'When Calls the Heart' Cast Reacts to Surprising Season 8 Premiere Cliffhanger (Exclusive)

Erin Krakow, Kevin McGarry and Chris McNally dish on the 'WCTH' episode 8 cliffhanger, what's next and that long-awaited musical duet!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Do not proceed if you haven’t watched Sunday’s season 8 premiere of When Calls the Heart!

While trying to have dinner, Elizabeth Thornton got caught in quite the pickle.

During Sunday’s season 8 premiere of When Calls the Heart, Hearties all over the world were reunited with their favorite friendly faces in Hope Valley -- and subsequently left stunned after that final scene. ET spoke with stars Erin Krakow, Kevin McGarry and Chris McNally via video chat to learn more about the surprising cliffhanger, what’s next in the Elizabeth-Nathan-Lucas love triangle and even some fun tidbits about making music together! But first, let’s refresh on what happened leading up to the cliffhanger:

After Elizabeth agrees to go on a dinner date with Mountie Nathan Grant, (also accompanied by her son, Baby Jack, and Nathan's niece, Allie), the group takes a stroll through town to grab a bite to eat. Just as they’re about to enter the cafe, they unexpectedly run into Lucas Bouchard, who’s there to welcome his mother, Helen Bouchard, to Hope Valley. Both parties exchange pleasantries and Lucas, who seems a bit bummed, heads off with his mother under the assumption that Elizabeth and Nathan are about to have dinner together. What Lucas doesn’t know is that shortly after the encounter, Elizabeth reveals she’s not feeling well and asks Nathan and Allie to walk her and her son home. No dinner date after all.

“I think [Lucas’] dreams are being slowly crushed,” McNally says with a laugh when asked how Lucas was feeling in that moment. “It's just another step in the wrong direction for him. I think, on the other hand, he does leave Hope Valley for a while to gain some perspective on the situation, and he comes back because realizes he just wants to be with Elizabeth, but he also wants her to be happy and that's the most important thing. So it's a bit of a push and pull, you know? If she's happier with Nathan, that's great. It’s going to break his heart, but he still is longing for her in his own way.”

McGarry chimes in to share Nathan’s perspective, hilariously telling ET, “I think any interaction with Nathan and Lucas is always uncomfortable.” And despite the dinner date getting called off, McGarry insists “there’s hope” for his character’s budding romance with the beloved schoolteacher. “For this point in the Nathan-Elizabeth journey, you might actually get to see a date with the two of them, so yeah, he’s hopeful.”

As for Krakow, she describes the love triangle as “an impossible situation.” Why? Well, she says it’s because "both Nathan and Lucas are such incredible men and they've created these amazing characters that we've all grown to love and I think, no matter what, Elizabeth is just in quite the pickle.” As for that awkward encounter with both of her suitors at the same time, the Juilliard School graduate offers some insight into her character’s mindset. “I think it's just too much,” she explains. “It's one of these things where, yeah, maybe if they hadn't run into Lucas and his mother on the way, it would've been easier to just keep walking into that café. But I think it just didn't feel kind, and I think in that moment, Elizabeth realized she still had a lot to think about and she was just trying to follow her heart.”

No doubt Team Nathan fans were thrilled to see the Mountie work up the courage to officially ask Elizabeth out after getting a bit tongue-tied in season 7. McGarry says viewers will “100% see more” new-found confidence throughout upcoming episodes.

“I think the way it finished, season 7, with the near-death experience, it just kind of shook some things into perspective for Nathan: both what he wants and what it takes to get it. However, this is really just kind of the tip of the iceberg of what Nathan has been kind of holding onto,” the Canadian actor teases. “I find it interesting, a lot of people talk, they’re always like, ‘Oh, Nathan is so shy,’ and they’re very quick to be like, ‘He's got all these attributes,’ but very few people are like, ‘Why is he like this?’ and I think we get to see that… he starts out much more confident at the beginning of season 8… but things start to unravel a little bit and some truths come up to the surface a little bit and we get to see just why he has been so at arm's length, especially with Elizabeth, more than anybody else, really. He's only tongue-tied around Elizabeth.” 

And although some may consider Nathan and Lucas at odds while vying for Elizabeth’s affection, it seems there may be an underlying friendship between them after all. In a touching moment of kindness, Lucas lends Nathan the large sum of money he needs to pay off Allie’s birth father to get him out of Allie’s life (and Hope Valley) for good. Could this mean the gentlemen’s friendship is blossoming?

“We're kind of setting the stage of coming from a place of mutual respect towards one another where a friendship could be down the line,” McNally explains before adding, “I just don't know that we are quite there yet.”

McGarry, calls it a “swallow your pride” moment for Nathan. “Clearly, he was a desperate man if he had to go to the guy that is his nemesis in the town for help. But that says something about Lucas’ character that he helped Nathan out, so yeah, we’ll see," he teases.

McGarry also reveals that Lucas and Nathan’s dynamic is a topic he’s discussed with season 8 showrunner John Tinker. McGarry says that because the two gentlemen are so different, Tinker feels they inherently “wouldn't see eye-to-eye on a lot of things.” McNally adds that he’s hopeful the series will be renewed for a ninth season because the Nathan-Lucas friendship will be “a fun dynamic to explore, if we get to.”

As for which suitor currently has the competitive edge with winning Elizabeth’s heart, the actors play coy. (We understand -- there’s still 11 episodes left in the season!) However, Krakow smiles and then encourages Hearties to try this: “I would really just love for the audience to try to track it on their own and figure out where they think Elizabeth is with all of this. I don't want to give anything away!”

Another surprise from the season 8 premiere? Music! Faith (Andrea Brooks), who returns to Hope Valley after studying medicine in Chicago, is treated to a romantic waterfront serenade from her beau, Dr. Carson Shepherd (Paul Greene). Greene tells ET that Tinker had watched some of his Facebook Live performances, and after Greene vocalized that he'd love play music on the show, Tinker created this enchanting scene for the premiere episode. What's more: Greene explains that while the song started off as a short verse he wrote for the scene, he eventually turned into a full song called 'Waves of Time.' Greene reveals he not only wrote the track about missing his fiancee, Kate, but he also played all the instruments, produced, and mastered the single all from his home in Los Angeles.

This tender musical moment begs the question: can we expect more music from the cast?

“I sing!” Krakow shares with a smile. While the actress couldn’t divulge details, she did tease that she sings to “Elizabeth’s favorite person” and calls it a “sweet little musical moment together.” 

The cast is making music off-screen too! When it comes to that duet McGarry previously revealed he’s been working on with Krakow, the pair insists it is coming -- they’re just not sure when.  “I think it would have been a lot easier if we had [sang] it while we were in the same city, but I would love for it to happen,” Krakow gushed, before revealing they have already selected the song and rehearsed it. She also dropped this hint: “It's a song that feels connected to When Calls the Heart and some of the sentiments that were shared on our show.” And if that wasn’t enough to get you excited, McNally joked that he wants to be involved too, as the song’s conductor. Now that is music to our sweet ears!

ET will be covering WCTH all season long, so make sure to keep it locked right here on ETonline.com for all the latest interviews with the cast. When Calls the Heart airs Sundays at 9 p.m ET/PT on Hallmark Channel.