Time is flying in Hope Valley!
Although Ned and Florence's wedding is barely in the rear-view mirror, When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 11 finds Elizabeth heading back to school again.
There are beautiful fall displays all over town. Summer is over!
There are many constants in Hope Valley, but time is not one of them.
I was thrown when Nathan was asking for his gloves, and Elizabeth was warming his surge. But it is a perfect way to toss Elizabeth and Nathan into another uncomfortable situation that Lucas could stumble upon.
But before we launch into a discussion about the three of them, there is a lot more to cover!
There is an overarching mystery about the changes coming to the valley, and everyone is concerned for different reasons.
It's unclear if whatever change comes their way will include Carson and Faith, if not together, even individually.
Individually, Faith has chosen to stay in Hope Valley, and Carson has chosen the fellowship. Faith has been on edge, believing that Carson will ask her to marry. She's not wrong.
Carson: You ever had something tug at you so hard that you knew it was only a matter of time before you gave in?
Henry: Indeed, I have.
Carson: All I've ever wanted was to be a surgeon. Can't do that here. The offer that I received from Baltimore's just too good to turn down.
Henry: So you're leavin' then?
Carson: I'd forever feel like I settled if I stay, and that'd be no good to anybody, even Faith, who believes even more than I do that I should go. The only thing to do now is to ask her to marry me and have her come along.
But the longer it takes for Carson to do it, the less likely it will happen. If you want something that badly, nothing can stand in your way. But everything is standing in the way of this once-happy couple.
Faith can't help but lament she knows that Carson is going to propose. You'd think that would be a joyous realization, but when you don't want to marry, then it wouldn't be welcome at all.
By the time Carson talked it over with Lucas, he had realized that if Faith loved him as much as she said she did, he wouldn't need to put a ring on her finger for her to accompany him to Baltimore.
You could argue that it would go both ways. But Faith has adamantly propelled Carson toward his destination, and you have to wonder if she was already having second thoughts about a future with Carson when she kept pushing.
I'm going to say it now. Carson will leave the valley, and this is a couple who will go no further.
That opens a stronger connection between Faith and Fiona, and I always welcome strong female friendships no matter how they come about. Getting to know Faith outside of her relationship with Carson and getting to know anything else about Fiona will be worth Faith and Carson's breakup.
Fiona only recently determined that she wouldn't reconnect with an old fiance, leaving her open to love in Hope Valley. Their conversations led me to believe that Fiona and Faith will both open their hearts to new opportunities, and there are still plenty of bachelors in the valley.
Wyman Waldon was connected to the larger mystery, and he dragged Fiona directly into it whether she wanted to be involved or not. Nobody gets a warm welcome when they threaten someone we love, and the way he dangled the barbershop space rental over her head was infuriating.
Thankfully, he did get his comeuppance, and he's only a worker bee connected to whoever has purchased the Canfield's residence outside of town. There were Pinkertons standing guard at the place, which is all kinds of odd given the kind of people in Hope Valley.
Wyman was ready to drum up all kinds of extra business for himself when Nathan pulled him out of a meeting he held with the town at the Queen of Hearts. Was I the only one who missed the point of that meeting?
He was definitely not a simple businessman with that connection, but I was onto something when I thought Jesse might have misread the situation with his investment with the guy. Waldon refunded Jesse's money, but if it was an investment in Hope Valley's infrastructure, he might wind up disappointed in the long run.
It doesn't explain where he is, but I don't think he's in serious trouble. Once the car was stuck, he probably started to walk and had to hole up somewhere on the way. Taking the muddy road wouldn't make sense, and as well as he knows the area, he's bound to turn up shortly.
Rosemary could sense something was afoot, was acting like Nancy Drew, taking off to investigate. She got herself into a bit of trouble with the Pinkerton's and a silly overzealous officer, and we were ultimately left with questions about the property and the Pinkerton's involvement.
Rosemary, though, found her calling amidst the excitement. Falling off her horse knocked some sense into her head, and the previous talk about the lack of a newspaper in Hope Valley finally made sense. Rosemary is restarting the paper!
Can you think of anything better for Rosemary, who has her nose to the ground at all times? She's a newshound through and through, and it marks an exciting turning point in her story.
Rosemary: Do you know where that liniment is that Faith gave me for my back?
Lee: Yeah. I put it on your desk. Why? Is your back bothering you?
Rosemary: A little bit. [pauses] Lee?
Rosemary: Did you just say this was my desk?
Lee: I did.
Rosemary: Because, well, after wondering for so long, I think I know what it is I want to do.
Lee: Please. I am all ears.
Rosemary: I want to start a newspaper.
Lee's acceptance of her from using his office to her grand plan to start the paper highlighted how perfectly matched they are, and it will not be surprising if he finds himself a lot more invested in the concept than he probably imagines.
Speaking of the Canfields, Mr. Landis was back in town to check on the Jack Thornton School at the beginning of the school year, and he's concerned with how the other students will fare if Elizabeth devotes time to Angela.
Times sure have changed, right? Today, things would be different, with the concern for Angela over the others.
Ideally, the education process meets in the middle, and if anyone can do that, it will be Elizabeth. She will incorporate Angela's instruction into the overall class and make it a warm and inviting experience for all of her students.
But it doesn't seem like Mr. Landis is all that interested in her capabilities, and Elizabeth will have to prove herself to the board that certification after the fact will work in this case.
Still, it could undermine the trust that Minnie has placed in Elizabeth. Angela, though, might surprise her mother. If the worst happens, and Angela isn't able to start the school year with the other students, the experience she's had with Elizabeth so far should give her hope that it will be only a momentary setback.
When Elizabeth sets her mind to something, she can move mountains.
What she can't do, though, is effectively communicate to the two men who love her how she feels. That's not something to hold against her, and watching how she interacted with both Nathan and Lucas has finally pushed me to the belief that she's sticking with Lucas.
Elizabeth has been drawn to two men for a while, and although she chose Lucas, it's still not been a clear choice to the rest of us. Part of that is because Elizabeth can't help but compare Nathan to Jack.
Nathan was almost shy in taking Elizabeth Florence's wedding bouquet. Where there were once comfortable in each other's presence, they are no longer at that point. Uncertainty will do that.
Nathan: Well, thank you for warming me up.
Elizabeth: Thank you for the flowers.
Lucas has been trying to be as accommodating as possible. Signals are getting crossed, though, and he's falling prey to mixed messages.
He's given Elizabeth the space to move at her own pace, but with Nathan there at every turn, he's not sure that he's given her space to feel comfortable with him or to do an about-face and choose Nathan.
I used to do this for Jack on chilly mornings.Elizabeth
When Elizabeth was warming Nathan's surge, it was something she once did for Jack, so it was a natural kindness she shared with him, despite its intimacy.
Later, when she saw him riding across town while she was in the schoolhouse with Lucas, it could have been the same thing.
She longs for the days that she saw Jack on horseback. Learning that Nathan was involved, however slightly, in the day Jack died has brought up many memories for her at the worse possible time.
She chose Lucas, but her mind was flooded with memories of Jack immediately following. It's confusing.
Lucas has been so accommodating that Elizabeth lost sight of the fact he's got strong feelings for her and might not realize that she feels the same way. Her hope not to hurt either man might have unintentionally hurt both.
Because Nathan didn't receive a stern no thank you upon his professions of love, he didn't give up on her.
Elizabeth gave Lucas just enough doubt to hang himself with it, metaphorically speaking, of course.
Several episodes ago, I suggested that if Elizabeth wants to be with Lucas, she will have to fight for him. After Lucas' passionate speech about fighting for love and letting her go so that she can find her true love, that feels more relevant than ever.
Elizabeth: Lucas, the reason I left the wedding early? I asked Nathan if he would step outside with me so I could tell him that I don't blame him for Jack's death.
Lucas: Why didn't you come back inside after? I had no intention of bringing this up. You didn't even say goodbye.
Elizabeth: I don't know why I, Nathan, and I-
Minnie: He's back. The school inspector.
Elizabeth and Lucas tried catching up more than once during this hour, but their conversations kept getting interrupted, and by the time Lucas had the guts to set his love free, he wouldn't even allow Elizabeth to interrupt, or else he wouldn't have gone through with it.
I'd imagine When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 12 to unfold with Elizabeth fighting for Lucas, explaining everything she has been feeling, and with the two of them finishing with a kiss.
I'd also expect that this will require a conversation with Nathan first to let him know where she stands and how important his friendship is to her.
Could I be off-base?
But the more we know of Elizabeth, the more we know that she's warm-hearted and kind. If she has gotten anything wrong in how she has handled the men vying for her attention, it was out of the goodness of her heart and her desire that everyone comes away without ill feelings.
Lucas: Elizabeth, you've always maintained that love is worth fighting for, and that includes when it needs defending.
Elizabeth: Lucas, come in.
Lucas: Allow me to finish. Please. I appreciate your telling you took Nathan aside to assure him he wasn't to blame for Jack's death. But I have to admit, I witnessed the discussion. I also noticed his horse here the other day. And while I'm not resentful, from what I've seen and from what you've told me, I believe that you and Nathan still-
Lucas: Love is not just an emotion. It's also an act of will. It can't be demanded. It can't be forced. I want you to find your true love. And, in order to do that, I want, I need to set you free.
When your heart is involved, though, that's usually not how it goes, and even fierce determination otherwise can't smooth out the rough edges of unrequited love.
- Will Hope Valley become a factory-town with an influx of hundreds of new citizens (enough for 100 additional children)?
- Where is Ned? And Jesse?
- Is Carson leaving Hope Valley?
- How long until Elizabeth and Rosemary mend their friendship?
Please keep an eye on TV Fanatic this week, as I had the chance to speak with Erin Krakow and Pascale Hutton for their input on many of these questions before the finale.
In the meantime, you can watch When Calls the Heart online right here via TV Fanatic and weigh in below with your thoughts on what to expect from the finale!
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.