Sunset Over Hope Valley: Doing the Right Thing

More often than not, the residents of Hope Valley are shown doing the right thing. While part of this has to do with the nature of the show, this also has to do with the nature of the characters themselves. The majority of the characters have a sense of goodness to them. Sure, they make mistakes from time to time. But, for the most part, the characters take responsibility for their actions and try to learn from those mistakes. Through these on-screen mistakes and choices, it encourages the audience to do the right thing, whatever that may be. Even after the show ends for the season, viewers can carry that goodness with them and incorporate it into their lives. Since this is When Calls the Heart’s season finale, let’s begin this re-cap!

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of When Calls the Heart, there will be spoilers within this re-cap.

When Calls the Heart season nine poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel

Season: 9

Episode: 12

Name: Rock, A Bye, Baby

Major stories:

Henry returns to Hope Valley. But this time, he has been arrested for destroying the coal mines. Even though Bill told Henry to lay low in Benson Hills, Henry chose to turn himself in. When the residents of Hope Valley find out what Henry did, they applaud him and label him a “hero”. But Henry doesn’t agree with their sentiment. He even tells Elizabeth to stop Rosemary from publishing an article about his recent actions. While in jail, Henry donates a lot of money to Hope Valley’s church, money that was given to him by Lucas several episodes ago. Henry also starts to pray, with the help and guidance of Joseph Canfield. Jerome and the rest of the investors are planning to press charges against Henry. However, Bill promises to help Henry in any way possible.

Lucas’ out-of-town trip from the previous episode is revealed to be a solo camping trip. Because Elizabeth has been worried about Lucas, she asks Nathan to help locate him. When Nathan rides to the top of a secluded hill, he finds Lucas and his campsite. During this encounter, Lucas confesses he just needed some time to think. When Nathan returns to Hope Valley, he reassures Elizabeth that Lucas is ok. Later in the episode, a fire breaks out at the saloon. Lucas arrives just in time to help several Hope Valley residents put out the flames. The next day, Lucas and Elizabeth revisit the saloon to assess the damage. While no one was hurt from the fire, part of the saloon’s sitting area was blackened by the fire and smoke. Shortly after leaving the saloon, Elizabeth reveals she didn’t read the letter Lucas left behind in the previous episode. However, she somehow knew that Lucas’ words to her would be endearing. Lucas tells Elizabeth even if he had lost the entirety of the saloon, he would be fortunate to still have Elizabeth and Jack Jr. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas shares he called Elizabeth’s father to ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. He then surprises Elizabeth with a marriage proposal, which Elizabeth accepts.

Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Rosemary is still unsure if she is pregnant. Desperate for answers, she finds a book at the doctor’s office about the subject of pregnancy. Even though Elizabeth is present at the office when Rosemary finds the book, she encourages Rosemary to ask Faith. Later, outside the ice cream parlor, Faith passes by Elizabeth and Rosemary. When Faith notices the book Rosemary is reading, Elizabeth says what Rosemary has wanted to tell Faith: that Rosemary is curious of her pregnancy status. At the doctor’s office, Faith shares with Rosemary how, if she were pregnant, Rosemary would feel a fluttering feeling in her abdomen. Rosemary does get this feeling toward the end of the episode, indicating she is, indeed, pregnant. This is also the perfect time to tell Lee the news. After Rosemary shares the good news with her husband, Lee is excited by the prospect of becoming a father.

Joseph and Minnie decide to have a picnic just outside Hope Valley. But due to the windy weather, they change their plans, having the picnic in the church. During their outing, the subject of Minnie’s father is brought up. Joseph is unsure whether working with his father-in-law is a good idea. Minnie reminds him how he shouldn’t let pride get in the way of a good opportunity. Joseph tells her how he will, at least, hear what his father-in-law has to say. Meanwhile, at the Valley Voice, Rosemary discovers Arthur’s offer to Lee. Lee explains how he didn’t accept the offer because it didn’t include Rosemary. He also didn’t take the offer because he feels their home is in Hope Valley. Rosemary agrees with Lee, stating how Hope Valley is a good place to raise a family.

One evening, Bill pays Elizabeth a visit at her home. During this visit, he reveals to her the medical condition he’s been dealing with. Bill also gives her his will, simply as a precautionary move. He does reassure Elizabeth he will try to resolve his medical issue as soon as possible. In town, Mike decides to step down from his mayoral position. Because of this decision, there is a rumor Bill will become mayor instead.

Picnic basket in Autumn image created by Stockgiu at freepik.com. Picnic basket vector created by stockgiu – www.freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • At best, this season of When Calls the Heart has been enjoyable. There are aspects of the overall story I found myself liking, such as Nathan’s newfound snarkiness and the character development of Florence and Ned. But, at worst, season nine has been frustrating. As I said in the previous re-cap post, it feels like When Calls the Heart’s creative team banked a little too hard on receiving another season. Even the season finale didn’t feel like a season finale, but an episode to get things done and over with instead. As of the publication of this article, a tenth season has not been announced. I do hope When Calls the Heart receives another season, so the creative team gets another chance to tell a stronger story.
  • Is it just me or did the saloon fire seem totally random? Back in season five, there was a fire at the church because Cody accidently knocked over a candlestick while practicing for Jack and Elizabeth’s wedding ceremony. Because this fire took place shortly before the aforementioned wedding, it felt like the stakes were higher. In the case of the saloon fire, the cause of the fire was not revealed. The situation was isolated and lasted for a short period of time. With all that said, the stakes in this situation were lower than the season five fire.
  • I know Lucas’ camping trip was a temporary excursion. But now that he is engaged, I would really like to see Lucas receive a bachelor party camping trip! I could just picture Nathan planning the whole event, even recruiting Bill to help with the festivities. As I said, a tenth season has not been announced. If When Calls the Heart doesreceive another season, I hope this party becomes a reality!
Sunset image created by Photoangel at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Photoangel – Freepik.com</a>.<a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/red-sunset-clouds-over-trees_1254327.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on the season finale? What do you hope to see if the show receives another season? Please tell me in the comment section below!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Nature of Love Review

I know it has been awhile since I reviewed a Hallmark Channel movie. The last one I wrote about was the 2011 picture, Honeymoon for One, which was my submission for the Out to Sea Blogathon back in March. Since I just watched Nature of Love, I decided to discuss one of Hallmark’s more recent releases. A reason why I’ve watched less new Hallmark Channel movies this year is how most of them reuse the same plot ideas. What set Nature of Love apart is the inclusion of glamping, or “glamourous camping”. This is Hallmark history in the making, as this specific concept has never been featured in a Hallmark film until now. Anytime the network introduces a new idea like this into one of their stories, I’m always curious to see how it will be executed within the movie. As someone who supports Hallmark taking creative risks, I appreciate when they choose to leave their comfort zone.

Nature of Love poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Nature+of+Love.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Emilie Ullerup is an actress with strong acting abilities! I’ve seen her performances on Chesapeake Shores and in most of her Hallmark movies. What I liked about Emilie’s portrayal of Katie is how expressive it was. One of her best scenes in Nature of Love was when she went on the rope course/zip-lane. The emotions Emilie adopted for her character made the performance appear believable. One of my favorite Hallmark films is Midnight Masquerade. Christopher Russell’s endearing performance is one of the reasons why I love that film. Christopher’s portrayal of Will in Nature of Love was not only endearing, but also charming! I liked how the character of Will was used to instill wisdom to Katie and the audience. It brought a “wise beyond their years” element to Christopher’s character that is not often incorporated in Hallmark productions. A stand-out performance in Nature of Love came from Donna Benedicto! I enjoyed watching her portrayal of Penny, Katie’s new friend from camp. She was expressive and, at times, hilarious. One example is when Penny is telling Katie to reveal the real reason why she’s at the camp.

The scenery: Whenever Hallmark creates a film that revolves around travel, the creative team behind that project usually does a good job at capturing the natural beauty of that location. For Nature of Love, the landscape consisted of forestry, mountains, and lakes. Filmed in British Columbia, these locations were photogenic and appealing to the eye! In two scenes, Will and Katie watch the sun rising over a mountain. The bright colors of orange, purple, and yellow complimented the mountain’s light gray. Two other scenes boasted a field of lavender. The flowers’ shade of purple dominated the screen, with the appearance and abundance of the plants highlighting those scenes. While watching this film, I could tell this film’s creative team loved this location, as they provided multiple opportunities to show this location off! I enjoyed seeing these spaces as much as the creative team liked sharing them!

The glamping experience: As I said in the introduction, I was excited to see glamping featured in a Hallmark movie! Even though the idea of camping has appeared in Hallmark projects before, this is the first time this particular form of camping has been incorporated in Hallmark’s films. Nature of Love successfully promotes the idea of glamping by providing a balance between the “glamour” and “rustic”. The activities shown in this film included canoeing, horse riding, and making s’mores, things that would typically be associated with the camping experience. Representing the glamourous side were gourmet meals, up-scale tents, and resort style amenities. If the purpose of this movie was to entice viewers to desire a glamping vacation, I think it accomplished that mission.

Glamping tent image created by Freepik at freepik.com. Business vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The CGI animals: Hallmark is not known for incorporating CGI into their films. But there have been rare occasions where CGI was found. In Nature of Love, a few CGI animals are included in the movie. While the CGI itself looked fine, it was obvious the animals were added to the scenes in post-production. Fortunately, there was more stock footage of real animals than animals created with CGI.

Weak conflicts: Nature of Love had three conflicts within the script. One of them revolved around the expansion of the glamping resort. This conflict turned into a “save the establishment” story. The other two conflicts were interconnected. They were about Katie going out of her comfort zone and dealing with an ethical dilemma related to journalism. I found all three conflicts to be on the weaker side because they’ve been seen before in other Hallmark films. The creative team behind this movie played it safe with their story.

Things that didn’t make sense: At several moments, there was dialogue spoken by the characters that didn’t make sense within the story. When Katie is talking with her boss, Sabrina, about her article, Sabrina tells her she should write about Will. Katie’s boss acts as if she has no idea who he is. This doesn’t make sense because Sabrina gave Katie the assignment to go to the glamping resort. Because of this, you’d think she would have done research about the resort and the people who work there.

Travel suitcase image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/water-color-travel-bag-background_1177013.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

When Hallmark incorporates a new idea into one of their movies, it shows how the network can expand their creative horizons. If the new idea involves travel, it can inspire viewers to take a similar trip like the characters in the story. In the case of Nature of Love, this movie effectively promoted the idea of glamping. With the help of beautiful scenery and a balance between “glamour” and camping, this concept was positively presented to the viewers. But movies are not just meant to promote ideas, they are also created to tell stories. The story of Nature of Love could have stronger. The conflicts were rehashed from previous Hallmark entries and some of the dialogue didn’t make sense in the story. This movie is a fine, harmless production from the network. But when you look beyond the glamping promotion, you will see that Nature of Love is more typical than it appears.

Overall score: 7 out of 10

Have you seen Nature of Love? Which vacation destination would you like to see in a Hallmark movie? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen