Jack and Elizabeth are stronger than ever – but as Faith prepares to make a permanent move to Hope Valley while leaning on Jack for emotional support, Elizabeth grows wary of their friendship. Then, when a new student causes a streak of meanness in the classroom, Elizabeth implements a week of kind acts for others. And after Abigail promises to help a struggling group of settlers fight a heartless eviction, all of Hope Valley comes together for a very special evening.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT:
As I always say, there is the chance I will divulge too much of the story, so if you’re worried about spoilers, do not read on. I make a pledge to not reveal too much, but depending on which person with whom you speak… (Ben Rosenbaum always warns you that my reviews are filled with spoilers, and I appreciate that.) Anyway, use your own judgment and remember, you have been warned!
Rejoice, Feisty Flo fans! Loretta returns with her glorious beauty and charming spunk. I missed her last week, and to my surprise, this week, I did not find myself irritated with her. In fact, she seems most accommodating and not nearly as meddlesome as normal. In relation to Dottie (Erica), Flo appears to be stepping aside and not standing in the way of her friend’s chance at love. When Loretta infuses Flo with that infectious smile, how can you not help but love her? Although Flo only appears briefly, she is memorable, proficient, and dare I say kind? I appreciate the fact that Florence has thrust herself past the petty issues that incensed her before, and she has hearkened back to her commitment to her topmost concern, the welfare of Hope Valley.
Recently retired from his Mountie responsibilities, Bill (Jack) is unofficially beginning his next career. As he discovered the potential sabotage at the mill last week, he has continued that investigative work in this episode. There is no doubt that someone yearns to bring Hope Valley to its knees, and I still maintain that Gowan is at the heart of the issue, but whether anyone has joined him is rather inconclusive. As Bill, Jack has rebranded his character this season with all the qualities we adored about him during season one. Last season was a bit of a soap opera for Bill, but as Dottie points out, that has all come to the end. That is with the exception of Abigail. Dottie asks him point blank. I will not reveal his answer. But seriously, how can Jack get better looking every season? Not only that, he portrays the very image of Sherlock Holmes on the Canadian frontier. Does he still foster feelings for Abigail? Viewers will need to reach their own conclusions on that point.
Outstanding writing and precise acting have coupled together to create Dottie’s new and improved character as interpreted by Erica this season. I literally detested her last season as she was nothing but Mr. Gowan’s stooge and perhaps even his paramour (I never put anything past the likes of Gowan). But due to a shift in focus, a deepening of character, and tremendous skill, Erica has won my devotion. While I always longed for Abigail and Bill to be together, things change, and it would appear that Bill and Dottie may be destined at least to examine the possibilities. There is no doubt some ardent chemistry between these two–perhaps even more so than Lori and Jack. Only time will tell, but no matter what, I enjoy seeing these two together.
Again, although these two lovely ladies are not on screen much this episode. it’s always nice to see Jo as Molly, and even more of a treat to see Laura’s return as Mary. While Molly is a mainstay, we don’t always see Mary. While Mary is often quiet, she is the perfect foil for Molly. The subject these two are discussing in this particular scene will resonate with parents, and it’s a good reminder that even back then, parents had problems. I never grow tired of witnessing Jo’s simple prowess, but even Laura has the opportunity to demonstrate a bit of passion.
Yes, Wade has come back, but breathe a sigh of relief, Hearties. While Jack makes it clear he doesn’t like the idea of Wade residing next door to his beloved Elizabeth, Wade it too occupied this episode to wreak havoc on any relationship. Matt’s character appears to be so sober and hard-working, but I know many suspect that he may have something to do with the vandalism of the mill. I scrutinized his character, and all I can say is that if he is working with Gowan, he is a consummate liar.
Both Hickam and Wade spend the entire episode attempting to unravel the sawmill debacle. There is no way Hickam has anything to do with it, but I struggle to lay the blame at Wade’s door either. Ben is always so sedate and emotionless when portraying Hickam, the capable worker who follows the rules to a tee. Interestingly enough, Wade is also an earnest personage, and as long as he doesn’t smile, I doubt he will attract the attention of Elizabeth or any other woman in town. If there is an insider at the mill, the idea that it is either of these two men grates against me. Only time will tell if my loyalty is misplaced or if I have been deceived. I cannot imagine Hickam doing anything underhanded, but Wade has not proven himself. (If it is Wade, I may struggle to forgive Matt for his exquisite deceptive skills!)
Once a skunk, always a skunk. Although this show is a show that emphasizes redemption, I violently oppose the urge to give Mr. Gowan the benefit of the doubt. Can a leopard change its spots? Neither can Gowan be a righteous man (unless Nora comes back and…).
With this diabolo, subterfuge and ice water literally flow through his veins. And Martin is the ideal actor for this character. At times, I want to like Gowan. I want to believe that he has changed for the better. Martin depicts him in such a way that viewers “love to hate” him. We don’t long for his expulsion from the community. We just long for his salvation.
Much respect was engendered within my soul for Abigail and Frank who have become an almost indomitable force as they grow together. While Gowan superciliously jerks an invisible thumb at these two (Abigail and Jack) and what they stand for, rest assured that this is merely the beginning of members of the town standing firmly against Gowan. Elizabeth “taught” Gowan something a couple weeks ago, and that fine tradition is carried on by Abigail and ultimately Jack. But if you study the eyes and stance of Gowan, you will be convinced that this is a man who never forgets anyone who has crossed him. As more and more find their strength to withstand the Gowan’s intimidation, be confident in the fact that Gowan himself is keeping track of the injustices in his head. Martin has this mentality down to a science, and without a doubt, he is surreptitiously plotting his revenge. In fact, if my suspicions are correct, he is already wielding his brand of strong-arm justice against this town and its citizens.
As Edith, the woman whose baby is ill, Ali infuses just the right amount of heart and soul that ensures mothers everywhere will sympathize with her plight. And mournfully, it is her family that not only experiences this heartbreak, but Gowan is using them as a scapegoat. It is this story that causes Nurse Faith to do some invasive soul-searching as well.
There were some who questioned whether Faith was engaged. Well, here he is, Hearties. Blair plays Peter, and as I explained to my mom, “he looks like a creep.” Honestly, what you see is what you get. Blair is able to portray Peter in such a way that he is distastefully refined and unreasonably cultured. While it is difficult to ascertain Blair’s versatility and genuine skill in a wide variety of roles, there is no doubt the casting for Peter is scrupulously what he should be. I refuse to spoil the story, but I believe that the majority of women will be cheering for an end to Faith’s engagement to this gallant, but controlling man. If the term “chauvinist” existed back then, he would be one of the originals.
Now to the most-feared character–yes it’s Nurse Faith. Andrea’s character figures prominently into the story, and I cannot fault her character nor her portrayal of this woman who is beautiful, genteel, and compassionate towards those who are in need of her services. Because poor Lee needed stitches and the doctor was not available, Faith arrived unexpectedly in Hope Valley.
She makes it crystal clear that she did not come to Hope Valley to see Jack. But, of course, Elizabeth is suspicious of both her motives and those of Jack’s.
While this picture looks incriminating, please remember this is Hallmark. In my humble opinion, Jack and Faith have a relationship like that of a brother and sister. I know I was criticized last week for daring to claim that Faith is younger than Elizabeth, but I still affirm that. While she is not too much younger than Elizabeth, I still state that Elizabeth has matured to the point of being more sure of herself than Faith is. In fact, Elizabeth stood up to her family in favor of Hope Valley and the life she has here. Faith has not had to stand up to anyone. She has grappled to make a living, but no one stood in the way of what she ultimately wanted to do with her life. That is until now.
Hearties, inhale and exhale deeply. Nurse Faith is NOT a threat in this episode. In fact, if you open your mind for a brief moment, you may find yourself applauding her. If anything, Faith is on pins and needles whenever Elizabeth is around lest Elizabeth think there is something imprudent between her and Jack. She only wants and needs the opinion of a man, friend, and brother, and she has chosen Jack due to the established trust between them.
For me, Faith recalls positive memories of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” when Dr. Mike had to defy societal norms. As Andrea has so immersed herself in this role, I found myself hoping Faith stays around. I know not what next week holds, but Andrea’s characterization and inspired recitations of her dialogue as she stands up for what she genuinely wants in life should be enough to cause women everywhere to champion her cause. Quite honestly, Peter is such an untoward character that I wouldn’t wish him on my worst enemy. I still say that Hope Valley needs a medical clinic, and I hope that Nurse Faith makes the right decision for her and does not cave into what society demands of her. Conventions are meant to be broken when they are unjust, and I absolutely adore Andrea. I hope that her sweet depiction of this young woman will be seen in Hope Valley for many seasons to come. (Okay, but if she starts pursuing Jack…)
Lee is back, and Kavan portrays him with such perfection that I love him more and more each week. This week, Lee realizes that someone is attempting to undermine his mill, and he can only hope that he will discover the culprit before something injurious comes to pass. But as usual, we can depend on Lee for his impeccable comedic timing and thoroughly entertaining interactions with Pascale (Rosemary). Kavan is the master when it comes to the correct mood in any scene. He can easily go from the most somber moment ever to one of hilarity and frivolity. In so many ways, his character is perfectly compatible with Rosemary. Both dream big, work hard, and jump from one extreme to the other. The difference is that Lee is a bit more grounded than Rosemary (or is he?).
Rosemary is in her element this week. As she is asked to organize a dance, she goes into ultra organizer mode who has enough energy for an entire planning committee. Rosemary is the kind of woman who can do it all. She may ask for help, but if one does not live up to her standard, be advised that she will come behind that person and accomplish the task herself while criticizing the offender and instructing him/her why what was done was wrong. But never doubt that her heart is in the right place. Every week, I don’t think Pascale can get better in her role, and then she proves me categorically wrong. She is simply heavenly as Rosemary, and if nothing else, one can always count on her very presence and essence to fill the screen. It takes an actress of great caliber to do that, and Pascale is up for the challenge.
But it is this tender scene that demonstrates just how far Rosie has come. First of all, Gracyn simply shines as she always does in her role of Emily, but this is a step out in faith for this reserved but strong girl. When she offers a homemade bauble to Rosemary, there is a moment of tension. What will Rosemary do?
Maybe Rosemary would make a remarkable mother after all. Regardless, her response reveals the fact that Rosemary indeed has a heart. It is Lee who has helped her find that heart and genuinely become the complete and resplendent woman who was hidden beneath her arrogant exterior for far too long. Again, the life-changing power of true love.
Chemistry? Is there any question?
I, for one, am ecstatic to see Jesse return along with the lovely Clara. Aren and Eva have developed an unusual relationship between their characters that I never saw coming. Clara is as radiant and lovely as ever, but now she is slowly giving her heart to Jesse. He is permitting her healing love to permeate his soul and change him from within (another redemption story in the works). As he accepts her love, she accepts his love in return while setting appropriate boundaries and standards concerning how he will treat her. She is not going to automatically become “his girl.” He has to pursue her in the correct fashion. The maturity that Eva brings to this role is astonishing. She continues to grow in her acting every week, and her prowess causes Aren to rise to his best as well. Together, they are a tour de force that sets the standard of redemptive love stories. Furthermore, their sweet chemistry is a reminder of the fresh and unspoiled nature of young love and the standard to which all young people should strive when it comes to relationships.
The story that caused tears to unabashedly fall from my eyes was this unexpectedly emotional story of the new girl, Hattie, as played by Imogen. She arrives from Hamilton, and it is evident that she thinks she is better than everyone else in the schoolroom. She is snobby and not willing to open up and meet the other children of Hope Valley. Again and again, the children reach out to her, but it is of no avail. Poor Elizabeth is beside herself with what course she should take to infiltrate the walls Hattie has built against Miss Thatcher’s kindness.
As Miss Thatcher implements “kindness week” in an attempt to promote a sense of community, one of the funniest things all season happens, and it is Robert who gets the opportunity to provide this bit of levity.
Jaiven is just a hoot, in my opinion.
Check out Miss Thatcher’s response!
Elizabeth has some of the absolute best scenes with Hattie as she tries to abolish the barriers this young girl has erected. Out of desperation, Elizabeth even consults with Rosemary and receives valid advice in this matter. But everything she tries falls flat.
That is until Miss Thatcher visits Hattie’s mother as played by Corrine. Although Corrine is on screen only briefly, she deserves an honorable mention for the way in which she informs Elizabeth of the much-needed information to produce a breakthrough.
At the height of kindness week, the soft-hearted Opal also tries her hand at breaking down the barriers with Hattie, but Hattie in turn treats her with abject cruelty. Again, Ava gives the kind of stirring performance for which she is known and which we have come to expect. This girl definitely delivers and has an amazing future in the world of acting.
As the former school bully, Anna is placed in a position that she doesn’t relish as Hattie expresses in no uncertain terms that she wants nothing to do with this girl who is far beneath her. Kadence and Imogen portray their respective roles with perfection, and we can only hope that at the end of the day, their characters will be friends. In one way, it’s intriguing to see Anna meeting her match after she bullied Cody last week, but I also don’t like to see anyone belittled or ridiculed no matter what. It is always wrong.
This is a definite positive within the ongoing saga of the Hope Valley kids. Robert, Cody, and Miles all appear to be the best of friends now, and this trio of young actors show nothing but true promise. There is no doubt that their roles have been cast impeccably, and here’s to hopefully seeing these gifted children in Hope Valley and elsewhere for many years to come.
Of course, we feel for the young men when they are forced to dress up and are subjected to the dance classes of Rosemary. She means well, but like all kids, especially boys, we know that awkwardness will ultimately win out. And unfortunately, Hattie’s mean streak completely railroads the entire process.
But as you can imagine, the girls are essentially eager to not only perform acts of kindness, but dress up like little ladies are often ready to do.
But there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that is it Gracyn as Emily who steals the show!
Thanks to Rosemary’s advice and Elizabeth’s caring persistence, ultimately the mystery of Hattie’s bitterness is unveiled.
And finally, Hattie’s prickles are gone. And we discover the source. And it is Elizabeth, who encourages her to go on.
Furthermore, as a proof that miracles can occur and Elizabeth will decidedly be a good mother one day, Hattie and Cody share a dance together. The story will resonate with children and adults alike, and the stellar acting from Erin during those scenes surpass anything I have seen her do previously. I realize how strange that statement is as we know Erin is the perfect Elizabeth, but she continues to rise higher, the sign of a true thespian.
And what of Abigail and Frank? While I doubt it will be smooth sailing for this couple, I think Abigail and Frank are finally on the right foot. They are being completely honest with each other, and love is blooming between them. They are taking things gradually, but they are serving the community and the church together. They are meeting the needs the new settlers, and they are well on their way to becoming a couple. Even Cody is warming up to Pastor Frank. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Lori and Mark are simply infallible together. Their chemistry is delightfully mature but still sweet. Every week, I simply adore Lori even more, and she has definitely inspired everyone around, most principally Mark, to be at the top of their game. Rarely have I seen such an actress who apparently can do no wrong and still remains grounded, humble, and ageless. As for Mark, I have fully embraced his reclamation, and to see him stepping in a father figure with Cody genuinely warmed my heart.
And what about Elizabeth and Jack? Well, as you can see, there is a return to the dane floor for these two. That should make Hearties ebullient. When this duo is together, the electricity is incredible. I don’t know how Daniel and Erin can make the chemistry between them even more explosive, but they bring it every week. And fans will not be disappointed.
Will there be kissing? My lips are sealed. I refuse to spoil it. But Jack does something immensely thoughtful for Elizabeth. And although they discuss Faith and Wade, it is not in great detail. More focus is on honest communication and spending real time together.
I think I will leave you with this image and this thought from “Papa” Heartie. These two are learning to love as I Corinthians 13 states–“love is patient, love is kind, etc.” The one I fear they may struggle the most with is the one about love not being jealous. I think that the next episodes may deal with some difficult issues, but just look at their eyes. Elizabeth and Jack are strong, and I believe that they will persevere and their love will never fail.
For more information:
And be sure to tune in to the Hallamark Channel on Sunday, March 13.