After When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 7, two things are very clear.
Nathan will have his hands full with Allie, and Ned and Florence love each other very much.
Everything else going on in Hope Valley is clear as mud.
Let's start easy. Ned had all the signs of gallbladder trouble for a while.
Carson and Faith eventually diagnosed him, but Ned might have given everyone less of a scare had he been routinely visiting the clinic about his digestive issues.
Carson and Faith browbeat themselves that they waited too long to diagnose Ned, but the reality is that if they hadn't been in town to do the surgery, Ned might have died.
They've been wondering whether there is a bigger world out there waiting for them, and it seems the world came to them instead. There is a need for surgical skills in Hope Valley, and if they stay, they can build a practice, perhaps a hospital, that suits their needs and those of the town.
It would be silly to uproot their happiness when they can create their own futures right where they fell in love.
But, Ned's illness did a world of good for him and Florence. If he hadn't fallen ill and had some good drugs on his side, he might not have ever had the nerve to tell Florence how he felt about her, let alone asked her to marry him.
Florence: Ned. You have to get better.
Ned: Oh, I'll be fine. I promise. When I'm back on my feet, I was wondering, will you marry me?
Florence: You just think about getting well.
Ned: Florence, please, marry me.
When he woke up and recalled things fuzzily, I was as worried as Florence that Ned might pull the rug out from under her. It's so fresh that if he had shown any doubt about his drug-assisted proposal at all, she might have pulled away from embarrassment.
That's not our Ned, though, and he recognized his good fortune. We're going to have another wedding in Hope Valley!
The last couple to be wed is still facing difficulties, but Clara is faltering in her determination to punish Jesse.
Thankfully, Jesse has been hanging around with good company. With Joseph's help, Jesse isn't pushing Clara to go any faster than she's ready.
Bill: Clara, what did Jesse have to say?
Clara: Two eggs and toast. It's just that my reaction to seeing him isn't what I expected. I'm feeling as though I want to ask him to come home.
Bill: Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?
Clara: No! I'm supposed to be furious with Jesse for losing our money.
Bill: I think it's called forgiveness.
She's ready faster than she expected, though. She misses her husband. They've barely gotten started, and despite his poor financial skills and even worse communication style, she loves him and wants to forgive him.
Still, I feel for her. It's not easy to welcome someone back into your life when you don't know how you got into a predicament in the first place.
Joseph is right, though. You cannot work on a marriage when you're living apart. Some of the best marriages have ground rules like never going to sleep angry. The longer something festers, the harder it is to come around.
The writing is on the wall; Joseph Canfield will be Hope Valley's preacher. He's not quite admitted such of yet, but his heart is in it, if not his mind.
It was rather upsetting that his goal to make something of himself doesn't equate with his love of God, though.
Minnie can see him struggling with it, and by inserting herself and her family into the equation, it should give him the solid ground to walk right into the schoolhouse every Sunday to share the word of God with Hope Valley.
He's a great counselor and man of faith who should be proud of the comfort and advice he can provide for others. No business in the world could be more valuable than that.
It's similar to how Bill feels about his surge and stripes. He's having a tough time letting it go. He earned the right to wear the surge, and every stripe on his coat came as a direct result of his hard work and dedication to the job.
But it was wonderful that Lee was there to share his childlike enthusiasm for the surge with Bill.
It's a great reminder of how many people looked up to his role and how valuable his service was to his countrymen. No jacket alone can do that, and just putting it on didn't make Lee a Mountie any more than returning it will erase what Bill accomplished.
Nothing is childlike about Christopher except his petulance and belief that he can be rewarded for treating people poorly.
Why couldn't he have been a good kid? Henry wasn't around, so his influence on Christopher should have been negligible. That's not ideal, but he didn't look up to a guy who made questionable decisions as far as we're aware.
Henry doesn't even want to usurp whatever lessons Jerry imparted on his son. He's just thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know Christopher.
Unfortunately for Henry, he's not allowed to have nice things, so his son is trash. He stole a pocket watch of Lee's. And yes, it's theft even if he found it and kept it. Once he knew someone had lost one, he should have turned it over. He didn't; therefore, he's a thief.
Was it a coincidence that a stolen car was found along the road outside of town? No! Nothing good is going to come of his visit to town. Lucas and Rosemary, who both have skin in this game, are wise to his shenanigans, thankfully.
Rosemary: I want your opinion on Henry's son. I don't trust him.
Lee: Mmm. You think the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree?
Rosemary: Something like that. I'm an actress, remember. I know a performance when I see one.
Rosemary feels there's something off about him, and Lucas experienced the kid's poor demeanor firsthand when Christopher almost demanded a larger room. For what? It's not like he's doing calisthenics in there.
Mike, who has been doing very well working for Lucas and now Henry at the well, pulled back an idea he wanted to share with Henry when Henry asked him to show Christopher everything about the oil business.
Did you see the look on Mike's face? He was crestfallen! Darn it; he deserves better. But without family in town, he needs to assert himself and forge his own path.
When Christopher lets down Henry, which is obviously going to happen, maybe Henry will realize that although Mike isn't blood, he's a good kid who deserves his attention in the workplace.
Allie is another child demanding attention. She and Nathan are on the cusp of becoming father and daughter, and like most kids, it's not enough. She wants a mother, too.
Well, she wants Elizabeth to like-like Nathan and doesn't understand why it's not happening as she planned. To that end, she's doing what she can to move things in her desired direction.
If Elizabeth and Nathan were any other two people, that would backfire in Allie's face. But regardless of what they decide to do with each other in the future, they'll ensure that Allie understands why they're not together now.
Nathan: Allie and I are making the adoption official the day after tomorrow in Bill's office. I know she would really like to have you there. I'd appreciate it if you would consider attending.
Elizabeth: Nathan, it would be my honor.
But dang, that was so awkward. Were you cringing at home, too? I felt a rush of warmth to my face as if I was the one standing in that room before Bill. Neither Nathan nor Elizabeth need to have their tale spilled into the public arena, even one as small as Bill's chambers.
Because it's impossible to keep the word of this celebration from leaking around town, and that means that Lucas will wonder what's up.
Honestly, I'm at a loss about what is happening with Elizabeth and the two men.
Nathan isn't pushing, and I love him more for it. He's a gentleman, which is exactly what Elizabeth needs. If she's going to come around in time, it will happen without pushing.
Someone said after When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 6 that they thought Nathan's part of the song with Carson wasn't about Elizabeth at all but about loving Allie and being there for her.
I didn't see it that way, but I'm happy to entertain the possibility, especially in light of how he's acting after she let him down.
Lucas: You really are quite remarkable, and I hope you know how happy I am to have you in my life. [he takes her hand, and she pulls it away.
Elizabeth: I'm sorry.
Will Lucas pushing a little bit turn off Elizabeth?
The way I see it, he's playing things straight. Elizabeth has been upfront about taking things slowly, and Lucas has been upfront about how much he adores her and appreciates having her in his life. He wants more.
Lucas: I take it you have met Henry's son?
Elizabeth: He never mentioned him before.
Lucas: Every man has secret sorrows which the world knows not.
Elizabeth: I'm not familiar with that quote.
Lucas: It's from a novel. It's about a man who falls in love with a woman who ultimately rejects him.
Elizabeth: Are you trying to tell me something?
Lucas: Well, I would like to hold your hand right now, but you have made it clear you're not ready for that sort of public display of affection.
Elizabeth: I think I've been upfront and honest in requesting your patience.
Lucas: And I have no intention of rushing you. Let me know when you're ready.
It wasn't a coincidence that Elizabeth moved forward with a public display of affection with Lucas. After Ned's very public display for Florence, Elizabeth remembered how fleeting love could be in the face of life's little surprises.
And as much as I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop in Nathan's favor, I'm going to enjoy the ride while it lasts. Elizabeth lights up around Lucas as much as she does Nathan. I wouldn't want to be in her shoes. It's an embarrassment of riches before her, and deciding between two handsome, caring gentlemen isn't easy.
It's easier not to have a choice and accept what's before you. Elizabeth has to put thought into her future, and for now, she's considering Lucas. With their handholding, I'd like to believe that unless something goes wrong, the light is green.
But this is a romance, after all, and how far the plot will take Elizabeth juggling the affections of two men remains to be seen.
Elizabeth: I don't want you to have any secret sorrows.
Lucas: [chuckles] Right.
Elizabeth: I want you to share all your joys and sorrows, both privately and publicly. So, I'm hoping that, rather than going for a drive, you might walk me home? [she puts out her hand, and Lucas takes it]
Lucas made the first move, but Elizabeth volleyed well with her call for Lucas to share his joys and sorrows with her. It was as if she was giving him a place to call home, and it's hard not to get behind that, no matter what comes later.
To relive the romance, you can watch When Calls the Heart online. Then, gather your thoughts and share them belove. How are you reading Elizabeth?
Will Allie's play for her dream couple come true?
How thrilled are you for Florence and Ned?
And are you heartbroken for Henry already?
I can't wait to hear from you!
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.