In 2020, it seems like the world of film has been plagued with bad news because of the Coronavirus. Multiple movies saw their premiere dates pushed back as far as a year. Productions all across the world were temporarily placed on hold. Several events were cancelled or postponed, as well as businesses closing their doors for the time being. Recently, however, it seems like things are looking up. Film crews are slowly going back to work. Several occupational operations have picked up where they left off. Even some theaters have opened their doors again. In this Word on the Street story, I will be talking about films that are about to go into production, as of June 2020. Also, I have news about a film that I have mentioned on 18 Cinema Lane before. As I usually do, I will share my thoughts on these stories. Now, let’s talk about some good news in the world of cinema!
Last year, in my post called “A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List 2019”, I said I wanted to see Words on Bathroom Walls receive a distributor. I’m happy to report my Christmas wish came true! In an article from Deadline, Dino-Ray Ramos writes how Roadside Attractions agreed to be the film’s distributor. The article also states Words on Bathroom Walls “is set to debut nationwide August 7”. This movie “marks the first theatrical release for both companies [Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment] since the coronavirus pandemic”. Even though the film now has a release date, there remains the possibility for it to be pushed back. For months, Tenet was scheduled for a premiere in July. However, Pamela McClintock, from The Hollywood Reporter, shares that August 12th is the new date for the film’s release. I think this news about Words on Bathroom Walls is the best movie news I’ve talked about this year! I read the book and it’s become the best one I read in 2020! We don’t know how things will be in August, in relation to the Coronavirus. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to see Words onBathroom Walls and review it or my blog.
Sources for this story:
As I said in the introduction, film crews are slowly going back to work. With some popular filming locations lifting lock-down regulations, studios and movie companies are either finishing or starting projects. One website, called Hollywood North Buzz, has recently listed several titles that are either currently in production or will soon be in production. These titles are the following:
For Better or Worse (Ended filming on June 23rd)
Kite Festival of Love
Wedding Every Weekend
Beverly Hills Wedding
My One True Love
Another website called JC Films announced an upcoming Christmas film titled “Light Up Night”. The film will star Dean Cain and will begin filming this July. According to the article, the film “is about all the community Christmas events wrapped around a modern-day Biblical story of Ruth”. More movie titles are listed on the website Creative BC, with production dates coming in the near future. These films are:
Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly
Deliver By Christmas
When reading these titles, one will note that they all sound like they belong to Hallmark. However, as of June 2020, the only films that are confirmed to be a Hallmark production are “Wedding Every Weekend”, which was confirmed by star Paul Campbell, according to the Twitter account Hotline to Hallmark, and ‘Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly’. While looking at the list, I noticed how most of the titles reference Christmas or weddings. If these movies are Hallmark projects, my guess is the wedding themed movies are created in preparation for next year’s “June Weddings” line-up. As for the Christmas movies, it’ll be interesting to see how many of them will be included in the “Countdown to Christmas” or “Miracles of Christmas” line-up.
Yesterday, on June 9th, Orion Pictures/MGM Studios released an official trailer of the upcoming film, Bill & Ted Face The Music! The studio also released an official poster for the movie! I haven’t seen any of the films in the Bill & Ted series, but I really like what I’ve seen and heard about this third film so far. The poster itself adopts elements that were found in film posters from the past; artistic visuals that come together to create a singular image conveying mystery and intrigue. As for the trailer, I found it hilarious, as it had the kind of random humor that I resonate towards. This marketing campaign makes me want to watch the previous two Bill & Ted films! As of June 2020, the film has an August 21st premiere date. Bill & Ted is not the only Hollywood IP that has received sequel related news. Two weeks ago, Chris Murphy from Vulture reports how Sonic the Hedgehog will get a sequel! According to the article, “Paramount Pictures and Sega Sammy have begun development on a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog”, which means the project is in the pre-production stage. The producers who have signed on to the film are Neal H. Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara, Hajime Satomi, Haruki Satomi, and Tim Miller. The first film’s director, Jeff Fowler, and screenwriters, Pat Casey and Josh Miller, are coming back for the second movie. While I haven’t seen Sonic the Hedgehog, I think this is great news for Sonic fans and for people who support studios that put their customers first. Even Chris, from Vulture, says “listening to feedback can be incredibly fruitful for everyone involved”. Hopefully, the sequel can be just as successful as its predecessor.
Months after Coronavirus forced businesses all over the world to pause their operations, steps are now being taken to reach a state of normalcy. In an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Etan Vlessing discusses how “the Quebec provincial government and health officials have given the green light for film and TV production to resume on June 8 amid the coronavirus pandemic”. Before this decision was made, Manitoba had resumed film and television production in their province of Canada. Toward the end of May, Vancouver Island said “the industry can resume shooting by June”. Robert Buffam, from CTV News, writes about the precautionary steps film and television teams will take to work as safely as possible. Ric Nesh, a television show producer, shares “We may reduce, revise, rewrite scenes without the larger crowds. No we may, we will revise scenes.” In the United States, film studios and movie theaters are making attempts to go back to work. A Hollywood Reporter article from June 8th states “anxious theater owners — and Hollywood studios — are being given the go ahead to flip on the lights later this week by California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the Department of Public Health.” June 12th is the selected date when California’s cinemas may start their operations again. Similar to the film and television industry in Canada, safety precautions will be put in place. One example is adopting a 25% capacity limit “or no more than 100 people per auditorium”.
I know this piece of news relates to television. But because it’s about Hallmark going out of their comfort zone, the story became an exception. Earlier last month, Emre Kaya from The Cinema Spot reported how Hallmark Channel is creating a new television show! The article shares that this is the network’s “first high-budget drama series”, which “is a science fiction soap drama series set on a space colony.” Emre’s post doesn’t reveal much information about the project. As of June 2020, Hallmark has not made an official statement about the show. When I first read this story, I was excited at the idea of Hallmark creating a project that is very different from their norm. On several occasions at 18 Cinema Lane, I have talked about how Hallmark should take creative risks and think outside the box. It looks like they’re starting to pay attention to these ideas. Maybe this show could be the beginning of a new era where creativity and originality reign.
Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 30th, is the last day to submit your nominee for Star of the Year of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! You can go to this link and place your nomination in the comment section:
As we’ve learned from the subplot between Lucas and Henry, there are two sides to every story. What’s important is giving both stories an equal opportunity to be told. When Calls the Heart does a good job at being fair toward Lucas and Henry. None of them appear better than the other and each of them receive a generous amount of screen-time. Because of the show’s writers, Lucas and Henry appear as men who have flaws as well as goals. They are not villains or heroes, just human. That aspect of the show is one of its strengths, creating characters than appear and feel more human than anything. This allows more opportunities for relatability to take place.
Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Don’t Go
At the beginning of the episode, Lee receives a telegram from his sister, Susannah. In this telegram, Susannah says she will come to Hope Valley the following day. Rosemary is hopeful that Susannah will show up, but Lee is doubtful. The next day, Susannah does arrive in Hope Valley. However, she is distant with her brother, from insisting on being referred to by her full, first name to staying at the Queen of Hearts saloon instead of Lee and Rosemary’s house. At dinner, Susannah reveals she has two older children; a son in college and a daughter graduating high school. Lee and Rosemary confess how they don’t have children yet, but are close with baby Jack. Later that evening, Lee visits Susannah at her hotel room. He brings her a bottle of soda, but she says she has not liked it since she was a child. During the visit, they look through a family album. When they see a picture of their brother, Patrick, Lee and Susannah recount what drove them apart in the first place. They then get into a disagreement over whether Lee intentionally avoided their father’s funeral. This causes Lee to leave Susannah’s room. The next day, Susannah is preparing to leave Hope Valley. Rosemary visits Susannah in an attempt to convince her to make amends with Lee. Rosemary tells Susannah about Lee’s head injury and how Lee didn’t want to leave this world without reconnecting with his sister. This information makes Susannah change her mind about Lee. In the evening, she attends dinner with Rosemary and Lee, with baby Jack in attendance. When Susannah meets Jack, she reveals how she named her son Patrick, after her and Lee’s brother. After dinner, Lee takes Susannah to his office in town. They share childhood memories and apologize to one another for the pain they caused to each other. Toward the end of the episode, Susannah leaves Hope Valley. When Rosemary and Lee share their plans for their upcoming Los Angeles trip, they also agree to visit Susannah’s family.
One day, Lucas pays Elizabeth a visit at her house. He reveals that Frank Branson, a publisher from New York, wants to talk to her about her book. Elizabeth wonders whether this is good or bad news, but Lucas assures her that it’s likely good news. They go to the Mercantile in order for Elizabeth to receive Frank’s phone call. In this call, Elizabeth learns that Frank wants to publish her book and that, if she accepts his offer, she’ll get $200 in advance payments. Elizabeth accepts Frank’s offer, making her a published author. While Elizabeth receives good news, Lucas gets bad news. While visiting Henry, Elizabeth learns Lucas is no longer Henry’s business partner. When she confronts Lucas about this news, he reveals how he had to keep the oil plant afloat with his own money. This has caused him to pull out of the business partnership. Later in the episode, Lucas tells Henry that he will continue to be Henry’s business partner only if he receives a larger percentage of the funds. Lucas’s plan is to receive more funds so he can apply better management to the company. Henry refuses the offer and orders Lucas to leave his office. When Lucas shares this news with Elizabeth, she is upset about the possibility of the oil plant employees losing their jobs. Lucas tells her they should focus on Elizabeth’s publishing deal, as time is too short to only worry about the bad stuff. That evening, Elizabeth and Lucas share a private dinner at the library. They both recognize their dinner is just between friends. Toward the end of the episode, Henry storms into the saloon and says he’ll allow Lucas to buy him out of the oil plant. This plan actually comes to fruition, as Lucas finds himself the new owner of Henry’s business. When he tells Elizabeth this news, he confesses he doesn’t know anything about the oil industry.
Henry passes out while at the café one morning. Carson, who also happens to be at the café, catches Henry from falling and immediately takes him to the Infirmary. Carson discovers Henry’s blood pressure is higher than it was the last time Henry was at the Infirmary. He also diagnoses Henry with exhaustion. Henry says he feels fine, but he promises to return if he feels worse. Meanwhile, at the Mercantile, Carson learns more about Fiona’s occupational situation. She confesses how Mr. Nichols made her feel small by calling her “dispensable”. Carson tells her to be honest with Mr. Nichols and tell him how she feels. Later in the episode, Carson finds out Fiona lost her job because of her honesty toward Mr. Nichols. Carson apologizes for getting Fiona fired, but Fiona isn’t upset about this situation. She says she loves Hope Valley and that being a telephone operator wasn’t for her.
Nathan is still keeping an eye on the thief from the previous episode, Elias. When Bill pays Nathan a visit, Bill shares how Elias’ family got a lawyer and that his trial will now take place in Buxton. Bill also tells Nathan that he has to attend the trial as the current standing Mountie. For the majority of the episode, however, Nathan tries to ask Elizabeth on a date. No matter how many times he tries, he always gets interrupted. These interruptions first started at the school’s open house (which was caused by Ally) and then happened at the stable. Right before Nathan leaves with Bill and the other Mounties to transfer Elias, Nathan tells Elizabeth he will be out of town for a while, so Ally will be taken to school by Opal’s parents. He also asks Elizabeth if she’d like to have dinner with him when he returns, which she doesn’t provide an answer. During the journey to transfer Elias, a woman named Jenny appears out of nowhere and demands all the Mounties to give up their guns. Everyone in the Mountie party learns Jenny is Elias’ sister and is trying to help him escape. Nathan attempts to convince Jenny not to commit any crimes, but she ends up shooting one of the Mounties. When the Mounties arrive in Hope Valley, they try to recruit Carson’s help to save the Mountie. But, after further examination, it’s revealed the Mountie passed away. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth gives Nathan a hug, relieved he is now safe.
Some thoughts to consider:
Even though I’m glad When Calls the Heart is getting an eighth season, I’m disappointed the show’s love triangle wasn’t resolved. As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of this aspect of the story. What started out as an intriguing part of Hope Valley now feels like Elizabeth is stringing Lucas and Nathan along longer than necessary. I just hope this love triangle starts to see a resolution by the Christmas movie.
Now that Fiona doesn’t a job, I wonder if Carson will hire her as his secretary? Even though the seventh season saw Mollie becoming Carson’s secretary, she is now working with Florence as a telephone operator. Since Fiona seems to have a good relationship with Carson, maybe this is her new career path?
Looking back on this episode, I feel Henry’s story wasn’t resolved. We still don’t know the exact cause of his medical situation, as well as why he is resentful of Lucas having more control of the company. I’m guessing this creative decision was made to provide content for the next season. But I hope we start to receive answers in the Christmas movie.
How do you feel about the season finale? What would you like to see happen in the eighth season? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!
Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 9th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 10th! Here is the link to the poll:
As I’ve mentioned before, When Calls the Heart is about a cast of characters. Over the course of seven seasons, many characters have been featured on the show. This creates a variety of people for the fans to choose as their favorite. For me, Tom Thornton is my favorite character, despite his limited presence on the show. Tom’s introduction is one of the reasons why I like the second season out of all seven of them. The more I watch When Calls the Heart, the more I notice there is something for everyone. With so many characters and stories, there is bound to be something that one gravitates to. When that happens, one could feel like the show is telling them, “hey, I made this just for you”. I wonder if this is another reason why When Calls the Heart has acquired the number of fans it has?
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: Heart of a Writer
Before recess ends, Lucas asks Elizabeth if she’d like to go to a book reading for an up-and-coming author named Virginia Woolf. He has two tickets to the event, which takes place in Union City. As Opal interrupts their conversation, since recess is almost over, Elizabeth tells him she’ll think about his offer. After school, Elizabeth shares this news with Rosemary. When she explains her reservations about going with Lucas, Rosemary asks Elizabeth what she wants to do. With that, Elizabeth decides to go the book-reading. She then visits Lucas at the saloon, where she tells him that she’ll go to the event simply as a friend. After agreeing to this condition, he informs her that he’ll pick her up at seven the next morning and that they will be attending a fancy restaurant following the event. The next day, Lucas picks Elizabeth up at her house in Henry’s car. During their journey, they stop in a nearby field so they can have a picnic lunch. Over this meal, Elizabeth learns that Lucas got the event’s tickets from a mutual friend. When they arrive at their hotel, the concierge mistakes Elizabeth and Lucas for a married couple. After they clarify that error, they receive their room keys. In the evening, Lucas and Elizabeth attend the book-reading. Following the event, they have dinner at the aforementioned fancy restaurant. While waiting for their food, Elizabeth and Lucas learn more about one another. Elizabeth shares that she, sometimes, misses her life in Hamilton. Lucas confesses that he’d like to have a family one day. When they talk about the book-reading itself, Elizabeth learns the real reason for Lucas’ desire to attend the event. It was more about wanting to spend time with Elizabeth than experiencing Virginia’s work.
When Nathan visits Elizabeth during recess, he tells her that he’ll be in Cape Fullerton during the weekend because he’ll be a witness on an upcoming trial. He also says that Allie will be spending time with Opal’s family over the weekend. The next day, while at Opal’s house, Ally sees Elizabeth leaving Hope Valley with Lucas. Nathan also comes home earlier than expected. When she visits Nathan at his office, Ally tells him what she saw. For the rest of the episode, Nathan appears to be disappointed, but doesn’t let other people know how he’s feeling. He minds his own business by chopping wood and going fishing with Ally. When Elizabeth and Lucas do come home, both Ally and Nathan try their best not to make their interactions with Elizabeth seem awkward.
Because of Elizabeth’s weekend plans, Lee and Rosemary volunteer to take care of Jack. Since this is the first time Elizabeth and Jack have been apart for more than a few hours, Jack is more fussy than usual. Over the weekend, Lee and Rosemary misplace Jack’s favorite toy: a small, stuffed dog. They search everywhere for the toy, but have difficulty finding it. Until they can locate the dog, Lee purchases a stuffed toy duck for Jack as a replacement. Unfortunately, Jack isn’t impressed with the new toy. Lee and Rosemary try their best to make Jack happy, but most of their efforts fail to work. One day, while in town, they decide to pay Carson a visit. When they arrive, Carson is typing a document on his typewriter. During this visit, Lee and Rosemary notice how much calmer Jack is. This leads them to discover that Jack likes the sound of the typewriter, as it reminds him of his mom. When Elizabeth returns home, Lee and Rosemary are happy that Jack is reunited with his mother. Toward the end of the episode, Lee and Rosemary finally find Jack’s missing toy: it was located under the pillows on their sofa.
After Jesse and Clara arrive from their honeymoon, they immediately move into their new home: the house that’s connected to the café. When they bring their belongings into the house, Clara discovers Jesse only has one small box containing his things. When she asks where his favorite armchair is, he tells her he had to discard it, as he says it was broken. The next day, Clara sees Jesse giving some of his belongings to Kevin. One of these items is the aforementioned armchair. After she tells Bill about what she saw, Bill tries to figure out why Jesse has so few possessions. When Bill talks to Jesse about it, he doesn’t get an answer. Later in the episode, Clara tries to talk with Jesse over dinner. Unfortunately, Jesse doesn’t want to talk about his small number of belongings. The next day, Jesse comes home to find his possessions throughout the house. Clara confesses that she asked the people who received Jesse’s things to give them back to Jesse. Clara tells him that she wants their home to be a place where they both feel they belong.
At the beginning of the episode, Lucas notices he didn’t receive his check at the end of the previous month. When he confronts Henry at his office, Henry tells him there’s nothing to worry about. At the saloon, he asks Mike about the late payment. Mike reveals how he’s not in charge of the plant’s finances anymore, as Henry has now taken over that responsibility. Meanwhile, Henry goes to the Infirmary, telling Carson he has indigestion. During an examination, Carson discovers Henry has higher blood pressure. He tells Henry he’ll give him some medicine and advice to take a break from work. The next day, Carson finds Henry working in his office. Even though Carson is concerned about Henry’s well-being, he simply tells Henry that he can come to him if he wants to talk about anything.
Some thoughts to consider:
I was disappointed that the book-reading wasn’t shown on screen. When Lucas tells Elizabeth it will be held in a theater, I was hoping to see this location. Since this show takes place in the 1910s, the theater would likely have a grand style that is usually found in big cities. Hopefully, a theater like that could be featured on the show in the future.
Personally, I think Lucas over-showed his hand on his first date with Elizabeth. Talking about the future and sharing family history is not a bad thing. However, I don’t think Lucas should have brought these ideas up this soon in his relationship with Elizabeth. Despite the fact they are on a date, they are not officially dating. Lucas’ choice could scare Elizabeth away from building a romantic relationship with him.
During Lucas and Elizabeth’s conversation about the book-reading, Elizabeth mentions how her sister, Viola, gave her a copy of Virginia’s short stories. Even though we haven’t seen Viola since the second season, it was nice to see a former character being referenced on the show. Now, if only Elizabeth could reference her brother-in-law and her son’s uncle, Tom Thornton…
Do you like this episode? What has your favorite story-line? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 2nd, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Supporting Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the April 3rd! Here is the link to the poll:
It’s hard to believe that Jesse and Clara’s wedding is the third one that has taken place on When Calls the Heart. So many milestones have happened on this show in the six years it has aired on Hallmark Channel. From being the longest running program in the network’s history to its consistent ratings, the show has found so much success in less than ten years. But, like any show, When Calls the Heart is not perfect. As I mentioned in last week’s re-cap post, the creative team behind the program experienced backlash after Jack’s death. They also had to deal with the “Abigail situation” last year, causing the show to experience a temporary delay. Despite these flaws, the show has survived each situation. The fanbase has stuck by When Calls the Heart’s side and cheered it on, which helped keep the show running. There are both positive and negative qualities to this show. But since it has left a special place in the hearts of their fans, it has become a program worth fighting for. These aspects make me wonder if When Calls the Heart is like a relationship?
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: In Perfect Unity
For the majority of the episode, Clara and Jesse make last minute preparations for their wedding. But as the day of the wedding approaches, Clara becomes more reflective toward the past. At the café, Clara shares with Bill that she’s been thinking about her deceased parents. Bill tells her that they would have been proud of her and he would have wanted someone like her to be his daughter. The current wedding also makes Clara think about her first wedding. The night before the ceremony, Clara shares her fears with Elizabeth about losing Jesse, similar to how she lost Peter. Elizabeth reminds Clara not to worry about “what ifs” and that the time she spends with Jesse is the most valuable part of their relationship. On the day of the wedding, Clara and Jesse’s plans for an outdoor wedding don’t work out, as it ends up raining for the whole day. In an instant, Elizabeth decides to host the wedding and the reception at the saloon. During a two-hour time-frame, Elizabeth and several of Hope Valley’s citizens come together to set up the venue. The wedding and reception itself run smoothly, with Jesse and Clara receiving the ceremony of their dreams. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth ends up catching Clara’s bouquet.
At recess, Robert approaches Elizabeth. He reveals to her that he’s been thinking about becoming a Mountie. This conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Pastor Zeke. Later that day, Elizabeth continues the conversation she and Robert started at recess. While learning more about Robert’s reasons for choosing this profession, she discovers that he plans on abandoning his education in order to start his Mountie training. Elizabeth suggests that Robert should spend a day with Nathan, so he can see what it’s like to be a Mountie. After Nathan agrees, Robert visits Nathan to gain insight about his potential occupation. While there, Robert believes that the prisoner who is currently in jail could be a nice person. Nathan warns Robert not to become emotionally involved when it comes to any Mountie related situation. The next day, Nathan and some of his fellow Mounties are in the process of transferring the aforementioned prisoner. During this transfer, the prisoner tries to escape. However, Nathan catches the prisoner before the event can cause more fear for the citizens of Hope Valley. After this event, Robert tells Nathan that he’s not sure if he wants to be a Mountie anymore. This is because he doesn’t feel he is brave enough to be a hero like Nathan. Nathan confesses that he doesn’t always feel brave and that when he was Robert’s age, he didn’t feel ready to become a Mountie. At Jesse and Clara’s wedding, Elizabeth tells Nathan that Robert has decided not to become a Mountie. She shares with Nathan that Robert wants to focus on his education and be a kid.
Some thoughts to consider:
Even though the saloon looked visually appealing, I think the main story’s conflict was more on the predictable side. When Calls the Heart has done a good job this season what it comes to subverting expectations. I would have liked to see this same story-telling approach applied to Jesse and Clara’s wedding. As I mentioned in last week’s re-cap post, I was disappointed by their wedding taking place indoors. It makes me wonder why Jesse and Clara didn’t just receive a Christmas wedding in the first place?
I liked Robert’s storyline, but I don’t think it should have been featured in this episode. Because Jesse and Clara’s wedding was an overarching event within the episode, the episode itself should have kept its focused on the wedding. Robert’s storyline in the context of the main story felt random.
I loved Clara’s wedding dress! It had a different style from Rosemary’s and Elizabeth’s dresses and it suited Eva well! Like the previous two dresses, I hope Hallmark hosts a contest where the winner receives Clara’s dress!
What are your thoughts on Jesse and Clara’s wedding? Do you have any predictions on who the next couple to get married will be? Let me know in the comment section!
On WordPress, I’ve gained a reputation among fellow bloggers as being the “Hallmark expert”. While I personally don’t see myself as an expert in this blogging space, I do appreciate people’s high regard toward my knowledge of Hallmark productions. During my years of watching Hallmark films, I’ve learned that a good number of movies are filmed in Canada. Also, every scripted television show from the network either currently films in Canada or has filmed in Canada before. Production websites like What’s Filming and Creative B.C. continually feature Hallmark titles on their websites, with productions for movies usually taking place within a month’s time. Others have taken notice of this particular creative choice, with publications like Refinery29 bringing it up in one of their Hallmark related articles. But what causes the company to choose Canada as a prime filming destination over other locations? How beneficial is it anyway? This editorial will explore some reasons why Hallmark has chosen Canada as their best friend when it comes to movie and television production. Negative results that could be caused by Hallmark’s choice will also be discussed. Hallmark has filmed their movies in a variety of locations, but Canada seems to be their favorite.
Saving Money in Order to Spend It
Every movie or television show has a budget that a creative team is required to work within. If there is an opportunity to save money, any creative team is likely to take advantage of it. With the creation of tax incentives, certain states or countries can appear more viable to companies and studios than other locations. Canada first introduced their tax incentives for the television and film industry in 1995, with more tax incentives coming into existence two years later. While it’s unclear when Hallmark started to film their programs in Canada, recent trends would indicate the company first made this decision sometime around 2010. In the past few years, Hallmark has created more than fifty movies a year. These projects, according to Shane Snoke and Kays Alatrakchi from quora.com, can carry a price tag between $300,000 to $2 million. To figure out how much Hallmark would likely pay annually for their films, let’s look at the amount of films the company created for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries last year. On the first network, Hallmark released 64 films. The second network aired 41 films. Let’s say that each movie cost $1 million to make. In total, Hallmark would end up spending $105,000,000 each year among both channels. With this big of a price tag, it makes sense for the company to look for ways to save any amount of money they can.
Because every province of Canada has their own tax incentives for the film and television industry, it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of money Hallmark saves on each Canadian filmed production. But there is no denying that wherever a movie or television show is created, Hallmark ends up saving a significant amount of money. The company can apply those savings toward other programs. One example of how this money could have been used is for the creation of Hallmark Drama. Coordinating a television channel is a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Because Hallmark’s third channel first aired in late 2017, it’s likely that Hallmark collected these funds over time in order to fund that project. Another time-consuming and costly endeavor are television shows. A deciding factor for a show’s renewal is whether its respective network can afford to keep it going. With three continuing series on Hallmark Channel, Hallmark needs all the money they can get to keep these shows running. All three series have chosen Canada for their filming needs. This makes Hallmark’s financial goals more attainable.
Creating a Unique Experience
The longest running and one of the most popular television shows in Hallmark history is When Calls the Heart. Ever since the show about the Canadian Frontier first premiered in 2014, it has cultivated a loyal and devoted fanbase famously known as the “Hearties”. The success of the series has inspired fans to create a special event called “Hearties Family Reunion”. Started in 2016, this event gives “hearties” an opportunity to celebrate their favorite show. It has also given them a chance to travel to the show’s Canadian roots. Some of the activities that took place at last year’s event include a Q&A segment with the cast, a tour of the Hope Valley set, and even a special movie night. While “Hallmark isn’t officially involved” with the formation of the “Hearties Family Reunion”, according to Meghan Overdeep from Southern Living, Crown Media was one of the sponsors for the 2019 event.
One of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted as long as it has is because of the community that formed among the fans. The “Hearties Family Reunion” official website acknowledges this by stating, “Hearties are a community”. To recognize this sentiment, regional mini-parties were a part of the schedule at last year’s event. These parties were intended to help fans connect with other fans from their geographical location. One example is a regional party dedicated to the fans who live in the Southern and/or Midwest regions of the United States. Based on the website’s photos and the continuation of the event, it seems like it has been met with positive responses. One testimonial comes from Ruth, who is the creator of the blog, My Devotional Thoughts. She attended the event in 2017 and even wrote an article about her experience. The focus of that blog post was to highlight her interviews during the event. By reading Ruth’s article, you can hear the enthusiasm in her writing. In fact, when recounting her time at the “Hearties Family Reunion”, she says, “I am forever grateful to everyone who worked to make this a weekend I shall never forget”. With responses like Ruth’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if this event returned in 2020!
Making Careers for Canadian Stars
Actors and actresses come from various locations of the world. When a state or country has tax incentives that benefit the film and television industry, performers from those locations can sometimes find success with the companies that film there. Hallmark’s decision to film in Canada has helped several actors and actresses grow their careers through their involvement in Hallmark’s productions. Andrew Francis is an actor from Vancouver, British Columbia. He made his Hallmark debut in the 2011 movie, Trading Christmas. In that nine-year time frame, Andrew starred in twelve Hallmark movies, had a recurring role on Cedar Cove, and is a regular cast member on Chesapeake Shores. Another British Columbia native, Pascale Hutton, has also achieved success through Hallmark. After her first Hallmark movie, A Family Thanksgiving from 2010, she has gone on to star in a total of twelve Hallmark films. Similar to Andrew, Pascale became a regular cast member on the aforementioned show, When Calls the Heart. She also made a guest appearance on Hallmark’s first spin-off, When Hope Calls.
Canadian actors are not the only talents that have developed on-going careers through Hallmark. Crew members who work behind the camera have also benefited from Hallmark’s partnership with Canada. Michael Robison is a director from Toronto, Ontario. According to his filmography on IMDB, he has been directing since the late ‘80s. Despite working with Hallmark for only three years, Michael has directed thirteen movies, including the upcoming Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film, Mystery 101: An Education in Murder. These opportunities have allowed him to grow his career as a director. Another Ontario talent whose career has excelled with Hallmark is Ivan Hayden, who is from the London area. A multi-talented individual, Ivan currently has twenty-six producing credits on IMDB. Fifteen of these credits are for Hallmark films, including the 2020 “Spring Fever” film, Just My Type. Like Michael Robison, Ivan has been working on Hallmark projects since 2017. Also, like Michael, Ivan accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.
Missed Opportunities for Other States and Countries
As I have been mentioning in this editorial, states and countries besides Canada may have tax incentives. This factor can encourage companies and studios to work in those locations. By Hallmark continually choosing to work with Canada, it means that other states and countries with tax incentives miss out on beautiful business partnerships. Michigan is just one example. On Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s official website, an entire division of the state’s economy is shown to be dedicated to the film industry. Hallmark rarely creates their programs in the Great Lakes state. Because of this, the state isn’t able to work with a well-known client like Hallmark. Hallmark’s decision also denies the company the chance to take advantage of Michigan’s tax incentives. This situation causes both parties to lose out on great business opportunities.
Hallmark’s Channels aren’t Available in Canada
Even though Hallmark films a lot of their programs in Canada, there are few opportunities for Canadians to see these programs. That’s because all three of Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. Despite Canadian fans asking Hallmark’s business leaders on social media for access to their networks, nothing has been done about this specific situation as of March 2020. There have been some solutions made to alleviate this problem. Released in 2007, the Super Channel is a Canadian network that has given its viewers an opportunity to watch some of Hallmark’s programs. This is made possible through one of their divisions; Super Channel Heart & Home. Another current solution has been the invention of the streaming service, Hallmark Movies Now. This service can be accessed on various devices and through different media outlets.
Limited Recognition Toward Canadian Businesses
As I just mentioned, Hallmark’s channels are shown exclusively in the United States. This means that businesses based in the United States have an advantage when it comes to product placement and sponsorships. One of Hallmark’s sponsors has been the coffee company, Folgers. Even though this particular product is available in both the United States and Canada, the company is headquartered in Ohio and was founded in California. This makes Folgers a United States based business. It also provides more opportunities for Folgers to advertise with Hallmark. Canadian stores like Chapters/Indigo and services like Pizza Pizza haven’t had commercials featured on any of Hallmark’s channels or their products showcased in any of Hallmark’s programs, as of March 2020. Hallmark’s partnership with Canada seems to have overlooked Canadian businesses.
There is no such thing as a perfect business. The decisions that any business makes are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Even when a business does make a good choice, it can sometimes lead to undesirable results. This is the case with Hallmark and their partnership with Canada. There have been positives that have come from this choice where both parties have benefited. Canada’s tax incentives have the power to fund the country’s economy and help Hallmark save money. But, after evaluating the pros and cons of Hallmark’s business decision, it appears somewhat one sided. So many of Hallmark’s programs are filmed in a variety of Canadian locations. Yet, Canadians are not able to watch most of the programs that are created in their home country. As I mentioned in this editorial, there are ways for Canadians to watch Hallmark’s movies and shows. However, they aren’t able to watch the newer productions from Hallmark, especially the mystery films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Hopefully, as time goes on, Hallmark will recognize Canada as more than just a pretty filming location.
Before I start this Word on the Street story, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, February 27th, is the last day to cast vote in the third poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The forth poll will be posted on the 28th! Here is the link to the poll:
Last month, in a Word on the Street story, I talked about Bill Abbott stepping down as CEO of Crown Media. It looks like he’s not the only business leader to make a monumental career choice. This week, Disney CEO, Bob Iger, has stepped down from his position. While this decision was “effective immediately”, according to several news sources, it seems like it was made by Bob Iger himself. Even Jeremy from Geeks + Gamers feels this is the case when he said in his video called “Bob Iger OUT As Disney CEO | Is Kathleen Kennedy Next?”, “it’s clear that Bob Iger was behind this decision 100%”. Frank Pallotta and Brian Stelter, from CNN Business, reports that Bob Iger felt “it was the right time to step down because he needs to spend more time on the “creative side” of the company”. Bob Iger himself said “I could not do that if I had to run the company on a day to day basis” if he continued as Disney’s CEO. Until late 2021, Bob Iger is now the executive chairman of the company. Bob Chapek has quickly taken the role as Disney’s new CEO. Before this decision was made, Bob Chapek was the “Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment’s creation in 2018, and prior to that he was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 2015”. It’s also important to point out that Bob Chapek was “president of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios” and “president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment”, according to The Walt Disney Company’s official website. This means that he oversaw how and where films were distributed, as well as interacting with the movie division of Disney. Even though Bob Chapek just started his new position, there’s already been doubt about his leadership abilities. Geeks + Gamers’ Jeremy shared his feelings in his aforementioned video, saying “I just think it’s going to be more of the same”. Personally, I was not a fan of Bob Iger as a business leader, as he made several decisions that did not sit well with me. But Bob Chapek stepping in as Disney’s CEO makes me feel the same way that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does: we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Type “Bob Iger OUT As Disney CEO | Is Kathleen Kennedy Next?” into Youtube’s search bar (there is some language in this video)
This month, there have been several mystery films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries that were either announced or listed on production sites. All of these movies are continuations in already established series. Out of all these projects, the only one that has a synopsis and an easily accessible trailer as of late February 2020 is Mystery 101: An Education in Murder. According to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ official website, this new chapter in the Mystery 101 series is about the following:
“A young writer’s research prompts the police to revisit a famous murder case that convicted Amy’s colleague at Elmstead, so Travis & Amy get a second chance at clearing the professor’s name”.
As a fan of this series, I’m looking forward to this film! Cold cases are rarely featured in movies on this network, so it’ll be interesting to see a different kind of story. Two movies that have trailers shown on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well as release dates are Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder and Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death. Featured during the premiere of Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds, the third film in this series is set to premiere on May 17th. Based on the title alone, I’m wondering if the mystery will have anything to do with Allie’s friend, Maya? Anyone who is invested in this series would know that Maya is an actress. In Picture Perfect Mysteries: Dead Over Diamonds, Maya auditions for a local stage production. The third movie in the Ruby Herring Mysteries series, Ruby Herring Mysteries: Prediction Murder will air on April 5th, with its trailer appearing during the premiere of Riddled with Deceit: A Martha’s Vineyard Mystery. The upcoming mystery films that are only listed on production websites, for now, are Matchmaker Mysteries II – The Poison Pen and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly. The second film in the Matchmaker Mysteries series is currently in production, with the final day of filming on March 2nd. The next Aurora Teagarden Mysteries film will start production next month. Similar to Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death, I’m trying to guess what the movie is about based on the title. I’m wondering if Yannick Bisson’s character, Martin, will return to the series?
A Canadian news source called Chek announced on February 25th that Chesapeake Shores has officially been renewed for a fifth season! No production dates or number of episodes were reported as of late February 2020. Joan Miller, from the Vancouver Island North Film Commission, stated that “we are really excited about season 5 coming back to the island. It’s been a really great economic generator for our region”. An interesting tidbit to point out is how no further information has been provided about the Chesapeake Shores movie that Hallmark announced last February. Right now, it’s unclear if it will premiere before or after the season. Historically, Chesapeake Shores has held production during the Springtime, with the first episode premiering in late summer. With this announcement coming in late Winter, it’s likely this filming pattern will continue.
In the season seven premiere of When Calls the Heart, Lucas says that stories should be written from the heart. As I contemplate those words, I wonder if that’s the reason why this show has lasted as long as it has? This is a program that takes place during a simpler time. Sure, there were difficulties back then. But because of that simplicity, people were given more opportunities to share what was in their heart. Through stories, letters, and face-to-face communication, people could use their words to solve problems or connect with other another. You might be thinking, “Can’t the internet do the same thing”? While this is true, the internet doesn’t always allow us to see someone’s reaction to a story or understand how someone is feeling about it. That is what When Calls the Heart strives to do: understanding the thoughts and feelings of the characters and the fans. The emphasis placed on those two things has helped this show become a place where people can connect with each other and even help one another in times of need. As season seven begins, it will be fascinating to see how the thoughts, words, and actions of Hope Valley’s citizens come from their hearts.
Just a reminder: If you did not see the season premiere of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: A Moving Picture
A journalist named Mary comes to Hope Valley to write a story about Henry Gowan. Henry believes that she’s interested in his business endeavors. However, Mary wants to know more about Henry’s past, including his convictions. Henry tells her that he tries not to dwell on the past. Not satisfied with Henry’s response, Mary turns to Bill for answers. On the subject of Henry’s past, all Bill will say is that Henry is “complicated”. Mary also approaches Lucas with questions about Henry, but Lucas refuses to speak about Henry’s life before he owned a petroleum business. Later, in the evening, Mary receives a phone call from her boss. She learns that her deadline is approaching sooner than she expected. Mary is stressed because she feels she hasn’t learned enough about Henry to write a compelling story. When she shares her dilemma with Fiona, Mary comes up with a brilliant idea. Toward the end of the episode, the citizens of Hope Valley discover that Mary decided to write a story about Fiona instead. Henry feels this decision was made because his story is not as reader-friendly as Fiona’s. Elizabeth confesses to him that every person who was questioned by Mary refused to talk about Henry’s past. Her confession effectively shows Henry that the town supports him.
While delivering books to the library, Lucas shares with Elizabeth that his mother was an editor. After she hears this, Elizabeth tells him of her unsuccessful attempts to get her book published. Lucas volunteers to proofread her book and offer her writing advice. She tells him that she’ll consider his help. A few days later, Elizabeth visits the saloon and gives Lucas her book. The next day, Lucas comes to the school after classes are over to share his thoughts on her writing. He tells Elizabeth that her stories are good, but that she should add depth to her characters. He also advises her to write from her heart. After receiving this advice, Elizabeth tries to rewrite her stories. However, she’s finding the experience more difficult than she expected. Because of this, she comes up with a new plan. At Rosemary and Lee’s anniversary party, Elizabeth thanks Lucas for his help and reveals to him that she is going to write a novel instead. At the end of the episode, Elizabeth begins writing her new book, this time titled “A Single Mother on the Frontier”.
Lee and Rosemary are preparing for a trip to Los Angeles in honor of their anniversary. The idea of traveling to the Golden State is especially exciting for Rosemary, as she makes her own preparations. These include designing swimsuits for her and Lee as well as purchasing a new pair of sunglasses. Meanwhile, Lee is looking forward to meeting with the owner of a paper plant. If all goes well, Lee feels they could be the lumber mill’s biggest client. One day, at work, Lee receives a phone call from the paper plant’s owner. They inform Lee that the only time they can meet with him is sometime the following week, the same week as Lee and Rosemary’s trip. When Lee tells Rosemary that their trip might have to be postponed, Rosemary agrees to push the trip to the week after the meeting. Feeling guilty about the situation, Lee decides to organize a surprise for his wife. On the night of their anniversary, Lee encourages Rosemary to wear the dress she had planned to wear in Los Angeles. After she agrees, Lee and Rosemary make a trip to the saloon. Rosemary is surprised to discover that Lee not only organized an anniversary party, but a movie screening as well. Rosemary is delighted by Lee’s attempt to make up for their changed plans.
Faith surprises Carson by returning home from Hamilton. She tells him that her father is in better health and has moved in with her brother. She also shares that a former colleague offered her the head nurse position at the local hospital in Hamilton. This news conflicts Carson. He missed Faith when she was away and enjoys her company in Hope Valley. But he doesn’t want to hold her back from a great occupational opportunity. At Rosemary and Lee’s party, Carson tells Faith that she should take the nursing job. When Faith feels that Carson is pushing her away so soon after returning home, she leaves the saloon. Carson follows her outside to tell her that he loves her and will support whatever decision she makes. Faith then tells Carson that she loves him.
Some thoughts to consider:
I really liked the movie/acting related “Easter Eggs” that were included in this script! While talking to Lee, Rosemary mentions Gloria Swanson. Rosemary also says that she would like to take a walk with Lee on Sunset Boulevard. In a conversation with Elizabeth, Rosemary shares that she helped a struggling British actor by advising him to focus on comedy. Through Rosemary’s dialogue, the audience learns that this “struggling actor” was Charlie Chaplin. The way these “Easter Eggs” were woven into the story was so clever! It was nice to see historically relevant references told in a way that today’s audience would recognize!
Due to the movie screening’s positive response, Lucas announces that the saloon will host a movie night once every month. Because of this, I’m hoping this is the first step toward Rosemary finally receiving her theater! Rosemary, as well the fans, have been waiting for this for a long time. As they say, anything is possible.
When Mary is struggling to find information about Henry, I honestly thought the writers of the show would pull the “it’s not what you think” cliché. I was expecting Mary to unintentionally write an article that contained embarrassing information about Henry, causing the citizens of Hope Valley to be upset. Seeing Mary write about Fiona instead was a good subversion of expectations. It allowed the writers to be creative in their story-telling and not rely on over-used clichés. This makes me look forward to seeing how the writers go against my expectations!
What are your thoughts on the season seven premiere? Is there anything you’re looking forward to seeing this season? Let me know in the comment section!
I am back with my first Word on the Street story for December! While Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups are winding down and the “Winterfest” line-up is on its way, I found several Hallmark related movie news stories that I had to share with my readers and followers. Some of these projects are currently in production, but others haven’t even started filming yet. Most of these stories come from the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark. Two of these movies can be found on the website, Creative B.C. For this post, I will be reporting on these pieces of movie news and share my sources within this article. Since there’s so many films to talk about and since most of the information is on the basic side, I won’t be sharing my insight this time.
On December 10th, the Twitter account, Hotline to Hallmark, released a tweet about a potential Hallmark project. In this post, it was announced that Hallmark actor, Clayton Chitty, will be starring in a film called “Blueprint to the Heart”. Also, the tweet mentioned that the movie’s network was unknown, as of December 2019. On the website, Creative B.C., this movie is listed on the “In Production” page. Apparently, this project will finish filming on December 13th. Six days prior, on December 4th, Cindy Busby, who is a regular star of Hallmark, tweeted that she was working on a movie in Australia. This tweet, that was re-tweeted by Hotline to Hallmark, shares a link to an article about the film. The article, found on if.com.au, revealed that the project is currently titled “Romance on the Menu”. Based on the synopsis, it sounds like a Hallmark movie. But, as of December 2019, it’s unknown where this film will premiere.
You can visit the Twitter account of Hotline to Hallmark by typing @HotlineHallmark into Twitter’s search bar.
While the two aforementioned projects have no known fate, there are a few upcoming films that have been confirmed as Hallmark movies. Some of these confirmations have been announced from the stars of those films. One of them is a movie that will premiere in the 2020 Christmas season! In a tweet that was included in Hotline to Hallmark’s tweet, Brennan Elliott, a familiar face on both of Hallmark’s networks, revealed that he was working on a movie called “Christmas in Vienna”. In this same tweet, he also shared that the project would be filmed in Vienna, Austria and that the movie’s female lead will be Sarah Drew. Also, on Hotline to Hallmark, news about Taylor Cole’s Valentine’s Day movie was announced! In a Word on the Street story last month, I talked about how Taylor would be starring in a Hallmark Valentine’s Day movie alongside Ryan Paevey. This was one of the reasons why I speculated that One Winter Wedding could either be a “June Weddings” or Christmas movie. In Hotline to Hallmark’s tweet, it mentioned that Taylor herself confirmed that the third One Winter movie was still happening! This tweet says “that the script for Hallmark’s “One Winter Wedding” is being worked on”. As for the Valentine’s Day movie, it now has a working title called “Matching Hearts”. Two other cast members have been announced as well. They are Antonio Cayonne and Latonya Williams.
You can visit the Twitter account of Hotline to Hallmark and Brennan Elliott by typing @HotlineHallmark and @brennan_elliott into Twitter’s search bar.
Two other Hallmark movies have been announced outside of the Hotline to Hallmark twitter account. In an article from International Business Times, several Hallmark stars were interviewed during Christmas Con, a Christmas themed convention that took place in early November. The majority of questions that were asked were about future movie projects. While the answers consisted of wishful thinking and vagueness, only one was definitive. When asked about Hallmark’s Wedding March series, Jack Wagner, one of the stars of that series, said “We will be doing “Wedding March 6” in the spring”. This means that another Wedding March chapter will likely be seen in 2020’s “June Weddings” line-up! On the website, Creative B.C. another movie from the Mystery 101 series has been listed on the “In Production” page. Currently, the film is called Mystery 101: Educated Murders. The “In Production” page reveals that the movie will go into production from January 6th to the 31st. Based on this fact, I’m guessing that the film will premiere in either spring or summer of 2020.
Ever since Lucas Bouchard came to Hope Valley earlier this season, his story has been a mystery. Hearties have speculated if he was a villain or just a troubled soul. I’ve even wondered what his story could be about. Several episodes later, we finally got answers to all of our questions relating to this character. Even though this episode has focused most of its attention on Lucas, the show as a whole has never been about just one character. The creative team behind this show have done a good job at focusing on the town of Hope Valley, giving their characters an equal amount of story-telling opportunities. This aspect helped When Calls the Heart become as successful as it has. Speaking of story-telling, let’s talk about this episode of When Calls the Heart!
Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of When Calls the Heart, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.
Name: A Call from the Past
One day, while at the Mercantile, Lucas receives a personal phone call. During this call, a woman tells him that someone is after them and that this person knows he’s in Hope Valley. Lucas tells her that he’ll figure out what to do. The next day, he decides to close the Queen of Hearts Saloon and leave Hope Valley. When Elizabeth passes by the Saloon, she asks Lucas why he’s closing the Saloon. While Lucas is answering her question, Elizabeth notices that he has a pistol in his possession. After this conversation, she goes straight to the Mountie Office to tell Bill and Nathan everything Lucas told her. Because Lucas is on his way to Cape Fullerton, Nathan chooses to follow him. Before Lucas can reach his destination, Nathan tracks him down. He not only successfully encourages Lucas to come back to Hope Valley, but Lucas reveals what’s really going on. He shares that, in New Orleans, his friend had a struggling business. She borrowed money from a man named Amos Dixon. When she couldn’t pay Amos back, he started threatening to shut down her business and put her in harms way. In an attempt to help his friend, Lucas entered a poker game in order to win her money back. When he discovered that Amos, who was also participating in this game, cheated, Lucas decided to cheat as well. Amos discovered what he had done, causing him to hold a grudge against Lucas. After listening to his story, Nathan promises Lucas that he will contact the Mounties in Cape Fullerton to keep his friend safe. Meanwhile, in Hope Valley, Amos and his accomplice arrive in Hope Valley. They break into the Saloon, waiting for Lucas to arrive. Instead, Elizabeth shows up because she had a feeling that someone was in the Saloon. Amos and his accomplice hold her as their hostage. When Lucas finally arrives, Amos orders him to hand over all the money from his safe. While this is happening, Bill and Nathan figure out that Elizabeth hasn’t come home when she said she would, causing them to suspect that something is wrong. They both go to the Saloon, where Bill ends up catching Amos’s accomplice behind the building. Meanwhile, Nathan had to sneak into the building, due to feeling suspicious about his encounter with Lucas at the Saloon’s front door. Despite a struggle during his encounter with Amos, Nathan successfully arrests him. After the ordeal is over, everyone appears to be uncomfortable around Lucas, including Elizabeth.
Grace, one of the orphanage care-givers from When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing, arrives in Hope Valley with an orphan named Spencer. This young boy barely speaks, so Grace is doing everything she can to help him. Grace and Spencer stay at Lee and Rosemary’s house during their visit. Rosemary is organizing the Founders Day Festival, which is not only around the corner, but also encourages Grace and Spencer to stay in town a little longer than expected. When Rosemary tells Elizabeth about all of her Founders Day responsibilities. Elizabeth suggests that she split these responsibilities with someone else. While at the Mercantile, Rosemary tells Fiona about the things has to do in order for the Founders Day Festival to be successful. After doing this, Rosemary asks Fiona if she would like to help her plan the Festival, with Fiona agreeing. Meanwhile, Spencer and Grace take a visit to Carson’s office. Carson finds out that Spencer is anemic and that he hasn’t eaten much in recent days. This is the result of Spencer’s trauma and grief that Grace shares with Rosemary later in the episode. She reveals that Spencer’s parents died in a flood a few months prior, leaving Spencer as the only survivor. Since then, Grace, as well as the orphanage where Spencer was previously staying, have to doing anything they could to help him. While Rosemary and Fiona discuss ideas for the Founders Day Festival, Grace comes up with the solution of having pancakes for dinner. This ends up being successful, as Spencer not only eats the pancakes, but also seems to enjoy them.
Because of Henry’s new petroleum oil business, Lee has been losing employees at his lumberyard. When Mike Hickam decides to work for Henry instead, Lee is disappointed but respectful toward this decision. One day, Jesse crosses paths with Henry. He is upset that Henry has been “stealing” employees from Lee. Henry, however, tells Jesse that all he wants to do is move on from their feud. The next day, Jesse talks with Mike about his new job. Mike shares with Jesse how much money he’s now making. This causes Jesse to contemplate the idea of working for Henry. Jesse not only shares this idea with Lee, but also with Clara. When Clara asks him why he would want to trade his job, Jesse says that his reason would be to make her happy. Clara tells him that what makes her happy is when he’s happy. Later that evening, Jesse visits Lee at his home. He tells Lee that he has decided to keep his job at the lumberyard. Jesse also shares his reason why, as his loyalty to Lee as well as Lee’s kindness to him were the things that made him keep his job. This moment makes Lee realize that everything is going to be ok.
Some thoughts to consider:
At the beginning of this episode, it was revealed that Julie would be the Godmother of Elizabeth’s son, Jack. This has led me to believe that Julie might make an appearance in the season finale. While I’m happy to see that Julie could appear on the show again, I do find it concerning that Elizabeth hasn’t reached out to her in-laws. As a fan of Tom Thornton, I feel that he should have, at least, been mentioned in one of the previous episodes. That way, it shows the audience that Jack’s side of family still plays an important part of Elizabeth’s life.
While the cast of When Calls the Heart has been great this season, the actress who stole the show in this episode was Jocelyn Hudon! Her performance was so captivating to watch, helping her character seem as interesting as possible. I also like how her story provided a nice bridge between When Calls the Heart and When Hope Calls. Hopefully, Jocelyn will continue to find good luck on her new show as she has in the When Calls the Heart community!
In the sneak peek commercial for the season finale, it seems like Jesse may propose to Clara! I really hope so because it’s been about two seasons since we last saw a marriage proposal in Hope Valley. Can you imagine if Jesse and Clara’s wedding took place during When Calls the Heart’s Christmas movie? Now that would be a great gift to give to the Hearties!
Even though Lucas’ story was fine, I kind of felt like it was underwhelming. Personally, I was expecting something more intriguing, especially since Lucas himself seems like an interesting character. I also think the conflict between Lucas and Amos was handled a little too quickly. While there was build-up to it, the conflict itself seemed to last for only a few minutes.
What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you excited for the season finale? Please tell me in the comment section!