4.5386533665835 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.54 (401 Votes)
Episode 7.13: So Dear to My Heart - 4.5 out of 5 based on 22 votes

Felicity confronts Stuart about Gus's return and her wedding plans change from marrying Stuart to marrying Gus. Jasper and Olivia plan to leave Avonlea for England, which causes Hetty to dissent against the King family and she promptly refuses to attend the wedding.

Writer: Marlene Matthews 
Director: Graeme Lynch 
Special Guest Star: R.H. Thomson as Jasper Dale, Gema Zamprogna as Felicity King/Pike and Michael Mahonen as Gus Pike 
With: Marilyn Lightstone as Muriel Pettibone and David Ferry as Stuart McRae 
Original CBC Airdate: March 31, 1996 
Time Frame: Summer 1912

Highlights/Analysis

Hetty, Felicity and Gus begin the journey from South Carolina to Avonlea. Hetty reads the paper and is shocked to find that the Dale cannery was destroyed in a fire.

When they settle in Avonlea, Felicity informs Gus that she is engaged to Stuart and that she was afraid that he wouldn't return if he knew.  She also tells Gus that Stuart helped her survive when she was in mourning over his alleged death.

Felicity confronts Stuart while he is feverishly building their dream house and tells him that they found Gus. A silently devastated Stuart mounts his horse and rides away.

Jasper and Olivia plan to rebuild the cannery, but Stuart advises against it, informing them that they won't be able to compete with Carmody.  Jasper thanks his workers for their commitment and announces that he will not rebuild the cannery.

Felix, who now happens to be Simon's assistant (which is kind of strange being that he was demoted to busboy in Total Eclipse), tells Gus that he is considering joining the Navy.

Felicity returns Stuart's engagement ring and tells him that "finding Gus changed everything." A heartbroken Stuart tells Felicity that he waited a lifetime for her. Shortly afterwards, Stuart leaves Avonlea.

Gus goes to Charlottetown for a surgery that he hopes will restore his eyesight. He survives the surgery but his recovery would be in question. While Felicity believes Gus is unconscious, she asks him to marry her. A perfectly conscious Gus tells her that "that's a proposal I accept."

Jasper and Olivia announce that Jasper has accepted a position at the Royal Society and that they are going to leave Avonlea. Olivia infuriates Hetty when she asks for her share of the trust. Hetty feels betrayed when Alec supports Olivia and refuses to go to Felicity's wedding.

The big day arrives and Sara Stanley arrives at Rose Cottage for the wedding. Sara is shocked to find that Hetty refuses to attend.  Alec and Janet are surprised to find that Felix has joined the Navy.

Felicity walks down the isle to a familiar and yet appropriate wedding march, but realizes that Hetty is not present. She leaves the ceremony and rushes in her bridal gown to Rose Cottage.

Felicity tells Hetty that she will not get married without her and Hetty reluctantly returns with her to the church. (It's so significant that Felicity is the one to bring Hetty to reconciliation, since both Hetty and Felicity were compared with each other in personality and they both were the most influential women in Gus's life)

Finally, the series reaches it's pinacle moment as Gus and Felicity are married and the family is reunited once again. After the wedding, the family gathers behind King farm where Hetty gives a moving speech.

In the final seconds of the last episode, Hetty accepts "change" as "inevitable," implying that she accepts Jasper and Olivia's departure; but she also makes it clear that Avonlea will never disappear from their hearts and minds.

Criticism

Felicity tells Gus that she first saw him in the schoolhouse, a scene which occured in Aunt Hetty's Ordeal. As many Avonlea fans have pointed out, Felicity first saw Gus before that scene ever took place at King farm in How Kissing Was Discovered.

Note however that the writer of this final episode, Marlene Matthews, also wrote 'Aunt Hetty's Ordeal.' Therefore, it might have been more convenient to draw that significant scene from the episode that she wrote.

Rhetorical Questions

Notice how Alec calls Gus "son" when he greets him at the train station?

Stuart was really working hard on that home, wasn't he?

How great was Hetty's final speech?

Memorable Quotes

"That's a proposal, I accept." -A perfectly conscious Gus Pike

"Aunt Hetty, you come out here this minute. I refuse to get married without you!" -Felicity King

"...So I'll ask you all now to raise your glasses and join me in a toast to the bride and the groom... To friends and loved ones, near and far; but where ever you wander, whatever glorious adventures lie ahead of you. You can rest easy knowing you have a place to come home to... The fairest spot on earth. Our Avonlea... To Avonlea." -Hetty's toast to end the series

Sap Meter: 10 

Notes

(1) In the production notes of the former Sullivan Entertainment 'Road to Avonlea' website, it was stated that the series was intended to end by leaving "Avonlea in it's idyllic setting." The series ends nine months from World War One before the peaceful maritime community would be changed forever. When word came that this would be the final season, letters from fans began to flood into Sullivan's office, expressing regret that the series was coming to a close. Kevin Sullivan said that he wanted to end the show "without tarnishing it's image and by leaving a fond impression of the show with our audiences."

Grade: A 

The wedding between Gus and Felicity was the pinacle of the most important story line of the series.

 

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  • Valancy7

    Not to nitpick but the episode timeline seems a little off. World War 1 started in the summer of 1914 so it would've been closer 2 years, not nine months from this episode to the start of the war.

  • Valancy7, there are two contradictory years mentioned for when the series ends. Sullivan Entertainment said in the production notes that it was 9 months between the series end and World War 1. However, in Happy Christmas Miss King it is mentioned that 2 years had passed between this episode and Happy Christmas Miss King in Dec. 1914. I point out this contradiction in the series timeline.

    Comment last edited on about 10 months ago by Timothy
  • Alex

    I adore this episode - it's very bittersweet for me knowing that Avonlea was ending and I was in tears. Hetty's toast was perfect and was a beautiful send off to the fans, but I do agree that this episode should have been at least a two parter, or even the full season storyline.

    I wonder with the popularity of revivals of 90's tv shows, along with period hits, can Avonlea come back as a reboot/revival? Anne with an E is introducing a new group of people to Anne of Green Gables. Could Road to Avonlea come back on a larger scale? I know I've posted it somewhere else, but I could see this coming back similar to Degrassi the next generation. Have the characters we love, but introduce new characters as well. Like Alec and Janet and Olivia could become the Hetty, Gus and Felicity would become the Janet and Alec and new kids brought in. The war and the impact could also be addressed as this was something that LMM was against.

  • People have been asking for Road to Avonlea to return for years. It's been a little over 20 years since we last saw the characters in 1914. Twenty years later would put the King family in the 1930's. You know what that means? It would be set at the same time as Wind At My Back. :o

  • oooo I think that would be interesting.. or the timeline could be fudged a bit. I would be curious how the show could be revived in this day and age. I'm picturing a bit of Downton Abbey but with a Canadian Country flair..

  • It's funny you should mention Dowton Abbey, Alex. It reminded me of how Sullivan said Avonlea couldn't continue because his writers ran out of ideas, and yet here was Downton Abbey with all these great story lines. Avonlea was about to enter one of the biggest events in history and yet the writers couldn't think of anything? They should have seriously considered another career.

  • Downton does have a little more dramatic flair than Avonlea did, but I think bringing it back now could have that flair added. Period pieces are very big right now. Now if the writers said they ran out of material, that is garbage. Anne 3 took place during WWI, so logically, there were potential stories that could have been told. What about Felix's point of view as a junior naval officer? There's the whole foundling home... No more cannery!

    ok, here's a big one, what about what the islands did when the Titanic sank?!

  • It would be really interesting to see what the town thought when the Titanic sunk. We kind of got a taste of this type of tragedy on a smaller level when the Maid of Calais sunk at the end of season six. Interestingly, I read that Montgomery hardly even mentioned the Titanic sinking in her diary.

    There's also the Halifax explosion of 1917 when two ships collided, which was also a major event. The Pettibones moved to Halifax so I can see Clive, Izzy and the family rushing in to help victims of the explosion.

    Comment last edited on about 3 weeks ago by Timothy
  • When was the rough timeline that Gus was a naval telegrapher in Halifax? That would have been a nice tie in as well. I agree that Clive and Izzy would have been rushing to help. Look at the popularity from Come From Away about the East Coast helping out.. STORYLINES PEOPLE!! :)

    Maybe I should become a TV writer!

  • Hetty says in Happy Christmas Miss King that Gus is a naval telegrapher in Halifax. This was in December 1914. Would the Pike family leave Avonlea and live in Halifax? Maybe call it Road to Halifax. I think you really could have helped the writers come up with ideas. They sure needed it!