Episode 7: Second Chances
Original Airdate: Saturday, February 22nd
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With Billy Hamilton now out of the picture, life for Elizabeth is starting to return to normal. Still feeling guilty about being duped by Billy, Elizabeth again tries to apologize to Jack. And while Jack does his best to smooth things over, his clumsy wording only offends Elizabeth, putting Jack back in the doghouse. Elizabeth vents her frustrations to Abigail, who not only lends a caring ear, but also shares a tasty pastry.
With her son and husband gone, Abigail is adjusting to an empty nest. Her one source of comfort however comes from cooking. Her husband and son both raved about her baking and Elizabeth even remarks that Abigail's cooking is better than anything she had at home, where her family employed the best chefs from the top culinary schools. Sensing an opportunity to start a new chapter in her life, Abigail decides she'll attempt to reopen the shuttered Coal Valley café. Abigail presents the idea to Mr. Gowen, who in turn agrees to let her open the café on the condition she split the profits 50-50, do all the repair work, and vacate her home for smaller accommodations above the cafe. Giving up her home seems like an impossible choice but it may also be the only way that Abigail can move on with her life.
Back in the classroom, Elizabeth has her hands full with one of her students, Bo Grady. After being told by the previous teacher that he was too dim to learn and not to come back to school, Bo is back in the classroom, although his struggles continue. Seeing potential in Bo, Elizabeth approaches his parents for permission to give Bo an intelligence test and pursue some newer methods to teach him to read. While at the home, Elizabeth stumbles upon Bo's collection of model airplanes. Bo explains that he was never taught to make the models and uses images in newspapers and magazines as his guide. The experience convinces Elizabeth that Bo is far more intelligent than anyone suspected.
Jack is also trying to show Elizabeth that he is more than he seems. After clumsily trying to confess his feelings for her, Jack musters the courage to ask Elizabeth out on an actual date. While she initially rebuffs him, Elizabeth comes around and agrees to dinner, so long as Jack agrees to help her prepare to administer Bo's intelligence test. While hesitant to be Elizabeth's guinea pig, Jack relents and uses the opportunity to show Elizabeth how much he really cares for her. The effort pays off and Elizabeth and Jack rekindle their burgeoning relationship. Bo too performs brilliantly on his intelligence test. The results of test also show that Bo suffers from word blindness, a condition better known as dyslexia.
In all the excitement of working with Bo and dating Jack, Elizabeth almost fails to notice that Abigail has been arriving home later and later each evening. That is until one night when she doesn't return home at all. Worried, Elizabeth asks Jack to help her find Abigail. Having seen Abigail in the abandoned cafe earlier, Jack has a hunch that she's still there and immediately takes Elizabeth to the cafe. Upon arriving, Elizabeth finds Abigail fast asleep with an unfinished batch of cookies lying in front of her. Abigail explains that it was Elizabeth who convinced her to find a new purpose in life and try and reopen the café, even with the odds against her. Elizabeth agrees and reminds Abigail that it was she who delivered Carla's twins and that is was she, Abigail, who led the women of the town into the mine to help them save their homes. Her confidence buoyed, Abigail decides to move forward and reopen the cafe. And while Abigail nervously begins her new life, her bad batch of cookies gives Elizabeth a brilliant idea.
With a better grasp on Bo's learning disability, Elizabeth devises a plan to help him learn to read. Her efforts however are not received well by Bo's father who feels his son's future lies in the mines. Deterred by his father, Bo abandons school and seems ready to accept his fate as a miner. That is until Elizabeth turns Abigail's bad batch of cookies into an animal shaped alphabet. Giving Bo a visual alphabet does the trick and Bo is able to take his first steps towards literacy. Meanwhile the smell of Abigail's cookies wafts through Coal Valley, bringing the entire town to her cafe. While still under renovation, Abigail's new venture seems like a sure fire success.
As the sun sets on a busy few days in Coal Valley, the town is preparing to welcome home the lone survivor of the mining disaster that claimed so many lives. Abigail has given up her home in exchange for what appears to be a thriving new business and much needed opportunity to move her life forward. Bo Grady has taken an important step towards fulfilling his own potential, and Elizabeth and Jack have overcome their initial missteps and appear to be getting closer and closer.