ENGAGEMENTS: Olivia and Jack face a long distance relationship as Jack begins his new job as editor in cheif in Seattle. Paul avoids a second date with Alex as Olivia urges him to take a chance on love, leading Paul to open up about his past. Justine weighs whether Luke’s decision about a future family is a deal breaker before making a confession of her own. Grace secretly plans her own wedding shower behind Olivia and Maryellen’s backs. Despite promising Olivia he’ll shape up, Will’s latest mishap proves she was right all along. Just as Jack serves David an ultimatum, a couple’s dispute in her courtroom prompts Olivia to give her own relationship a fighting chance before presenting Jack with a loaded question.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: As per usual, know that there is a chance I will reveal something about the episode or show that you do not know, but typically I am told that I don’t reveal too much. Therefore, if you are worried about spoilers, do yourself a favor and please do not read on. However, if you are ready for the “scoop,” let’s dive in.
Lest you think I have overlooked this storyline this season, permit me to comment on what comes to a head in these final episodes. As Corrie and Roy Mcafee (the ones searching for their daughter who was given up for adoption), Sarah Jane Redmond and Mike Dopud skillfully play this auspicious couple. For much of the season, this is merely a story that fades into the background. When Gloria (Tara Wilson) comes into town, we are aware of her true identity from the beginning, and the perky Linnette (Anna Van Hooft) is one who stands out in the trio of girl roommates.
Unfortunately, the roommate trio has been warned that Gloria is potentially dangerous. Because of that, the typically outgoing and friendly Linnette has made the decision to avoid Gloria at all costs. Moreover, Gloria is continuing to go out of her way to meet the girl who is her biological sister. For me, this was the episode where I began to see both Anna and Tara shine. Up to this point, I believe the story lines were minimal, and the stronger actors pushed these into the background.
Seeing these two in a scene together is a veritable feat! Mike plays the tough guy who is protecting his family, and Tara plays the rejected daughter who longs for family love. Sad to say, this is not the episode where the story will unravel with positivity. Mike’s character has warned Gloria, but it is evident she only wants to view the family from afar.
Remember how I said the day might come when I stopped hating Will? Well, while the character of Will (played so accurately by Cameron Bancroft that I sometimes forget he is only acting the part of the lazy and annoying Will) is not ever going to be one that I will revere, I can’t deny that I enjoy seeing him on the screen, especially opposite Olivia. And you can see this scene doesn’t look good. Yet another villain in the ever-growing population of this quaint town. Notwithstanding, it is in an exchange with Andie during this scene that Cameron delivers one of the most quick-witted lines all season long. Although we are excessively perturbed with the character of Will (like his big sis is), I cannot deny just how convincingly Cameron plays this role. My understanding is that outside of this irresponsible character he plays with such competence, he is a nice person, and I believe I have evidence to support this claim now. You won’t find him as active on twitter as oodles of actors are, but never doubt his penchant for watching in the background. I know this because I tried to encourage him to be more active just this past weekend, and much to my surprise, I discovered that he reads my reviews (and he called them amazing). I was quite honored and speechless, but it has caused me to view Cameron in a more positive light.
Be prepared for some tension and tenderness between these two. Since Luke’s bombshell statement about never wanting children, things have been a bit awkward between this cherubic couple. The authenticity that both Jesse Hutch and Sarah Smyth bring to their roles is readily apparent in this episode, and viewers can still count on the treasured interactions between them in this episode.
As you might guess, however, there is some drama between these two. It is irrefutable that this couple belongs together, and we are assured of their transcendent love for each other. This is the episode where we finally see that full range of remarkable acting we’ve come to know from Sarah. Jesse always has a commanding and impeccable performance no matter what he does, but it is pleasurable to see Sarah get the chance to bring some dramatic elements to Justine’s life. These are not the silly spectacles for which young people are known. No, Justine is learning how to navigate the adult world, and Sarah is the perfect one to take her on this emotional roller coaster.
Here’s to anticipating our young Cedar Cove sweethearts being back to their delectable and loving gestures soon.
Speaking of loving gestures, the romantic and dashing Cliff Harting is back, and as always Sebastian Spence is at the pinnacle of his game with this part. Sebastian is a member of an exclusive group of actors who can make an entrance without any lines and still be memorable. Throughout this season, Sebastian has continued to dazzle us with his prowess, and no matter how miniscule Cliff’s scene, he always manages to create magic. And he does it with such panache, charm, elegance, and most importantly, authenticity.
While we may not be accustomed to seeing Cliff in just this apparatus, the thought behind this is so selfless that we almost don’t miss his horse, ranch, or cowboy hat. No spoilers, but Cliff’s appearance and the reason behind it is one of the most romantic things he’s done all season long. No one can ever doubt the depth, width, and breadth of Cliff’s love for his intended no matter what issues may come to try to split them up. He is the consummate gentleman, and there is not another human being on earth who could portray him with such a pure, humble, and tender heart as Sebastian.
