It’s Florence and Ned’s big day, and the wedding has everyone in Hope Valley coming together to pull off the perfect celebration, in the April 25 episode of When Calls the Heart. The couple’s nearest and dearest want to make the day perfect, but there are a few hiccups along the way. Plus, there’s a major moment at the episode’s end that could change things for Elizabeth, Nathan, and Lucas.
Ned gets cold feet in this episode of ‘When Calls the Heart’
Everyone’s aflutter with wedding preparations, but a nervous Ned (Hrothgar Mathews) is having second thoughts about going through with the ceremony. His indecision gets worse when his daughter Katie (Larissa Dias, returning to When Calls the Heart after a long absence) arrives and tells him she doesn’t want him to get married.
Perhaps surprisingly, Ned turns to Gowen for support, eventually asking him to be his best man. Once again, we see a softer side of Hope Valley’s most morally ambiguous character, who is honored to stand up for his friend. And after last week’s subtle reference to Abigail in Gowen’s conversation with his son, we get a more explicit call back to the character. Turns out, Gowen has been secretly corresponding with Abigail ever since her abrupt departure in season 6 (when Lori Loughlin was fired due to the college admissions scandal).
“When I sit at my desk and I look out my window across at the cafe and I see her name, I’ve got nothing but regret,” he tells Ned.
It certainly seems like the show is laying the groundwork for a return of Loughlin’s character, which would delight many viewers.
Of course, Ned’s feelings for Florence (Loretta Walsh) are never really in doubt. He sneaks into the barbershop where she’s getting her hair done and they have a heart-to-heart (and sweetly share their first kiss away from prying eyes).
Florence finds the perfect dress
Florence is dealing with her own pre-wedding anxieties. She worries about being an “ugly duckling” and is struggling to decide on a dress and hairstyle for the ceremony. Fortunately, she has Molly (Johannah Newmarch) in her corner.
A frazzled Molly is acting as wedding planner/coordinator, providing an element of comic relief as she frantically runs around town without accomplishing much (though she does have the clever idea that Carson’s steady surgeon hands can be put to use decorating the cake). But all of Molly’s meddling comes from a good place, and she proves her worth when she solves Florence’s gown dilemma by donating the dress she bought to impress Bill Avery (Jack Wagner). Meanwhile, Florence has secretly bought the dress Molly has been admiring at Dottie’s Dress Shop for her friend. They get a touching scene together where Florence thanks Molly for being there for her through all they’ve endured since the mine disaster.
Things are frosty between Elizabeth and Rosemary
Molly and Florence’s friendship is rock solid, but the same can’t be said for Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) and Rosemary (Pascale Hutton). Things are still tense between the two after last week’s argument, when Elizabeth lashed out at Rosemary because she believed she was encouraging Nathan (Kevin McGarry). The two agree to play nice as they prepare for the wedding, but their easy camaraderie is gone, at least for now.
Without Rosemary to lean on, Elizabeth seems more alone than ever this episode. She’s with Lucas (Chris McNally) at the wedding, though they’re one of the few couples not on the floor when the dancing begins at the reception — even Allie (Jaeda Lily Miller) and Robert (Jaiven Natt) take a spin around the room. Throughout season 8, Elizabeth has gotten more comfortable showing affection for Lucas, but it’s hardly a good sign that she still seems hesitant to give herself to the relationship completely.
A scammer targets Hope Valley
The wedding provides most of the drama in this episode, but we did finally get some answers about what Jesse (Aren Buchholz) did with his and Clara’s (Eva Bourne) life savings. When a stranger (Wesley Salter) shows up and inquires about buying the barbershop, Fiona (Kayla Wallace) gives him a polite but firm brush off. But as he’s driving out of town, Jesse gets a glimpse and gives chase, to no avail.
The mystery man, we learn, is the same “lousy thief” who made off with Jesse’s and Clara’s money. He’s likely also the person who’s been inquiring about buying other property around Hope Valley — actions that have already made Rosemary pretty suspicious. What exactly he’s up to isn’t clear, but chances are, we haven’t seen the last of him. In any case, Clara seems to have finally forgiven Jesse for his transgression. She’s all smiles as she mentions focusing not on what they’ve lost but all the good things ahead. Could a pregnancy announcement be on the horizon?
Hickam and Fiona: Potential business partners, or something more?
Hickam (Ben Rosenbaum) has been crushing on Fiona all season, and last week, he worked up the nerve to ask her to dinner. We know where he stands, but Fiona’s feelings for Hickam are harder to read. The two chat outside the barbershop, and when he says he thinks of her as more than a friend, she starts to protest. To her relief, he sees her as a “confidante.”
At the reception, however, Fiona’s the one who makes a move, asking him to dance. But is romance on her mind, or business? The two talk about Hickam’s idea for an oil pipeline, and he’s trying to get her to come on as an investor.
Elizabeth forgives Nathan
Elizabeth — embracing her role as Hope Valley’s voice of wisdom — has two big conversations about love and loss this episode, one with Katie, and the other with Ned. Both are about the challenges of moving forward and learning to love again after the death of someone you care about. As she doles out advice, it’s obvious she’s speaking as much about herself as she is about Ned or Katie.
Elizabeth knows that eventually, she must move past her fear if she wants to open herself to another love. But will it be with Nathan or Lucas? At the reception, Lucas blunty warns Nathan off, telling him he could save Allie a lot of heartache if he “stopped pressuring Elizabeth.”
Nathan, unsurprisingly, isn’t exactly receptive to the idea. Soon after, Elizabeth asks to speak to him outside, and a surprised Nathan agrees. (Poor Lucas, as usual, is left watching it all from the sidelines.) Outside the saloon, Elizabeth tells him she doesn’t blame him for Jack’s death. Nathan thanks her, and takes her hand, which Lucas sees as he walks by the window.
What does this mean for Elizabeth and Lucas?
There are multiple ways to read Elizabeth’s conversation with Nathan. Is she signaling that she might be opening her heart and ready to pursue the relationship he’s been longing for? Or is she quietly freeing him of any obligation he feels he has to protect her? Nathan’s feelings for Elizabeth were tied up in his guilt over Jack’s death. Now that she’s absolved him, it will undoubtedly change their dynamic, but possibly not in the way some fans hope.
As for Lucas, we’ll have to wait to see how he reacts to seeing what definitely looks like a romantic moment between Nathan and Elizabeth. He’s been patient so far, but it may push him to confront Elizabeth. If she is now romantically interested in Nathan, he deserves to know. But Elizabeth has also spent the last few episodes processing her lingering feelings over Jack’s death. It’s possible she’s come to some sort of peace and is now ready to be with Lucas.
The next episode of When Calls the Heart airs Sunday, May 2 at 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel.
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