After confronting Jack and Olivia over his plans to fight for custody, Eric again storms out of the hospital. Jack follows and the two have a heated argument. For his part, Jack does what he can to calm Eric down. When Eric says he’s getting a lawyer, Jack implores him to reconsider, saying that it will only make the situation worse. Enraged, Eric says that it’s Jack and Olivia who are making the situation worse. Eric’s words hit like a slap across Jack’s face.
Meanwhile, Roy reveals to Grace and Maryellen what he’s learned about the men who are searching for John. The two men, Sam and Robbie, were in prison with John. It appears that Sam and Robbie want John to join them in their “business,” producing fraudulent passports and credit cards. Word on the street is that Sam and Robbie also had a third member of their gang that they are eager to replace before making their next big delivery. Grace, Roy, and Sheriff Davis all think that Sam and Robbie might try to use Maryellen as leverage to get to John. They advise her to steer clear of John, but Maryellen refuses.
Waiting at the docks, Sam and Robbie finally hear from John. Sam confides in John that he needs his artistic skills to finish the stamps on a batch of fake passports. And, since money is not a motivator, Sam makes it clear that he is not above harming Maryellen to get what he wants. With no other option, John agrees to help them. While still determined to stand by him, Maryellen is heartbroken to hear of John’s decision. John and Maryellen meet for one last time and John tells her that in order to keep her safe he must never see her again. The two share a tender embrace before John leaves.
Later, at the coffee shop, Justine sits and contemplates her own situation. Olivia arrives and knows immediately that something is wrong. Justine reveals that Seth is giving up his dream job to open the restaurant in Cedar Cove. Olivia, unsurprised that Seth would do anything for Justine, asks Justine what it is that she wants. Justine’s response reflects more of what Seth wants than her own desires. Olivia stops her and again asks what Justine wants. With that, Justine realizes that she may be making this decision to please Seth.
With a heavy heart, Justine goes to meet Seth at the restaurant. Sensing her nervousness, Seth tries to assuage her concerns by acknowledging her concerns and making a hasty marriage proposal. The intensity of the moment combined with Seth’s excitement leave Justine speechless. She accepts the ring and she and Seth share an awkward embrace.
Back at the hospital, Olivia tries to reason with Shelly. Shelly is convinced that Eric can’t be trusted and that adoption is the best choice. For his part, Jack’s efforts to reason with Eric have also come up short. Faced with challenges on both sides, Olivia comes up with her own solution. Olivia volunteers to mediate the case pro bono and find a responsible solution that benefits everyone.
At first, the mediation only highlights the differences between Eric and Shelly. Convinced the entire scenario is a set up, Eric again storms off. Jack follows him and the two have a serious father son talk. While apologizing for his own shortcomings as a father, Jack convinces Eric that the only way he can get Shelly to forgive his past is the same way he did, “ask for forgiveness and hope that you get it.” Meanwhile, Olivia seeks to reach Shelly by opening up about the death of her son. Olivia convinces Shelly that the heartbreak of loosing a child, by any means, is one that she doesn’t want to suffer. However, in the midst of the breakthrough, Shelly goes into a distressed labor and is immediately rushed to the operating room.
While in a room at the Thyme & Tide, John, Sam, and Robbie inspect fraudulent passports while waiting for the “money man.” When he arrives, the “money man” is less than enthusiastic about having to meet in Cedar Cove. As the men discuss their fraudulent enterprise, the door suddenly swings open and a squad of FBI agents storms the room. Everyone, including John, is taken into custody.
Back at the restaurant, Justine reviews her and Seth’s financial situation. Still excited over his and Justine’s engagement, Seth bounds into the restaurant with his latest idea. Even though he and Justine are already cash strapped, he wants to throw a giant wedding. Despite the setbacks, Seth feels even more certain that Justine is the most important person in his life.
After his apparent arrest, John is finally reunited with Maryellen. In an interview room, John reveals that the entire situation was a setup to catch Sam and Robbie. Knowing they would do anything to force him to help them, John went to the police and set up a sting operation. Wearing a wire gave the police all the evidence they needed to lock up Sam and Robbie for a long time. Now a free man, John has decided to pursue his art career in New York and not to return to Cedar Cove. What’s more, he asks Maryellen is she will join him. Stunned, Maryellen decides not to go, recognizing that her mother needs her more.
Back at the docks, Justine contemplates her life as she peers out over the water. As Seth stands next to her she reveals that she knows about Derek’s job offer. She also reveals that she doesn’t want to own a restaurant and that she doesn’t want to get married. While devastated, Seth admits that the restaurant is not his real dream either. Recognizing that they love each other too much to pursue their path together, they make the difficult choice of moving on separately.
While Maryellen has convinced herself to stay in Cedar Cove, Grace has come to another conclusion. Recognizing that her daughter’s happiness means she must leave the nest, Grace calls John and convinces him to give Maryellen a second chance. The decision is difficult for Grace, but she knows that it’s best for her daughter. She waves the couple off before breaking into tears.
Back in the hospital, Eric and Shelly embrace their new daughter. Despite all the fighting, the two have decided to take on this new chapter of their lives together. The experience has also given Olivia a chance to begin moving past the painful memories of losing her own son. The experience has also brought her and Jack even closer. Jack even tries to give Olivia a key to his house, but Olivia is not ready to take that step. While she concedes that she and Jack are a “real couple,” when Jack offers Olivia the key, she gives Jack an unexpected response: “Why do I need a key?”