Looking back on this episode, it seems light is the theme of “Hope Valley Days: Part 1”. The candles on a Menorah begin to be lit and a bonfire takes place in the middle of town. But literal light is not the only kind to be found in the episode. Bill and Nathan shed light on secrets from the past. Elizabeth gives a former student the light of hope. Joseph and Minnie rely on God to shine a light on a brighter future. If you think about it, light appears to be a common subject on When Calls the Heart. The most obvious is, for the most part, the show is light-hearted. The majority of the characters try to be a light in someone else’s day. I could go on and on about how light comes into play in other ways. But, right now, we need to get started re-capping this episode 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: Hope Valley Days: Part 1
In an effort to put his best mayoral foot forward, Mike hosts Hope Valley’s first annual ‘Hope Valley Days’. This holiday is a collection of other holidays wrapped up into one. Some of the town’s patrons are not only responsible for decorating their place of employment, but for also preparing activities based on their respective holiday. These participating patrons are Elizabeth (representing Thanksgiving), Ned and Florence (representing Hannukah), Bill (representing April Fools’ Day), Rosemary and Lee (representing Halloween), and Mei (representing Valentine’s Day). Throughout the festivities, the aforementioned patrons really get into their roles. From Lee and Rosemary dressing up in costume to Elizabeth planning a Thanksgiving dinner, everyone seems to be enjoying the new holiday. Among the festivities, Faith becomes interested in purchasing an X-Ray machine for the Infirmary. This interest begins after Bill needs to take a chest X-Ray in another town. But Mike created a rule that doesn’t allow her to receive financial grants from the town, as she now owns the Infirmary. Faith tries to ask Mei for financial help, but Mei thinks Mike’s rule is reasonable. Faith also tries to convince Mike to change his mind, but he thinks she will find a way to afford the X-Ray machine. At the town’s bonfire, Faith decides to burn the old Infirmary sign. She tells Mike this is the first step to truly creating the Infirmary as her own.
A man claiming to be Jeffrey bolts into Bill’s office. Jeffrey wants Mei to be arrested, but all Bill wants is for Jeffrey to, politely, leave his office. After Jeffrey refuses and punches Bill in the face, Bill puts Jeffrey in jail. When Bill goes to Nathan with this information, Nathan discovers there are no arrest warrants for Jeffrey, but there are three for Mei, all from Chicago. It is revealed these charges are Arson, Forgery, and Abandonment of a Spouse. Shortly after Mei accepts a permanent position at the Pharmacy, she is called to Bill’s office. Nathan is upset Mei never told him any of the information he discovered. She says no one knows the whole story. Later in the episode, Mei is still in Bill’s office, but alone this time. Ally unexpectedly shows up, still wanting advice about what she should do about Robert. After Mei tells Ally to be herself, she suddenly knows how to handle the situation with Jeffrey. When Mei goes to the jail, Bill tells her he will have to release Jeffrey, as no one saw Jeffrey punching Bill. Jeffrey tries to explain what has been happening, but Mei wants to hear none of it, as she claims he accused her of crimes she didn’t commit.
Things are not going according to plan for the petroleum plant. Henry called Fiona, only to find out she wasn’t successful in driving away the investors. After telling Lucas this news, Henry decides to travel to San Francisco, in order to give Fiona a helping hand. Meanwhile, Lucas is recruited in teaching Nathan how to drive, after Elizabeth was unsuccessful in doing so. But instead of learning how to drive, Nathan shares his worries about Mei to Lucas. Lucas suggests Nathan ask Mei for the truth. Nathan leaves the vehicle, immediately taking Lucas’ advice. After school one day, Lucas comments on how passionate Elizabeth is about teaching. When she asks him what he has always wanted to do, Lucas simply says he has always wanted to set roots in one place, a place to call home.
Minnie receives some promising news. She tells Joseph Bill told her Abigail is interested in selling her half of the café. But before any purchases can be made, they need to receive a loan from the bank. When Elizabeth visits the café, Minnie shares her good news. Elizabeth says Abagail also told her this news during a phone conversation. Before they go to the bank in Buxton, Joseph and Minnie pray for a good outcome. But when they arrive back in Hope Valley, later in the episode, they confess to Rosemary and Lee they didn’t receive the loan. Though no reason was provided, this news upsets both Lee and Rosemary. But Lee isn’t going to give up without a fight. After Minnie and Joseph leave, Lee makes a phone call to his bank teller in Buxton, demanding he give Minnie and Joseph a loan. Toward the end of the episode, Joseph and Minnie tell Rosemary and Lee the good news, as they ended up receiving a loan.
When picking up some biscuits at the café, Elizabeth discovers Anna, one of her recent graduates, has started working there. Though everything looks fine on the surface, Elizabeth can tell something is bothering Anna. Later in the episode, Anna visits Elizabeth at the school. Anna confesses she and her mother are moving to Bellingham. However, Anna doesn’t want to move out of Hope Valley. In fact, she took the job at the café in order to earn money for college. Anna knows she has what it takes to look out for herself in town. After asking Elizabeth for help, Elizabeth vows to help Anna any way she can.
Some thoughts to consider:
- At the Mercantile, Ned brings out a Menorah. He tells Florence he hasn’t used it since his previous wife passed away. Florence then says what is important to him is also important to her. I was surprised to discover Ned is Jewish. Faith/religion is only brought up a limited number of times, with Christmas and a baptism being the only religious specific events ever brought up on When Calls the Heart. With that said, Christianity has made more frequent appearances in the show’s script. A few days ago, I realized there has never been an Easter episode of the show. There also hasn’t been a Passover episode either. If When Calls the Heart receives a tenth season, I hope Passover and/or Easter appears in at least one episode.
- While ‘Hope Valley Days’ is not a bad idea, I was really confused by its concept. If you’re going to create a new holiday, why not create a whole new reason to celebrate? Why take several pre-existing holidays and pair them together? It felt like the show’s creative team wanted to create holiday specific episodes, but never found the time or reason to write them into the script. In order to make up for lost time, my guess is ‘Hope Valley Days’ was the result of all those abandoned ideas.
- When Elizabeth visits Rosemary and Lee at the Valley Voice, she compliments them on their costumes. For ‘Hope Valley Days’, they chose to dress up as Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. Thinking back on this episode, I have to agree with Elizabeth. Lee and Rosemary looked amazing! Their whole ensemble looked so good, it appeared to come straight out of a Broadway show. Whoever was in charge of Pascale and Kavan’s wardrobe, make-up, and hair should receive an applause!
What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you have any theories about Mei? Let me know in the comment section below!
Have fun in Hope Valley!