Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 19th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actress poll will be re-posted on the 20th! Here is the link to the poll:
As I mentioned in last week’s Word on the Street story, the Coronavirus has heavily impacted the world. This has caused several movies and television shows to be postponed or delayed, including upcoming projects from Hallmark. While When Calls the Heart’s seventh season went into production last year, I highly doubt Hallmark knew how timely this episode would become. As I was watching it, I couldn’t help noticing the parallels between Hope Valley’s chickenpox outbreak and the current Coronavirus outbreak. There are definitely differences between these events, such as the Mercantile not running out of supplies. But the same ideas were found in the script, such as cancelling school and keeping a safe distance from those infected. Whenever a television show responds to a national or international crisis, an episode will be dedicated to the event after it has occurred. One example is when the ‘80s sitcom, Punky Brewster, created an episode around the Challenger disaster. In When Calls the Heart’s case, it’s very rare when a show’s episode arrives at the exact time and place when a real-life situation is happening. While I don’t think this episode was meant to reflect the world’s current medical situation, it does provide the show with a sense of relatability.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Sweet and Sour
At the beginning of the episode, it is revealed that Opal has contracted chickenpox. When Elizabeth asks her class who has had chickenpox before, she discovers only one student has: Ally. This causes Elizabeth to cancel school until Opal’s illness has been cured. Because of Opal’s chickenpox diagnosis, an outbreak of the sickness takes place in Hope Valley. Other people find themselves with the illness, including Rosemary, who claims to have never had chickenpox before. Nathan and Lucas volunteer to warn elderly citizens and neighboring towns about the outbreak. Meanwhile, Elizabeth delivers homework to her students and does whatever she can to help Rosemary. She also tries her best to keep her son away from anyone infected with chickenpox. One night, while delivering soup to Rosemary, Elizabeth discovers that Rosemary has a dangerously high fever. Lee and Elizabeth, as well as Carson and Faith, respond immediately in an effort to bring the fever down. After applying “submersion therapy” and using any trick they know of to combat the fever, Rosemary pulls through and beats the illness. Another piece of good news is Faith won’t have to miss medical school due to the chickenpox outbreak. When Carson and Faith are finished taking care of Rosemary, Carson shares with her that if she left for Chicago the following day, she would arrive just in time to start classes. The next day, as Rosemary recovers from her illness, Faith leaves Hope Valley in pursuit of her medical dreams.
A man named Sean comes to Hope Valley in an effort to sue Henry. He claims that Henry lied about the quality of the oil at his petroleum plant. Henry and his silent partner, Lucas, deny this allegation. As Bill starts the process to have this case go to trial, Lucas requests a jury be present. Bill not only agrees to recruit a jury, but he also tells Henry and Lucas they have twenty-four hours to gather evidence to support their claim. After this meeting, Henry approaches Nathan and asks him for help with the case. Nathan agrees and takes a trip to Sean’s oil Refinery. Later in the episode, Nathan meets Cornell, the person who oversees operations at the oil Refinery. Nathan learns that Cornell had his own petroleum plant, but he had to sell it to Sean around the time Henry started his petroleum plant. After this introduction, Nathan takes a look around the facility. He meets Cornell’s son, Danny, who is seen collecting oil. Danny explains to Nathan that the oil is tested in a lab, where its quality is determined. When all of this information is collected, Nathan confronts Cornell and Danny about the case. Cornell confesses that he tampered with the oil samples from Henry’s plant. As he’s talking with Cornell and Danny, Nathan discovers that Danny was the one who tampered with the samples. The next day, Nathan shares this information with Bill, Henry, and Sean. Sean vows to fire Cornell and apologizes with Henry. Henry forgives Sean and chooses not to press charges against him.
Because of Lucas’ request, Bill spends the majority of the episode recruiting people for the jury. When Mollie and Florence find out about the jury, they volunteer to play their part. Bill informs them that jury members don’t volunteer for this duty. Bill successfully recruits Clara for the case’s jury. When Jesse asks why he can’t be on the jury, Bill tells Jesse that he might not be unbiased toward the case because he sued Henry before. Ned becomes another successful recruit in Bill’s attempt to form a jury. Eventually, Bill finds enough people to be candidates for the jury. He asks these candidates a series of questions to determine the right people for the job. A select handful of these people are chosen for the jury and are told by Bill to arrive at 9:00 in the morning. When the day of the trial arrives, every member of the jury shows up at the scheduled time. As they get to Bill’s office, Bill tells them that there’s no need for a trial because the case had already been resolved. Disappointed, the members of the jury return home.
Some thoughts to consider:
- I understand that the story-line about Henry getting sued was meant to give the audience a break from the stressful nature of Hope Valley’s chickenpox outbreak. However, I wish the episode would have just focused on the chickenpox situation. When I first read the synopsis for this episode, I expected to see how an illness outbreak could affect various people, similar to how grief affected the people of Hope Valley in the season five finale. While I still think this was a very timely episode, some aspects felt rushed because the main plot had to share time with the subplots.
- Even though the commercial for this episode made it seem like Rosemary’s situation contained uncertainty, I knew that Rosemary was going to be fine. Hallmark’s programming usually shows characters finding solutions to their problems. Also, the creative team behind When Calls the Heart experienced a lot of backlash after Jack’s death. Because of these facts and because Rosemary is one of the most popular characters on the show, I didn’t think that anything unfortunate was going to happen to her.
- In the scene when Elizabeth discovers Opal has chickenpox, Ally’s reactions were hilarious! What made them work was the believability that Jaeda brought to her role. Even though she has only appeared on the show for about a season and a half, Ally’s incorporation into the overall story has been one of the best things to happen to When Calls the Heart!
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you think the citizens of Hope Valley handled their medical situation well? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Have fun in Hope Valley!