WOW. Many saw this development coming, but now that it's here, we have a lot to discuss.
But before that happens, there were many significant developments in Hope Valley on When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 8, and we need to talk about all of them.
Sit back and settle in while we dig deep into "A Parade and a Charade."
Ned's convalescence is going well, but he's not pleased when Florence takes his, as we say in the '20s, agency away.
Ned has been thriving on his own for a long time. He has a successful business and is ushering what will become an American institution into Hope Valley as the postman.
Being sidelined does not sit well with Ned. He wants to be contributing, and resting with an afghan is very hard for him. Florence has been by his side for a while now, but he's still not comfortable when she takes the reins of the mercantile.
It's understandable, but if left to his own devices, Ned would push on. That's how he got into this situation in the first place. He refused to slow down and care for himself. So, Florence is pushing the issue. She loves him. Of course, she's going to care for him -- even when he won't care for himself.
They both have to learn to communicate with each other a little bit better, and Ned needs to realize that when Florence cares for him, it's out of love, not a hidden desire to usurp his control.
They're getting married. It's the ultimate test of their communication skills, and we've seen how badly it can go when you fail to express yourself to the one you love.
Thankfully, Jesse and Clara are taking their friends' advice and starting the healing process.
Sleeping on Mike's couch wasn't going to be long-term, and since he was so close to the situation, Mike urged Jesse to talk with Clara. Jesse didn't take that very well, lashing out at Mike.
Jesse apologized and sent guests at the cafe scattering in different directions when he visited Clara, asking if they could talk.
This should be the beginning of the end of their troubles, and others should heed their warning. If you're going to spend your life with someone, you need to be open with your partner, no matter what.
Faith and Carson are still caught up in that quagmire.
Hot on the heels of Ned's medical emergency, Henry needed their help.
Just like Ned, Henry decided that overlooking his health issues would make them go away, or, at least, keep them at bay. If only it worked that way!
Faith realized that with their skills needed, they could stay in Hope Valley and have it all -- love and a successful career.
Unfortunately, Carson doesn't seem to be on the same page. That was surprising given his duet with Nathan on When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 6. But maybe they're farther apart in what they want than can be corrected.
It's disappointing that Carson put his foot down about the infirmary. Yes, it most certainly will become quaint and ineffective the more the town grows. But why doesn't he want to be the one to usher in a new era?
Staying doesn't mean remaining stagnant. He was one town doctor, and now they are two. They're working on space for surgical procedures. Why couldn't they work with a business person to discover the possibilities of a larger facility that they helm? It's shocking they haven't thought of it already.
Henry's health issue cared the pants off of Christopher, who finally realized that he wants a relationship with his dad, and the way he's gone about it is wrong.
It's no wonder that Rosemary and Lee are concerned about Rachel.
It's hard not to wonder if there was more to the story as to why Susanna allowed Rachel to live with them. Was Rachel too much of a handful for Susanna?
From what we've seen, Rachel wouldn't condone stealing a pocket watch. But that actually turned her on, for goodness sake. Girls have always found the bad boys attractive, but that was mystifying, nonetheless.
The real surprise came when Lee found his pocket watch. Christopher's brush with losing his father again gave him the jolt he needed to get his act together.
Well, maybe not entirely together, but he's considering a straighter line. His first thought was to blame Lucas, which Lucas took to heart. It might have been interactions between the two that allowed Christopher to consider how his own actions might play a role in his father's health in the future.
Whatever it was that set him on a different path, it's welcome. And gosh, how wonderful was it when Henry heard Christopher call him dad?
Rachel offered Christopher sage advice about Henry. She knew he was lashing out and keeping his dad at arm's length for fear that he'd be rejected again. The only thing you can do to combat that fear is to take a chance.
Molly took a chance on Bill, who was even more down as the time to return his serge.
You can be a hard man to read, but you're worth it, cover to cover. We know that turning in your uniform means a great deal to you, so it means a great deal to your friends because after all, you should know, the uniform doesn't make the man. As I suggested, put it on. It will fit, I promise. And do us all a favor. Put on a good show.Molly
She set up such a lovely celebration for Bill and his service. Most people in Hope Valley had never seen Bill in his serge, and she ensured that he would get one more chance to shine in uniform.
Now that Florence and Ned are getting hitched, it is high time for Bill and Molly to go on a date. They don't have to rush things, but all the romance in the valley shouldn't fall on the shoulders of a select few.
It would be so fun to see the two of them getting to know each other, especially since Molly is so wound up all the time. Watching Bill let Molly into his bachelor's existence promises to be quite entertaining.
Elizabeth was busy working with Angela and the Canfields to get her better acquainted with Brail, but that didn't mean she didn't have time to spend getting to know Lucas a little better.
Helen has opened up to her husband and welcomed him home, no doubt thanks to Elizabeth's input about honesty. She learned the good news when she visited Lucas in his office at the saloon.
It's so funny how such a small thing can show their growing connection, but by incorporating Elizabeth's familiarity with his office, they feel more certain to be dating.
She's also constantly reminded of how kind Lucas is, first by how he was hurt at the thought he could have willfully put Henry's health in jeopardy, and then by assuring Elizabeth that he would never stop her from having a friendship with Nathan, even if he didn't believe that Nathan could accept friendship as the final result.
Elizabeth: I was worried this might happen if he and I tried to be friends.
Lucas: I can accept a friendship between you and Nathan, but I don't think he'll ever settle for only your friendship.
Elizabeth: I'd prefer it if we could discuss this at dinner. Right now, I'd like to comfort a sad little girl.
It's not easy standing by while a man who is, no openly, vying for Elizabeth's heart or knowing that his niece made it her mission to get Elizabeth and her uncle together. Elizabeth has a soft spot for children, and knowing that Allie has set her sights on Elizabeth for her uncle hurts Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth tried to discuss it with Allie, it didn't land at all. In her girlish angst, Allie tore up an invitation she worked very hard on that showed Nathan and Elizabeth having dinner together.
So it's not a stretch to say that Allie's obvious distress angers her, and she let Nathan know it.
Elizabeth went from accusing Nathan of not paying enough attention to Allie after the adoption celebration conundrum to dragging him away from Bill's celebration to talk about Allie, whether he liked it or not.
Nathan: No, Lucas, you don't owe me any explanations, but I just want you to know that I haven't given up on Elizabeth just yet.
Lucas: You can do whatever you want, but you better make good sure that you have Elizabeth's and Allie's best interests at heart, not your own.
Lucas: Save it!
It was unfair of him to suggest that Allie is afraid to talk with Elizabeth without Nathan. The way he said it was hurtful, and although I didn't want to believe he wouldn't behave like a gentleman, that went a little too far.
The incident propelled Elizabeth to demand to know what he has been keeping from her, and as many thought, she learned that Nathan should have been leading the training mission that got Jack killed.
But the caveat that the only reason he wasn't there was because he was being disciplined for something else landed like a blow.
Elizabeth has long thought that Nathan acted without thinking, not necessarily because she has proof of it but because he's never been forthcoming enough so that she understands the whys behind his actions.
But learning that Jack died in part because of something the Mounties found worthy of disciplinary action will be hard for Elizabeth to wrap her head around.
Elizabeth: I tried to tell you at the parent-teacher conference. You are her rock. You are her foundation. If you let her down, her whole world crumbles!
Nathan: I know. It's part of the reason I'm trying not to show you how I feel about you! It's why I turned down the promotion to inspector because, believe me, there's nothing I would have welcomed more than to leave here. But Allie finally started putting down roots somewhere. She made friends. She felt safe here. I'd never seen her so happy!
Elizabeth: That's why we have to find a way to make things alright for her! You said yourself. You stayed because she was happy!
Nathan: I said it was part of it.
Elizabeth: I know there's something you haven't told me, and I want you to tell me what it is. Now!
Nathan: At Fort Clay, at Fort Clay, I was the one who was supposed to lead the training mission, not Jack. I was disciplined for an earlier incident, and your husband, Jack, replaced me. I'm sorry, Elizabeth. There was never the right time to tell you. I wanted to.
It's hard for me, so it's hard to imagine what this will do to Elizabeth.
She's grown close to Lucas. When he was feeling down about Christopher's accusation and canceled their dinner plans, she put herself out there for him, sitting together on a settee so that they could hold hands and she could offer her support of the man she's dating.
They came thisclose to kissing again, but Lucas pulled back once again, wanting their first kiss to be only when she's comfortable with what it means.
It filled my heart when she picked up the menu to fan herself afterward. It would be so hard to wait for that contact, but the longing is playing out beautifully on screen.
With recent developments between Elizabeth and Lucas, I'm hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which losing Jack because of Nathan's bad behavior can be overlooked for them to begin a relationship.
Given the reason Nathan wasn't leading the mission, I can't even believe that Jack might have asked him to look after Elizabeth in his stead, as I once thought.
It's time to wrap this up and allow Elizabeth and Lucas to fully and without guilt explore what they share.
If there's one thing I know about Hearties, it's that we often disagree.
So, after you watch When Calls the Heart online, let me know how you see things.
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.