If Lucas and Nathan were living under any delusion that they were not battling for the heart of the same woman, it subsided in the wake of an epidemic.
With our world firmly in the clutches of the Coronavirus and the resulting Covid-19 illness, When Calls the Heart Season 7 Episode 4 was incredibly timely.
Chickenpox was once every bit as frightening, at least for adults, as the Coronavirus is today.
With a vaccine, chickenpox has been all but eradicated. Well, it's a numbers game, of course, but before the vaccine became available in 1995, there were four million cases of it a year in the United States alone.
Fast forward to 2019, and the number of cases was 323. What chickenpox has going for it is that most children caught the disease before the age of 18, at the time their bodies were best equipped to battle it.
Florence: You've never had them before?
Rosemary: I was one of the lucky ones.
Carson: Rosemary, chickenpox for adults can be very dangerous, so this needs to be taken seriously.
But when kids were "lucky" and didn't catch it, that meant they needed to be even more careful in adulthood because the virus attacks the body differently when someone is older.
Vaccines are preventative, not just for the individual receiving the vaccine, but for the people they could potentially effect that are not able to fight the disease due to mitigating factors.
That was quite apparent when the kids at school were excited the disease hit Hope Valley. Sure, they'll scratch a while, but they don't have to go to school! But the former lucky ones, like Rosemary, were in for a world of hurt.
Rosemary is so stubborn that she refused to believe that chickenpox could be as bad as Carson made it seem. After all, kids weather it just fine.
But the symptoms are far more severe in adults, and Rosemary's increased quickly.
Even knowing what steps Carson and Faith would be taking with Rosemary to quell her fever and keep her in the land of the living, it was harrowing to watch Rosemary in the clutches of a virus and those who love her fight alongside her to keep her alive.
It was also a nice way to cement Faith's decision to finish medical school. As much as Carson needed her there with him to fight the disease, a fight that almost made her miss her chance to attend, the realization that two doctors in Hope Valley would be more effective was hard to miss.
Thankfully, the panic over the virus arrived as Hope was still in town, or how it affected the community could have been vastly different.
What's important now is for the town to remain healthy while Faith finishes her courses so that sooner rather than later they can be all hands on deck should another crisis arise.
It will be very interesting to see how Carson handles the increased workload in Faith's absence, and how the two lovebirds handle their long-distance relationship.
They're never easy, but at least this one is short and has a predetermined end date. That makes it more mathematical than philosophical, and that's a much easier frame to manage.
Of course, while the town reeled caring for the ill, Henry's business found itself in a bit of a jam that required a trial. When it seemed it would come before he and Lucas had any time to address the accusations, Lucas called for a jury trial.
Many people in town got off easy because they were urgently needed during the health crisis. But others were in a state of panic that their regular lives would be disrupted to attend to legal business.
Had it ever occurred to you how difficult it would be to gather a jury in those days?
It was a battle of wills and Bill's shoes on the street rounding up people who were not otherwise engaged in the crisis to be a part of the jury pool. And since Henry is Hope Valley's largest employer, there were a lot of people off limits for that reason, too.
Overall, it was a sad moment for Hope Valley and Lucas and Elizabeth.
Lucas initially put his financial support behind Henry despite casual rumors he'd heard about the man because of his savvy business acumen.
But Lucas has changed a lot since his arrival in the Valley, and his heart that once seemed calloused to the minor casualties of doing business has opened to the people and their causes.
Elizabeth has only seen the charming side of Henry of late, and she's championed the man through some of his more trying circumstances.
She was pleased that Nathan helped Henry by doing some investigation into the outfit claiming Henry's oil was subpar. And it was the right thing to do, for sure.
But the result was that it wasn't black and white, and those who accused Henry of delivering an inferior product had done it out of anger for what Henry's unscrupulous business practices did to them.
They had to claim bankruptcy in the wake of Henry's startup because Henry slashed prices in such a way his competition couldn't compete.
The smaller the business, the easier it is to cave under the weight of unfair competition.
And Lucas unwittingly helped Henry's plan by infusing him with cash that allowed the business to take a loss on early sales to squash the competition.
It's very shady and surely unethical, but the worst of it is that when Lucas confronted Henry about it and wanted to know where the line was drawn, Henry indicated he wasn't even close to reaching it.
That means the future of Hope Valley is in jeopardy, and all of the growth Henry showed in the wake of his more trying times has been for nothing.
Lucas: I had heard rumors that he could be a ruthless businessman.
Bill: Well, that's Henry Gowan. Just when you think he's turned over a new leaf, he cuts down the whole tree.
Can Lucas continue to be a silent partner with a man who will only drag his name through the mud? It seems to me he has an obligation to the town he loves to protect them from a future in which Henry loses everything due to his unfair dealings.
The town counts on Henry now every bit as much as they did when he was running the mine. Somehow, the man retains his power over the local economy and the livelihoods of the people who live in Hope Valley despite his unethical ways.
It's time for Lucas to shine in other ways, and I sincerely hope that challenging the Henry is in his future. If he hopes to win the love of "the town," then he's got some work to do.
And wasn't that conversation about the town the best?
Nathan: Listen, Lucas, we both know why you volunteered for this.
Lucas: You're not the only one who cares about this town.
Nathan: The town?
Nathan: Well, the town's not here right now, so if you'd like to bow out, now's your chance.
Lucas: I'm a man of my word.
Elizabeth has been getting quite confused the more attention she gets from her two suitors to the point she had to take a moment to shake it off before teaching class after the two gentlemen found themselves at the door one morning.
Everywhere one is, comes the other, especially when one or the other is speaking with Elizabeth. That doesn't allow much room for either of those relationships to blossom, so it will be interesting to see if she does anything to change that.
Elizabeth: Well, there's nothing quite like unconditional love.
Lucas: You deserve nothing less.
So far, it's been Lucas who is reaching out to Elizabeth in intellectual and civil matters, such as charity. Elizabeth often reaches out to Nathan because of her connection to Allie and desire to ensure the young girl has a female influence in her life.
But Nathan and Lucas are both fully aware of their competition, and even though it's not been said out loud in the exact words, it's hard not to imagine the pressure will increase after their quick chat regarding "the town."
This was easily one of my favorite installments in a long time. Almost everyone was involved with at least one of the main stories from the jury to the handling of the virus.
And yet, somehow, no matter how busy the episode was with so many urgent issues, there was still plenty of time for matters of the heart. It was a win/win all around.
What did you think of "Sweet and Sour"?
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And if you want to keep the show alive before the next episode, you can watch When Calls the Heart online till your heart's content!
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.