Episode 8: Perils of the Soloists
Original Airdate: Saturday, March 1st
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It's time for Coal Valley to welcome back the sole survivor of the mine explosion, Adam Miller. Adam's months of recovery in the hospital have been especially difficult for his wife and two daughters, who are eager to welcome him home. However, their excitement is tempered when they discover that Adam lost his leg as a result of the mine accident. Adam's appearance sends shockwaves through his family and the town.
Meanwhile Elizabeth learns that one of her duties, as Coal Valley's teacher, is to direct the children in the annual Founder's Day Play. Having no experience with theatre Elizabeth is understandably nervous. Her angst only increases when she learns that the backdrop and all the costumes were destroyed in the church fire. And making matters worse is the presence of the Mayor's wife, Dottie, who insists that Elizabeth produce the spirited tribute to Coal Valley’s founders that the town is anticipating.
For Abigail, nerves mix with sadness as she moves out of her row house and into the rooms above the café. During the move, Elizabeth accidentally knocks a vase to the ground, shattering it to pieces. Obviously upset, Abigail explains that the vase "was held together with glue," but that hearing it break reminded her of her son breaking the same vase while playing ball in the house. As the memories wash over her Abigail becomes more resolved to leap forward into her new life. The two women grab the glue, repair the vase, and take it with them as they move to the café.
As a result of the amputation Adam develops deep-seated feelings of frustration and embarrassment. Unable to face working at the mine and confronting fears that he cannot provide for his family, Adam's frustration turns to bitterness. Given a peg leg instead of a prosthetic only compounds his feelings and increases the distance between he and his family. When his wife and daughters present him with new prosthetic leg, he lashes out, furious at the prospect of being a "charity case." The fear and frustrations finally reach a breaking point and, believing his family and the town are better off without him, Adam abandons them all and flees Coal Valley.
With Adam on the run it's up to Jack to ride into the wilderness and find him. Jack's sudden departure worries Elizabeth and makes both she and Jack realize that their relationship is starting to mean much more. Earlier, Jack surprised Elizabeth by repainting the backdrop for the play. The gesture goes a long way to convey Jack's true feelings for Elizabeth. Now that Jack is facing a dangerous rescue, it is Elizabeth's true feelings that come pouring forth.
In a rundown shack outside of town Jack finally catches up with Adam. Adam unloads all of his frustrations at Jack and vows that he won't return to Coal Valley to become a burden to his family. Jack lends his ear and the two begin to chat by a campfire. It's then that Jack reveals that his father was a Mountie and that his father also suffered a life altering injury that eventually took his life. While initially bitter, time helped Jack make peace with the loss of his father. Jack then challenges Adam to confront his own fears and choose to live his life as a husband and a father.
Back in town, the Founders Day play is starting. Elizabeth managed to sew replacement consumes for the children and Jack's background is a perfect replica of Coal Valley. As the children recreate the founding of the town, Joleen, Adam's daughter, takes the stage to sing. As she begins her song Adam and Jack arrive causing a stir amongst the audience. When Joleen sees her father she stops singing and runs to embrace him. The two sing the solo together in a heartwarming conclusion to the Founder Day play.
The next day, as the children strike the set, a few of them notice a small image tucked into the backdrop. They borrow Elizabeth's magnifying glass and discover that the image is a caricature of Jack and Elizabeth kissing. The children start to giggle as Elizabeth walks over the see what's so funny. She grabs the magnifying glass is immediately caught a gasp at what she sees. She later confronts Jack and asks if he has any idea who could have put such an image on the backdrop. Jack assures her that he has no idea and that he will get to the bottom of the situation. As Elizabeth leaves, Jack hurriedly shuffles his paints into his desk, looks at his dog Lucky, and says, "It's our little secret."