Sunset Over Hope Valley: Enjoy the Compliment

At the Soda Fountain, Mike gives Faith a compliment on her hair, which was styled by Fiona in the previous episode. Faith then asks Mei what she should do about it, with Mei telling her to “enjoy the compliment”. While the advice itself is vague, both Faith and Mei bring up a good point. When someone gives us a compliment, we, more often than not, accept it. But once we’ve accepted it, what do we do with that compliment? Sure, we could use that to boost our confidence. Or we could “pay it forward” and give a compliment to someone else. But I feel there must be something more that could be done with any compliment. Sadly, I don’t currently have the answers to solve this dilemma. Until then, let’s begin 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.

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

Season: 9

Episode: 6

Name: Past, Present, Future

Major stories:

Henry, Lucas, and Fiona are still dealing with the woes of the petroleum plant deal. At the plant, Lucas asks Henry why he is against the new investors and Jerome. Henry reveals that, in the court hearing from the earlier seasons, the Pacific Northwest Mining Company was forbidden from re-opening the mines. With Jerome now on board, Henry fears Jerome will try to re-open the mines under a new company name. Lucas and Henry, along with Fiona, visit Bill at his office, in an attempt to remedy the situation. Because money has already exchanged hands, Bill says there isn’t much that can be done. However, he still thinks they should find a way to dissuade the investors without showing their hand. Bill tells Fiona, Lucas, and Henry to keep quiet about their conversation for the time being, especially since several Hope Valley residents lost a family member or friend in the mining accident. When Elizabeth visits Lucas at the saloon, he tells her how much her concern means to him. She then addresses Wyman’s interaction with her in an earlier ninth season episode, asking Lucas if he’ll sell the saloon. Lucas reveals that not only has Wyman left with no forewarning, but how he won’t ever be selling the saloon. Later in the episode, Fiona leaves for San Francisco again, attempting to fix the mess she made. But before she leaves, Henry apologizes to Fiona for how he treated her. This is because he realizes Mike placed Fiona in a situation she was ill-prepared for. Accepting his apology, Fiona agrees with Henry to start their business relationship over.

There have been several changes taking place in Hope Valley. One of them has been increased traffic. Even though some of the town’s residents have not been pleased about some of these changes, Lee has become the most vocal about them. He approaches Bill to see if anything can be done. After Bill reminds him how Mike is now Hope Valley’s mayor, Lee comes up with an idea. This idea is to write an editorial in the Valley Voice about the changes that have taken place. While Lee hopes some issues can be addressed in his editorial, there are some issues that have suddenly popped up. One day, at the Valley Voice office, Lee notices a group of men building something just outside of town. When Lee approaches the men in order to ask questions, one of the men is standoffish with him. As Lee tries to help him carry a plank of wood, the man pushes Lee, which starts a fist fight. Not only is Joseph able to stop the fight, but Lee was able to walk away with minor injuries. Before his article is published, Lee discovers the group of men were building a billboard to advertise jobs at the incoming foundry. But when Lee’s editorial is printed, it causes a buzz in the town. Rosemary warns Lee that even though his words are important, they might not be everyone’s “cup of tea”. Her words of wisdom encourage Lee to cancel additional prints of the new edition of the Valley Voice.

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Minor stories:

One morning, Nathan decides to reacquaint Newton to their Mountie duties. But just as Nathan is about to put the saddle on his horse, Newton becomes skittish. The situation gets worse when Nathan and Newton arrive in town. Nathan is attempting to direct traffic. But the noise and commotion frighten Newton. So, Bill agrees to look after Newton during Nathan’s traffic directing. After the morning’s events, Bill informs Nathan that, for the time being, he has to get permission to ride Newton. This is because Newton’s current demeanor could put both horse and man in danger. Later in the episode, Nathan addresses what Bill told him to Mei. He says she shouldn’t have told Bill about Newton’s issues, as they were none of Bill’s business. But before this conversation, Nathan shared with Mei a past memory that has contributed to his current apprehension toward riding. When he was first learning to ride horses at thirteen, Nathan was thrown off a horse, which caused him to acquire a concussion. This recent apprehension led Nathan to take up Elizabeth’s offer, so he can learn how to drive a vehicle.

Mei is still secretive about her past and reasons for coming to Hope Valley. When Nathan asks Mei why she came to town, she tells him she wanted to see the world. She also tells Nathan Faith sold her on how great Hope Valley is. At the Soda Fountain, Faith asks Mei what happened between her and Jeffery. Mei simply says that her marriage with Jeffery was never going to work. Later in the episode, Bill arrives at the Soda Fountain to get some strawberry ice cream. While there, he wonders if Mei has anything to hide. Mei claims that she has been telling the truth the whole time. But Bill tells her that anyone who fears the truth is hiding more than they’re letting on. Meanwhile, Joseph and Minnie have been considering new steps in their careers. Joseph is still thinking about becoming a partner in Lee’s lumber yard. Minnie also wants to purchase the café from Bill. For now, though, they will continue to pray about it.

While showing Ally how the seltzer squirt bottle works, Robert unintentionally causes a food fight with some of Elizabeth’s students. Not only do these students have to clean up their mess, but Robert is also required to take care of Newton with little to no pay. Ally is proud of her throwing arm, as she claims she threw some ice cream right at Robert’s face. But she also claims the food fight was all meant in good, friendly fun. Later in the episode, Ally visits Elizabeth seeking advice. Even though she had a good time at her grandparents’ house, Ally now feels left out. She says her friends are either too busy interested in “childish” things or are moving on to graduation or taking jobs. Ally is also jealous of Angela’s new friendship with Robert, especially after hearing about their bike ride that happened earlier this season. Elizabeth tells Ally the same thing Nathan told her: to simply remain friends with Robert. She also tells Ally to find people who she feels comfortable with. That way, Ally will have a place to belong, no matter where she is.

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Some thoughts to consider:

  • Toward the end of this episode, Elizabeth asked Joseph to build a book wagon. After seeing a notice on the Valley Voice’s bulletin board, Elizabeth became inspired to deliver books to neighboring towns in the summer. Not only do I like her idea, but I honestly wish this was the basis for When Calls the Heart’s spinoff show. The overarching story could have been similar to shows such as Highway to Heaven and Touched by An Angel: where a new person is helped each episode. Maybe if the spinoff show had a more unique identity, I would have a stronger interest in watching it.
  • As I mentioned in the introduction, Mike gives Faith a compliment. He then invites Faith to dinner at the saloon, with Faith accepting the invitation. Even though Mike is not romantically involved with Faith or Fiona, it makes me wonder if we’ll witness a second love triangle in the future? At this point, it’s way too early to speculate. But after the love triangle that took place from seasons six to eight, I really don’t like the idea of another one.
  • While looking back on Henry’s overarching story, I realize it has, more often than not, been unhappy. Yes, he’s come a long way since the beginning of When Calls the Heart. And we did see a happier side to him in season eight. But giving Henry basically one happy story in nine seasons is, honestly, disappointing. If When Calls the Heart receives a tenth season, I hope Henry catches a break. If he’s not ready to fall in love, that’s ok. As long as Henry is happier than he usually has been.
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What are your thoughts on this episode? How are you enjoying this season so far? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Christmas Town Review

Yes, I know it has been two weeks since I last reviewed a Hallmark movie. I’m also aware that I haven’t been reviewing as many Hallmark Christmas films as I did last year. But, don’t worry, I’ve been trying to watch as many of the 2019 releases from both networks as possible. At the same time, I have been searching for nominees for 2020’s Gold Sally Awards. For now, though, I’m here to present a review for the most recent film I saw from Hallmark Channel, Christmas Town! When I think about this movie, I realize that I didn’t review Candace Cameron Bure’s Christmas project from last year. That’s because I just never got around to writing a review for it. To me, A Shoe Addict’s Christmas was just ok. While it wasn’t one of her worst movies, I didn’t find it to be one of Candace’s best movies either. How did Christmas Town compare to last year’s film! Keep reading if you want to find out!

Christmas Town poster
Christmas Town poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: What I like about Candace Cameron Bure as an actress is how expressive she is. No matter what role she is given or what happens in the story, Candace always brings a wide range of emotions to her characters. This helped her character, Lauren, appear believable in the film. Candace always has good on-screen chemistry with her co-stars. It is especially the case in Christmas Town! Even though this is Tim Rozon’s first Hallmark movie, he also gave a good acting performance. Throughout the movie, Tim appeared at ease in his role of Travis, giving the impression that he enjoyed what he was doing. His performance seemed natural and believable, allowing his character to be just as expressive as Candace’s character. I also enjoyed the performances of the supporting actors and actresses! Their talents complimented one another and their on-screen interactions were a joy to watch!


A new take on a familiar cliché: I’ve said in my list of The Top 10 Worst Clichés from Hallmark Movies that my least favorite cliché is the “woman from the city coming back to her small hometown” cliché. This cliché causes the story to feel more predictable than it needs to be. With Christmas Town, however, this cliché was given a new take. Instead of the protagonist being guilted or forced to stay in the small town, Lauren actually wanted to stay in that town on her own free will. In the movie, she voluntarily takes a teaching job in a small town, which allows her to move out of the city. Because of her love for the small town, she finds a way to make a meaningful difference in the community. Her actions feel genuine, which makes it easy to root for this character. Because of these things, it makes the execution of this cliché feel like a breath of fresh air.


The discussion of foster children: In my review of Christmas Under the Stars, I mentioned how I liked the discussion of foster parenting that was included in the story. While foster parenting is brought up in Christmas Town, the primary focus is on the discussion of foster children. Not only is a foster child featured in the story, but the protagonist is a former foster child herself. These two characters were able to use their experiences to form a solid friendship. This discussion of foster children was not only a well-written component of the overall story, but it was also handled with a sense of reverence and respect. Outside of this Christmas season, the discussion of foster children is rarely brought up in Hallmark films. I’m glad this movie’s creative team chose to fill a creative void by incorporating this topic into their script.

Merry Christmas banner created by Freepik at <a href=’’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=””>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at

What I didn’t like about the film:

The weaker conflicts: In Christmas Town, there were several conflicts that I enjoyed seeing in the story. They were interesting and felt like they flawlessly fit in that world. But these conflicts were weaker than they should have been. This is because they appear to be too easy to solve. The conflicts are also taken care of too quickly. These aspects cause them to take away a sense of intrigue from the movie’s plot. It forces the audience to sit and watch everything unfold on screen instead of letting them try to figure out what will happen next.


The “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché: Because of the weaker conflicts, it made the film’s creative team adopt the “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché. In Christmas Town’s case, this cliché did not need to exist in the narrative. It didn’t add anything to the story and appeared to be a time waster. Even the character of the protagonist’s ex does not play a significant role in the film’s events. If anything, this creative decision made him look insecure about the future of that relationship. After all is said and done, it just felt like the cliché was placed in the story just because it had to be there.


The under-utilization of the letters: Within Christmas Town’s story, the protagonist owns a series of letters written by her late father. The letters themselves were fine, but they should have had a stronger importance in the story. Similar to what I said about the “protagonist’s ex showing up unannounced” cliché, these letters felt like they were included in the movie just for the sake of being there. They didn’t contribute anything to the plot or propel it forward. The letters also did not play a huge role in the protagonist’s decision-making process. If these articles were written out of the story, I don’t think it would make much of a difference.

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My overall impression:

Even though there are Christmas movies from 2019 that I like more than this one, I do think that Christmas Town is a stronger film than A Shoe Addict’s Christmas. What I like about this film is how the creative team purposefully incorporated story elements that are not always found in Hallmark movies. This allowed the story to be memorable and stand out from other titles in this year’s Christmas line-ups. I also liked the acting, as it helped me stay invested in what was happening with the characters. But despite the fact that I did enjoy this film, there were some things that I did not like about it. For me, the weaker conflicts were the biggest flaw of this movie. However, Christmas Town is a sweet film that is perfect for the Christmas season! Before I finish this review, I wanted to let all my readers and followers know that this is my 300th post! Every time I publish 100 posts, I coordinate a special double feature in honor of the accomplishment. That will take place in January of 2020, so stay tuned for that event to occur!


Overall score: 7.6 out of 10


What are your thoughts on this year’s Christmas line-ups from Hallmark? Do you have a favorite Christmas film that has been released in 2019? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen