With the sun rising on 2023, it’s time to prepare my readers for what’s to come on 18 Cinema Lane! For those who are unaware, I publish these start of the year posts out of courtesy for those who have taken the time to read and hear what I have to say. In 2023, I have four major announcements I’d like to share! But before that happens, I’ll list my blog’s stats from 2022.
Total Blog Posts: 113
Total followers: 61
Total Comments: 351
Total Likes: 535
Participated Blogathons: 39
Total Movie Reviews: 326
Total Word on the Street stories: 3
Gold Sally Awards’ New Format
When I announced the winners of the 4th Annual Gold Sally Awards last August, I stated the awards would return the following year with a new format. This format will be separate, individual awards that are more unique/creative/fun. The new version of the Gold Sally Awards will be fully implemented in February. Due to this change, the awards will now take place one day a year instead of over a multi-month time period.
Sally Solves a Mystery
In 2022, Chesapeake Shores came to an end. This means I will now be re-capping only one show; When Calls the Heart. You’re probably wondering what I’m going to do with all this free time on my hands. That leads me to introduce my new series; Sally Solves a Mystery! As I’ve said before on 18 Cinema Lane, the mystery genre is the most popular one on my blog. I also talk about television shows from time to time. So, I decided to combine the best of both worlds with this series, where I will write about tv related mysteries I find interesting. Sally Solves a Mystery is going to replace the ‘Evenings At The Shore’ folder. However, the re-cap articles for Chesapeake Shores will still remain on 18 Cinema Lane.
Buzzwordathon and Eurovisionathon
For the first time last year, I participated in the Buzzwordathon readathon. Out of twelve months, I had four fails and I didn’t finish reading December’s book before the end of the year. While this result is not too bad, I would like to participate in Buzzwordathon again this year. Hopefully, my readathon results will be better. In 2023, I will also be taking part in the Eurovisionathon readathon! Hosted by the Youtube channel, Helen’s Book Haven, this month-long event places emphasis on reading books related to the countries participating in the song contest.
5th Birthday Celebration
18 Cinema Lane is turning five in 2023. To commemorate the celebration, I will revisit one of my past articles. But this article won’t be revealed until the publication of the new post. That decision was made to maintain the element of surprise for my readers.
Bree reveals to Luke how she doesn’t like birthdays. As her birthday is approaching, all she wants is treat it like any other day. While I feel birthdays should be a day of celebration, Bree might have an interesting point. Over the years, I’ve heard quotes about how bigger moments are made up of smaller moments. I also remember a quote from the 1997 film, Titanic, about making every moment count. Based on this episode, my guess is Bree just wants every day to be equally celebrated. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as that’s why the present is called “the present”: every day can be a gift.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: It’s Not For Me to Say
Abby and Evan’s story: During a visit to the O’Brien family home, Evan says he feels like he’s known Abby forever. Abby asks if he’s saying he loves her. Before Evan can answer, Mick walks into the kitchen. Because Evan didn’t answer Abby’s question, Abby wonders throughout the episode if Evan loves her. She asks Kevin for advice, but he, once again, is no help. Later, in the episode, Abby confronts Evan about the unanswered question. This makes Evan wonder if she loves him back. They agree to say their responses at the same time. While Evan says, “I love you”, Abby says “You love me”. However, she does tell Evan she loves him. Toward the end of the episode, at an O’Brien family dinner, Evan shares with Abby how he wants to take a DNA test. This is because he wants to learn more about his family.
Kevin and Sarah’s story: Six months after the events of the previous episode, Kevin and Sarah are at their ultrasound appointment. Despite not wanting to know the gender of their baby, Kevin catches a glimpse on the ultrasound screen. Unsure what to do about the situation, he turns to Bree for advice, with Bree telling her brother he needs to comes clean with Sarah. He also tells Mick about his dilemma, learning more about his father during their conversation. Kevin does eventually tell Sarah what he saw, his wife delighted by this latest discovery. At the O’Brien family dinner, Sarah and Kevin reveal there are having a baby boy.
Mick and Megan’s story: When Megan returns from Los Angeles, Mick decides to take her on a date to a local, fancy restaurant. On this date, Mick tells Megan he’d like her to move back into the O’Brien family home. She refuses this offer, as she doesn’t want to disrupt Mick’s recovery. Later in the episode, Mick reveals to Megan he built a pergola in the O’Brien’s backyard. Megan is impressed when she sees this structure in person, especially since she claims to have waited over twenty years for it. This is where Megan tells Mick she needs some more time to decide what to do next. Toward the end of the episode, at the O’Brien family dinner, Megan asks Mick to retrieve an item from his room. When he goes to his room, Mick finds Megan’s suitcases, indicating she decided to move into the O’Brien family home.
David and Jess’ story: Jess is finding it difficult to secure a business loan from the bank. Even when she tweaks her business plans, it isn’t enough to receive a loan. Meanwhile, David gets a call from his dad’s lawyer. Mr. Peck wants his son to visit him at the Washington D.C. prison he’s currently in. David reluctantly visits his dad, but only as a cathartic experience. When David goes to the prison, Mr. Peck still claims his innocence. He also tells David about a secret apartment he owns in D.C., along with a flash drive containing valuable information about his company. Mr. Peck even encourages his son to contact the only business associate who didn’t abandon him. When he arrives at The Inn at Eagle Point, David looks through the files on the flash drive. This makes him start to think his dad was really framed.
Bree and Luke’s story: While talking about their relationship, Bree and Luke discover their birthday is on the same day. They also discover they don’t like birthdays. Bree and Luke tell each other not to give presents. But throughout the episode, they second guess themselves. They even turn to Kevin for advice on this issue. On their birthday, Bree gives Luke a glass plant holder for his cactus. Meanwhile, Luke didn’t give Bree a present, as that was their original agreement. He also gets a cake that says “Happy Birthday Luke and not Bree”. At the O’Brien family dinner, the O’Brien family sings “Happy Ordinary Day” to Luke and Bree.
Some thoughts to consider:
Before this season premiered, I assumed there would be a time jump in the series finale, as a way to tie up the last remaining loose ends. But since this time jump happened at about the season’s half-way point, it only makes sense for Kevin and Sarah’s story. After that six-month time jump, it seems like not much has changed for the other characters. It also makes me wonder if Caitlyn will share what her “whatever” was she brought up in the previous episode? I’m starting to think this time jump was an unnecessary creative decision.
This episode was a mixed bag. On the one hand, I have been impressed with David and Jess’ story! It has been intriguing, keeping me on the edge of my seat. Jess has even come a long way since she was introduced back in 2016. On the other hand, though, Bree and Luke’s story was not only the weakest one in this episode, it’s, so far, the weakest one this season. Did we need an hour-long story about Bree and Luke struggling to not get a gift for one another? I’m hoping their next story is much stronger than this one was.
As I said in this re-cap, Mick built a pergola for Megan. Between his job and recovery process, how did he find the time to build it? With this six-month time jump, I’m guessing Mick built the pergola a little bit at a time. However, I wish the dialogue had provided a clearer explanation.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you like the six-month time jump? Let me know in the comment section!
Characters coming and going on a television show is nothing new. It has happened on When Calls the Heart on multiple occasions. But in this season, it seems like the arrival and departure of characters has become more common than in past seasons. Most of these characters have returned to Hope Valley, such as Henry Gowan. But some characters have permanently left the show, like Jesse and Clara. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just a coincidence. However, this constant change in When Calls the Heart’s landscape feels like a revolving door. And, honestly, I think it’s kind of exhausting. As of May 2022, no announcements about season ten have been made yet. But if When Calls the Heart does receive another season, I hope this issue gets, somehow, resolved.
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Smoke on the Water
Plans to re-open the coal mines are still underway. Because of these plans, Arthur and Jerome are continuing their stay in Hope Valley. They have recruited Collin (the man who gave evidence to Henry in the previous episode) to inspect the coal mines. But after the inspection, Collin tells them that the mines could be re-opened, even though it would be difficult. This contradicts what Collin told Henry in the episode prior, that there was no way the mines could safely re-open. Henry suspects Collin had been paid off by Jerome, even asking Collin if that is the case. When Henry doesn’t receive an answer, he angrily leaves the mines. Later in the episode, Collin admits to Henry he was indeed paid off by Jerome. However, Collin claims he took the money to improve his quality of life, as his health has been declining. Upset by how easily persuaded Collin was, Henry decides to take matters into his own hands. During a rainy day, Henry takes every piece of dynamite he can find and blows up the coal mines. He confesses what he did in a private meeting between Bill, Fiona, and Lucas. Though no one was hurt by Henry’s actions, the damaged coal mines seem to be more trouble than the investors are willing to put up with. But, for now, Henry must go to Benson Hills, as Bill tells him to lay low for a while.
With everything going on in Lucas’ life, Lucas feels he needs a break. He takes a short out-of-town trip, with the trip being so short, I didn’t even realize he had left Hope Valley. Despite the short length of this trip, Elizabeth suspects Lucas has changed. During dinner at the Saloon, Lucas tells Elizabeth that, while on his trip, he missed the remoteness of the big city. Not only does this comment bother Elizabeth, but the fact Lucas still hasn’t given Elizabeth her birthday gift is also bothering her. This causes Elizabeth to think Lucas doesn’t want to date her anymore. During her and Rosemary’s “salon day”, Elizabeth tells Rosemary how she feels about Lucas. Rosemary reminds her friend of her assumption about Lee from this season’s fifth episode. She also reminds Elizabeth to be honest with Lucas. One rainy day, Elizabeth visits Lucas at his office, telling him how she feels about everything since his return to Hope Valley. Lucas clarifies on his statement from the Saloon, claiming his priority has always been to be with Elizabeth and her son. As for Elizabeth’s birthday gift, Lucas reveals this gift is a pair of earrings. While Elizabeth is grateful for her gift, she is disappointed he didn’t propose to her. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth discovers Lucas took another out-of-town trip.
Florence is still upset over the potential re-opening of the coal mines. After seeing several posters advertising new mining jobs, she not only takes them down, she also yells at Lucas for being partially responsible of the recent events. Throughout all of this, Florence notices how calm Ned has been. When she questions him about it at the Mercantile, Ned says he has always had a calm disposition. He also says having a hobby has taken his mind off of stressing situations. During this conversation, Florence decides to take up dancing again. At the salon, Florence is practicing ballet en pointe. Things seem to going smoothly at first. But when she goes en pointe, Florence ends up developing a cramp in her arches. A few moments later, Mollie, Fiona, and Faith attend the salon for a small get-together. The point of this get-together is to support Florence through these changing times.
Rosemary still hasn’t told Lee about her recent news. She is hesitant to tell him because she continues to believe it’s “too good to be true”. Meanwhile, Lee receives his own news. On more than one occasion, Arthur has visited the Valley Voice’s office with a business opportunity. Later in the episode, Arthur reveals what this business opportunity is. Arthur not only wants to include the Valley Voice in his network of newspaper publications, he also wants Lee to come work for him. Lee doesn’t accept the offer, as he feels his place is working alongside Rosemary. Arthur encourages him to reconsider the offer.
Minnie and Angela have returned to Hope Valley. With this return comes a letter to Joseph from his father-in-law. Even though the contents of this letter are never revealed, Joseph appears to be bothered by them. The next day, Joseph and Minnie discuss what was in the letter. Though this conversation is vague, it seems like Joseph’s familial support is called into question.
Some thoughts to consider:
In this season of When Calls the Heart, it seems like the show’s creative team is indecisive over whether they want to start another love triangle. Nathan has been seen interacting with both Mei and Faith. But, in my opinion, Kevin McGarry doesn’t have strong on-screen chemistry with either Amanda Wong or Andrea Brooks. If I had to be brutally honest, it feels like When Calls the Heart’s creative team banked a little too hard on receiving another season. I understand moving on from any relationship takes time. But the fact the screenwriters haven’t committed to a possible love interest for Nathan this season kind of proves my point.
Even though Florence has danced only a few times this season, I’m glad this new side of her is being shown! This has become good character growth for Florence and has given the fans a sweet surprise. With Florence’s renewed love of dance, it does make me wonder if we are one step closer to, one day, seeing that theater Rosemary’s been dreaming of?
On Twitter, I’ve seen some speculation that Lee could end up dying in the season finale’s saloon fire. Personally, I don’t think that’s the case. Both Lee and Rosemary have been the glue that have kept When Calls the Heart together. They also happen to be two of the show’s most popular characters. I could be wrong about Lee’s fate. But, in my opinion, if Lee and/or Rosemary were to get written off When Calls the Heart, the show would lose more viewership than they already have.
What are your thoughts on this episode? What do you think will happen in the season finale? Let me know in the comment section!
Something I noticed about this episode of When Calls the Heart is how often beverages were referenced. Not only that, but there were scenes showing these characters consuming these beverages. From the way I saw it, those scenes served as a symbol for what the show itself is about. When Calls the Heart has a pace that is on the slower side. Consuming a beverage typically involves slowing down and taking the time to enjoy what you are drinking. Another thing I noticed is how these characters were consuming these beverages in company. This means they shared their beverage with someone else. Sometimes, watching a show is better with others. It’s also nice to have someone else to talk to when it comes to all things Hope Valley! Speaking of Hope Valley, let’s start this re-cap of When Calls the Heart!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Never Say Never
Because of Lucas’ plan to foil Wyman, his innocence is uncertain to the residents of Hope Valley. Until hard evidence is brought forth, Bill places Lucas in jail. While in jail, Elizabeth gives Lucas a new pocket watch with the inscription “Our Time Has Come”. He says he has a birthday present for Elizabeth, which a small box is later revealed. At his office, Bill receives a call from a lawyer in Grandville. This lawyer is representing the man who hit Nathan and Newton with his vehicle. This man claims he not only planted the ledger books in Lucas’ office, he was driving away in order to not get caught. After this information is given, Bill gives Nathan a choice. The aforementioned lawyer presents an offer: let the man who hit Nathan and Newton go free in exchange for the ledger books. Nathan knows this offer will be difficult to accept. On the one hand, harming a Mountie is a serious offense. But those ledger books would be more than enough evidence to prove Lucas’ innocence. Nathan contemplates this decision throughout the episode, as he wonders if it’s right to forgive one wrong with another wrong. Eventually, Nathan accepts the offer from the Grandville lawyer. He even pays Elizabeth a visit with this news.
Jerome Smith returns to Hope Valley, in order to settle the petroleum plant deal. But this time, he has brought Arthur Gilchrist with him. While in Hope Valley, Arthur seems interested in both Fiona and the coal mines. He even carries these interests into the petroleum plant meeting. Lucas, now out of jail, attends this meeting as well. Even Henry dramatically shows up, after being out of town for a few episodes. The reason why Henry was out to town was so he could obtain evidence, from a man named Collin, that the coal mines are in no condition to reopen. In a private meeting with Jerome, Henry finds out it was Arthur’s idea to re-open the mines, as Jerome claims his only focus was the oil. Both Henry and Jerome agree to open the mines, unless there is something preventing them from doing so. Meanwhile, Rosemary plans to report on the mines re-opening. She feels the residents of Hope Valley have a right to know what is happening. But Elizabeth thinks the release of Rosemary’s article would smear Lucas’ reputation. Rosemary does publish her article about the mines, which, predictably, causes tension in Hope Valley. Florence is, understandably, so upset by this news, she slaps Henry in the face when she crosses paths with him in town. Fortunately, this news doesn’t destroy Rosemary and Elizabeth’s friendship, as Elizabeth apologizes for her hesitance over the article publication.
At the start of the episode, Rosemary feels nauseous. Faith thinks Rosemary has caught a “stomach bug” that has apparently been going around Hope Valley. Instead of attending a meeting with Arthur Gilchrist about the Valley Voice, Rosemary takes it easy by drinking tea and resting. Later in the episode, Rosemary visits Faith again, unable to understand what is going on with her body. Faith then comes to the conclusion Rosemary might be pregnant. Not wanting the news to be “too good to be true”, Rosemary decides not to tell Lee just yet. Speaking of Lee, he visits Joseph at the café, apologizing for his interference with the Canfield’s loan. Joseph forgives Lee, stating how he wanted to get the loan himself.
Some thoughts to consider:
Toward the beginning of this episode, Nathan has a conversation with Fiona about the petroleum plant deal. Kevin McGarry and Kayla Wallace (the actor and actress who portray Nathan and Fiona) not only had really nice on-screen chemistry, they also had strong banter! I’ve heard Kevin and Kayla don’t want their characters to end up in a relationship together, as they don’t want their real-life relationship to be affected by what their characters experience on the show. But, honestly, I wouldn’t oppose the idea of Fiona and Nathan forming a romantic relationship!
With how much beverages are referenced in this episode, I’m surprised Hallmark or a shop on Etsy hasn’t created teas inspired by When Calls the Heart. Some examples of possible teas are Gooey Butter Cake flavored tea representing the Canfield family, strawberry tea representing the ice cream parlor, and blueberry scone flavored tea representing the café. I can only speak for myself, but I would certainly consider purchasing When Calls the Heart inspired tea, especially if they were created with natural ingredients.
While I’m glad we finally received some answers over whether Rosemary and Lee will start their own family, it’s kind of frustrating how Rosemary’s news is not a confirmation. It’s also frustrating how we’re receiving this news toward the end of the season. I really hope Rosemary and Lee aren’t given a miscarriage story, as that would be cruel for both the Coulters and the fans.
What are your thoughts on this episode? What you think Lucas will be Elizabeth for her birthday? Let me know in the comment section!
On this episode of When Calls the Heart, there is one character who wears a mask for the majority of the story. While the audience learns the motive behind the mask, it was interesting to see how the other characters responded to this decision. Some characters knew what was going on, so they helped this character in any way they could. Others had no idea what was happening, turned off by the sudden changes in this character. But this episode serves as a reminder how, sometimes, we truly don’t know someone. That is why, throughout the show, the residents of Hope Valley attempt to get to know each other. Whether it’s a simple, friendly conversation or an elaborate celebration, the show’s creative team has, more often than not, given both the characters and the audience an opportunity to become emotionally invested in a characters’ story. There are even times when these characters have become fan favorites. So, have you figured out which character was wearing a mask in this episode? Find out if you’re right in my re-cap of When Calls the Heart!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Recent Memory
Wyman Walden has returned to Hope Valley. But this time, he wants to purchase the Queen of Hearts Saloon. Fiona also returns from San Francisco with some not so good news. According to Fiona, Henry was straight forward when asking about the investors’ intentions for the mines. Due to Henry’s angry approach, three of the investors had to remove Henry from the conference room. The investors also propose to remove Henry from the petroleum plant, but on one condition. This condition is Lucas has to stay with the petroleum plant for one more fiscal year. Meanwhile, with the saloon, Lucas attempts to bluff Wyman into purchasing the saloon. But Bill has beat him to it.
In a private meeting with Wyman, Bill confesses he’d like to become mayor again. Using specific laws, Bill comes up with an agreement with Wyman; he’ll give Wyman the saloon and drive Lucas out of town if Wyman will help Bill in his mayoral quest. After putting on that figurative mask, Bill only tells a handful of people what he’s doing. For those who aren’t aware of Bill’s plan, they are put off by his sudden change in character. Nathan is one of those characters put off by Bill’s changes. Bill eventually informs Nathan what is going on. But Bill tells Nathan in enough time to concoct a plan. Later in the episode, Bill meets Wyman to collect the payment for the saloon. Before any transactions occur, Bill arrests Wyman on multiple charges, including an attempted murder charge from another town. Meanwhile, Julius Spurlock tries to drive out of Hope Valley, in an effort to run away from accountability. Nathan catches up to Julius, even shooting Julius in the arm to stop him. After everything is said and done, Bill finds a way to return the money Wyman took from unsuspecting business owners. When Lucas finds out about Bill’s plan, however, he is upset. Lucas explains his own plans for conning Wyman. Unfortunately, this plan brings suspicion toward Lucas’ character.
With Minnie and Angela on an out of trip to St. Louis, the café is short staffed. Joseph is able to find a few of his friends to help for the time being. During Lee’s time working in the kitchen, Joseph discovers what Lee did with his and Minnie’s new loan. He confronts Lee about this at the café. Lee apologizes for getting involved, claiming his good intentions. Joseph is upset he wasn’t asked first. At dinner one evening, Cooper confesses he’d like to be his own boss. This confession comes after Joseph askes about Cooper’s decision on attending church. Even though Joseph is supportive of his son, he reminds Cooper how he shouldn’t become too big for his britches, especially when it comes to God. The next morning, Cooper askes his father if they could go fishing. Joseph tells his son how they have work to do, despite being the boss of the café. This gets Cooper to consider his previous decision.
One morning, Faith discovers Mei is leaving for Chicago. While Mei is on her way out of town, Nathan comes to the saloon, asking why she is leaving. Mei explains Geoffrey is pursuing the fake charges against her, meaning she has to appear in court. Nathan arranges for an officer to look out for Mei. Later that evening, Faith crosses paths with Nathan. This leads them to discuss marriage. Nathan claims marriage isn’t on his “to-do list”. Meanwhile, Faith says she and Carson drifted apart because she wasn’t ready to get married. They both agree to get ice cream, especially since Faith has a key to the ice cream parlor.
While helping Lee fix his hair at the salon, Rosemary confesses an editor from Hearst Publishing has expressed interest in including the Valley Voice in their collection of publications. After Fiona finds out this editor is Arthur Gilchrist, she calls him from the Mercantile. Later in the episode, Fiona discovers, through a phone call, that Arthur plans to visit Hope Valley in the near future. She also remembers Arthur is one of the petroleum plant investors. Fiona visits Rosemary and Lee at the saloon and explains all of this to them. They agree to keep their distance from Arthur. Meanwhile, Lucas confesses to Elizabeth what has been happening with Wyman. In an effort to keep Lucas safe and because Elizabeth’s birthday has arrived, they agree to let Lucas spend the evening on Elizabeth’s couch. The actual celebration was a small, intimate affair. But it did give Elizabeth and Lucas a chance to bond and spend time together. With everything happening in Lucas’ business life, Elizabeth has been stressed about his well-being. After Wyman and Julius have been arrested, she thinks Lucas is in the clear. But when she learns more of Lucas’ plan, her stress over Lucas returns.
Some thoughts to consider:
I’m going to be honest: Mei’s story has become, so far, the most disappointing one this season. This is because it is the most frustrating. In my previous episode re-cap, I pointed out how Mei’s story was strung out for more than half the season. This made me wish her secret had been revealed sooner, so the audience could spend more time getting to know Mei. Now, she has left Hope Valley, with only three episodes left in season nine. Because Mei has been so guarded and secretive for so long, I don’t feel like I truly know her as a character. That creative decision has led me to not feel emotionally invested in her or her story. If Mei returns for a possible tenth season, that would be nice. But if she doesn’t, I wouldn’t mind her departure too much.
When I look back on When Calls the Heart as a whole, I can’t think of many bonding, heart-to-heart moments between parent and child. These moments between fathers and sons are also extremely rare. Therefore, it was nice to see Joseph and Cooper talking and spending time with one another in this episode! Through these interactions, the audience learned more about where Cooper was in his journey of faith. We also received some wisdom from Joseph. These moments were my favorite in this episode and I hope we receive more of them if When Calls the Heart is granted season ten!
While visiting the saloon one evening, Nathan wore a long, black, tailored coat. Despite never seeing him wear this coat before, Nathan (as well as Kevin McGarry) looked great wearing it! I hope to see him wear this coat in future episodes!
What did you think of this episode? Would you miss Mei if she left When Calls the Heart? Please tell me in the comment section!
As I mentioned in my recent Word On The Street story, the newest Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie is on itsway. Premiering on October 17th, this movie will bring their audience a new chapter to a story that startedall the way back in 2013. The series is executive produced byMartha Williamson, who also executiveproduced Touched by an Angel. Similar to Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Touched by an Angel has seen manyguest stars appear over the course of the show’s nine season life-span. One of them was Bai Ling, who gueststarred on Touched by an Angel in 1998.
Even though I have seen many episodes of Touched by an Angel before, I don’t recall ever seeing the two-part episode, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, the episode I’ll be reviewing for this post. Prior to writing this article, I had heard it was “one of the most moving episodes from the television drama”. With curiosity getting the better of me and because Bai’s birthday is on October 10th, I decided to revisit this show and review this particular episode. Two years ago, I wrote about another Touched by an Angel episode, “The Sky Is Falling”. Like that post, what will be discussed is what I liked about this episode, what I didn’t like about this episode, the story itself, the other factors from this episode, and my overall thoughts.
What I liked about this episode:
Last November, I reviewed an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street titled “And The Rockets Dead Glare”. In that post, I talked about how, while portraying Teri Chow, Bai was forced to rely on emotion instead of actions. This was compared to her characters in The Crow and Lost; Myca and Achara. Because of how effectively she used emotion, Bai was the stand-out actor in “And The Rockets Dead Glare”! I’ve seen only a handful of projects from Bai’s filmography. Despite this, I have noticed that she has a strong sense of emotionality. She not only knows how to control that emotionality, but also how to use that control to her advantage. Portraying a character named Jean Chang, the emotions Bai brought to her role in “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” felt realistic and genuine. Earlier in the episode, Jean crosses paths with Monica and Edward, a toy company CEO, at a local Chinese restaurant. In an attempt to recruit her for an upcoming business trip, they ask Jean why she doesn’t want to go to China. This is where Jean explains her very heart-breaking life story. Throughout this explanation, Bai’s emotions flawlessly adapted with each part of Jean’s story, ranging from blissful reminiscing to tear-inducing sadness. This strength in Bai’s acting abilities allows her performance to contain depth. It also gave the audience a reason to feel empathy/sympathy for Jean.
What I didn’t like about this episode:
One of Edward’s co-workers is his friend, Alex Stella. Throughout “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, Alex wasrude and self-centered, especially toward Jean. It got to the point where his attitude became so annoying, it was tiresome to watch him in a static state. I understand Alex was meant to show the viewer that, sometimes, people won’t change, no matter how hard you try. I’ll also admit this is not a bad lesson to teach. But because of this episode’s story and because of the nature of Touched by an Angel, I wish the angels had paid Alex a visit and opened his eyes to selflessness.
The story itself:
Touched by an Angel is a show that was not afraid to take creative risks. “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is aperfect example of that statement. I haven’t seen the movie, Red Corner, but I am familiar with its basicpremise. The story of “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is very reminiscent of the film due to topics discussed within the script. Criticism of China’s government and the 1989Tiananmen Square protests are the two major subjects revolving around this episode. Because of the serious nature of these subjects, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” was heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. Similar to the Touched by an Angel episode, “TheSky Is Falling”, the story of “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is a fictional narrative wrapped up in a real-life historical event. During Jean’s recollection of her past, black-and-white flashbacks and video footage of the1989 Tiananmen Square protests were shown on screen. The use of these visual techniques presented an interesting and creative way to discuss a piece of world history.
The other factors from this episode:
As I mentioned earlier, Alex is rude and self-centered, especially toward Jean. To further explain my point, I will bring up two examples from this episode. When Monica suggests a translator should join their business trip to China, Alex suggests speaking to Jean about the idea. While Edward assumes Jean’s ethnicity based on her appearance, Alex carries that assumption into his and Monica’s meeting with Jean. Even though Jean calls Alex out on his assumptions during this meeting about the aforementioned idea, Alex’s promotion of the idea itself should have been more professional. When Alex, Edward, and Monica have lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, Jean soon arrives. The three then discover Jean had lied about her ethnicity. Upset by this discovery, Alex approaches Jean and yells at her in public, accusing her of lying about other things. I understand Alex was disappointed by Jean’s decision. Even Jean admitted that her decision was wrong. But, like I said about the previous example, Alex could have handled this situation more professionally and in private.
Throughout the episode, Edward and Jean develop “romantic” feelings for one another. I’m using the word “romantic” loosely, as the only romantic gestures they perform are holding hands and Edward kissing Jean’s head. When a romantic relationship is introduced in a movie or television show, it is usually done with an endgame in mind. Without giving anything away, there wasn’t an endgame for Jean and Edward’s relationship. Their relationship also felt “insta-love”, as it progressed at a quick pace. With all that said, I don’t think a romantic relationship was necessary for this particular story.
Touched by an Angel shows the angels going undercover in different professions based on an episode’s mission. In “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, Monica goes undercover as the Chinese consultant of Edward’s toy company. As Monica interacts with Edward and Alex, I was confused why Monica was the Chinese consultant instead of Jean. When Alex was explaining what Monica would do on their businesstrip, it made me wonder why Jean wasn’t originally recruited for the consultant position, especially since she knows more about China than Monica. But, without giving anything away, it makes sensewhy this choice was not made.
My overall thoughts:
“The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is a tough episode to write about. On the one hand, I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from watching it. It contains one of the strongest stories in the show’s history and features strong acting performances, especially from Bai Ling. On the other hand, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon” is not for the faint ofheart. This episode is so emotionally intense, I was left mentally drained after watching it. Because of that,the episode doesn’t have a high re-watchability rate. What I will say is this story is an important one. In fact,I would say this episode’s story is one of the most important Touched by an Angel has ever told. So, if you’re interested in watching “The Spirit of Liberty Moon”, my advice would be to watch it in the right headspace.Speaking of Bai Ling, I realized something while watching this episode. As I said earlier,I’ve seen only a handful of projects from Bai’s filmography. Based on her roles I have seen, I noticed how her characters are, more often than not, surrounded by unfortunate circumstances. Myca is one of the villains of The Crow, so her unfortunate circumstances don’t cause the audience to feel any empathy/sympathy for her. But for Teri, Achara, and now Jean, their unfortunate circumstances can, to varying degrees, cause feelings of empathy/sympathy from the audience. During my movie blogging journey, I hope to see Bai portraying a character whose circumstances are more fortunate and happier.
Rating: A solid 4 out of 5
Have you watched Touched by an Angel? If so, which episode is your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section!
During a phone conversation, Nell tells Arthur how he’s never too old for a balloon. While she was referencing his birthday, Nell’s quote stuck out to me. When you think of a balloon, simpler and happier times usually come to mind. From the way I interpreted her quote, I think what Nell is trying to say is how you’re never too old to enjoy the simpler and happier things in life. Throughout the series, we have seen the characters try to achieve this in their lives. By Jess and David working together at The Inn at Eagle Point, they always appear to be happy. Megan has re-visited a passion from her past, currently using it to help a fellow artist. But there are characters whose passions are still unknown, the audience left wondering what truly makes them happy. Until that can be discovered, let’s re-cap this episode of Chesapeake Shores!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers in this re-cap.
Name: Love is Here to Stay
Abby’s story: Abby continues to work with Evan on their hotel project. But due to the possibility of the hotel residing on a potential excavation site, the project may come to a halt. In the previous episode, some artifacts were discovered by Abby. In this episode, a representative from the Smithsonian reveals to Abby and Mick how more artifacts were found. The representative also shares that the artifacts might belong to a ship from the 1600s. Because of these findings, the site where the hotel project resides is now deemed an excavation site. Before this news is revealed to Evan, Evan discovers the elevator company working on the project is one that he doesn’t like. He also tells Abby that it bothers him how she kicked him in the head at Tae Kwon-Do class the other day. Later in the episode, after returning from his trip to Iceland, Evan apologizes to Abby by offering her a sweater. Abby uses this time as an opportunity to tell Evan about the hotel project site finds. Before leaving Abby’s office, Evan tells her he’ll think about pulling out of the project. Abby gets her answer at Jess and David’s wedding, as Evan was invited by the bride and groom. He tells Abby he is pulling out of the hotel project, which upsets Abby.
Bree’s story: While walking to her car at the University of Maryland, Jerome keeps Bree company by walking with her. During their conversation, she mentions how she’ll not only be attending her sister’s wedding, but she’ll also be officiating it. Bree invites Jerome to be her plus one. He accepts her invitation and gives her a kiss. One day, while on the beach with Abby, Bree shares what happened at the University. She also reveals there’s another guy she is interested in. At Jess and David’s reception, Jerome apologizes to Bree for spontaneously kissing her. They both agree to act like it never happened. During the event, Bree learns that Kevin invited Luke to the wedding. To avoid any awkwardness, she spends time with Luke after Jerome leaves the reception. But, while Bree and Luke are dancing, Jerome sees them together.
Connor’s story: Connor has spent the past two weeks unemployed. He feels defeated about his dream job turning into a nightmare. However, Mick’s case is what helped make Connor’s decision to leave a little easier. Connor seriously considers his father’s advice of starting a firm in Chesapeake Shores. He even looks at a property for sale, a building that used to be the town’s pet store. While Connor shows his father the property, Mick is impressed with the building’s architecture. He is also impressed with Connor’s blue-print for the firm. Mick not only offers to help, he also gives Connor valuable advice. He tells his son that one of the most important parts of growing up is knowing when to ask for help.
Jess and David’s story: During the week of the wedding, Jess keeps having recurring dreams about something bad happening to David. So, she wants to get married as soon as possible, in order for these dreams to stop. While David doesn’t think much of the dreams, Jess’s siblings have their own ideas of whether her dreams will go away after the wedding. Despite all of this, the wedding runs smoothly with no issue in sight. Even the reception turns out great! David’s parents change their minds about the wedding location, as they think it was perfect for David and Jess. When Abby asks Jess what she thinks of her wedding, Jess says it was better than her dreams, especially since David survived.
Arthur and Nell’s story: One day, Nell calls Arthur to wish him a Happy Birthday. Arthur responds by telling her it’s been a long time since anyone has called him on his special day. During this call, Nell tells him to go to his front door. After listening to Nell’s directions, Arthur discovers a basket of baked goods on his doorstep. In this basket, he finds birthday cards from Kerry and Caitlyn. When Arthur discovers the artwork inside Kerry’s card, he gets an idea. Later in the episode, Arthur gives Kerry his painting supplies. He explains how he hasn’t used them in years, believing Kerry will put them to better use. When Kerry expresses how nervous she is to paint anything, Arthur tells her to paint anything how she sees it.
Some thoughts to consider:
In this episode, Bree expresses her interest in Luke. But she doesn’t know about his past yet. As of this point in the season, the only person who knows about Luke’s past is Mick. If Bree did find out, I wonder how she’ll respond to that information? Would her interest in Luke change?
While Arthur performed a nice gesture by giving his art supplies to Kerry, it did make me ask one question. When Arthur said he hadn’t used the supplies in years, I wondered if the paint had expired? For Kerry’s sake, I’m hoping the paint is still good to use. Otherwise, replacing all that paint would probably get expensive.
I’m glad this episode didn’t contain the “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché. However, I wish Jess’s concerns over her dreams had been taken more seriously. It was kind of frustrating to see her family brush off her concerns like they were no big deal. Even David didn’t offer any words of encouragement. From a screen-writing perspective, I know creating a subplot out of this concept would have been difficult. But I don’t think Jess’s concerns should have been glossed over like they were.
What did you think of this episode? Are you looking forward to the next one? Let me know in the comment section!
For my last movie review of 2019, I’m going to talk about the newest film in the When Calls the Heart series, When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! Since I reviewed last year’s movie, When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing and since I re-cap the show, I thought it would be fitting to keep up the continuity. While I liked the previous movie, I had lower expectations for this year’s project. This was caused by how unappealing the film’s synopsis sounded to me. In a Word on the Street story last month, I discussed how I felt about the synopsis for this movie. To me, it seemed like the screenwriters were running out of ideas and not taking advantage of beautiful story-telling opportunities. It also seemed like they were repeating the same mistakes they made in the previous film. But, like I do for every movie I watch and/or review, I watched When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas with an open mind. I thought that, maybe, the movie could be better than the synopsis made it sound. Was I right or wrong in my guess? We’re about to find out in this review of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Like last year’s movie, the acting in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas was one of the strongest elements of the project! Everyone in this cast was talented, bringing their characters to life with a sense of well-roundedness. From newer characters, like Nate’s niece, Allie, to veterans of the show, such as Bill Avery, it was a pleasure to see these characters come back on television. What works in this cast’s favor is how most of the cast members have appeared on the show for at least one season. This helps keep up the consistency of both the performances and the overall narrative. It also shows how comfortable these actors and actresses were in the roles they were given.
Learning about backstories through Christmas traditions: At several moments of the movie, the audience got the chance to receive more backstories from some the characters through the sharing of Christmas traditions. With the incorporation of Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, we learn that one of Lucas’ favorite memories was visiting a German Christmas festival with his parents. Another example is Nate’s Christmas present for Allie. For Christmas, he gets her a charm bracelet. Nate’s sister and Allie’s mom used to have a charm bracelet and would receive a new charm every Christmas. This was an interesting way to learn about these characters. It not only expands the character development, but it also gives the audience story material before the start of the next season.
The character interactions: Similar to last year’s film, I liked seeing the character interactions in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas! One of the reasons why is because of the on-screen chemistry between the actors within the cast. But the other reason why I enjoyed watching these interactions was because they felt genuine and thoughtful. A great example is the interaction between Florence and Fiona. In this scene, they give each other Christmas gifts that are telephone related: Florence receives a telephone necklace and Fiona receives an embroidered piece of art about keeping people connected. This was my favorite character interaction because it showed Florence and Fiona putting effort into these gifts as well as the growth of their friendship. It was not only well-acted, but also well-written!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Too many plots: There were about eight plots found in When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas. Because the film was only an hour and thirty minutes, there was not enough time for these plots to be fully developed. Instead of lending themselves to an engaging story, they ended up competing against each other to see which one could be the most memorable. What also didn’t help was how almost all of these plots were basic and surface-level. Most of them felt like they could have been featured on any episode of the show, as they seemed ordinary and mundane. The only plot that had any amount of intrigue was Carson and Faith’s story.
Under-utilized characters: When a movie or television show has a cast this large, there are bound to be characters that receive more screen-time than others. But in this movie, there are some characters that could have benefitted from having their own story. Henry Gowan is a perfect example of this. Since Henry doesn’t receive his own plot, this gives him very little to do in the movie. It also doesn’t give Martin Cummins, the actor who portrays Henry Gowan, much material to work with as an actor. Jesse and Clara are another good example. They got engaged at the end of season six, so we could have seen them get married during Christmas-time. Instead, Jesse and Clara’s story was reduced to them saving Lucas Bouchard’s reputation. I understand that the show’s creative team wants to save some story material for the upcoming season. But a Christmas wedding could have been an eventful way to end Hallmark Channel’s Christmas line-up.
Plot points that don’t make sense: Throughout this film, there were some plot points that didn’t make sense. For this part of the review, I’ll give you two examples. The first involves a new character named Walter. He claims to be a struggling traveling salesman, selling his only coat for gas money and not having the funds for a new tire. If Walter is having that much trouble acquiring a steady income, then how he is able to afford a car? Vehicles require constant upkeep in order for them to run smoothly. For Walter to be able to maintain his car’s well-being, he would probably have to sell more belongings of his over a significant period of time. The second example involves Rosemary. After learning about a dilemma related to Hope Valley’s Christmas Festival, Rosemary complains to Lee about Lucas’ poor event planning skills. She then complains about how Lucas should have asked her for help. Ever since her introduction in season one, Rosemary has always been a determined and headstrong woman. No matter what happens, she finds a way to discover a solution to any problem. For Rosemary to not volunteer with any event planning and for her to expect to be asked for anything doesn’t make any sense with her character development.
My overall impression:
In 2018, I gave a good review to When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing. While I had issues with the film, there were things about it that I liked. With When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, however, I can’t give it a good review. But I can’t give it a bad review either. At best, I found the movie to be ok. It had its strengths, like the acting and Christmas traditions serving as opportunities for character development. At worst, this film was a rushed “filler” project that tried so hard to say so much, but ended up saying so little. It felt like the creative team behind this show just wanted to get this movie done and over with so they could move on to the next project. If anything, it was less of a movie and more of an extended episode. After watching this film, I’m kind of concerned for the next season. It doesn’t help when the only thing that was shown in the commercial for season seven was Elizabeth looking at both Nate and Lucas. I’m hoping it is better than this movie was, but I’m starting to wonder if the show’s creative team is still passionate about this story?
Overall score: 6 out of 10
What did you think of this film? Are you looking forward to the next season of When Calls the Heart? Tell me in the comment section!