Elizabeth and Jack struggle to find time alone as their romance grows more serious. As Elizabeth makes a decision to move out on her own, Abigail learns Gowen has an upsetting new plan for her café, and Cody’s misbehavior causes a rift between Abigail and Elizabeth. Then, as Jesse and his gang move into Hope Valley, Frank realizes he can’t hide his past from Abigail before she faces a shocking revelation on her own.
First of all, if you have not read my recent interview with Brian Bird, the show’s creator, please check it out here. No fan of the show will want to miss this powerful testament to the true heart and vision of this remarkable man.
Secondly, please know that there is a possibility that you will find spoilers in this review. I work extremely hard to ensure that I never reveal too much, but in truth, Hallmark reveals things quite often through their pictures. Please do not read this now if you are worried about spoilers. Otherwise, into the fray we go!
A true “hallmark” of the show (pun intended) has always been the children of Hope Valley. During season two, we often didn’t see the children featured, but thankfully, that has come to an end with season three. Some of the children highlighted are returning roles, but there are some new ones in the mix. Of course, there is the precious new cast member, Carter Ryan Evancic, and I will make a detailed examination of his role of Cody in a moment. Additionally, Javien is joining the show in the role of Robert, while Logan is returning in the role of Miles. In the back, you can just about make out Christian as Timmy, and then there are two girls in the back who are returning as well–Gracyn as Emily and Genea as Laura. Now while most of the children are only featured minimally in this episode, there is no doubt that there will be more to come from these talented young people and the opportunity for a wide variety of stories. And if nothing else, Miss Thatcher is back!
The addition of Carter to this glorious show is a total triumph. Carter is a prodigious little actor with a natural talent that surpasses some of what is seen from adults in this business. For him, it just comes naturally. And his storyline will resonate with so many viewers. As Carter’s character (Cody) struggles with the loss of his parents (especially his father), the sympathy abounds for him. Two actors step up to the plate, so to speak. One is featured here–our own Mountie Jack, who know what it is like to lose a father, but the other character who steps in just may surprise you. No spoilers, but it is one of the sweetest portions of the entire episode as I had never seen that particular actor with a child before, and this actor is unbelievably diverting in that particular scene.
Gratefully, there are other familiar faces as well. Johannah and Loretta return as Molly and Florence respectively, and this gives us hope that they will continue to be a vital part of Hope Valley. Although neither one is featured much in this episode, their characters are such fixtures in the town that we will definitely keep an eye out for them in future episodes.
There is a stupefying plot twist with the return of Dottie as played by Erica. Again, no spoilers from this end, but something tells me that she may be used as a tool of someone on the wrong side of the law. She was Mr. Gowen’s pawn all too often last season, and we just don’t know where her character is heading this season. All I can say is that Erica injects the right amount of elusiveness into this character, and maybe it would behoove all the residents of Hope Valley to be wary of her.
Again, Nora has waltzed back into Hope Valley, and she is stylized by the incomparably gifted Kristina. I never knew quite what to think of her last season. She always seemed to be a little unstable mentally. Although we received hints about her character in the New Year’s film, there is just something about her that makes me question some of her sincerity. Perhaps it is just her naivety, but I suppose only time will tell.
It is Martin’s character that indubitably incensed me to the core. Not because of his misdeeds or underhanded dealings, but it is that after this episode, I struggled to detest this character as I did the past two seasons. Mr. Gowen has been that character you could love to hate. But as was hinted in the New Year’s film, Mr. Gowen may be changing. Suddenly, he is becoming sentimental and sweet (what??), and it’s all because of Nora, his love from so many years ago. I want to mistrust him, and I want to spew violent insults at him, but Martin’s portrayal won’t let me. And that’s why I got ferociously angry, and had I been able to fling something at the screen without injury, I probably would have. It’s a similar trick that “Covers” saw when Warren Saget began to turn over a new leaf in Cedar Cove. The biggest question all of us Hearties have is–can we trust this new side of Mr. Gowen? I just don’t know what to say. It is a testament to Martin’s talent to be able depict this villainous man in such a way that the viewers don’t know what to make of him. Of course, the true genius of playing the bad guy is to never play him judgementally, and indeed, Martin has mastered that skill.
This is a pairing that we Hearties began to see during the New Year’s film, and beholding them together, should definitely give us pause. Aren is a new face to me this season, and there is no doubt that he plays the charming, handsome, but potentially dangerous Jesse with ease. This is when dramatic irony is at its finest–the viewers know something that the majority of the characters do not. And in this episode, his true colors will be unraveled even more. And poor Clara is caught in the middle, and she doesn’t know it.
Eva is the actress whom I believe has truly grown more than any other actor involved in this show. When her character was introduced last year, I truly had no knowledge of her as an actress, and although I admired her unique brand of talent, it took awhile for me to get used to her signature way of acting. As she has matured into this character and sharpened her acting ability, I have become thoroughly impressed with her transformation as she has blossomed into a lovely woman and a dynamic actress. I knew she had the potential (and evidently, so did Hallmark), and I’m sure it has helped her cause to work with a seasoned veteran like Lori Loughlin on this show and Garage Sale Mystery. I am utterly enchanted with her character Clara, but that makes me worry ever more for her as Jesse gets seduces her unspoiled nature, and she permits him to inch closer to her awakening heart. I would love to see her character alter the blackguard Jesse for the good, but I have my suspicions that will happen. If anything, I fear for her safety in future episodes this season.
It used to be that I was completely a champion of Bill as played by Jack, but last season witnessed some disheartening changes. I wasn’t sure what I thought of his character, and as much as I admired Jack’s portrayal of this deeply troubled but darkly righteous Mountie, I questioned whether he belonged in Hope Valley. Maybe his tenure was over. After all, Jack had already botched things with Abigail, and I was uncertain if his continued presence would confuse that lady more than she already was. Well, this episode is what redeemed Bill, in my opinion. Two times, he did something that surprised me and at the same time, restored my good faith in his character and who he is. I’m glad Jack is not leaving the show as he is one whose portrayal of this stalwart Mountie is exceptional. As a result of this episode, not only has Bill restored my faith in him, but he has added a layer or two to the storyline. All I will say is–I pity Abigail. No more from me on that topic.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that Lee stole my heart last season. Kavan is not only excessively handsome, but his command of the role of the entrepreneur who comes to Hope Valley only desiring success for both himself and the town is positively ideal. He portrays Lee effortlessly and with such attention to detail that every vocal and facial expression, as well as each gesticulation, demonstrate exactly what and who he is. And there is no dispute in my mind that he is the only one who could even begin to handle the larger-than-life Rosemary as played by Pascale.
In this episode, Lee is propelled nearly to his breaking point yet again, but we have come to expect that in regards to his relationship with Rosie. However, we also get to see just how much he cares for this vibrant and aggressive woman who doesn’t even understand what the word “relax” means. But, of course, we can count on Kavan and Pasacle to give us some hilarious moments as they always do. I consistently appreciate their brand of comedy, and it is the leading factor that caused me to become infatuated with Lee last season.
Of course, Rosie has come a long way from season one, and that is due to two things. First of all, we Hearties no longer worry about her interest in Jack. But secondly (and more importantly), Pascale has infused so much personality, spunk, and even likability into a character which some actresses may have played with less heart. Pascale has caused us Hearties to become enamored with Rosie and her electrifying lifestyle, and she has given us a glimpse into the heart of a woman who is always “on stage,” but only wants to be loved and seen for who she really is on the inside.
It is through the love and support of Lee that we are finally witnessing a Rosie emerging that is still a bit brash at times, but beneath that exterior, we can see her obvious insecurities that she attempts to conceal with bravado and busyness. It is Lee who is beginning to unmask the puzzle that is Rosemary, and once in awhile, we get a glance at her genuine nature. And it is Pascale that is able to portray this woman in such a ferociously masterful way.
Admittedly, we cannot forget Abigail’s new potential love interest. Mark plays Pastor Frank, and as we learned in the New Year’s film, he does have a shady past (of course, we already suspected that, right?) As the ruggedly handsome pastor who has attempted to leave his old life behind, Mark does a tremendous job of infusing Frank with all the qualities that make frontier women swoon over guys like him. He is typically somewhat unkempt in appearance, but never dirty nor poorly dressed. It’s more an “I just got out of bed and threw on these clothes but I can rock that style” kind of look. The mystery that his robust features conceal is so intoxicating that I believe it enthralls Abigail even further. She is falling for him, but she is concerned that she may be jumping in with her heart instead of her head. But never underestimate Pastor Frank. He’s not going to return to his former life (or so we hope) without an impassioned struggle. Though in a small town, it is difficult to suppress one’s past.
This poster is not something new (we saw it in the New Year’s special), but where it is displayed could complicate matters for Pastor Frank. We suspect what will happen in the next episode, hence another customary cliffhanger, and it is this poster that brings it to a head.
I’ve never made it a secret that one of my original reasons for tuning into this show was wrapped up my unquestionably favorite character, Abigail. Lori is like an old friend because she was that special part of my teen years that were spent absorbing the wonder that was Full House. As Abigail, she is always flawlessly beautiful and immersed impeccably in her role. To look at her is to witness the pillar of strength that Abigail is in the town of Hope Valley. It is so good to see Abigail and Elizabeth together again, as they were not often apart last season due to so much happening in Hamilton. But there are some changes.
I wasn’t quite expecting Elizabeth to move out on her own, but it does make for an intriguing story. Nor was I expecting to see the chink in Abigail’s armor, so to speak. She is a widow, but she raised a fine son (who was also lost in the mining disaster). Interestingly enough, it is Cody, who wields a great deal of influence over her, and she appears to be a pushover for the first time ever in the series. We’ve seen her stand up to the likes of Gowen and other men who were rough around the edges. but give her a little boy with a winsome smile, a frolicsome baseball mitt, and sorrowful puppy dog eyes, and I think Abigail tends to go a bit soft, much to the chagrin of Elizabeth. I have to say, I found myself a bit irritated at Abigail, but I had to remind myself that Cody is an orphan, and he has a had a severe life in spite of his tender years. In a similar situation, I might be the same way.
Yet another cryptic scene from our beloved Abigail. This is another plot shift, and I didn’t see this one coming. I’ll leave it up to you, loyal viewers to guess what this scene implies. All I will say is that yet again, Lori shows her versatility in this scene, and she always looks radiant doing it. Lori is one of the most gifted actresses I have ever seen as she is able to fit right into the whatever role she is given, no matter what, and make it authentically credible. She is sincerely a modern marvel, and we are blessed to have an actress of her caliber grace the screen of one of the finest shows in television history.
Lest we forget good, old Mountie Jack–I know Daniel is the one who consistently brings this role to life, and I have to say he continues to impress me season after season. I know he’s good-looking, but thankfully the powers that be chose an actor who can play the romance scenes as well as the fight scenes. Daniel has that singular way of dashingly sweeping Erin’s character off her feet one minute and battling corrupt Mounties the next minute. And all is done with a simple flair that makes him appear fully in the moment (which he always is without exception) without ever appearing to overdo his portrayal. In short, Daniel is possibly one of the central reasons the show is so successful as Daniel’s depiction of Mountie Jack is so spot on that it is virtually impossible to find the words in any language to do justice to his overwhelming prowess.
Add Elizabeth, as portrayed by Erin, and you have a combination that has so resonated with audiences that many fans are convinced that Erin and Daniel are dating in real life (which they are not). There is no doubt that Erin and Daniel have found that easy chemistry that cannot be forced nor planned–it just happens. And it makes the developing love story of Elizabeth and Jack that much more gratifying. Additionally, each season they appear more and more in tune with each other which essentially mirrors the developing relationship between Jack and Elizabeth.
And now that Elizabeth has her own house…
….it boggles the imagination to consider where their relationship and interaction will go from here.
Yes, Hearties, you can be assured of some very sweet and sumptuous scenes between these two characters in this episode.
But if Elizabeth thinks for one moment that Jack is going to be her puppet on a string, she had better rethink things. Sometimes advice columns are not the places to get relationship advice. They are both stubborn creatures, and neither one is going to give in and be less than they are. Mutual respect and compromise is something these two just might have to learn the hard way.
It is with a grateful heart that we find Erin back in the role of Elizabeth. As she has taken Elizabeth on a journey fraught with pitfalls and obstacles of which she could never conceive, it is a truly wondrous thing to see Erin’s portrayal of Elizabeth in this third season. As I mentioned in the New Year’s film, Erin has allowed her character to find herself, and there is now no going back and forth between two places in her affections. Her home is Hope Valley, and her man is Jack. I am aware that many Hearties are agitated about potential suitors wrenching her away from Jack, I enter this season not worrying about that. Yes, there will be challenges, but they are just encumbrances that the lovers will have to overcome and emerge stronger. Any potential suitor this season who attempts to pull a “Charles” will not only meet the wrath of Jack, but Elizabeth’s ire as well. She knows what she wants and who she wants, and her true destiny only lies within Hope Valley with Jack. The details will have to be fleshed out this season and following, but in the end, she will be pure gold, having been refined in the fire of purification.
Sometimes, as Elizabeth will discover in this episode, it’s harder to see those you love and care about going through troubled waters. Not that Elizabeth is done with hardships, but I believe we will see other characters navigating hurdles during this season that may be even more heart-wrenching than what Elizabeth endured last season. Regardless, Erin has infused Elizabeth with more strength to face these trials than she ever deemed possible. For that reason, I believe that we are going to be witnessing an Elizabeth who has learned more from her mentor, Abligail, than maybe even she herself has realized. In future episodes, it may be Abigail leaning on Elizabeth for support, and I’m sure Elizabeth is up to the challenge.
At the end of the day, Elizabeth has returned to her passion of writing, and I believe that is going to keep her sane when the violent storms come billowing through her life and rock her to the core. And with Erin breathing life into the gorgeous, vivacious, benevolent, and gentle Elizabeth, Hearties are assured of having a story that is overflowing with emotions and valuable lessons for all who come her way. Season three is in good hands, and I anxiously await what is yet to come.
So be sure to tune into the Hallmark Channel Sunday night, February 21, for this impeccable, family-friendly show and the continuing saga of #KissingLissing. Will they kiss in this episode? I’m not saying.
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