handsome, charming, and loving as Cliff (all qualities that Sebastian has brought to the role as only he can). In the eyes of this reviewer, there is not nor will there ever be another individual on earth who could play this role with such passion, ease, and heart. Indeed, Sebastian is the creative genius responsible for crafting Cliff to be the amazing character he is (and it’s not every actor that can do that).
As Warren, Brennan Elliott again does not disappoint. When I think back over the show this season, I am still amazed at how “Warren fever” has gripped so many of the fans. Of course, I have loved Warren since last season, but the writers have been so clever to invent stories so that people who never gave Warren a nod before have become avid fans who cannot get enough of him. From where I stand, it’s about time that Brennan receives his due for crafting such a mesmerizing, controversial, and “bigger than life” character (not to mention conflicted). While one could give credit to the writers, director, and even the other sensational actors with whom Brennan shares scenes this season, Brennan is deserving of the kind of praise that doesn’t come often to actors. In my opinion, in the midst of all the couple chaos, general town tumult, and widespread upheaval that somewhat has taken over this season, Brennan plays a character that is diabolically funny and charmingly flawed. Now that the dimension of his personal life is being unraveled in all of its untidiness, sorrow and pity have become the mood of the day for this once-hated villain of Cedar Cove. And this has caused his fans (and non-fans whom he has converted) to begin to understand him more. In so doing, Brennan has risen to new heights and carried many an actor with him. As I always say (though he tends to deflect this compliment), there is something about Brennan’s acting that brings out the best in the other actors with whom he is privileged to work. While I understand that the caliber of actors on this show is already high, I believe he inspires them to new heights. I often find myself looking forward to seeing what Warren will be up to in the next episode, and I can honestly state that if Brennan Elliott were not playing him, I would hardly take any notice of this complex character. Again I say that Brennan has done the impossible in causing me to enjoy a character so contrary to my nature–it almost makes me wonder if he doesn’t have some magic up his sleeve after all.
In conclusion, do not miss what I can easily call the best episode of the season so far, and if you are looking for more information, please check out the sites below: