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Chesapeake Shores: Freefall

Season 2, Episode 10
Written by Ann Hamilton
Directed by Andy Mikita

“Let’s have a toast to Kevin, well, let’s have a pancake to Kevin.”

The summer ends in Chesapeake Shores, and with the end of the season come a few other endings as well. The big question whether Abby and Trace end their romance still hangs in the air, unresolved. Bree calls it quits with Simon. Nell recalls a lost love. Jess finds out who David really is, just as he returns to his true identity. Mick gets chances to fix problems with his son Connor and his brother Tom and muffs them both. Kevin’s on-again off-again relationship with Sarah the foxy Philly firefighter resumes on-again status. Hallmark inserts shameless huckstering for the FordCares breast cancer charity at every possible moment. All in all, the show wraps up season two trying to leave just enough loose threads to sustain interest until next year.

At breakfast, Bree shows around a vintage photograph she found in the attic. Nobody claims knowledge of who it depicts, but Nell reacts to the sight. In fact, she remains subdued throughout the episode. Bree says that she is going to set the photograph up at her booth at the art fair and invite people to write imaginary life histories about the person in the photo, including what they think his greatest regret was. It turns out that Nell does know what his greatest regret was. Though she doesn’t reveal that, she does reveal that her greatest regret was never telling the mystery man in the photo how she felt about him. CS has dropped hints about this long lost failed romance through both seasons of the show. One wonders if it’s meant to present a kind of parallel to what is going on with Trace and Abby.

The biggest development involves the looming success of Trace’s band. Trace feels conflicted in several different directions: his band members want to sign on for fame and fortune, but Trace has tasted fame and fortune and found it lacking. At first it seems that the band’s proposed tour will require only two weeks away from home at a time. Then Mark Hall puts them up for a world tour, opening for a big headlining act. This means playing in arenas of 30,000 people, and staying on the road for at least six months and maybe longer.

Lee and John understand that this may be their last chance at success. Trace understands that too, but Trace also understands that staying in Chesapeake Shores may be his last chance for a successful relationship with Abby. At first he decides not to go, and Abby expresses relief. But Abby’s grandmother and sister help her understand that while the tour may end her relationship with Trace, Trace’s refusal to take the tour may also end her relationship with Trace. Abby left Chesapeake Shores for a New York dream; now she decides she must free Trace to pursue his own dream. That leaves a cliffhanger ending of a sort; it’s never made explicit what Trace actually decides to do. He may stay or he may go. Abby tells him that if their relationship is meant to be, then the tour won’t end it. Whatever he decides will affect their relationship. Judging by their expressions at the end of show concert, both choices break their hearts.

However sad they are, Abby and Trace can take consolation from winning this week’s Worst Parenting Prize! Trace does not have children of his own, but even the most clueless step-boyfriend must be aware that letting children do handstands right next to the edge of a raised platform warrants full-on Amber alert/child services emergency intervention, or at least hugely critical audience outrage. And Abby sits there and watches and lets them do it! Tune in next season when Abby follows up the huge 10th birthday Ren Fair party with unsupervised skydiving sans parachute!

The other sad relationship news comes from Bree and Simon. Though Bree is thrilled that her novel will be published, she can’t quite get over the fact that Simon submitted her manuscript without her knowledge or consent. It was a wonderful thing to do, but it was also a presumptuous thing to do. It reminds her of her ex, Martin, who overrode all of her wishes and disregarded her feelings, and often didn’t even consult her about her feelings. Bree fears that Simon will turn out to be just another Martin, and she doesn’t need another seven years of that. He asks for the chance to do a “rewrite”, but she is too intent on rewriting her tumultuous relationship patterns to allow that. Though her decision saddens the audience, Simon’s character creates just enough ambiguity to suggest that perhaps she made the right choice.

Speaking of ambiguity, David tells Jess that he has to leave, at least for a while. He says he has family stuff he must attend to. While Jess interviews a new chef, David finally reveals that he comes from an extremely wealthy family. While they don’t own everything, they do own a little piece of everything. As the horrified chef applicant looks on, David prepares food, cleans the room, tends to Jess’ emotional neediness, and discusses all the other things he does as well: gardening, handyman stuff, sprinkler repair, laundry, and fixing climate change single-handedly. Though appalled, the applicant does not get up and leave even after he finds out that Jess paid David a pittance for all this work, when she paid him at all. That dude must really need that job.

David’s recalcitrance about his family background stems from a desire to create a life for himself away from the juggernaut that is his family. Clearly he does not succeed, since his father’s illness forces David to return to the family fold and take care of a bunch of boring corporate stuff in Boston and Paris and other international finance hotspots. So, though he must leave Jess, he intends to come back. For now.

Uncle Thomas finds himself in the middle of something of a triangle this week. Connor breaks it to his dad that he’s taken a job with Thomas. He admits that he put it off because he didn’t know how Mick would react to this news. Mick says it’s not upset about the job; he’s upset that Connor kept it secret. He notes that the fact that Connor felt the need to do that says a lot about their relationship. Then he gets in his truck and drives off. Dude, way to not fix a situation despite a huge opening! Here’s a thought; maybe if your kids can’t tell you things because they are afraid you’re going to be a dick, you could try not being a dick. Acting like an even bigger dick than they thought you would be probably be won’t solve the problem. With advice like this, I could probably fix every relationship on the show.

Except one – that weird thing going on between Kevin and Sarah. The whole thing seemed to be kaput after Kevin and Sarah realized they may both be too damaged to pursue a relationship. Sarah asks Kevin to help her install the firefighters’ tent for the art fair. At first this looks like a friend-zone parry. But the chemistry between them reignites, and they end up kissing. Just when you think something’s over, it flares back to life. Kevin has already started paramedic training when he receives notice that he’s been accepted to medical school. Maybe Kevin’s future is not as set as it seems.

Hallmark usually ends its shows on an upbeat note. The decision to close the season by possibly closing the door on Abby and Trace’s romance lends a melancholic feeling to the season finale. Surprisingly, this makes this episode one of the more effective in recent weeks. Hallmark seems to have gotten a handle on how to make this a better show during the course of the season, and I hope they put that knowledge to good use for round three.

Grade: B

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Amy Anna was raised by wolves. She spends all her time eating and watching movies while lying on the couch . Her animal totem is the velociraptor.