The penultimate episode of When Calls the Heart Season 8 revealed Rosemary's passion for gossip led to a higher calling.
While her friendship with Elizabeth is still stuttering painfully, Rosemary has found something else to occupy her time, and it's impossible not to be thrilled for her.
With those two factors our main concern, we jumped on the phone with Pascale Hutton to get her thoughts on the season and the upcoming finale.
When Dottie's Dress Shop was initially put up for sale, Rosemary's concern soon turned to excitement for her next challenge. Pascale has always felt that working at the dress shop was merely a pitstop for Rosemary.
"I never felt this was her end destination. And I don't know if Rosemary has an end destination. She's always one for change and new adventure, but I definitely felt the dress shop was a pit stop. And so this feels more in line with who she is as a woman now, at this stage in her life.
"Rosemary's been in Hope Valley now for so many years, and she's married, and she's just is more grounded. She's more mature and fully formed than she was when she first arrived in season one. And so this feels more of an extension of that, of where she is and who she is at this point in her life."
Whether Rosemary's final stop on her journey to find fulfillment is the newspaper or not, there are so many angles for her to explore through journalism.
"Well, I think that's the idea, that there's obviously the lighter, fluffier stuff that Rosemary's always up for, but then there's also the more investigative stuff that Rosemary is also very intrigued about and definitely has a mind for and a curiosity for. And so this kind of captures all of those elements of her personality for sure."
It was Rosemary's investigative spirit that urged her to visit the Canfields' old residence to see what she could discover there. That only led to more questions, and they might not be answered any time soon.
"I think part of it gets revealed in the finale, and then part of it is what propels her forward into what will, hopefully, be a storyline that plays in season nine," Pascale shared.
With the idea that a factory could open on the outskirts of Hope Valley, resulting in the influx of 100 new students to the area, it's hard not to consider that the valley might be in for some significant change. Pascale thinks Hope Valley will always retain its quaint atmosphere.
"This is never going to be a bustling metropolis; Hope Valley is never going to become that. But what I do think is that more activity creates more storylines, more struggles, more conflict for individuals in the town and the town as a whole.
"How do they hold on to that small-town community feel when it starts to grow? And I think every member of the community really values that come-togetherness of a small town, and they would never want to sacrifice that. This is more of a storyline rather than my own personal view.
"This is the people in the town feel that way. And so I think that could be interesting as Hope Valley maybe starts to grow. How do the people react to that and hold on to all the wonderful things that come with having a small, supportive community?"
With the Canfields' seamless entry to the landscape of When Calls the Heart, Pascale isn't worried that new residents of Hope Valley will wear out their welcome.
"The one thing that we've seen on this show is that people's hearts are limitless on this show. People always have the capacity to love and welcome more people. And so that's always going to be the case.
"I think from a logistical point of view, obviously, we need to keep in mind how many new characters we bring in without then sacrificing the characters that have been there and been loved by fans since the beginning. You never want to sacrifice the kind of... The characters that have been there forever for bringing in the new character.
As for the Canfields, Pascale can't imagine the show or Hope Valley without them now. "Now it just feels like that was always meant to happen. It was a family that was always meant to be a part of the fabric of the community."
Joseph and Lee have grown closer, and Joseph will be working with Lee, as well. Does that open the doors for a stronger friendship between Rosemary and Minnie? Pascale thinks so.
We'll see more of that in the finale, she teased. "You see, there are more ties that might connect Minnie and Joseph to Rosemary and Lee.
"And so, absolutely, as the show progresses and as the Canfields become more ingrained in the community, more of those relationships are going to blossom and develop, and absolutely, it feels like a natural fit to have Minnie and Rosemary connect."
Pascale and her on-screen partner, Kavan Smith, have such indelible chemistry that it's impossible to imagine they could be anything but loving and supportive of one another. Pascale credits much of Rosemary and Lee's successful marriage to the writing, though.
"Rosemary and Lee never entered into the relationship pretending to be anything other than who they were. So there was no wool over the eyes when they got married. Rosemary has always been a bit fly by the seat of her pants, a bit speak before she thinks, a bit too theatrical or a lot theatrical, bit dramatic or a lot dramatic.
"She's always been all those things, and Lee has loved her because of those things and in spite of those things. Lee's very constant, steady, unwavering, calm, has always been at the core of who he is.
I think it makes it easier for a couple to move forward and forgive each other's mishaps or moments of being insensitive when, in their heart, you know who they are, and you love who they are. In their heart, they're good and kind and loving, and they would never do anything to jeopardize each other.
"That's what always brings Rosemary and Lee back together. And they are honestly just smitten with each other still after so many years together; they just are smitten. They love each other. They truly not just love each other, they are still passionately in love with each other."
One of my favorite moments between the couple this season featured their lovely backyard and Rosemary finding a way to share her oasis with her husband. Pascale enjoys scenes in that beautiful area, too, whether Rosemary is inviting Lee and his woodworking to share the space or she and Elizabeth are hanging the wash.
"I always loved the scenes with Elizabeth and Jack in the backyard with Rosemary and Lee. Or Rosemary and Elizabeth putting the clothes out to dry and things that. I loved the backyard situation," Pascale said.
"But what I really loved about Rosemary transforming her little oasis and making room for turning it into Lee's special spot is the fans made that connection. We knocked a few seasons back when he built that arbor for her, and that's a while ago, and people right away realized that and noticed that and made that connection.
I thought that was wonderful. I love it when fans make those connections from not just previous episodes, but previous seasons; they really are holding onto the Bible of what the show is."
Those intimate moments of friends and family also invite viewers deeper into the characters' lives. Those touches offer a view of the community, and viewers feel like a part of it. Pascale mentions similar scenes from When Calls the Heart Season 7 when Rosemary got ill.
"We'd never seen Rosemary and Lee's bedroom. And I thought that was really neat. It was like a new window into a couple that we hadn't seen.
"There's a certain intimacy that happens when you're in that setting. And even though Rosemary was sick, there was an intimacy between the two of them then. And I thought that that was really neat. I, as a viewer, thought that was interesting and intriguing to see.
When asked what other couple could be in the running for a relationship as strong as Rosemary and Lee's, Pascale pointed to Joseph and Minnie.
"Their bond is so deep, and it's completely different than Rosemary and Lee. Rosemary and Lee are a bit more comedic, and dramatic, and theatrical, and kind of over-the-top and funny, but you see that Minnie and Joseph are supportive of one another and how much the two of them complement one another.
"They really need each other to balance each other out. I've really enjoyed watching their connection as a really strong, loving couple in the town."
Of course, we had to talk about the rift between Rosemary and Elizabeth that has been so difficult to watch. If you read my When Calls the Heart reviews, then you know how deeply affecting I find Rosemary's emotions playing across Pascale's face.
"Well, I think you always hurt the people who you love the most. And I think Rosemary is Elizabeth's constant. Rosemary is Elizabeth's pillar of strength and love there. She doesn't have a partner yet. And Rosemary is that person.
Elizabeth has been really struggling, and in the throes of wrestling with grief over the loss of Jack, that's reared its head again in her life. I think she didn't realize, for a long time," Pascale said of Elizabeth's pain over Jack's death.
"He died, and then she right away found out she was pregnant. And a lot of her energy went into being pregnant and baby Jack, and then it's kind of caught up with her with this news that Nathan delivered to her. And it's just kind of reared its head. And so she's in the throes of grief.
"We never actually saw before. I don't think she ever experienced it before. And then, of course, on top of that, she's torn between these two men who both are wonderful people. She cares about both of them deeply, but what is her heart telling her to do?
"I think she really needs to deal with her grief before she can actually open her heart fully to one of these people. And of course, it just seems completely obvious and natural that, in the throes of all of that turmoil, she's going to take it out on Rosemary.
"I think Rosemary was, honestly, trying to be a good friend. She was being honest, and sometimes honesty is uncomfortable, and it sometimes hurts to face those truths. And I don't think Elizabeth was really ready to face those truths, so I think Elizabeth needs to sort through some of her own feelings before she can get back to Rosemary."
With the falling out comes two camps of viewers: those who believe Rosemary was honest and to the point and those who believe she could have tread a little more lightly with Elizabeth. I am in the latter camp, and, not surprisingly, Pascale is firmly in the other.
"I think Rosemary saw Elizabeth going down a road that was unwarranted. Elizabeth was starting down a path of blaming Nathan for what happened to Jack. And that just was not the truth in Rosemary's opinion.
"And whether it was the right approach or not, Nathan's motivation for them coming to Hope Valley and wanting to connect with Elizabeth, his motivation was noble.
"You can take faults with the action itself, but you can't take fault with his motivation for doing it. It was from the goodness of his heart what brought him to Hope Valley. And I think that's what Rosemary was trying to help Elizabeth to see.
"I actually disagree with you," Pascale said when I suggested that Rosemary's approach might have been a little harsh. "I thought Rosemary was remarkably restrained and careful in her words with Elizabeth. Obviously, that's not how Elizabeth received it.
"Elizabeth, I think really wanted just unwavering support of how she was feeling in that moment. But I felt like Rosemary was very careful in her approach. And I definitely think that what she was speaking was truth to Elizabeth, for sure."
Elizabeth had made clear during the season that truth was paramount to her, so from this viewer's perspective, it wasn't Nathan's actions that broke her heart, but not revealing the connection to Jack and his accident earlier, no matter how thin it might have seemed to others.
Pascale countered, "I think that Rosemary was coming from was more a place of not that it doesn't matter, but 'I'm sure he had his reasons. You should talk to him; you need to clear the air with him rather than make assumptions.'
"And Elizabeth was making a lot of assumptions about Nathan and about Rosemary. She was drawing her only conclusions. And I think Rosemary was saying, 'I think you need to talk to him; he's a good person. I'm sure he had his reasons. They may have been misguided, but I don't think they were ill-intentioned.' And I think that's what Rosemary was communicating."
If viewers and those who portray the characters find the situation hard to understand fully, then Rosemary and Elizabeth themselves get a pass since what someone says and how another receives that can make all the difference. It's not always simple.
"I agree 100%, and that's why I think it's taken some time. This wasn't just a storyline; this wasn't a conflict that was going to be neatly wrapped up in a bow in one episode. It's taking some time to sort through it because it's a bit messy."
Pascale said Rosemary isn't one just to dust things under the rug, so it's going to take a real discussion between her and Elizabeth before they can resume their close connection.
"I don't think it's a situation where we can just pretend nothing ever happened and move forward. Just the best friends we've always been. I'm very similar to that. So, I was very empathetic to Rosemary's reaction because I'm not somebody who can just dust stuff under the carpet either.
"I really need to have the conversation before I can move forward. So I think what Rosemary's waiting for is she wants to have that acknowledgment, have that conversation and then move forward."
It's a testament to Lee's love for Rosemary that he's allowing her the space she needs to process what's happening between her and Elizabeth, especially when he's hurting as a result of their rift, as well.
"I think Lee has taken the approach of I'm going to step aside and let this run its course. I am not going to meddle in this already kind of messy, uncomfortable situation, which I think is probably very smart," Pascale said.
"And you can tell she's not herself, and Lee knows that, and I think it's really hard on Rosemary and Lee because not only is there now, kind of a divide between Rosemary and Elizabeth, but they're two families, right?
So Elizabeth, Rosemary, and Lee, and then also baby Jack and Rosemary, and Lee, and that's painful. They love him so dearly."
With so many characters on the When Calls the Heart canvas, everyone doesn't get to interact with each other as often as they or we may like.
Pascale holds a special place in her heart for a relationship that was over before it got the attention it deserved -- Rosemary and Hickam.
"I used to love the Rosemary and Hickam storyline when it started. And he was kind of a bit sweet on her when she first arrived in town, and then he was working for Lee, and she was calling on him to help her out, build the theater in the woods. And he was helping her with the wedding," she recalled.
"I just thought their dynamic was really funny. And I would love to see that storyline as well. Other storylines that I think would be, I would like the unconventional pairings that we haven't seen a lot of.
"That's why I've been really enjoying the Fiona and Hickam pairing because I don't know, there's something just so incredibly sweet and innocent about the two of them together, and it's really fresh, and I like that."
A pairing she'd entertain for its comedic aspects would be Rosemary and Allie. "I always thought it would be a hoot to have a storyline, a prominent storyline with Rosemary and Allie. I don't know why. I just think those two characters would be really funny together.
"I think they would really be amused by one another. And, I don't know, there's something about that pairing that's intriguing to me," she laughed.
So what can you expect from When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 12? Surely, you knew we'd ask!
Pascale didn't want to give anything away that could spoil the enjoyment of the episode as it unfolds, but she did say this. "I think there's going to be a lot of resolution, but it's going to be hard-won in the finale.
"So I think there's going to be some big feelings by people watching the show in the finale, but at the end, it's going to feel very satisfying and cathartic, that's what I think."
And without a commitment to When Calls the Heart Season 9 from Hallmark, she added, "Hopefully, it leaves people just begging for more."
We're always begging for more When Calls the Heart, so be sure to tune in Sunday for the finale and come back here for a full review after the episode.
We'll also have an interview with Elizabeth herself, Erin Krakow, before the finale, so keep your eyes on TV Fanatic, and watch When Calls the Heart online to catch up before the big finish!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.