When Calls the Heart” fans could not have hoped for anything better than the two-night welcome back from the beloved Hallmark Channel drama set in the Northwest Territory. Sunday’s “Heart of a Mountie” at last introduced Kevin McGarry as Nathan Grant. It was Elizabeth Thornton (Erin Krakow) herself who summoned the courage and the good manners to properly introduce herself to the new Constable.

In Monday night's May 6 installment, “Surprise,” everyone in Hope Valley is in high spirits for very different reasons. Futures seem bright and love is on full display, but not everyone is having an easy time making friends.

Up from the ground

Things were stirred and shaking in the café, and not just from Sheriff Bill Avery (Jack Wagner) and his clinking spoon against his cup. Hope Valley was apparently getting used to these tremors, because as Florence Blakely (Loretta Walsh) said, “nothing good comes from them.”

Something good bubbled up early in the episode for Jesse (Aren Buchholz) and Clara (Eva Bourne) as they were preparing their property for a future home.

Jesse was digging the well when a wondrous black liquid bubbled through the ground. “It's oil-- we're gonna be rich!” he exclaimed, twirling Clara with joy.

Henry Gowen (Martin Cummins) soon tempered the youthful excitement. The businessman, who has been on both sides of the law, explained that more drilling would be needed to determine if a real oil reserve was there. That effort would cost thousands.

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“Why does everything cost thousands?” Jesse asked, like so many homeowners.

Gowen sees an opportunity for his own future. He offers Jesse $1200 for the land, more than double what the future husband paid. Jesse talks to Clara and agrees to sell. In the meantime, Gowen proposes to the new saloon owner, Lucas Bouchard (Chris McNally) that he provides the capital to option portions of the property. When he compares the venture to the excitement of a high-stakes poker game, Bouchard finds it impossible to resist.

Ladies’ night

Rosemary Coulter (Pascale Hutton) tries yet another time to invite Elizabeth over for a get-together. The dutiful mother and teacher has missed five previous occasions. She agrees to make this one, but again, grading papers and getting sleep take precedence.

Rosemary comes up with a spur of the moment idea to have Lee (Kavan Smith) babysit baby Jack, while she and Elizabeth share a ladies’ night of chat and confections.

Lee is more than delighted to have this duty, and the delight of seeing Lincoln and Gunnar Taylor smile and coo, seemingly on cue as baby Jack, is the brightest sight for any “When Calls the Heart” fan.

When Bill comes over, it doesn't take long for him to critique Lee’s childcare methods. Lee quips, “Don't you have anything ‘Sheriff-y to do?” Bill asks, “Don't you have another tree to cut down?” Still, Lee compliments that Bill will be a fine judge (for the position that he has just been offered).

In turn, Bill notes that Lee will make a fine father one day.

Elizabeth and Rosemary find both men asleep and the baby in bed at the close of their evening.

Love and adventure on the loose

One of the topics of conversation for Elizabeth and Rosemary is the romance of Dr. Shepherd (Paul Greene) and Faith Carter (Andrea Brooks). When Elizabeth reveals that she, like the rest of the town, knows about their romance because they are “terrible liars,” Rosemary realizes that keeping the secret is pointless.

The couple is finding it harder and harder to conceal their feelings. When they plan a trip to get an electrocardiograph machine, a blocked road means that they must camp overnight, without equipment. Faith shares a painful impasse between her and her father since the death of her mother, and it only draws the pair closer. The next evening in Hope Valley, Carson gives Faith a passionate kiss in front of every onlooker. No one is in the dark about their love now.

Nathan Grant does seem to be in the dark about the whereabouts of his niece, Ally. The strong-willed and free-spirited girl is portrayed to a plum by Jaeda Lily Miller, who already has a roster of Hallmark movies to her credit. Ally introduces herself to the Sheriff before reading her uncle, and Bill Avery already know she's a handful.

When she promises Nathan that she will go into school by herself, saying “Give me this moment, “ she instead runs for the fishing pond, catching dinner for the night. When the new Mountie asks Elizabeth how his niece was that day, she has no idea who the child is, but she's willing to help find her.

One of the people Ally encounters in town is Lucas Bouchard. She is trying to escape her uncle’s eyes when she dashes into the saloon. She tells Lucas that she much prefers adults to children since she has a hard time making friends. He tells her that he had the same problem until he learned to “amaze them.” Pulling out his deck of cards, he shows her a trick. She agrees to go back to school only if he shows her how it's done. He concedes.

When Ally does indeed meet the real Mrs. Thornton, she pledges to be in school. During recess, on her first day, Elizabeth finds her demonstrating the trick for her classmates and taking coins, snacks, and whatever else they have in return. She takes the loot, and has a talk with Lucas about teaching “gambling for minors.” He explains that he only wanted to help Ally break the ice since he understood her feelings.

Ally returns the booty, even though some has already been consumed. She is much sassier than she is kind. Hope Valley hasn’t seen this kind of student, but she won’t be a match for Elizabeth Thornton.

Elizabeth also suggests that Nathan needs help to give stability to the child he loves. He counters that “we're fine,” but the facts speak for themselves.

Nathan and Lucas are having trouble being friends, too. Nathan comes to the Queen of Hearts, and Lucas apologizes what happened with Ally. The new Mountie questions Bouchard about his motives for coming to Hope Valley, noting that it is filled with “good people” and “fine opportunities.” He declares that the business owner is not a “good fit” for the community. Lucas looks him right in the eyes, saying he's not going anywhere.

These are surely not the last words between these gentlemen, and Elizabeth may learn more than she bargained for as “When Calls the Heart” carries on through Season 6, Season 7, and hopefully, many more.

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