Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiere, episode 2, episode 3, and episode 4, episode 5, episode 6, episode 7, and episode 8. And now, onto her recap of episode 9, “Old Flames New Sparks...”:
It’s all about the guys this time out, with Jack, Cliff, Stan, Will, Seth, John Bowman and even Bob taking center stage, their assorted paramours (and would-be paramours) much discussed, mooned over and wooed.
Let’s start with Jack (Dylan Neal), who kicks off the episode with some casual peeping, only to witness Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and her ex-husband Stan (Andrew Airlee) getting along famously, reliving old times. Jack has long been threatened by the genial Stan’s recent re-entry into Olivia’s life, and though Stan claims that he is in town for closure on the death of son Jordan, and to make amends with daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), Jack is not the only one suspicious that maybe the compliment-throwing, flower-giving Mr. Lockhart is also hopeful of a deeper reconciliation with his beautiful ex-wife, despite the fact that he has remarried.
Another married man flirting with danger this week is Will (Cameron Bancroft), Olivia’s handsome brother and old friend/crush of Grace (Teryl Rothery). Returning to Cedar Cove last week after an absence of some years, Will is now owed dinner with Grace, after the recent Bachelor Auction. A gallant Will instead asks her out (which, isn’t that how it should work, anyway? Do the women in these escort-for-charity scenarios have to pay for the dinner as well as the company? That seems unfair), and the two reminisce about old high school times – Grace, dating the basketball star; Will, the “little geek” too shy to ask her out – and their re-acquaintance eventually leads Will to a confession: he and his wife Georgia have broken up. But it’s a secret break up, you understand, one she must keep from Olivia, along with the siblings’ busybody mother, Charlotte (Paula Shaw), because it would “break her heart.”
Yeah, sure that’s why you want to keep it secret, Will, you total playa! We saw you making eyes at that svelte brunette at the restaurant; we’re onto your game, bub. Especially when Grace goes in for the friendly, reassuring hug and you take the opportunity to mack on her like it’s junior year. It’s difficult to tell just how Grace feels about this adolescent move – she demurs, and runs off, but is she upset because he kissed her, or upset because she liked it? Or perhaps even upset because she’s been stringing along devoted rancher Cliff Harting (Sebastian Spence), and now she’s possibly caught up in and/or contemplating an extra-marital fling with her best-friend’s brother?
Cliff, meanwhile, is the handsomest man on this show – Will is the best-dressed; Jack is the wittiest; John Bowman is the most mysterious; Seth is... um. The Sethiest? – and moreover, he is a deeply good guy who is clearly infatuated with the sassy, kind-hearted Grace. So, of course, she blows him off this ep, leaving him slightly morose and full of foreboding wisdom when he and Jack share some (massively improbable) guy talk about their love interests, Cliff sure that Grace has eyes for an old flame: “When two people have that kind of history, it’s tough to compete with,” he says. “In my experience, when it feels like there’s still something there, well... usually, there is.” Oh, how apropos of current events in Jack’s life you so unknowingly are here, Handsome Harting! It’s like you’ve read the script or something.
If only Jack knew what Olivia is thinking – and telling Grace – about him, he’d be slightly less concerned. “For so many years, my life was just about getting through the day,” she says. “Now, with Jack, I have something to look forward to.” Apparently that “something” is waiting around while he works on the canoe he has rashly decided to build, much against the advice of his wood-working mentor, Bob (Bruce Boxleitner), who totally calls it when he says: “The first thing I ever built Peggy was a table. She loved it.” Who wouldn’t want a table over a canoe? Especially when Olivia then gets Jack box seats to a baseball game in Seattle – it’s her Mariners versus his Phillies, which helps us date events herein back to 2011, at the latest (which is when the two teams last played at Safeco Field) – and he’s so delighted about it that he later tells her: “I think I am falling in love with you.” As a result, his worries about Stan seem to have subsided, making that this episode’s Big Though Easily Resolved Conflict—again. Tickets to some form of rare sporting contest will do it, apparently, ladies. Make a note.
Elsewhere, however, Jack weighs into an unresolved conflict with the taciturn John Bowman (Charlie Carrick), who is dazzling no one with his acting ability but with whom Grace’s daughter Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) is utterly smitten. Jack wants to do a story on this chef/photographer wunderkind, but John Bowman is having none of it – I’m going to keep referring to him by both names until he is just “John” to our Cedar Covians – and gets suspiciously het up about Jack’s repeated requests. Add to that Maryellen’s discovery of many unopened letters addressed to a “Daniel Kirkland” at his house (where he cooked her what looked like a delicious dinner; damn, now I want shrimp), and her snooping phone call to his old restaurant in Tacoma to find out just why he was fired (oh, NOW she does it, after already recommending him to the Captain’s Galley; does she not realise that is the only place in his town anyone ever goes to eat?), and getting in ambiguous answer that he told lies on his application (NO WAY! No one EVER does that!)... well, clearly John Bowman has Secrets! What fun!
A conversely open book is the earnest, simple Seth (Corey Sevier), Justine’s boat-bound beau, with whom she has been spending much time learning the ways of the fisherfolk. All overcome with enthusiasm for this burgeoning relationship, Seth impulsively invites Justine to move in with him (on his boat), because they have been dating for at least six episodes, of course they’re ready for this next gigantic step. Justine decides the boat is a tad too cramped for her – ya think? – but instead has him move into her studio apartment with her. The two even (gasp!) sleep in the same bed, and there is the definite implication that certain other activities occurred before that (hard to fathom, I know, but this is the first time Cedar Cove has even suggested such a thing ever happens within its chaste confines. Saucy!). Except? Turns out Seth did not actually sleep in Justine’s bed, because he just couldn’t get comfortable on unmoving land, he being a child of the waterways and all. He says he’ll get used to it... but will he? And do we even care? It’s sad, because I like both of them, and they sure are pretty, but Seth and Justine are just...pah. All the real action here is with the older generation: Olivia, Grace, and their many men.
So what will the future bring for these two much-desired women? Will Grace succumb to Will’s practiced charm, and will Stan drive a wedge between the trying-so-hard Jack and Olivia? Will Cliff’s beach trail ride business be a hit, and will Grace ever put the poor guy out of his misery? It’ll be fun to find out, won’t it? Or, at the very least, pleasantly diverting.
There was, in fact, a lot to like in this episode – my favourite scene was one between Grace and Maryellen featuring ninjas, because ninjas always make everything more awesome – and as Cedar Cove gets better with each outing, I find am increasingly looking forward to the next one. Especially as this time around I hope we’ll get an update on just is going on with Miss Annabelle’s thrush situation. (I mean, really, show. Even if you are talking about a horse, there is never a reason to use that hideous word on TV. Never!)
See you next time...
Rachel Hyland is Editor in Chief of Geek Speak Magazine.