When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1 Review: Open Season

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Life went on in Hope Valley while we weren't looking, and the premise is that we missed nothing since half of the town was either on vacation or otherwise engaged in solitary pursuits.

When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1 picked up a while after the When Calls the Heart Season 7 finale, but all of the fresh action was saved for the premiere.

How handy is that?

Faith Arrives Home - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

Before we get to the most significant question on everyone's mind, let's see what everyone else has been up to. Carson has been on pins and needles, waiting for Faith to return from medical school.

That funky feeling turned to downright panic when Faith's coach failed to arrive, and she didn't arrive on the next coach, either.

As they say, timing is everything.

Rosemary and Lee return from their African adventure mere moments before Faith comes barreling in driving a buckboard with a strange man beside her.

Faith and Carson Reunite - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

It's a little confusing for Carson and us because if Faith had coach trouble and was expected on the stage arriving with Lee and Rosemary, and she arrived within minutes of it, you have to wonder why she chose to take the buckboard route.

Sure, she was having a heck of a time since her new buddy, Brett, gave her the reins, but the entire situation gave Carson pause, and rightfully so.

Faith had fast-tracked medical training, so it's no surprise that her calls and letters were fewer and farther between as she wrapped it up. She was probably very excited to finish to start her new career and return to Carson.

But the less you know, the less you know, and the lack of information helps you create alternative scenarios in your mind, and it seems like Carson went there.

Marvelous Molly - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

But, Faith's feelings didn't change, and they took a day together to get reacquainted, and we have no doubt that they'll be full speed ahead for the rest of When Calls the Heart Season 8.

Rosemary and Lee returned just in time to keep another relationship in check. Clara and Jesse have had a difficult time adjusting to marriage.

It's easy to imagine that going from chaste dating to living with each other would be challenging. And if you watch When Calls the Heart online, you know that Clara and Jesse were having misunderstandings because of their communication style well before they got hitched.

Fiona: Clara? What is it?
Clara: All we do is bicker. About anything. About everything. Last night, Jesse even slept in the other bedroom.

So, when their marriage expectations fell a little short, Clara was often in tears, and Jesse was seeking solace away from home. That's not the way to keep a good thing going.

Setting the Record Straight - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

Rosemary and Lee have mastered the art of communication. Lee offered advice to Jesse about it in the past. He knows how to read Rosemary's actual conversation vs. her intent, and it works beautifully.

Jesse's love of reading was his biggest issue as he couldn't find the time to do it without it seeming like he was purposefully trying not to spend time with Clara. Sneaking in time to do it outside of their home left Clara believing that there was something worse driving them apart.

Another issue was Clara's two jobs and keeping up the home without Jesse respecting how much of her time gets chewed away. She enjoys all of those things, but when Jesse can't find his socks or something silly like that, she's got to put everything aside to care for him. She'd just like a little caring on his end, too.

You see, Jesse, love isn't just a feeling or an emotion, it's a choice, and your marriage is a commitment you choose to renew every single day. Open your eyes to the flowers, and then you'll see. Choose love, then you'll feel it.

Lee

A tandem bicycle isn't going to cure their problems, but it was a subtle way of reminding them that their new life requires them to do the things they love together.

Riding in Tandem - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

With Faith's and Clara's issues sorted out, they had time to spend with Fiona, who decided that she's interested in proving that she can be a big wheel without throwing others to the wolves in the process.

She's taking everything she learned about business and investing in a barbershop, not because she loves men's hair but because she knows that's where men go to let their hair down, so to speak, and chat about what matters most to them.

Fiona hasn't revealed how that information will solidify her future, but if anyone can make something of herself without a handout or a hand up, it's Fiona.

When Rosemary got home, she couldn't wait to find out if Elizabeth made a decision about her suitors. The biggest surprise was that she had naturally leaned toward Elizabeth choosing Lucas.

Faith Hatches a Plan - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

Apparently, Lucas was touching all the right nerves as he courted Elizabeth. Until she saw Nathan return unharmed from his latest Mountie adventure, she thought she was choosing Lucas, too.

But her reaction drove away Lucas. She didn't know that at the time, but he willfully explained why he left abruptly without a proper goodbye. Thankfully, Elizabeth didn't second-guess herself by forging ahead with Nathan in Lucas' absence, but part of that was on Nathan.

A chunk of time has passed, and Nathan and Elizabeth still hadn't had dinner together as they promised. But when Nathan went around to talk about it, she still wasn't eager to say yes.

Making the entire escapade more volatile, both men showed interest in her family and proved to be role models Elizabeth would like to have for Jack.

Lucas Checks the Time - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

Lucas: What are you two doing?
Elizabeth: Well, we were watching a mama bunny and her baby.
Lucas: No daddy?
Elizabeth: We think the daddy went hippy hop to the candy shop.
Lucas: To buy a piece of candy, one for me and one for you?
Elizabeth: And one for sister Annie. Helen Bouchard taught you Mother Goose?
Lucas: Helen Bouchard taught me to read, and after that, I was on my own.

Lucas was on a mission to help rebuild a school that had been destroyed during a hurricane. He seemed thrilled to see Little Jack. And he admitted that his trip had given him some much-needed perspective.

No matter what Elizabeth decides, he only wants her to be happy.

Nathan secured a dinner date with Elizabeth and then couldn't make it. He had bigger fish to fry with the arrival of Allie's dad, Dylan, hoping to score some cash from his brother-in-law. He's a real piece of work.

Dylan didn't even recognize his own daughter in a photo, but he didn't have a problem threatening her happiness by putting the sticks to Nathan. Nathan wound up playing along with the guy to put him behind bars.

Nate On Horseback - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

Of course, he shared none of this with anyone. He's far too secretive for my taste. It doesn't suggest that Elizabeth would have a trustworthy man at her side should she choose him, and the possibilities of their miscommunication would put Clara and Jesse to shame.

Dylan's return was the kick in the pants Nathan needed to move forward with her adoption. And when he defeated the dastardly Dylan, that proved the perfect opportunity to try dinner with Elizabeth again. On short notice, they decided on a family affair, and Elizabeth was impressed.

Unfortunately for Nathan, their combined families were in the wrong place at the right time for Lucas to be welcoming his mother, Helen, to Hope Valley for a short visit.

That left Elizabeth flustered beyond measure, and she canceled her dinner plans, asking Nathan to walk her home. Uh, what??

Elizabeth Has a Decision to Make - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

All the talk about When Calls the Heart Season 8 indicates that Elizabeth chooses between Nathan and Lucas: but if the premiere is any indication, it's not going to happen any time soon.

I can't figure out what's holding her back anymore. Canceling her dinner plans led me to believe that she might have realized she's more interested in what Nathan can offer to her life than Nathan himself. Why she would think that is beyond me, as they have so much in common and get along great.

Then again, she could have realized that dinner with Nathan under false pretenses a mistake, and she only realized it after being caught like a kid with her hand in the candy jar on a date with Nathan.

The reason it doesn't seem likely that she will (or should) choose Nathan over Lucas is because he's not forthcoming enough with Elizabeth, and she'd be jumping into a volatile unknown situation. That's not a wise move, and if she will be choosing soon, Lucas is her man.

Lucas Chats with Nate - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1

At the very least, Nathan trusts Lucas enough to go to him when he needs help, and Lucas trusts Nathan enough to lend him money.

Nathan: That's a lot of money.
Lucas: Whatever this is about, it must be serious for you to ask for my help. You sure that that's enough?
Nathan: Yeah. Thank you. I really appreciate this.

That bodes well for Elizabeth no matter who she chooses. It would be awful if she chose a man to love only to have him at odds with the man she passed over.

Another concern? What is a romance without at least one love triangle? Fiona offers another shot to make a triangle a reality, and she deserves some attention.

So whether you're team Lucas or team Nathan, how did you read their various encounters and then the abrupt ending? There is something I can't shake. Was Lucas wrong to even suggest that using explosives to rush the oil was worth a shot? Unpredictable, we don't need.

Please consider joining me in conversation by commenting below. Twitter is fun, but it doesn't allow for in-depth discussion, and it would be so fun to analyze every move.

Open Season Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (24 Votes)

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.

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When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 1 Quotes

Lucas: What are you two doing?
Elizabeth: Well, we were watching a mama bunny and her baby.
Lucas: No daddy?
Elizabeth: We think the daddy went hippy hop to the candy shop.
Lucas: To buy a piece of candy, one for me and one for you?
Elizabeth: And one for sister Annie. Helen Bouchard taught you Mother Goose?
Lucas: Helen Bouchard taught me to read, and after that, I was on my own.

You see, Jesse, love isn't just a feeling or an emotion, it's a choice, and your marriage is a commitment you choose to renew every single day. Open your eyes to the flowers, and then you'll see. Choose love, then you'll feel it.

Lee