‘When Calls the Heart’ Season 8 Episode 9 Recap: Will Elizabeth Ever Choose?

Now that Nathan has finally revealed his big secret to Elizabeth, how is she taking the news? Not well, it turns out. The April 18 episode of When Calls the Heart sees her struggling to come to terms with the Mountie’s indirect role in her husband Jack’s death three years ago. Her feelings of anger, confusion, and betrayal change her attitude toward Nathan, and also affect her relationships with Rosemary and Lucas. 

Elizabeth reacts to Nathan’s news in this episode of ‘When Calls the Heart’

RELATED: Kevin McGarry Teases More Drama Between Nathan and Lucas in a Future Episode of ‘When Calls the Heart’

In “Pre-Wedding Jitters,” Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is dealing with the fallout from learning Nathan (Kevin McGarry) should have led the training mission on which Jack was killed.

Understandably, Elizabeth is not her usual cheerful and positive self. Twice in this episode, she takes her frustration out on Rosemary (Pascale Hutton), once at the beginning, when her friend points out Nathan isn’t to blame for Jack’s death, and again at the end, when she believes, mistakenly, that Rosemary has been encouraging Nathan to pursue her. Their long-standing friendship will undoubtedly weather this storm, but the tension says a lot about Elizabeth’s current state of mind. 

Elizabeth does open up to Lucas about what Nathan told her, but he’s not much more of a comfort that Rosemary. He offers to talk to Nathan about it, mano a mano, but Elizabeth doesn’t want that. Earlier, she bristled when she learned — via Allie (Jaeda Lily Miller) — that Lucas and Nathan were apparently going to work things out regarding her between themselves. A certaint type of woman might find the prospect of two men fighting over her romantic, but the independent Elizabeth isn’t one of them. 

Lucas is in a tough position. He’s trying to protect the woman he loves while respecting her boundaries. He doesn’t necessarily get it right, but he does get a nice moment with Allie when she tries to return the gift he gave her out of loyalty to her uncle. Unlike Nathan, we rarely get to see Lucas in a more paternal role (one reason some fans are Team Nathan). But he handles himself well with Allie, listening to what she has to say and reassuring her without dismissing her concerns. 

A party game goes awry

Elizabeth and other Hope Valley women sitting on couch at Florence's bachelorette party in When Calls the Heart
When Calls the Heart | ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Dolsen

Ned and Florence’s wedding preparations are in full swing, and it’s time for their bachelor/bachelorette parties. The parties end up being a repeat of Clara and Jesse’s celebrations last season, with the women having a lively time while the men sit around drinking beer (or in Nathan’s case, whiskey — he’s had a day, as he says).  

Eventually, the two parties merge. There’s a game of charades, and when Bill (Jack Wagner) acts out the complicated name of a song, everyone is baffled except for Molly (Johannah Newmarch), who immediately knows what he means — proof these two are meant for each other. 

Then, Fiona (Kayla Wallace) — finally returned from visiting her family — proposes a slightly risqué game (risqué by Hope Valley standards, that is, so not very). Florence is blindfolded and has to identify Ned just by touching his hands. She quickly picks him out of line up. Then, Fiona, somewhat thoughtlessly, pressures Elizabeth to play.

It’s a tense moment. Will Elizabeth correctly identify Lucas (Chris McNally), or will she accidentally choose Nathan? She does the latter. Team Nathan fans will surely take it as a sign she’s meant to be with the Mountie. 

Bill breaks the case 

Henry Gowen looking at his son in When Calls the Heart
When Calls the Heart | ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: David Dolsen

Bill has been weirdly focused on finding out who stole the car that was found outside of town a few episodes back. So far, his search of the vehicle has turned up little evidence, but a casual comment from Ned gives him an idea, and he discovers a telltale footprint that could identify the thief. 

We already know that Gowen’s (Martin Cummins) son Christopher (James Drew Dean) ditched the car. (Though technically, he didn’t steal it; he just “borrowed” it from a friend who stole it.) Somehow, Gowen learns about the footprint evidence. He hustles Christopher out of town and then burns the boots that would link his son to the crime. Father and son say a tearful goodbye before Christopher boards the stage. Later, Gowen tells Bill he’s finally willing to work with him to help investigate the mine disaster, with the implication that such a move would keep his son out of trouble.

Carson plans a big move, Joseph accepts a job  

Carson has accepted the fellowship in Baltimore. Faith is stunned, even though she was originally the one who was pushing him to accept it. What this means for their relationship still isn’t clear, but Carson wants to make things work. “Why don’t we get married?” he asks her. It isn’t exactly a marriage proposal. Instead, it’s more of a pre-engagement, with the promise of a future together helping them endure their time apart. But is Faith on board? She seems hesitant.

Carson and Faith’s relationship is up in the air, but Fiona and Mike Hickam (Ben Rosenbaum) might have a bright future together now that he’s finally asked her out. Joseph also puts down firmer roots in Hope Valley in this episode. Lee (Kavan Smith) offers him the preacher job, and Joseph accepts before the question is even out of Lee’s mouth.  

Nathan explains himself 

Elizabeth has been avoiding Nathan since he revealed his role in Jack’s death, but his feelings for her haven’t changed. Last week, Lucas warned him to make sure he was keeping Elizabeth’s happiness in mind, not just his own. This week, he gets a gentle warning from Rosemary. 

She explains how she was in love with Jack before he fell for Elizabeth. “I may have caused Elizabeth and Jack some unhappiness,” she says. The implication is that Nathan is the Rosemary in the current love triangle, and it might be best for him to step aside. But he’s not willing to do that. “I can’t let Elizabeth go that easily,” he says. In some ways, Nathan’s commitment to Elizabeth is admirable. But at what point does he become the guy who won’t take no for an answer?

Later, Elizabeth confronts Nathan, asking why he hid the truth from her. Unsurprisingly, he says he felt guilty. But it’s not just guilt about his inadvertent role in Jack’s accident. He actually transferred to Hope Valley because that’s where Jack’s widow and son lived, and he felt responsible for them. Later, he fell in love with Elizabeth, but he felt that was a betrayal of Jack. “I think that love is always worth fighting for,” he says. Those words echo both Elizabeth’s advice to Lucas’ mother earlier this season, and her words to Lucas. Hearing them said back to her leaves her shook (it also gives her the idea Rosemary is secretly encouraging Nathan). 

Will Elizabeth ever choose?

Those involved with When Calls the Heart have promised a resolution to the love triangle by the end of season 8. But with just three episodes left, Elizabeth seems more confused than ever.

It’s hard not to feel for Lucas — notice that little twitch of his jaw — when he asks her what she said when Nathan told her he loved her. Unfortunately, Elizabeth can’t tell him what he wants to hear, which is that she told Nathan she didn’t love him back. At the same time, she’s spent all this time building a rapport with Lucas, while her relationship with Nathan has been mostly driven by conflict. She hasn’t spent nearly as much time with Nathan recently. For her to suddenly choose him would be something of an about-face. 

Perhaps we’ll get some clarity in the next episode of When Calls the Heart, airing Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel.