Sunset Over Hope Valley: Let’s Go for a Walk

When you go for a walk, what do you see? Maybe the familiar sights that make your walk so enjoyable. Or maybe you’re on a new path, excited for what you might see. Whatever path you’re taking, you know it’ll be a memorable experience! Watching When Calls the Heart is a lot like going for a walk. There are sights and people we’ve come to know, such as the church/school, the café, and Bill Avery. New faces and places are also included. Every episode contains its own twists and turns, just like a walking path. But, like walking, the journey can be more memorable than the destination itself! Because When Calls the Heart just started a new season, we don’t yet know where this story will go. But I hope this will be a journey worth taking! To get this re-cap journey started, let’s begin the first re-cap of season nine!

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season premiere 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: 1

Name: In Like a Lion

Major stories:

Mr. Winkler and his team land their hot air balloon in front of the church/school. This visit causes a commotion in Hope Valley. Rosemary takes advantage of this opportunity by writing about it for the Valley Voice. The hot air balloon also catches the attention of Jack Jr., who just arrived in Hope Valley with Elizabeth, after spending a month in Hamilton with her family. But the hot air balloon isn’t the only thing making waves in this little Canadian town. A potential business partner named Jerome Smith arrives in Hope Valley to form a business partnership with Lucas. Jerome is interested in getting involved in the town’s oil business. But when Henry returns to Hope Valley and discovers Jerome’s invitation, he wants nothing to do with the visitor. This is because Henry claims Jerome hired him to oversee the coal mines years ago. Out of earshot from Henry, Fiona reveals to Lucas that she knew about Henry and Jerome’s business relationship, but believed they could put their differences aside and work together again. She also reveals this information to Mike, who was previously unaware of this news. The arrival of Jerome has consumed a lot of Lucas’ time, even forgoing a dinner with Elizabeth, despite both of them being at the Saloon at the same time. During this saloon trip, Jerome and Henry get into a fist fight, with Jerome pressing charges. This means Henry is taken to prison. Meanwhile, Mike is disappointed that Fiona didn’t tell him about Henry and Jerome’s business relationship. But he’s also concerned about his mayoral prospects. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas surprises Elizabeth with a ride in Mr. Winkler’s hot air balloon. On this ride, he tells Elizabeth he is leaving the oil business, in an attempt to spend more time with her and Jack Jr.

Bill informs Nathan that all Mounties will have to know how to drive a vehicle. Nathan doesn’t feel this change is necessary, with Bill hoping the mayoral election has a satisfactory outcome. When Nathan shares his lack of driving skills with Elizabeth, she volunteers to help him, as she feels she is more than qualified to be a good driving instructor. Later that day, while Nathan rides on the trail, another rider zooms past him. Because of how fast this rider, who is later revealed to be Mei Sou, raced by, Nathan wasn’t able to identify them. That evening, at the saloon, Nathan officially introduces himself to Mei, learning that she was the fast rider from earlier in the day. Despite being friendly with Nathan, Mei keeps herself guarded, revealing very little information about herself. While visiting Ned and Florence at the Mercantile, Mei shares that she will be Hope Valley’s pharmacist. Ned is confused by this because he was led to believe a man named Jeffrey would be arriving in town. Mei clarifies she was corresponding in her husband’s, Jeffrey’s, place the whole time. She also shares how she attended the same medical school as Faith (hence how the two characters know each other) and graduated at the top of her class. But when anyone attempts to learn more about Jeffrey, Mei cuts them off and quickly changes the subject. She does ask Faith for her help, but Faith is unsure how she can help Mei. At the end of the episode, Nathan gets into a car accident, a car colliding with Nathan and his horse.

Oil rig image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/icon”>Icon vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

At breakfast one morning, Bill reveals through a letter that Jesse and Clara moved to Montana in order to start their own homestead. This means that the Canfield family have moved into the café. While Elizabeth was away, Minnie was the school’s substitute teacher. She also has been helping run the café. Minnie not only misses Clara, but she also wonders if Bill will sell the café. Meanwhile, Joseph is preaching in Hope Valley’s church, gaining friendship and trust. Both Angela and Cooper are students of the school, implying Elizabeth gained her certification to teach Angela. But Cooper has acquired a bit of a defiant streak, which worries Joseph. As Bill is a candidate for Hope Valley’s mayor, he makes a promise with Lee not to campaign at the grand opening of a brand-new business. But at the grand opening, Bill does try to campaign, with Lee calling him out. Meanwhile, Lee is also serious about his mayoral candidacy. When he hears from Rosemary how Bill is leading a poll, Lee becomes discouraged. He even brings up his broken promise to give Rosemary her theater, wondering what other promises he hasn’t fulfilled. But Rosemary reassures him of how great of a mayor he would be and that she’s always by his side.

Because Dottie’s Dress Shop is no longer in business (for reasons that are never explained), that means a new business will take its place. Ned and Florence have purchased the property, with Joseph helping renovate the space. Leading up to the grand opening, the three of them have been very secretive about the nature of the business. This is done to keep an element of surprise. In an effort to spruce up the grand opening, Florence tells Ned she used to be a dancer years ago. She comes up with the idea of performing a song and dance duet. On the day of the grand opening, Ned and Florence perform their duet to great fanfare. It is also revealed that Dottie’s Dress Shop will now be replaced with a pharmacy and ice cream parlor. This decision is met with much success, as it brings residents older and newer closer together.

In honor of Hope Valley’s Ice Cream Parlor, I thought this picture from my 2019 attempt at making coffee ice cream would fit the occasion! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Overall, season nine’s premiere is stronger than season eight’s was! While there were some stories that felt like “filler”, some stories got the ball rolling for the rest of the season. These stories brought a sense of intrigue for what’s to come, making me look forward to how they will play out! From Mei’s mysterious arrival to Henry’s troubles, the show provides reasons to come back for more!
  • I’m glad we finally got the ice cream parlor in Hope Valley! But though I’ve been waiting to see this business since season five, I don’t like how it came at the expense of Dottie’s Dress Shop. However, the dress shop going under kind of makes sense, story wise. With Dottie and Clara no longer on the show and Rosemary becoming editor-in-chief of the Valley Voice, there aren’t any characters who could run the dress shop. Then again, a clothing store is an important business in any town. While I’m looking forward to seeing the ice cream parlor thrive, I’d like to see a clothing store return to Hope Valley. Who knows? Maybe Rachel will return and open her own shop someday!
  • Speaking of Rosemary, I got a little bit excited when Lee mentioned her theater! If you read my list of the Top 10 things I’d like to see in When Calls the Heart’s ninth season, you’d know how much I want to finally see Rosemary’s theater. This idea was first brought up in season two and hasn’t been mentioned in a long time. If Lee does become Hope Valley’s mayor, I wonder if he’ll fulfill that promise?
  • Even though the oil business subplot has been going on for several seasons, it has become more confusing. Henry is constantly leaving and coming back to the business. Lucas is now leaving the business, likely focusing more on the saloon’s operations. With that said, it makes me wonder who will take responsibility for the oil business? Maybe it will be Mike and/or Fiona? Perhaps a new character will show up?
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 When Calls the Heart‘s ninth season premiere? Which storyline are you most excited about? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in When Calls the Heart’s Ninth Season

With production finished on When Calls the Heart, there has been a lot of speculation about the upcoming season. Because the show’s cast and crew has shared very few behind-the-scenes photos on social media, fans have been left in the dark about plot details, new cast members, and even season nine’s premiere date. While there is silence surrounding When Calls the Heart, I think it’s time I post my list of the top ten things I’d like to see in the show’s ninth season. Last year, I wrote a list titled ‘Top 10 Things I’d Like to See in Chesapeake Shores’ Fifth Season’. As I watched the show’s return in late summer of 2021, it was interesting to see how many things on my list came true. In fact, it was about half. So, with this When Calls the Heart related list, I’ll be curious to see how many of these subjects come to fruition. Since the series hasn’t received a Christmas movie for the second year in a row, I hope my list ties Hearties (the show’s fandom) over until the show comes back to television.

When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.
  1. For Bai Ling to Join the Main Cast

Back in March, I wrote an editorial titled ‘Why Bai Ling Should Join the Main Cast of ‘When Calls the Heart’’. In this article, I explained four reasons why this would be a good idea. A month after I published my editorial, Bai found and liked my Instagram post about it. I brought this up in one of my When Calls the Heart re-cap posts. But, like I mentioned in that ‘Sunset Over Hope Valley’ post, this doesn’t guarantee anything. As I said in my introduction, there have been no announcements about new cast members yet. Until we hear confirmation about whether or not Bai becomes a “Heartie”, I’ll provide a link to my aforementioned editorial, in case you’d like to read it.

Why Bai Ling Should Join the Main Cast of ‘When Calls the Heart’

2. Hope Valley’s First Female Mountie

In my editorial, ‘Why Bai Ling Should Join the Main Cast of ‘When Calls the Heart’’, I talk about how I’d like to see Bai portray Hope Valley’s first female Mountie. While this character doesn’t necessarily have to be portrayed by Bai Ling, I think a female Mountie would provide an interesting dynamic to the show. As I also mentioned in my editorial, it would fit the narrative When Calls the Heart has had since the beginning. If Hope Valley has women owning their own businesses and had a female Mayor at one point, they can have a female Mountie. Besides, it wouldn’t hurt the town to have more than one.

3. True Love for Henry Gowan

As I said in my season eight finale re-cap post, Henry’s storyline was one of the best. He was, honestly, the happiest he has ever been on this show. So, I’d like to see this happy momentum continue by watching Henry fall in love! But, if I had a say, I would want him to share a romantic relationship with someone new. In When Calls the Heart’s eight seasons, Henry has never experienced romance or true love. Therefore, this would provide the show with a new story and a new character!

4. An Attitude Change for Elizabeth

I’ve said before on my blog how I don’t like the direction Elizabeth is going. Ever since the end of season five, she has become more entitled and self-centered. It has gotten to the point where if Elizabeth continues to behave this way, the show’s viewership will drop. In order to prevent this from happening, I think Elizabeth should receive an attitude change. Seeing her become more selfless and putting others before herself would be refreshing. This change would also help Elizabeth gain more likability, something that she is currently losing. With her teaching job in jeopardy, a wake-up call for Elizabeth may be on its way.

5. A Brutally Honest Character

My favorite character in Jurassic Park is Dr. Ian Malcolm. His realism and common sense help him become the film’s “voice of reason”, allowing Ian to be brutally honest as well. I’ve been waiting for a character like Ian Malcom to make a permanent residence in Hope Valley. But any time this kind of character shows up, they only appear for a limited amount of time. Similar to the idea of Hope Valley’s first female Mountie, a brutally honest character would create an interesting dynamic among the citizens of Hope Valley. Sometimes, I feel like the characters on When Calls the Heart are too nice, almost like they’re afraid to be honest. A new resident who goes against that gain would definitely change that.

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

6. Rosemary’s Theater and/or the Ice Cream Parlor

Season six saw the fruition of Hope Valley’s first public library. While I was happy to see an important resource come to Hallmark’s favorite Canadian town, I was frustrated by how quickly it came. This library became a reality partly because Elizabeth complained loud enough about the town not having one. Meanwhile, Rosemary has been dreaming about her theater since season two and still hasn’t received it. Season nine is the time for Rosemary’s dream to finally come true. It’s also time to see that ice cream parlor Opal brought up back in season five. The beauty of these two facilities is how the show’s creative team can use space they already have on set. Opportunities for new characters and stories could also grow thanks to the theater and/or ice cream parlor!

7. A Season Within a Season

Toward the beginning of When Calls the Heart’s eighth season, the story took place in late spring. An end-of-school-year celebration was a clear indication of that specific time. But as the season was coming to a close, Hope Valley’s children were going back to school. The issue with this change in time was how there was little acknowledgment to it, which led to confusion on my part. To make things less confusing for the viewers, including me, I would like to see season nine take place within a season. For instance, have the story of season nine take place exclusively during Spring. That way, the season would have a tighter timeline.

8. Adopting the Chesapeake Shores Model

One of the best parts of Chesapeake Shores’ fifth season was the new model the show’s creative team adopted. This new model was a cycle that allowed the characters to take a break from the overarching story. An example is featuring every character on one episode except Abby. In another episode, Abby will be back on the show, but Connor will be nowhere in sight. With this approach to storytelling, it allowed a more cohesive narrative to be told. It also helped the show’s overall pace move faster. When Calls the Heart’s cast is arguably larger than Chesapeake Shores’ cast. Because of this, the show could benefit from using Chesapeake Shores’ model.

9. Different Types of Pets

There’s a When Calls the Heart related blog I like called ‘When Calls The Heart Blog’. On this blog, I read a list titled ‘Personal Requests To The Writers…’ The list is similar to mine; a fan sharing what they’d like to see in future episodes. One of these requests is animals, as there haven’t been many pets on the show. I’d like to take it one step further by suggesting different types of pets be featured on When Calls the Heart. Sure, it’s nice to see a dog or horse every now and then. But how about adding a cat to the show? Or a cockatoo? Maybe even a ferret? When it comes to pets, I personally think the sky’s the limit!

10. A When Calls the Heart Thanksgiving Movie

I know what you’re thinking, “How Can When Calls the Heart have a Thanksgiving movie if the show takes place in Canada”? For those who don’t know, Canadians celebrate the holiday in October, while those in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving in November. The fact this holiday has two dates would work in Hallmark’s favor. Because their ‘Countdown to Christmas’ line-up starts in October, the network could start the line-up with a When Calls the Heart Thanksgiving Movie. Then when November comes around, Hallmark Channel could air the movie again, but have a sneak peek for the upcoming season included. A new When Calls the Heart film is something Hearties would look forward to, especially since there hasn’t been a movie from this series in two years. It could also boost ratings for the ‘Countdown to Christmas’ line-up.

When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas poster created by Hallmark Channel and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=When+Calls+the+Heart+Home+for+Christmas.

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen