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Hallmark viewers divided over Season 5 premiere of Chesapeake Shores

Laci Mailey (as Jess O'Brien) and and Treat Williams (as Mick O'Brien) on Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores.
The O’Brien family returned to Hallmark Channel on Sunday with the Season 5 premiere of Chesapeake Shores. Fans were divided over the episode, with some claiming the series won’t be the same without Jesse Metcalfe. Pic credit: Crown Media

Chesapeake Shores returned to Hallmark Channel after a two-year absence last night. The opening of Season 5, which saw the departure of series regular Jesse Metcalfe, drew a mixed reaction from fans.

“The show so sucks now,” one fan wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “GET REAL! Abby is an idiot and without Trace nobody on the show knows what love is especially Abby. No longer watching lame story lines.”

Other fans were just glad to see the O’Brien family back together.

“I enjoyed it,” one wrote. “I think the others will pick up the Jesse slack. They’re interesting stories too.”

The Season 4 finale, which aired in September 2019, was a romantic cliffhanger. Trace and Abby shared a passionate kiss, leaving most fans to believe that their on-again, off-again romance was back on.

But production on the show was pushed back due to COVID restrictions, and by the time filming began on Season 5, Metcalfe had announced he was leaving the show. Writers handled his departure by leaping forward several months and showing the kiss on the beach as a flashback.

A fan expresses disappointment in Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores.
Some viewers don’t believe Chesapeake Shores can survive without Jesse Metcalfe. Pic credit: @darlenephillipstrepanier/Facebook
A fan on Facebook says Chesapeake Shores will be fine without Jesse Metcalfe.
Some fans think Chesapeake Shores will be just fine without Jesse Metcalfe. Pic credit: @dianekochanny/Facebook

Life without Trace

The Trace and Abby relationship was a focal point in the early seasons of the show and in the books on which the series is based. Trace and Abby were high school sweethearts who broke up when Abby left small-town life behind for a career in New York City.

After a failed marriage, Abby returned to her hometown in Maryland with her two daughters to help out her family. She and Trace reunited and sparks flew.

Throughout the first four seasons, Trace and Abby would get together, fall out, get back together, and fall out again. During Season 4, writers introduced another love interest for Abby, a teacher from her daughters’ elementary school named Jay (played by Greyston Holt).

Most fans assumed Jay was out of the running after Trace and Abby kissed. But in the Season 5 opener, viewers saw what happened immediately after the kiss. Abby said the relationship was over.

“We need to stop trying to recreate something that wasn’t supposed to last in the first place,” Abby said. “What we had was beautiful but it’s not going anywhere.”

The O’Briens together again

In the Season 5 opening, all five O’Brien children are back in Chesapeake Shores celebrating the return of writer Bree, who was in London for the run of a play she wrote.

Abby has joined her father in his business, and Connor has a job with a Baltimore law firm.

Jess and David are planning their wedding, though it became clear in Episode 1 that his parents aren’t going to make it easy. Jess and David want a small, intimate affair in Chesapeake Shores, but David’s parents want them to follow Peck family tradition and marry in Wales. David’s mother Deidra also presented Jess with a prenuptial agreement.

Bree has been offered a teaching job at the University of Maryland. The only problem is she will be working for her high school rival, Jerome Trask.

Kevin and Sarah are trying to start a family. Kevin talks to his dad about it, and Mick tells him not to rush into parenthood.

“Once you have kids, it will never be just the two of you again,” Mick said.

Season 5, Episode 2 of Chesapeake Shores will air on Sunday, August 22 on Hallmark Channel at 8/7c.

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