We’re another episode closer to the end of Heartland season 17. And as it usually is with the last few episodes, the show is wrapping up some season-long storylines while still keeping things interesting and exciting.
In this episode in particular, we saw some big decisions being made by not only Lou but also Caleb, Logan, and Katie while Amy was back to client work with a vaulting team and the opening of Jessica and Lou’s gallery was finally here.
Want to know more about what happened? Then keep on reading this recap of Heartland season 17 episode 8!
Believing in yourself
Much like in the previous episode, in this one, Amy was taking on a new client horse whose problems ended up being more human-related than initially thought.
The episode began with a beautiful demonstration from Sophia and Monica, a mother-daughter vaulting team.
SIDE NOTE: That is vaulting, you ask? Well, it’s basically doing a combination of gymnastics and dance on horseback. One person, the lunger, stands in the center of the ring and moves the horse in a counterclockwise circle while the vaulter mounts the horse and does their vaulting routine.
However, a while into the routine, the horse, Verona, suddenly changed speed, leading Sophia, the vaulter, to have to bail off in a hurry. When Amy rushed to her clients to make sure they were okay, they told her that this has been happening for about a month now, and since they have an important competition in Europe next week, they really need Amy to figure out why Verona is acting up.
Amy reminded them that a week isn’t much time for her to get to the bottom of things, but promised to do what she could. She started by cross-training Verona in jumping, pole-bending, and lunging, thinking that Verona might not like going in circles over and over and over again. However, that wasn’t the case because the horse was sound and doing exactly what it needed to do every time Amy threw something new at him. Which is why she started to suspect that Verona might not be the issue here.
So, Amy asked Sophia to the ranch without her mom so they could talk.
Amy, of course, was as gentle as she could be, assuring Sophia that it’s okay to feel nervous, after all, the upcoming competition was the biggest one of her career. And that she knew that the pressure Sophia’s mom was putting on her probably wasn’t helping things.
However, Sophia fiercely defended her mom, telling Amy that Monica just wants what’s best for Sophia, and was reluctant to agree when Amy asked to try Sophia’s routine with Amy lunging the horse instead.
In the end, Sophia did agree to try it, and that’s when Amy noticed something strange – Sophia jumped off Verona again in the middle of her routine even though Verona didn’t change speed.
When Amy asked Sophia why she bailed, Sophia told Amy that she lost balance because Verona changed speed again. But Amy knew that that wasn’t the case, Verona was perfect, so clearly, something else was going on here.
Amy was stumped as to what to do next, so she decided to go to Maggie’s to talk to Logan, who’s now working there as a waiter. Mainly to ask him if she stage-momed him into quitting after seeing how hard Monica was pushing Sophia. But after he assured Amy that she didn’t, he also gave Amy a different perspective on what could be going on with her clients.
Logan showed Amy a video of Sophia and her mom training in which Sophia fell off Verona during a routine. Amy instinctively thought that Sophia might now be terrified that it’s going to happen again, yet Logan had another theory – maybe the problem wasn’t the horse or the vaulter, and maybe Sophia jumped off Verona while Amy was lunging him to protect her mom.
This, of course, led to Amy having to have a difficult conversation with her clients, but eventually, she did get Monica and Sophia to open up about what’s really going on.
Sophia admitted that she did jump off Verona when Amy was lunging and that it wasn’t just because she’s afraid to get hurt again. And Monica finally admitted that after Sophia’s fall, all she could think about when lunging Verona was Sophia falling again, which was affecting the horse’s performance, too.
However, the talk didn’t quite end how Amy hoped it would. After a heartfelt moment between Sophia and Monica about how much it means to them to be able to do vaulting together, Monica decided that it was best to stop being Sophia’s lunger, leaving Sophia devastated.
Sophia: “Well, maybe a little. I mean, I hoped it would go away, but it’s only getting worse.”
Monica: “Why didn’t you say anything?”
Sophia: “Because I don’t want to do this without you. And you have sacrificed so much.”
Monica: “Sophia, that’s what a mother does. But, a mother also knows to back off if they’re in the way so it’s time for you to find a new lunger.
As Amy later told Logan when he asked about how everything was going with the vaulters – things don’t always end happily. And up until the end of the episode, it seemed like that might be the case this time.
Fortunately, Lyndy, of all people, helped Sophia and Monica mend their rift and get back on track.
When Sophia and Monica were packing up Verona to leave Heartland, Lyndy went up to Sophia to tell her how much she loves the tricks Sophia does on Verona, which turned into Sophia telling the little girl to never stop believing in herself.
Sophia: “Thank you! That is so sweet! You know, if you ever want to learn some vaulting, I’ll be more than happy to teach you.
Lyndy: “No thanks, I’m a barrel racer.”
Sophia: “You are?”
Lyndy: “I’m going to be a big rodeo star one day.”
Sophia: “You know, I was a lot like you at your age, all I could think about was being a champion vaulter and now here I am. So, never stop believing in yourself, Lyndy, because one day, you’re gonna be the best barrel racer on the circuit.”
Monica heard Sophia talk about how all she wanted was to be a champion vaulter when she was little and got concerned that that dream might not have been Sophia’s, that Monica had pushed it on her daughter.
However, Sophia reassured her mom that it was and still is HER dream. And when Monica finally opened up to her daughter about still being afraid of Sophia getting hurt and that if she ever was, it would be Monica’s fault since she thought she pushed her daughter into vaulting, Sophia told her mom that she never felt pushed into anything, just supported. And then Sophia admitted that the best part about vaulting is that she gets to do it with her mom.
Hearing this, Amy encouraged the two to try vaulting together one more time since, because, clearly, Sophia didn’t need a new lunger, Monica just needed to worry a little less. And what do you know, their routine went off without a hitch, solidifying the bond between the mother and daughter and letting them continue reaching for their shared dream.
And, at the end of the episode, Logan arrived at the ranch to show Amy his new truck, just in time for Amy to invite him to come watch Sophia and Monica’s routine since Logan was a big part of helping Amy figure out how to help her clients. Which prompted Logan to admit that he was wrong to quit horse training and asked Amy if he could come back.
Amy: “It’s okay. This is a hard job. It’s not for everyone.”
Logan: “Look, I know I only played a small part with the vaulters, but that was honestly the most joy I’ve felt since I quit.”
Amy: “So, what are you saying?”
Logan: “I’m saying I want to come back. You said before I quit that you can’t be the only one who believes in me and you’re right. So, I’m here to tell you that I believe in me. This is what I was meant to be doing, and I know that now.”
Amy: “Well, in that case, welcome back.”
Another client helped, and Logan back working with Amy side by side? I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the episode since I loved Logan and Amy working together so much at the start of the season and hated it when Logan quit in episode 1704.
Now that Logan has realized that being a horse trainer is what he’s meant to be doing, I can’t wait to see his skills as a trainer grow, and Amy and Logan’s partnership evolve. They make such a great team, supporting each other and helping each other figure things out, so I couldn’t be happier that he will be back working at the ranch.
Doing what’s best
While Amy was dealing with her vaulting clients, Caleb had probably one of the hardest storylines this season because he was on the verge of losing his son.
At the start of Heartland season 17 episode 8, we saw Caleb having a heated phone conversation with Cass, only for Caleb to punch a wall once it was done. That already indicated how bad things were. And when Tim asked Caleb what’s wrong after his phone call, Caleb told Tim what was going on.
Apparently, Cass got a great job in Kelowna and is now suing Caleb for full custody of Carson because she wants to take Carson with her to British Columbia. And it definitely wasn’t sitting well with Caleb since he couldn’t fathom seeing Carson only every other weekend and on some holidays.
Fortunately, Tim was there to help Caleb deal with it. And since he had gone through a similar thing with Miranda and Shane, he had some great advice to give.
So, Tim told Caleb to try talking to Cass calmly and without arguing since he knew that arguments and anger only lead to worse outcomes and could end up damaging Caleb and Cassandra’s relationship beyond repair.
And Tim also informed Amy about the fact that Caleb was going through some really tough things and that Caleb could use a good friend right now. Which Amy didn’t know because it looks like things between Caleb and her haven’t fully gotten back to normal quite yet since he kissed her in episode 1706.
But Amy didn’t let that stop her from being there for her best friend. And when she went to talk to Caleb about what’s going on, we found out that even though Caleb tried calmly talking to Cass like Tim suggested, it didn’t matter. Cass wasn’t budging on her decision to take Carson with her, and now lawyers were getting involved on both sides. Which meant that Caleb was gearing up for a battle, possibly in court if it came to that.
Tim and later Amy as well voiced their concern about putting Carson in the middle of a court battle between his two parents. But Caleb’s mind was made up – he couldn’t imagine losing custody of Carson, so he thought he had no choice but to fight Cass on this. After all, he couldn’t keep driving between Hudson and Kelowna every other week.
And even after Tim suggested that Cass isn’t doing this out of spite, she just got a good job opportunity in BC, and that there still was a way for Caleb to be in Carson’s life without a court battle, Caleb didn’t see any other way but to go to court. He even asked Amy to be his character reference in his case for full custody of Cason.
But, after a talk with Carson, during which Caleb asked his son how he would feel if Carson moved to Hudson to live with Caleb full time only for Carson to run away upset, Caleb realized that even though he’s angry that Cass is doing this to them, he needs to do what’s best for his son, and that is for Carson to have both parents in his life.
So, during the gallery opening party (more on the party itself in the next section), Caleb told both Amy and Tim that he’s moving to Kelowna.
First, Caleb apologized to Tim for leaving the rodeo school so suddenly and, therefore, leaving Tim shorthanded. However, Tim assured Caleb that there was nothing for him to apologize for since he’s moving for his son, and that is the right thing to do.
But then, after Tim walked away, Caleb dropped a second bomb on Amy – he’s leaving tomorrow because he wanted to be there to help pick out Carson’s new school.
Amy was clearly shocked but managed to tell Caleb that she’ll miss him before Caleb excused himself from the party for killing the vibe with his difficult news. It was a lousy goodbye, so Amy ran after Caleb, and they had a real one outside the gallery door.
Caleb: “No. Not goodbye, never goodbye. Not with you. You’re my best friend, Amy, and that’s never going to change.”
Amy: “And you promise?”
Caleb: “I promise.”
They hugged goodbye, and with one last I love you from Caleb, he walked away, leaving Amy to watch him go.
Gosh, that whole storyline was so sad. Watching Caleb suffer and then having to make that difficult decision was truly heartbreaking. But Kerry James did such an incredible job with it. You could feel Caleb’s pain radiating off the screen.
And that last goodbye between Caleb and Amy… Man, did it hurt. So, bravo to both Kerry and Amber for totally wrecking me with their performance.
Does this mean that Kerry James is leaving the show for good?
I’m not sure because there haven’t been any official statements from the show or the actors. And besides, as long as the character isn’t dead (and Caleb isn’t, he just moved), there is a chance that they could still pop up on the show every once in a while, as many characters have over the years.
So, here’s to hoping that Caleb will still be returning to Hudson and visiting Heartland ever so often.
I mean, even with Caleb and Amy’s talk at the end of episode 1706 about just being friends, this goodbye felt more than intimate. Caleb did say that he loves Amy, and she kept looking at him as he walked away…
What I’m trying to say is, with how quickly feelings can change when facing the possibility of never seeing the person again, you never know. Maybe they used this to set up Amy and Caleb’s romance after all.
But I do think it’s more likely that this was a kind of send-off for Kerry James and his character that will lead to him appearing on the show way less, if barely any amount at all.
Finding her passion
As I mentioned in the intro, in this episode, we finally saw the opening of Jessica and Lou’s gallery, something they’ve been working on since episode 1703.
And it hasn’t been smooth sailing by any means. From missed meetings to differing visions for the gallery and everything in between, it seems that they have fought through every step of getting the gallery up and running. And in this episode, that continued until it finally came to a satisfying conclusion.
What do I mean by that?
Well, at the start of the episode, we saw Lou and Jessica putting the finishing touches on the gallery. Sure, Lou sniped at Jessica about her being gone and leaving Lou to finish the renovations on her own, but it seemed that Jessica chose to overlook Lou’s comment in favor of getting ready to open the gallery to the public. After all, there was still so much to do before the opening, including getting all the art properly displayed.
But what Jessica couldn’t overlook was Lou’s sudden idea to turn part of the gallery into a cafe to provide a secondary income for the gallery.
It wasn’t that Lou brought up the idea to Jessica. I’m sure if that were the case, they could have discussed it properly, and Jessica would have explained to Lou why she didn’t want to do that.
It was more that Lou had already ordered a top-of-the-line espresso machine for the cafe before Jessica even knew of Lou’s idea. And then, the next morning, Lou surprised Jessica with a whole cafe set up at the gallery, even though they still hadn’t properly talked about the cafe idea or agreed on it.
On top of that, the far wall, where Lou had set up the cafe cart and tables, was meant for a big artist Jessica was trying to secure, just adding to Jessica’s frustrations with Lou.
So, Jessica straight up asked Lou what the gallery meant to her.
After Lou stumbled her way through a half-assed answer of a chance to showcase local artists and draw tourism to Hudson, Jessica explained to Lou that the gallery means way more to her than just a chance to display her art. Thanks to the grant they secured, Jessica hopes that the gallery will become a gathering place for artists of all types. And a cafe didn’t really fit into that vision.
Although, after Jessica’s explanation, Lou understood what Jessica was trying to tell her, she was still visibly upset. So, she told Jessica that she will get rid of the cafe and went home, leaving Jessica in disbelief that Lou actually walked out on her.
It was clear that Lou was still finding her feet after losing the election. She didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. And it was hurting her to see people around her (like Jessica) finding their passion and following their dreams while she didn’t even know what her passion was anymore. And she told as much to Jack on their ride. Who, in return, shared his own fears of the future, but more on that in the next section.
So, the day of the gallery opening came, and even though Lou had walked away from the project, she still went to the opening to support Jessica. But Jessica was angry at Lou, not just for leaving Jessica to deal with everything by herself but also for quitting their partnership so suddenly.
At least their little chat didn’t get too heated because Lisa and Jack came up to them just as Lou was about to explain why she left to congratulate them on the gallery. But it was clear Jessica was still mad and didn’t really want to talk to Lou.
Which left Lou with one option – make a public speech as an apology to Jessica.
And although at first Jessica seemed a little scared about what Lou is going to say, by the end of the speech, she was touched albeit a little confused.
So, when Jessica walked up to Lou, expressing her surprise at Lou’s speech, Lou admitted that she should have said all that to Jessica earlier. Lou also explained that she didn’t quit the gallery because Jessica didn’t want to do the whole cafe thing, she left because she also wants to find something that will mean as much to her as the gallery means to Jessica. And for that to happen, Lou needs time.
Jessica finally understood Lou and her motivations a little better, and they had a good laugh about how it was nice working together again just like they did in New York, although, also just like in New York, there had been a few times during their gallery partnership when Jessica had wanted to fire Lou.
What started as a whirlwind partnership with many ups and downs seemed to end in a mutual understanding. And although I liked Lou and Jessica working together, the many downs they had seemed to be a sign that maybe they are better off as friends and family members, not business partners.
I can’t wait to see what these women do next, now that Jessica has her gallery and Lou is looking towards her next chapter, as well.
Looking out for the family
So, I mentioned that while Lou and Jack were on a ride, Jack told Lou that, for the first time, he was wondering what the future held for him.
It wasn’t about his family or marriage to Lisa, no, this was all about his cattle business.
At the beginning portion of the episode we saw the family throwing around a can of beef stew with Jack’s picture on it. It turns out that since the discount food chain Crown Shoppers opened, Garland Foods, the grocery chain where Heartland Beef is sold, has been having a tough time. So, Fred Garland has been trying to talk Jack into coming out with new Heartland Beef products to boost sales. One of them being the canned beef stew.
But Jack wasn’t down with this idea; it felt a little desperate to him. And although Tim didn’t like it either, he felt that they couldn’t really say no to Fred since, otherwise, they might lose the contract with Garland altogether.
So, Jack was starting to contemplate what life would be like if he didn’t have a ranch. After all, if the worst happens and Garland Foods goes under, it might mean the end of Heartland Beef as well.
Lou tried to convince her grandfather that that wasn’t going to happen since Heartland Beef had become such a strong and trusted brand. But Jack was still skeptical of the future since people weren’t buying as many of their products now that shopping at Crown Shoppers was an option.
However, Lou had a good point, too. Canned stew won’t miraculously revive the Heartland Beef brand. It could actually do the opposite and damage their reputation if they start selling a product that’s of subpar quality. And since Jack and Tim wouldn’t be able to control the quality of the canned goods, that’s a real possibility.
Jack seemed to be really impressed with Lou’s view of things and her advice not to trust Fred to protect the Heartland Beef brand.
But it wasn’t just that. Apparently, something clicked in Lou’s brain, too, when she said that the only people who could really protect the Heartland Beef brand were their family.
So, at the end of the episode, we saw Lou call a meeting with Jack and Tim and asked her to join the family business.
Since their family is the thing that Lou’s the most passionate about, she asked if she could be part of the cattle business in a way that utilizes her skills. And that took the shape of Lou being the person who will look out for Heartland Beef’s best interests with Garland Foods.
I should have seen this coming, really. Lou, Jack, and Tim already made an awesome team when they were negotiating with Nathan Pryce in episode 1703, so it’s no wonder Tim and Jack had no problem with Lou joining their business.
I’m just a little scared that Lou isn’t taking time away from everything and jumping to the next thing without thinking things through. However, this also seems like a bit of a different situation. So, I hope it means that this will finally be the thing that makes Lou excited about the future again because I love seeing strong, confident Lou going after the things she wants.
Making it right
When, in episode 1705, Katie sold the necklace that her mom got her to buy the dirt bike, I knew that it would be a storyline that we would eventually come back to. And Heartland episode 1708 was the episode when that happened.
Early in the episode, we saw Katie trying on her dress for the gallery opening when Lou came into her room. Lou gushed about how beautiful her daughter looked and then mentioned that the heart-shaped necklace Lou gave Katie for her birthday would go perfectly with this dress.
And what do you know, it was the same necklace Kaitie sold to buy her dirt bike.
Lou, of course, knew about dirt biking now. However, what she didn’t know was how Katie paid for her bike.
To Lou’s credit, when Katie told Lou about selling the necklace to get a dirt bike, Lou didn’t get mad. She just told Katie that it made sense. And when Katie apologized for it to Lou, she told Katie that she understood.
Although Lou didn’t say anything to Katie and tried to appear okay with it, it was clear that it still hurt Lou that Katie sold her necklace. And when Katie talked to Lisa about it and Lisa mentioned that Lou had bought the necklace as a symbol of Katie and Lou growing closer, Katie knew that she needs to make it right.
So, after a long ride on her bike, Katie decided to buy the necklace back. And luckily the store she sold it to still had it. But they wanted full price for it, which is more than Katie could currently afford.
Lisa, being Katie’s confidant in this matter, offered to lend Katie the money. However, she refused, saying that it’s something she needed to fix on her own. It was clear Katie had a plan, and it involved Lisa helping Katie haggle.
So, when the time for the gallery opening came, Katie surprised her mom by walking into her room with the necklace on.
Understandably, Lou was a little confused about how the necklace ended up back around Katie’s neck, but Katie was quick to tell her mom that since she shouldn’t have sold it in the first place, she bought it back.
Lou was touched but also clarified that she was never upset at Katie for selling the necklace, she was upset at herself for not being open to Katie’s dirt biking idea in the first place. Lou even bought Katie a new helmet for dirt biking in a show of support for Katie’s new interest.
What Lou didn’t know, however, was that Katie sold the dirt bike to get the necklace back. And then, when Lou started fretting about Katie doing that, Katie explained that it was her decision to sell the bike.
She had picked up dirt biking just because she thought that Ellie and Brandon wouldn’t want to be her friends unless she rode, but she now realized that she didn’t need a dirt bike to be friends with them. Sure, she enjoyed the hobby, but it wasn’t her passion like writing was.
And Lou understood where Katie was coming from. She even complimented her daughter for knowing what her passion was, and the two left off on even better terms than they started.
While there have been times when the dynamic between Lou and Katie has frustrated me, this episode wasn’t one of these times. It was actually nice to see them communicate well and not jump to unnecessary conclusions. So, I hope that this positive streak between Katie and Lou will continue into the last two episodes of this season.
Last thoughts on Heartland season 17 episode 8
Lastly, I wanted to mention a small little scene that I think will play a big role in the next episode.
During the gallery opening, Jack was looking at Jessica’s photos when he saw that she had displayed a photo of him. And it wasn’t just any photo. It was one where Jack was standing by a gravestone in the family cemetery.
Something like that on its own wouldn’t be a moment most people would like displayed in a gallery, especially a local one where a lot of people could recognize you. But the fact that Jessica had captured the photo without Jack’s knowledge (he hadn’t even known Jessica was there) and then displayed it without his permission for everyone to see made it that much worse.
Learning of this, Lisa asked Jack if he’s okay, and he replied that he’s just surprised. But judging by the look on Jack’s face, he wasn’t as fine as he claimed to be.
READ NEXT: Heartland season 17 episode 9 recap
And since the synopsis for the next episode (which you can find below) says that Jessica will be attempting to heal a rift between Jack and her, I think it will probably have something to do with this picture.
Promo for Heartland season 17 episode 9
And here is the promo for the next episode:
View this post on Instagram
Titled “Fear is a Liar,” Heartland episode 1709 will see Amy and Nathan retraining his horse. While Tim will be navigating new family dynamics when Shane’s mom, Miranda, shows up early to help with Shane and Chloe’s wedding. And Jessica will be trying to heal a rift with Jack.