Speaking of Cliff’s intended, considered just what Grace might be up to? Well, let’s just say that her tendencies to want to take charge go into a bit of overdrive during this episode. Teryl Rothery, the only one who could portray this spitfire with heart and soul, has brought those delightful qualities to her character that we have come to know and love (and laugh about). Grace just cannot keep her hands out of anything, including her bridal shower.
Be on the lookout for some hilarious scenes between her, Olivia, Maryellen, and especially Moon. I found her exchanges typical but full of humor and levity that made the episode such a delight to watch. In fact, speaking of Moon…
Aw, poor guy. Timothy Webber sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the incredible characterization he does of Moon. While I adore so many of the characters, how can you not love Moon? And he certainly has a predicament concerning this bridal shower. Because he genuinely knows everyone in town, it is a treat to see how he interacts with each person according to their individuality.
In this episode, Maryellen’s primary role is to plan Grace’s surprise bridal shower with Olivia. It is a difficult task as they soon discover since Grace just refuses to take a backseat role, so to speak. Poor Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) is sometimes beside herself due to her meddlesome mother, but with Olivia helping her, you know that they will emerge victorious. It’s refreshing to see Olivia again having a chance to escape from the mundane but stressful courthouse and do something a bit light-hearted. It’s also pure delectation to see Elyse and Andie work together as their scenes together are typically sparse at best. This was probably my favorite episode for Elyse all season long (at least, so far) as she played the accomplished daughter naturally and with expert timing. And as we know, any time an actor or actress plays a scene with Andie, they cannot help but be absolutely splendid since she tends to bring out the best in every actor with whom she works (no wonder she and Brennan get along so well as I have mentioned how he does the same thing).
Lest you wonder about Rebecca Jennings (Cindy Busby), permit me to say all be revealed on Saturday. I relish the way Cindy portrays Rebecca this season as she is still my favorite of the three roommates. And her interactions with Paul Watson (Colin Ferguson) are simply extraordinary. I hope to see more from this eternal pessimist and a workaholic in the future.
Of course, who can forget conflicted Jack and his job predicament? Indeed, Dylan Neal has done it again–playing this character with as much drive, passion, and charm as he always does. (Come on–we know Dylan is an absolute expert in everything he does–he just can’t do any less than simply perfection.) In this episode, we begin to see Olivia and Jack struggling with a long-distance relationship. Jack is now officially a commuter, and it would seem that they will scramble to see each other.
Although Jack is grappling with whether he should even accept and continue with this job, Olivia continues to support him (oh, but observe Andie’s face as she supports him–you will know exactly what is going on in Olivia’s mind). Based on the way Dylan interprets this character, it would seem that he has his character so wrapped up in this new job that I don’t think he recognizes any potential issues with this arrangement other than he won’t see Olivia as much. No doubt, Dylan has poured his heart and soul into this driven and talented journalist, and as a man would do, he is engrossed in his work. We still see a tender moment here and there between Jack and Olivia, but it would seem that Seattle is stealing him away (and Jack doesn’t quite sense the potential pitfalls like Olivia does). But who can fault Jack after all? He is giving Olivia the space she requested. And I must admit I adore the way Dylan has crafted Jack into such a hard-working man who is far too busy enjoying his work (and his girlfriend, when he can) to be bothered with thoughts of alcohol. Jeri is gone, too. Additionally, Jack is a stalwart man who is willing to stand up to his boss when he must (and he does–so beware!).
As an honorable mention, I simply must tell you of two actors that make a brief but gripping appearance in this episode. Olivia encounters a young wife who is having domestic issues. Because of my past, these stories always capture my attention. Clare Filipow is the brilliant actress who brings this character of Lisa to life, and I did my share of screaming at her, especially when her husband Tom (played by Sebastian Gacki) barged in. If you follow my reviews, you know how much Peggy’s story emboldened me at the conclusion of season two. This was similar, and the story literally broke my heart (and it did Olivia’s too). I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but be sure to pay attention to this couple (and these actors). I hope to see them in more things in the future as I had not seen Clare previously (but I discovered I had seen Sebastian Gacki before–Garage Sale Mystery–perhaps that is why he looked vaguely familiar).
I promise I have not been avoiding Paul Watson (Colin Ferguson). Remember how much I didn’t like him at the beginning of the season. Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine Cedar Cove without him now! I absolutely relish his sense of humor and comedic timing. I revel in every scene he has with Olivia, and I am hopeful for great things between him and Alex (anything to keep him away from Olivia, right?). But up to this point, there have been no truly weighty scenes, but dear reader, this is the episode when you will begin to see the range of our dear Colin’s acting. His character may shy away from deep things, but he is now being faced with one. You’ll still witness his avoidance of Alex–will he ever contact her again? Olivia continues to encourage him in this vein, but I’ll let you see that for yourselves.
I must say I revel in his scenes with Olivia, and there are definitely some phenomenal ones in this episode. I don’t know what it is about Colin–probably his unassuming style and his carefree charm that just rolls off him. Add his clever wit, and you have quite an actor. Well, okay, he’s not too bad to look at either, right? I mean he is rather handsome, and that makes his character potentially dangerous (as Bob Beldon was once concerned about his intentions). I invite you to truly examine Mr. Watson during this episode and try to detect and decipher every nuance as well as what is said (and not said). I believe you will agree right along with me that Colin is a true master of his craft, and he is fully immersed in who his character is. I think that he has performed that impossible feat–becoming an integral part of a successful show and even calling into question just whom Olivia might choose (well come on, she has to choose Jack, right?)
Do I even need to mention just how stunningly flawless Andie MacDowell is in her role of Olivia? I’ve mentioned her throughout this review because she is decidedly the heart of the show and the community. Andie portrays this role with such reverence and inspiration that sometimes I become so caught up in her character I forget she is acting. That is when you know you have an actress of rare caliber, and that describes Andie to a tee. She is rarely ruffled as Judge Lockhart, and she consistently fixes every problem (and potential problem) that may arise. There is no doubt that Olivia is devoted to Jack, but we know exactly how she feels about Jack’s new job. It is her discussions (and lack of words at times) with Paul that finally move her to make a choice that is necessary and surprisingly comes from her very own lips. Undeniably, Olivia and Jack are nearly back to where they were last season. Or are they? Well, only time will tell, but Jack and Olivia fans are going to squeal with joy at the end of this episode. (Enjoy it, dear reader, for something tells me that the finale may rock our faith to the core.)
So what about Alex? Oh, Rebecca Marshall does not disappoint this week at all (as if she ever could–a darling lady with real talent). In addition to being the somewhat jilted date of Paul Watson (poor girl), she has some superb scenes with our own Warren Saget. All season, she has been his nemesis, but we know that she is merely the recipient of misguided contempt because Warren takes out his aggression against his father on her. She is the one who has to tolerate his vengefulness against his dad. But thankfully, Alex is up to the task. The scenes between Alex and Warren are some of the best of the season, and just when you think you have it figured out, the storyline may make a shift you didn’t see coming. Rebecca delivers all her lines in that polished, matter-of-fact way that informs anyone she will not be bullied. What Rebecca has done with the character of Alex this season is truly miraculous. Last season, Alex was an interloper to the love story I cherished the most, and there was no chance for real character development. The “script writing gods” evidently smiled upon Rebecca though this season because she was handed a “meat and potatoes” story line that she has delivered with strength, wit, soul, and heart. I am so pleased she is such an integral part of the story, and indeed she has learned how to handle Warren in a way most people in Cedar Cove wouldn’t envision. I cannot say enough about this versatile actress, and kudos to Hallmark for giving her some well-deserved limelight this season.
Are you seriously worried that this episode is light on the character of Warren? Absolutely not! As I mentioned earlier this week, Brennan Elliott just keeps getting better and better in his role of Warren. In fact, I think to myself that improvement is impossible, and then he proves me wrong. Granted, Warren’s story line this season has been an actor’s dream, but Brennan was indubitably equal to the task (in fact, he supersedes it, in my humble opinion). And he doesn’t disappoint in this episode. In fact, Brennan delivers his lines with such skill, wit, and cleverness that I had to rewatch his scenes to let the significance of his character’s actions sink in. Did you really think he and old dad Buck were done fighting? Not a chance! Come now, a Saget never gives up. And in this episode, that is exactly what happens. Warren’s sole interest this episode is to get one up on his dad. Lest I spoil the episode, all I will state is that Brennan brings the phrase diabolical to a whole new level. Yes, at one point, I wanted to slap some sense into him with a baseball bat. (I know that doesn’t sound very much like what a Warrenite would say but I only would do it for his own good since his actions are potentially hurting him and alienating him further from the father from whom he still seeks approval, albeit in a backhanded way.) Regardless, this episode puts the wheels in motion for the explosive finale where it may be that Buck and Warren have the ultimate showdown. And here’s hoping that these two will finally reconcile–at least to a degree. No matter what you think of Warren, it is this charmingly flawed character that Brennan has brought to life in his impeccable way that still steals the show. I have a feeling that he may have some competition in that area in the finale however.
So whatever you are doing on Saturday, be sure you tune into Cedar Cove. I promise you will not be sorry.
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