This Sunday marked the middle point for Heartland season 17. And the episode sure played on our heartstrings.
From Jack’s new endeavor and Amy’s subsequent involvement to Lou’s struggles, Lisa’s bad news, and Katie’s big purchase, it was an episode of high highs and low lows.
Want to know just what happened during it? Then keep on reading this recap of Heartland season 17 episode 5!
Working cow horse competition
The episode began with Jack, Tim and Amy herding cattle when their new neighbor, Nathan Pryce, rode up, telling Jack how good a team he and Blue are and that Nathan sure would have some stiff competition at the working cow horse competition he’s taking part in that weekend if Jack would be there as well.
Jack, of course, was quick to say that he’s too busy to enter any competitions. However, the more he thought about the competition, the better the idea started to seem. And after doing a test run with Blue, Jack was certain – he wants to enter the contest.
Side note: A working cow horse competition is a contest to see whose horse works best with cattle. There are usually three events – rein work, cow work, and herd work.
Jack even seemed super excited to show off Blue and their skills. And Blue seemed invigorated as well, executing every command Jack gave perfectly. But after Lisa got some bad news (more on that in the next section), it was clear that Jack won’t be able to make it to Braeburn that weekend.
Not wanting to let Blue down, who seemed just as keen to compete as Jack was, and wanting to beat Nathan Pryce (because Jack’s competitive spirit was coming out full force), he asked Amy to step in and take part in the competition for him.
Amy was a little reluctant at first, and her reluctance only grew after Blue proved that he might really be a one-cowboy horse by throwing Amy off when she started working with him.
But Jack seemed like he really wants Blue to have this opportunity, so Amy promised her grandfather to keep trying even though Jack was ready to call the whole thing off, not wanting to see his granddaughter hurt because of some contest.
Luckily, Blue did start to warm up to Amy eventually. And by the end of the episode, Blue and Amy were working together as a team. Maybe not exactly as good of a team as Jack and Blue were, but Blue definitely trusted Amy and listened to all her cues.
Read next: Recap of Heartland season 17 episode 6
So, now we just have to stay tuned for the next episode when the actual competition will take place.
And from The Gate’s video on the fan day event, during which scenes for this competition were filmed, we know that Amy will really be stepping out of her element for this competition, which will be interesting to see since we’re used to Amy being effortlessly good at all things horses and, by the sound of it, this competition will take quite a lot of effort for her.
So, what was the bad news Lisa got on Heartland season 17 episode 5?
Well, she was facing a big loss – her ex-husband, Dan Hartfield, had passed away.
The news on its own was a shock to Lisa, and the fact that Lisa had to hear it from none other than Val Stanton was even worse. So, all throughout the episode, we saw Lisa struggle to cope with the fact that Dan is gone and how she should feel about it.
Jack tried his best to help his wife through her pain, but it seemed that not even Lisa herself knew what she needed at that moment.
At first, Lisa felt annoyed because of how she found out the news. And then that quickly morphed into anger at Dan that he didn’t even reach out and tell Lisa that he’s sick and allow Lisa to say a proper goodbye.
But you could also see that underneath it all, Lisa was hurting. A lot. After all, Dan was a big part of her life for years, they were married for quite some time and built a business together.
Lisa was so confused about how to handle Dan’s death that, at first, she didn’t even want to go to Dan’s funeral even though Jack offered to go with her.
What seemed to finally help Lisa realize how she feels and what she wants to do about the funeral is her talk with Jack, who reminded his wife that although there might have been rough times in Lisa’s marriage to Dan, there were good ones, too.
So, the next day, when Jack went to talk to Lisa, she finally opened up to her husband.
Lisa: “I don’t feel like I could talk to you about Dan, Jack. I know you didn’t like him. I mean, join the club, lots of people didn’t. So you don’t want to hear about Dan, you don’t want to hear about my memories with him.”
Jack: “Now why would you think that? Of course you can share anything with me. Memories, the good times, the bad times, whatever. I want you to grieve and to celebrate the good times you had with Dan. Just like I did when I lost my wife.”
Lisa: “Okay. You know, I was thinking about what you said about how Dan and I went through rough times, and especially right before we separated of course. But you’re right, we had good times. We had really, really good times. I think I’ve just been blocking them because I keep out the good years with Dan; it’s just overwhelming. Who he was then, who I was then. You know, we were… young. It just makes me so sad to think of what we became, and we were really great together. We were a good team.”
Jack: “Yeah. Of course, you were. And you’ll always have those memories.”
Lisa: “I accept your offer to go to the funeral with me if that’s okay.”
Jack: “That’s more than okay.”
Lisa: “I really wish he had said goodbye to me. I really do.”
After that breakthrough conversation, despite still being heartbroken about Dan’s death, it seemed that Lisa was somehow lighter.
And in the end, it even turned out that Dan did say goodbye to Lisa in his own way.
When the two walked back to the house from the pond where they had their conversation, they saw an envelope on the porch. It was addressed to Lisa. And it was from Dan.
So, Lisa hurried to open it, and inside, she found a framed picture of a newspaper clipping and the words “we can only go up from here” written on it in red.
Lisa explained to Jack that this frame had hung on the wall in Lisa and Dan’s office. It was a newspaper clipping of the results from the first race the first horse they owned together took part in. And although the horse had come in last, it didn’t matter because, as the words said, they could only go up from there. So, they framed the clipping and hung it up as a reminder of where they started.
This was such a heartbreaking story for Lisa and a pretty hard one for Jack as well. But in the end, it seemed to only bring the couple closer together.
What’s more, in a way, they finally got to resolve the Dan issue, which always had kind of been a sore spot in their relationship whenever Dan came up in a conversation. So, really, this was a closure and a fresh start for both Lisa and Jack.
And both Jessica Steen and Shaun Johnston did such an amazing job portraying their characters in these tough scenes and showing the complexity of emotion that came with them. They really got to showcase their acting chops, and I’m glad for it despite the sad subject matter.
In this together
After Lou lost the mayoral election in episode 1702, she was struggling. But an exciting new business opportunity in the form of Jessica’s art gallery presented itself in episode 1703. And after overcoming a few hurdles along the way, Jessica agreed for Lou to be her partner in the gallery.
However, since the partnership already started out on rocky ground, it’s no wonder that in this episode, we saw it continue to encounter hardships. And this episode it was largely Lou’s fault.
At the start of the episode, we saw Lou rush out of the house, saying that she’s very late. And soon after, we learned why.
Apparently, Lou had overslept and missed their meeting with the bank to talk about a loan for the gallery. And since Lou had already rescheduled the meeting once and then failed to show up, leaving Jessica on her own with the bank manager, understandably, Jessica was not happy with Lou. And, on top of that, this bank, and any other bank, for that matter, wouldn’t give them the loan they need to renovate the space.
So, Lou set out to fix it.
Her plan was to get Rick involved, and hopefully, that would help them get the money they need to get the gallery up and running.
But, it turns out that Jessica wasn’t the only one who was a little peeved at Lou.
Rick wasn’t happy that Lou went behind his back and threw her weight around to get Jessica the permits she needed to start renovating the building from the Heritage Committee since it looked like he allowed the former mayor to use her connections for personal gain.
Luckily, Lou, for once, admitted that what she did was wrong and apologized for not talking to Rick first and going through the proper channels to get the permits. And after Rick accepted her apology, she told her friend her idea for how they could fix it – get the funding they need via an Arts and Culture Grant.
The gallery was a perfect contender for the grant, too – a place that would bring in tourism as well as the fact that they are restoring a heritage building, which is why they were quickly approved for the grant. But it came with one stipulation – they had to show off more than just Jessica’s work at the gallery. And once Rick told Lou this condition and then Lou relayed it to Jessica, the two business partners got into another argument.
Jessica was struggling with Lou meddling in the creative side of the gallery when Jessica thought that they had agreed that Lou would run the business side of things while Jessica would be more responsible for the creative side of it. At the same time, Lou wasn’t aware that that had been their deal and wanted them to be equal partners in the gallery, all aspects of it.
So, they were at odds with each other, and Jessica asked Lou to try to renegotiate with Rick about the grant. Rick, in return, told Lou that either they showcase other local artists at the gallery or there would be no grant.
When it became clear that there was no other grant or option for them to get the money they need to renovate the buliding, Jessica reluctantly agreed to accept it. And with a little encouragement from her husband, Jessica even started seeing the grant and the conditions that it came with as a good thing.
By the end of the episode, we saw Jessica and Lou work out their issues and recommit as partners, even though Lou did offer Jessica to leave the partnership if Jessica wanted her to.
It was really nice to see Lou admit that it’s hard to have her as a business partner, as well as to see Jessica adapt to the situation and actually see the grant as a positive.
Now, I doubt that it will be smooth sailing from here for Lou, Jessica, and the gallery. In fact, the description for episode 1708 even says that the two friends will face a stressful gallery opening. But I’m sure that after what they have already been through, they can weather any storm that the gallery might bring and come out on top.
Committing to it
While the adults in her life were dealing with their own problems, Katie was pondering a new purchase – a dirtbike.
Early in the episode, we saw Katie breach the subject of her trying out dirt biking with Lou. However, Lou quickly shot Katie’s idea down, saying that it’s too dangerous.
Tim had a good point when he told Lou that at Katie’s age, she was riding horses and jumping over obstacles twice Lou’s size, which was also considered dangerous. But Lou wouldn’t budge on the topic.
However, Katie, being the rebellious teenager that she is, decided to go ahead and buy a dirt bike anyway.
So she pawned a necklace Lou had given Katie for her birthday because dirtbikes aren’t cheap, and got just enough money to buy a used fixer-upper from the shop in town.
And so commenced Katie’s attempts to hide the bike from everyone at the ranch. Yet, it wasn’t long before somebody happened upon Katie and her new purchase.
Fortunately for Katie, though, it was Tim who saw her wheeling the bike behind a shed.
At first, Katie was terrified of what her grandfather would think and if he would say anything to Lou, which is why she kept repeating to Tim that he can’t tell Lou about the bike.
But Tim kept reassuring Katie that he won’t, after all, Katie should be the one to tell her mom, and offered to help Katie fix it up.
And it turns out that Tim is a pretty good mechanic. He got the bike up and running pretty quickly. And by the end of the episode, Katie was riding it into the proverbial sunset under the supervision of her grandfather.
I’m really glad to see that Katie finally has an ally in Tim when it comes to this dirt biking thing.
Previously, she was doing it all on her own with no one to turn to if something went wrong. But now she at least has Tim. And hopefully, when it comes time to tell Lou about her new hobby, Tim will be there to support Katie in what is sure to be a heated conversation.
Last thoughts on Heartland season 17 episode 5
It was interesting to see that being mayor took just as big of a toll on Rick and his family as it did on Lou when she was mayor.
When Lou saw a pillow and a blanket tucked under the couch in Rick’s office, Lou got him to spill the beans. And it turned out that since Rick had become mayor, his personal life, and especially his relationship with his partner, Carl, had drastically deteriorated. Carl had even kicked Rick out of the house.
It broke Lou’d heart to see Rick struggling so much, so they had a wine night and came up with a solution – Rick should find a chief administrative officer for himself.
Rick, of course, suggested Lou take the job, and I have to admit, that thought crossed my mind as a possible future for Lou, as well. But Lou was quick to turn Rick down. And rightfully so, it would never work with their personalities.
Besides, seeing how much Lou is struggling right now with figuring out what’s next for her, she really needs to take a step back and deal with what she’s feeling instead of becoming so busy again that she has no time for herself. After all, even Tim and Jessica were starting to notice that something’s really off with Lou.
But it was really nice to see Lou arranging a date night for Rick and Carl, during which Lou would look after baby Maddy, so Rick and Carl could have some much-needed alone time. I doubt we will see the actual date or Lou’s babysitting escapades, but it was a sweet gesture on Lou’s part nonetheless.
Promo for Heartland season 17 episode 6
Here is the promo for Heartland episode 1706:
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The next episode will be called “Heat of the Moment” and will see Amy run into an old friend at the Working cow horse competition, which will lead to heartache. Additionally, Jack and Lisa will be out to prove that they are adventurous. While Katie will stand up for herself when Brandon and Ellie push her too far.