As When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 3 begins, Elizabeth still hasn't realized what's in her heart, but if viewers weren't already sure of it, they were by the end of "From the Ashes."
There were some lighthearted and wistful moments to the hour in which romance was blooming across Hope Valley, but nothing brings this town together like their need for one another during a disaster.
Let's round up our thoughts on everything that happened, and remember, if you need a recap, click the link above to take you there.
If you watch When Calls the Heart online then you know Hope Valley was named after the unending hope that residents have in the face of tragedy. A former mining town, many were lost during a terrible collapse.
But instead of allowing all hope to be lost, the residents found it in each other and in the new people who joined their fine town to restore it and move it beyond mining.
Given the richness required for mining, it's no surprise that there is oil in the valley, as well, or that some men are tapping into that potential. The jobs are plentiful and not as risky, but that doesn't mean it's risk-free.
The town discovered that first hand when one of Lucas' geysers erupted, only to ignite shortly thereafter. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured, but the consequences could have been far worse.
No matter their station, many -- mostly businessmen and women -- charged to the well to lend a hand.
Nathan, Bill, Lee, Jesse, and even Ned headed straight toward danger without hesitation. But it was Fiona's presence that really put a smile on my face, and it was the first of two instances where I wondered if she's the town's new Abigail.
With Lori Laughlin out of prison, serving her time for her crime now behind her, it would be wonderful to welcome Abigail back to Hope Valley. There was a depth to the show with her presence that has been missing since she left.
Laughlin, like everyone else, deserves a second chance. I'd be thrilled if Hallmark would consider giving her one both here and with her Garage Sale Mysteries series. There were four of those films wrapped and ready to roll when her behavior was uncovered.
But with Fiona stepping up to the place by opening her own business, stepping right into the dangerous fray at the well, and being the first person Clara and Faith turn to when they need assistance, I'm not so sure she's needed.
Needed and desired are two different things, of course. We need more depth to the stories on When Calls the Heart. It cannot and should not survive on romance alone. Fiona's strength promises to add more.
I'd love to know what you think about all of that, so don't be shy in the comments.
Another story that is deeper than the romantic element comes with the investigation into Nathan in reference to a case in which another Mountie was shot.
It seems like Nathan's superior officer has a bone to pick with him, but Nathan isn't sharing what it means with Bill. That's a shame because an investigation of any kind could interfere with Allie's adoption. Nathan still has too many secrets.
Sadly, Nathan also decided against purchasing land and settling down in Hope Valley, seemingly because of Elizabeth's rejection. As a father, he should have other reasons to homestead, and that decision takes the wind out of any sails I had up for Nathan.
He has a lot of growing up to do.
Speaking of someone who needs to grow up, Jesse is keeping secrets from Clara just after they found a happy medium in their relationship on When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 2. What is he thinking??
Clara has a right to be upset with Jesse, but not because he's enjoying Lee's motorcycle. He's a grown man and riding a motorcycle isn't dangerous. And shame on Rosemary for giving Clara that impression. Her marriage with Lee is her business and Clara's with Jesse Clara's.
Jesse seems to relish the freedom he feels riding the motorcycle, and that's a simple way for him to sow his wild oats. He's so young. Of course, he's still going to have oats to sow.
He could be more educated about engines before taking a long ride, but that's a little thing.
Clara's got her groove on with FreedomAlls, overalls for women freeing them from restrictive skirts without looking like men. But she need only look to Faith for real fashion inspiration. She manages to look lovely without losing mobility. Wasn't she sporting pants after returning from Chicago?
It's fun seeing the fashion don'ts that have coursed through history before finally settling on something both practical and attractive.
And that gave us another look into Rosemary's feelings on having a family. She was just mentioning to Elizabeth how she and Lee like to listen to Little Jack's laughter wafting between their homes. Now, she's wondering who she'll leave her dress shop to when it's time to retire.
There's a lot of time before that happens. But if it helps Rosemary realize how much she and Lee have to give so they can finally adopt, I'm all for it. I just don't see a way this series ends without this couple realizing everything they desire is within their grasp.
You turned your special place that I created for you into my special place.Lee
With Lee ready to tackle woodworking as he did in his childhood, there could be a cradle in his future. Lee doesn't have a high bar set. He just needs to build something solid enough to withstand a human's weight. Simple!
In the romance corner, best friends Florence and Molly are actively working toward satisfaction in that area.
Florence was downright adorable standing up for Ned when he played down his heroic actions at the well.
Faith: Do you remember what happened?
Ned: I must have stepped in a hole.
Florence: When he and the others were charging a raging inferno.
He was almost embarrassed that he'd assisted, and I can only guess that he thought he had no business being there. But Net was heroic, and his actions helped save Hope Valley. That's to be celebrated, not shrugged off.
Molly wants to get Bill something for his birthday. That seems kind of forward for the times, and I like it! Florence nailed it when she suggested that the only thing Bill doesn't currently have is a wife.
Hopefully, more time is spent on developing both of these unions as the triangle between Elizabeth and Nathan and Lucas comes to a close. Because it's a done deal as far as I can see.
Remember when Nathan was in the shootout or trying to battle the fire? Elizabeth was beside herself with worry. When Lucas' well exploded, she was there for Helen.
Oh! For #TeamLucas fans, that really stung.
Elizabeth is more concerned about Nathan and the investigation than she was even while Lucas' life was on the line. If the deal wasn't already sealed, it is now.
And the whole reason Lucas' well went up in flames was to heat up Elizabeth's desire for Nathan. She needed to realize that every job has its downsides; life is not assured. It's a delicate balancing act, and the best we can hope for is to love and be happy while we're on this earth.
I won't ever be pleased with the way this storyline progressed because I think the writers forced themselves into a hole they couldn't climb out of.
In every way, Lucas has been written as a better match for Elizabeth, but the story is about Elizabeth and a Mountie, so they have to squeeze one in even if they don't write him as being worthy of Elizabeth. You can't fault her for loving a man in uniform, though. Many others have done the same.
The best ending to this triangle comes from the out Lucas just got after he realized Elizabeth knew about his father but kept it as his mother's bequest. Helen wasn't Elizabeth's friend; that was Lucas.
Helen: May I ask what has you so troubled?
Elizabeth: I assume you haven't told Lucas your husband left you.
Helen: Not yet.
Elizabeth: He's going to find out eventually.
Helen: Are you insinuating that if I don't tell Lucas, you will?
But Elizabeth chose to keep a secret that clearly hurt Lucas. And I stand with him for his cruel remark to Elizabeth, too. If she had such a keen understanding of love, she wouldn't be leading on two men who deserve better.
Elizabeth: I can only tell you what I told your mother. Love has to be fought for, and maybe she needs to be the one to reach out first.
Lucas: What would you know about it?
Elizabeth: That was cruel.
Oops. My disdain for allowing herself into this situation in the first place is showing for Elizabeth. I've never been a fan of love triangles, and as someone who places honestly above all else, I wouldn't think Elizabeth would, either. But she's not being honest with herself, so she can't be with others.
It's time to draw this all to a close before someone gets really hurt.
And even if Mike is the current romantic interest on tap for Fiona, can I take a minute and rejoice that Lucas willingly went to Nichols & Dimes to get his hair cut? I'm telling you, this is the duo I'm interested in seeing set the town on fire!
OK. It's your turn. Drop your thoughts for all things below, and don't pull back on disagreeing with me. Differences of opinion are welcome!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.