Wow. When Calls the Heart Season 9 Episode 2 was a big one.
Sure, the mayoral race results were announced, and Nathan was revealed to be relatively free of damage from being hit by a car, but it was more than that.
The lids on some lingering stories were also closed.
Let’s start with the biggest news first. Nathan is alright, and so is Newton.
Honestly, I was more concerned about Newton since damage to a horse’s leg probably couldn’t have been addressed back then.
Nathan’s injury brought out his playful side, revealed a potential friendship between him and Lucas, and brought May closer to his field of vision.
Elizabeth: Hi. You had us all worried.
Nathan: Who, who are you? [bursts out laughing]
It’s been hard on Elizabeth knowing she broke Nathan’s heart, but his playful attitude and ribbing her about it proved he’s willing to keep their friendship strong.
In a stunning change of direction, Lucas visited with Nathan, showing genuine concern for him and happily sharing ice cream, the new town obsession.
Lucas also delivered a letter from Allie to her dad, so their time together wasn’t short-lived.
I was hoping that a friendship would blossom. They are from vastly different worlds, but they share many of the same traits. Good friendships can be built when the other person can teach you something about life and yourself, and Lucas and Nathan could both flourish if they continue on that path.
Even better, Elizabeth can finally pull back her desire to ensure Nathan’s doing alright. She will always care about him, but if a way to a Mountie’s heart is through his horse, then May and Nathan might be a match made in heaven.
Newton was spooked. When he showed agitation with Elizabeth, Robert hoped that May, with her medical experience, might be able to help. She sure did, and Newton is already on the mend with her excellent care.
Who isn’t looking forward to some long rides as May and Nathan get to know each other?
And that allows Elizabeth and Lucas not to feel guilty about how it went down, even if Nathan said he wouldn’t have felt one moment of it if he had been the victor.
The problem, of course, is that May is married. She left her husband for the job, so is there more to her story that will allow a friendship with Nathan to grow into something more? They are still married, right?
May finally admitted to Ned that she was speaking under her husband’s name because she didn’t believe Ned would have considered her if he knew she was a woman. That kind of knocked the wind out of his sails at her deceit.
The other major story comes from the mayor’s race. Never saw that one coming, and I’m not sure I liked the explanation of how he managed to get more votes.
Apparently, even Ned and Florence were stunned at the outcome as they counted the votes twice to make sure they weren’t miscalculating.
Lee seemed like the best candidate for mayor, and I’ll miss the potential that storyline would have brought. Working with Rosemary will be nice enough, but they seem to be better together when they’ve got similar but differing pursuits.
But Mike as mayor should be fine even if his first time being offered the mic in front of his constituents resulted in a “what he said” reaction.
Mike has been quite successful and has shown great ingenuity in the business world, so he should have some great ideas when he has time to process what happened and wrap his head around his new duties.
After all, it was Mike who suggested the pipeline that is making the oil business swim.
It was stunning that the same day he won, he gave (not sold) his interests in the mine to Fiona, who promptly picked up and left town with Jerome to attend to business.
She has no idea where she’s going or why, but she packed her bag and jumped in the wagon anyway. It was an odd reaction, and now I wonder who will be looking after the mine?
Mike is out, Lucas is selling or sold to Jerome, and Henry is iffy unless he isn’t iffy after clearing the air somewhat with Jerome.
That’s a story a long time coming. Henry has been haunted by his culpability in that disaster for too long.
Jerome: And with the output flowing directly to the rail depot, output will only increase. Very smart.
Henry: Well, that was all Mike Hickum’s idea.
Jerome: Perhaps, but you’ve always known how to get the best from your men.
Henry: Well, perhaps too much.
Jerome: This mine must serve as a constant reminder of what happened. I’m sorry that your warnings went unheeded. In fact, it was my reason for departing PNW. It was always profit first. [laughs] You really are the same, Henry Gowan. Oil is the future of this country, and if my investors do come in, you’ll regret not being part of things, Henry. So, what do you say?
Henry: I’ll consider it.
All Henry really wanted was for someone from the company to take equal responsibility and allow him some peace. It seemed like that conversation was it.
We know Henry learned from his experience, and his hands on the oil business have been nothing but safe and above board, so it’s time that he can move on with his life again. He’ll never forget, but he needs to rejoin society.
He was so close when he almost went to church, and his lesson to Elizabeth’s students was unexpectedly funny and sweet.
His recent behavior with Jerome had a significant impact on her students, even leading Cooper to question God.
Minnie: You know what it means to make a promise and to break a promise.
Cooper: Mama, I need to ask you a question, but I don’t want you getting mad.
Minnie: Cooper, what is it?
Cooper: Do I have to go to church?
Minnie: Do you have to go? When?
Cooper: Ever again?
I’m not sure exactly how the two situations connect, but you could see the emotions on Cooper’s face when Henry said what he had done was bad.
Minnie was very impressive. She was willing to allow Cooper room to explore how he feels about his faith and religion.
Of course, Joseph was reticent. He’s a minister. But she called him out on his “what will people think” response. He chose his profession and his faith, and she admitted that she doesn’t have the same strength as he does, and he can’t expect his children not to question their beliefs as they shore them up.
I can’t imagine that was a popular route back then, so Minnie expressing it was invaluable to the storytelling.
Going in that route makes the storytelling more relevant to viewers, so I’m all for it.
Another plot point that was put to rest was Henry’s jaunt to see Abigail at the end of When Calls the Heart Season 8.
Something strange happened in the off-time between seasons when Bill Abbott reacquired When Hope Calls, bringing Lori Laughlin back into the When Calls the Heart universe.
While it made a lot of sense at the end of last season that she might return with multiple references to her, the spinoff moving really put a nail in that. And, perhaps the new regime at Hallmark had no desire to work with her again.
But now we know that Henry did go, and that door is closed.
The door is also closed on Lee and Rosemary having children.
Lee: Loaning Jesse and Clara’s bike to Robert was an inspired idea.
Rosemary: Oh, I thought so.
Lee: You’re so good with kids, you know that? You would have made a great mother.
Rosemary: And you a father.
Lee: I’m just so happy that we have each other.
Rosemary: Amen to that, Lee Coulter.
For the longest time, I hoped they’d take a jaunt to the orphanage and adopt. But that’s no longer an option, either, and saying the words aloud and assuring us that they’re OK with not having children even if they’d make excellent parents has to be enough.
As Lucas and Elizabeth get to know each other better, they would probably be thrilled to get some alone time together, which would allow Lee and Rosemary to care for Jack.
The last thing that the writers did to address viewers’ concerns was to call out Lucas on his grand gestures.
Elizabeth: You don’t always need to make such grand gestures to show that you care.
Lucas: Small, thoughtful gestures can demonstrate the same sort of admiration. Like, giving me this teacup.
Elizabeth: You are a very fast learner.
Lucas: Well, I have the best teacher.
Many Nathan fans were especially put off by how he used grand gestures to win Elizabeth’s love. But if you watch When Calls the Heart online, you know it’s not those grand gestures that solidified it. She was always drawn to him for the little things.
Lucas wants to learn to tone it down, but he’s going to stumble along the way. Elizabeth will be there to address it honestly, and their level of trust will increase.
It’s so sweet that he’s excited to pull away from so much work so that he can spend time with Elizabeth and Jack, and even sweeter that Elizabeth worries that Lucas might regret that decision.
Elizabeth: I know this isn’t your usual routine, attending Sunday services.
Lucas: It’s time to spend with you and Jack.
Elizabeth: And that is one big little moment.
They care for each other mutually already, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
So, what about you? Were you surprised so many unresolved stories were addressed for viewers?
I hope to see you in the comments to share your thoughts.
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.