Last week on “When Calls the Heart,” Chris McNally made his distinctive debut on the drama as the new saloon owner, Lucas Bouchard. The dashing new arrival bowled over much of the Northwest Territory town, including Cody Stanton (Carter Ryan Evancic), with his magic and swagger, while others were skeptical, to say the least, and Mayor Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin) had her suspicions, too. Despite his detractors who scheme to quickly unravel his roots, Lucas opens his saloon with a splashy, free gala and definitely is intent on making himself at home.

Elizabeth Thornton, portrayed by Erin Krakow, doesn't yet “know what to make of him,” regarding Bouchard, but when his late-night business affects her best friend and the sleep of Hope Valley’s children, she takes a stand. In this week's March 10 Season 6 Episode 3, “A Vote of Confidence,” Mayor Stanton first makes a polite request to Bouchard, asking that he close at 10 PM and monitor the noise levels coming from his establishment.

He listens politely and responds that he will close at the requested time if the saloon is “not busy” and will monitor the noise. Naturally, a new business open late in the quiet community isn't going to lack for customers, so when issues continue, Elizabeth urges Abigail to “call his bluff.” She thinks she has Lucas pegged as the suave charmer whose blossom will “wither on the vine,” but there is more to the new proprietor than meets the eye, and there are sure to be more encounters between him and the teacher.

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When it comes to the real-life of Chris McNally, the star is getting a warm “When Calls the Heart” welcome after his first dive into Twitter. Maybe both of the new men of Hope Valley will need some tips in modern social etiquette from their leading lady.

The back-and-forth begins

When Abigail realizes that the letter of the law is on Lucas’ side, she opts to call the matter up for a vote with the town council.

Never belligerent, but in return, Mr. Bouchard advertises half-price beer after 10 PM.

In the meantime, Bill (Jack Wagner) ends up on the trail after the same gun runners who were responsible for the demise of Mountie Jack and his younger trainee. Initially summoned to testify in court, once he realizes that the judge has been pressured to release the wicked traders, he takes off to apprehend them, with the help of an old friend and tracker, Jeremiah.

The two mend past offenses and forgive while trying to navigate a shortcut through an abandoned mine. Their teamwork comes through in saving Bill’s life and nabbing the criminals.

In this episode, the understated moments speak most powerfully. Elizabeth introduces baby Jack (Lincoln and Gunnar Taylor) to Jack's faithful horse, Sergeant, before mounting him herself. She eloquently describes that one day, her son will be the steed’s rider and keeper, but for now, she will keep him ready.

An equally moving scene comes with the talents of Pascale Hutton as Rosemary during a dinner party hosted by Elizabeth in gratitude for the support of her friends. Hutton’s face and luminous eyes are visions in longing and lingering hope as she looks at her husband, Leland, portrayed by Kavan Smith, lovingly lifting the baby and playing, delighting in his fatherly role. The buoyant Rosemary has much on her heart, as she “turns in early” with a kiss on the cheek to her husband.

This “When Calls the Heart” couple is going to go deeper, into more family challenge this season, and these fine actors are ready for it.

Dr. Shepherd (Paul Greene) finally decides that he is ready for the plunge into love, and after some contemplation, Faith (Andrea Brooks) decides to take the jump, no matter the “scary, crazy” risks. The pair share a kiss before a picnic lunch packed by the doctor for their house call run. It is truly nice to see Hope Valley encompass the stories of all the characters, and grow in diversity.

The mega-hit Hallmark Channel drama does take place in pre-civil rights era times, but the series always strives to have open arms, and that kind of inclusion needs to be seen on television more than ever now.

Part of the family

With an ordinance for early closing comes for consideration before the Council, the vote comes to a tie. Rather than being the “legal” tie-breaker. Abigail calls on Lucas to compromise. Being a man who has always pushed things to the limit, he asks if staying open late is possible on three nights per week.

The mayor affirms that option as a firm “no,” and he agrees to two late nights per week. Lee creates a ruffle, voting with his employees over his wife.

She reminds him that “we take care of our own” in the community, “and that includes you.” The new proprietor is starting to realize why Hope Valley is so different.

Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins) sees potential in the newcomer, too, noting that the previous owner “ran this place like a nunnery.” There is something different in the congratulations that he offers to Abigail, a brighter twinkle in the eye, from both parties.

This spark could get interesting.

Chris McNally was on the receiving end of mammoth “Heartie” love for his social media launch and got a little ribbing from his cast mates.

Erin Krakow had to give co-star, Kevin McGarry, who has his debut in next week's March 17 episode, a little kindly nudge to be more social media aware, too.

Just like her student, Timmy (Christian Michael Cooper) discovered after standing up for himself, the support of friends can make any situation easier, but the effort has to come from a genuine heart.

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