Take 3: Holly and Ivy Review

For the third year in a row, I am participating in the Christmas in July Blogathon, hosted by Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews! This time around, I went back to the Hallmark well. When I first joined the blogathon, I reviewed a Hallmark film titled Christmas Camp. If you read that article, you would know that I wasn’t a fan of it. Last year, I wrote about Little House: Bless All the Dear Children, a film that was a fine, family-friendly picture. Since I still had the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries movie, Holly and Ivy, on my DVR, I chose to review this title for the 2021 blogathon. In 2020, I didn’t see a lot of Christmas films from Hallmark. In fact, the only newer release I watched and/or wrote about was The Christmas Bow. Within a year, I have heard good things about Holly and Ivy, with my family sharing similar sentiments. Therefore, I figured it was time to finally check the movie out. How does it compare to The Christmas Bow? Like a child counting down to Christmas Day, you’re just going to have to wait to find out!

Holly and Ivy poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: If the interactions between the characters feel like they are having real-life conversations with each other, that’s how you know the acting in a given film is good. That was certainly the case within Holly and Ivy! All of the characters got along well with one another, as they had good on-screen chemistry. It also helps that the cast as a whole was talented! I’ll be honest, I have never seen any of Janel Parrish’s projects from her filmography. However, I did see her on Dancing with the Stars. The way Janel’s character reacts to various situations came across very naturally. While Melody and her neighbor, Nina, are decorating Melody’s Christmas tree, she shares her reason for collecting elf ornaments. The tone of Melody’s voice and the look in her eyes highlights how reminiscent she is over something as small and simple as ornaments. These acting techniques helped make Janel’s performance feel believable. While we’re on the subject of Nina, let’s talk about Marisol Nichols’ performance. While portraying this character, Marisol embodied what a good mother should be. Despite dealing with her own medical issues, she always tries to take an active role in her daughters’ lives. While decorating her family’s Christmas tree, Nina reveals a special tradition that involves Nina performing a dance routine with Holly and Ivy. This scene shows how much she enjoys the life she has created for herself. While I like the performances of Sadie Coleman and Piper Rubio, the actresses who portrayed the titular characters, I want to talk about Jeremy Jordan’s performance. Similar to Janel Parrish, I am not familiar with Jeremy’s filmography. However, I still liked seeing his portrayal of Adam. His on-screen personality was easy-going and care-free. While he took his profession and hobby seriously, Adam just wanted to have a good time. When he interacted with Melody, you could tell just by watching them that these characters were made for each other. It helped that both Adam and Melody had similar personalities, but were traveling on similar paths in regards to their respective careers.

The presentation of Christmas tropes/activities: Hallmark is known for featuring a plethora of Christmas related tropes and activities within each story. But sometimes, these films are oversaturated with them, as if there is a checklist that needs to be completed. Holly and Ivy shows some Christmas related activities that have been featured in other Hallmark films. It’s the way they are included in the story that sets Holly and Ivy apart from the network’s other titles. In one scene, Melody is decorating homemade Christmas ornaments with Holly and Ivy. The purpose of showing these characters creating Christmas decorations is to give the audience some of Melody’s backstory. That small piece of information was emphasized more than the activity. This scene is an example of how there was enough presentation of Christmas tropes and activities for the viewer to get the intended point. At the same time, if you were to put this same story around any other holiday, it would still work.

An emotional balance: In films that revolve around a serious, real world topic, such as a potentially terminally ill relative, the overall tone tends to be heavy. There are times when viewers warn one another to “have a box of tissues at hand” or share that the film will “pull at your heartstrings”. While there are somber moments in Holly and Ivy, the movie itself never felt sad. In fact, feelings of sorrow and despair never crossed my mind. That’s because the script doesn’t rely too heavily on the sadder parts of the story. Instead, the creative team strives for a balance by also focusing of happier, more joyous moments. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Nina is dealing with medical issues. Even though these issues are discussed and an emergency plan is created if the worst-case scenario happens, Nina puts her energy toward helping Melody and being present in her daughters’ lives. In fact, I can think of more scenes where Nina is enjoying the company of her friends and family than worrying about her medical situation.

The 2021 Christmas in July Blogathon banner created by Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews

What I didn’t like about the film:

Adam’s conflict: It’s typical for the male and female protagonist to have their own conflicts within a Hallmark picture. However, I didn’t like Adam’s conflict in Holly and Ivy. Throughout the film, Adam’s parents wanted him to come work at the family car dealership. But Adam would rather stay a contractor and focus on his woodworking hobby on the side. This conflict reminded me of a young, college-bound adult not seeing eye-to-eye with their parents on a potential degree. Because of this, it felt a bit immature for a character that appears to be in his early 30s. One of the film’s messages and Adam’s parents’ mantra is “help where help is needed’. By being a contractor and taking up woodworking, Adam is doing exactly what his parents wanted; helping where help is needed. It baffled me how his parents failed to realize this until the end of the film.

 Chippewa Falls Library being unbelievably ill-equipped: I understand that some libraries deal with more challenges than others. But based on what the movie presented, the town of Chippewa Falls appeared to be doing just fine. There’s no evidence of the town being a predominantly low-income community or having a high crime-rate. What the characters said about the library’s issues didn’t match up with the visuals. During her time volunteering at the library, Melody comes up with several ideas in order to solve some of the library’s problems. Two of these ideas are renting out meeting rooms for events and setting up a “Mitten Tree” to collect hats and scarves for citizens in need. I can only speak from my own experience, but my local library already does these things. With that said, I find it hard to believe that the Chippewa Falls Library wouldn’t utilize these resources already.

The inclusion of Betty the dog: Holly and Ivy have a dog named Betty, who periodically appears in the film. While I don’t have anything against the dog itself, I don’t think it was necessary to include a dog in this story. Having Betty in the movie felt like she was there just for the sake of being there. If you had written the dog out of the script, I don’t think it would make a difference.

Christmas family image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/nice-family-christmas-scene-singing-together_1458033.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Like I mentioned in the introduction, this is my third year participating in the Christmas in July Blogathon. Out of the three movies I’ve reviewed, Holly and Ivy is, by far, the best one! Within the past few years, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has, in my opinion, made stronger films than their companion, Hallmark Channel. This is because Hallmark’s second network appears to try different things when it comes to storytelling. Holly and Ivy is a good example of this, as I highlighted in my review. There wasn’t a heavy emphasis on Christmas tropes/activities like in other Hallmark films. Creating a balance between the happier and sadder moments of the story also helps shape the film’s identity. I ended up liking this movie almost as much as I liked The Christmas Bow. Come to think of it, I wish Holly and Ivy was the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for 2020. This story certainly has the ingredients for that to have been a reality. But I guess that wasn’t meant to be.

Since we’re still talking about Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, it’s time for me to share who I’d invite to Drew’s Christmas party! This year, I chose John Christian Plummer! For those who are not familiar with him, John is the father of Charlie Plummer and is one of the screen-writers of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Mystery 101 series. When I look back on the celebrities that have been “invited” to Drew’s Christmas party in the past, actors and actresses made up the majority of the guests. While choosing an actor or actress as a guest is totally fine, I wanted to change things up a bit. To an extent, screen-writers are underrated, especially from Hallmark. Therefore, my invitation will, hopefully, give recognition to at least one of them. Like in 2019 and 2020, my invites are about giving “standing ovations”.

Overall score: 7.7 out of 10

What are your thoughts on Holly and Ivy? Which Hallmark movies do you wish had become Hallmark Hall of Fame titles? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at Drew’s Christmas party!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Love Triangle is Finally Over

I have been very vocal about how I dislike When Calls the Heart’s love triangle. When several people from the show claimed it would end in season eight, I was hoping they were telling the truth. But as this chapter of the show is coming to an end, I can honestly say that the love triangle is officially over! Other good news comes from a commercial at the end of the episode announcing season nine! While I’m not surprised by this announcement, I am happy to see the show taking a new step forward. Overall, I’d say this season has been, for the most part, good. Yes, it did have its flaws. However, these can become areas of growth for the next season. It is amazing how far Hope Valley has come. From a town that was broken by sorrow and uncertainty to a place filled with hope and brighter days, Hope Valley has grown beyond expectations. Now, as the door of season eight comes to a close, let’s re-cap this episode of When Calls the Heart!

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

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

Season: 8

Episode: 12

Name: The Kiss

Major stories:

Elizabeth feels guilty about the way she has treated Rosemary. She immediately apologizes to Rosemary, who ends up forgiving her. Elizabeth tells her friend all about her relationship troubles with Nathan and Lucas. Rosemary reminds Elizabeth how she needs to choose a man that she can see herself spending a lifetime with. These words are taken to heart as Elizabeth visits Nathan to tell him that she loves him, but she is not in love with him. She also tries to tell Lucas how she feels, but is interrupted by Wyman at the café. In this episode, Landis is still in Hope Valley. He continues to believe that Angela’s educational needs will interfere with the educational opportunities of Elizabeth’s other students. However, Elizabeth insists that she wants Angela to attend the Jack Thornton School. Minnie becomes doubtful due to Elizabeth’s job being in danger. But she still allows her daughter to make her own decision. Elizabeth tells Rosemary how Landis threatened to shut the school down if the students and their parents refused to attend because of Angela becoming a new student. Rosemary agrees to publish the story in Hope Valley’s newest version of their newspaper; The Valley Voice. This plan worked, as every student agrees to walk the Canfield family to the school building on the first day of a new school year. The act shows Landis how kind and supportive the Jack Thornton School is. He tells Elizabeth he will find a way to help her keep her job. On Robert’s first day as Jack Jr.’s new babysitter, Elizabeth gives him a note that needs to be given to Lucas. Later that day, however, Elizabeth notices the note in Robert’s hands. He says the saloon was closed and that Lucas was gone. When Elizabeth goes to the saloon, she sees Robert was telling the truth. She asks Rosemary and Lee where Lucas went, with Lee pointing toward the road leading out of town. Even though Elizabeth runs down that road, she knows she missed Lucas. Consoling a broken heart on a bridge, Lucas happens to show up. They share a passionate kiss, making their relationship official. Lucas also notices Elizabeth isn’t wearing her wedding ring anymore. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas and Elizabeth have a private date at the library. On this date, Elizabeth plans to read some of her final manuscript, which was sent to Elizabeth from Helen earlier in this episode.

Preparations are being made for Hope Valley’s race for mayor. Mike sits outside Ned’s Mercantile, collecting names of potential nominees. The only people who express interest in running are Bill, Mike, and Fiona. Mike shares with Fiona that he not only told Henry about his plans to connect a pipeline to the train depot, but Henry also agreed to make this plan a reality. To Mike’s surprise, Henry gives him complete leadership over the petroleum plant. Henry decides to leave Hope Valley in an effort to find what makes him happy in life. As Henry looks at the café’s sign, it is to be assumed Henry is trying to locate Abigail. As Rosemary is busy writing her first newspaper and organizing information, Lee has difficulty figuring out his purpose in life. While talking to Joseph about his worries, Joseph tells Lee two of life’s most important moments are when someone is born and when that person discovers why they were born. These words lead to Lee’s decision to run for mayor. After Lee shares this news, Rosemary says she would like to acquire a better printer press and an official staff if she is to take her new occupation seriously.

Newspaper image created by Zlatko_plamenov at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/newspaper-mockup_1386098.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/mockup”>Mockup psd created by Zlatko_plamenov – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Faith is sad to see Carson’s packed bags at the Infirmary. But she doesn’t stop him from leaving. Carson and Faith share one last moment together, where all they do is hold each other. When it’s time to leave, Carson is met with most of Hope Valley’s residents waiting by the stagecoach, as they wish to send him off. This causes Carson to be pleasantly surprised. As he boards the stagecoach, Clara and Lee find the engagement ring that was missing in the previous episode. However, Carson still chooses to leave Hope Valley. Faith is disappointed, as she hoped Carson would change his mind. While helping Nathan with a minor injury, Nathan tells her how she’ll make a good doctor. Faith says that, like an injury, it will take time to heal. During Carson’s send-off, Nathan brings Jesse back to Hope Valley. Clara and Jesse are excited to see one another again. Lee gives Jesse some time off of work, which Clara and Jesse use as a second honeymoon. Ned also returns to town, explaining to Florence what has been happening. He has been trying to acquire a patent for an adhesive bandage he created.

Adhesive bandage image created by aopsan at freepik.com. Background photo created by aopsan – www.freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While the majority of this season has been good, the season premiere and finale were fine. They met their requirements instead of going above and beyond. I wish the Hope Valley mayor race was saved for season nine and not shoehorned into season eight’s last episode. This way, the dynamic between the candidates could be explored throughout the season.
  • The references to Abigail this season were not only random, but the amount of references made the creative team’s wishes a little too obvious. Even though some people from the show have expressed interest in working with Lori again, the network made the ultimate decision to distance themselves from her. In my opinion, I don’t think Abigail will ever be seen on the show again. When Calls the Heart is one of Hallmark’s most successful programs, so I doubt the network’s leaders would risk tarnishing their crown jewel in any way.
  • I really hope Henry returns to Hope Valley. His story has been one of the best from season eight, as he received more character development and growth. As I have stated in a Sunset Over Hope Valley re-cap post, I hope Bai Ling considers joining the main cast of the show. If she does, maybe her character could form a relationship with Henry. That way, he might find someone new to make him happy.
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 season finale? What would you like to see in season nine? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Changes Are Coming

Change is evitable. There have been so many changes on When Calls the Heart, it would make this re-cap longer than necessary. But this has made the show interesting. If the show had stayed the same, we would have never gotten to see things like Rosemary’s transformation as a character or the multiple weddings Hope Valley has hosted. Each season has offered something different, whether it has been new characters or stories. Hope Valley itself has evolved. Remember when the town was called Coal Valley? How about when the Jack Thornton School was first built? These changes have led to the creation of memories. Each memory has become a stepping stone as the show progresses. While the show is approaching its last episode of the season, let’s start 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 may be spoilers within this re-cap.

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

Season: 8

Episode: 11

Name: Changing Times

Major stories:

As Elizabeth is preparing for the start of a new school year, Minnie tells her that Landis, the school inspector who came to town earlier this season, has come back to Hope Valley. This puts Elizabeth on edge, concerned about what Landis has to say. When Landis pays Elizabeth a visit at the Jack Thornton School, he shares his desire for the school to join the Valley School District. Landis also hands Elizabeth a packet of papers from the school board. In this packet, it states that if Elizabeth doesn’t receive special training in order to teach students who are disabled, then she will be forced to step down from her teaching position. She visits Bill in the hopes he will be able to help her. After reading over the packet, Bill tells her there is not much that can be done about the situation. However, he tells Elizabeth he will support whatever decision she makes. Elizabeth meets with Landis one morning, hoping to work with him on these new changes. Landis brings up his concern about Angela potentially holding the class back due to needing extra educational attention. Elizabeth promises to receive the appropriate training as soon as possible. Later in the episode, Elizabeth tells Landis that she won’t allow the Jack Thornton School to join the Valley School District. Landis warns her of her likely job loss. Meanwhile, Elizabeth seems to be spending more time with Nathan. When he pays her a visit at her house to give her Florence’s wedding bouquet, Elizabeth volunteers to place his jacket by the fire, sharing that she used to do that for Jack. She also offers Jack’s gloves to Nathan when Nathan reveals he misplaced his gloves. At school, she lets Lucas know about her conversation with Nathan at the wedding reception. Even though that interaction was not romantic, Lucas feels that Elizabeth is moving away from him. Toward the end of the episode, Lucas ends his relationship with Elizabeth, telling her he needs to “set her free”.

 One morning, Rosemary studies a map of Hope Valley at Lee’s office. She wants to know who has purchased the Canfield’s cabin and what their intention is for the town. Since Jesse borrowed Lee’s car, Rosemary decides to go to the cabin to see what’s going on. When she arrives on the Canfield’s former land, Rosemary hears a gunshot. This sound causes Rosemary to fall off her horse, as the horse got spooked. As a Pinkerton officer helps Rosemary to her feet, he informs her that the land is now private property. When Rosemary goes to the Infirmary due to a minor back injury, she tells Nathan what happened, as he also happens to be at the Infirmary. He was also informed by Fiona that Wyman Williams, the businessman who appeared in the previous episode, has returned to Hope Valley. Just like before, he came to the barber shop with an offer to purchase it. During a business-owner’s meeting, Nathan arrests Wyman. At the jail, Wyman reveals that he made an investment with Jesse’s money. Later in the episode, when Clara goes to the jail in an effort to discover Jesse’s whereabouts, she gives Wyman a piece of her mind. Eventually, Wyman refunds all of Jesse and Clara’s money he invested. Wyman reveals to Bill that he has been purchasing multiple businesses in order to invest in them. His excuse is that the town is growing and so are businesses. Before he leaves Hope Valley, Bill sees Wyman talking with the Pinkerton officers that have been guarding the Canfield’s former land. Because Jesse hasn’t returned home, some of the residents of Hope Valley look for him. They find Lee’s car by a mountain, but Jesse has still not been found. Toward the end of the episode, Lee surprises Rosemary by giving her half of his office. She also reveals she will restart Hope Valley’s newspaper.

Chalkboard image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/mathematical-operation-written-on-blackboard_1357576.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Carson has made up his mind to become a surgeon. He also plans to propose to Faith. Before he and Faith go to the café for breakfast, Carson gives Minnie the ring. Unfortunately, Minnie and Clara end up misplacing it. When Carson goes to the kitchen to help them find the ring, Clara suggests it could be in the pudding. However, Carson has no luck finding the ring. Meanwhile, Faith suspects that Carson is planning on proposing to her. But she still wants to stay in Hope Valley. At the saloon, Carson shares with Lucas how losing the ring is probably a sign that he and Faith were not meant to be.

Henry receives a letter from his son, Christopher. In this letter, Christopher shares that he not only found Rachel, but also plans on staying in the city. He tells his father he got a job at the furniture store Rachel’s father owns. The letter comes with a photo of Christopher and Rachel as well. This makes Henry reflect on the photo of him and Christopher that is located on his desk.

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

Some thoughts to consider:

  • I, personally, don’t think it was fair for Elizabeth to receive Florence’s wedding bouquet, as this is the third time it has happened to Elizabeth. The bouquet should have been given to either Mollie, Faith, or Fiona. If Rachel had attended the wedding, the bouquet could have even gone to her.
  • Speaking of Rachel, I’m disappointed she and Christopher won’t become recurring characters on the show. Besides the schoolchildren, Laura, and Jack Jr., there aren’t many young people in Hope Valley. With the arrival of Christopher and Rachel, I was hoping they would bring something different to the town. While they did accomplish this, the results were short-term.
  • Even though I’m glad Hope Valley’s newspaper is going to continue again, I’m kind of disappointed Rosemary won’t be getting her theater. This is something the fans (and Rosemary) have been waiting for since season two. But because building a new piece of the set costs money, I wonder if the show’s creative team has been avoiding giving Rosemary her theater due to how expensive it could be?
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Are you looking forward to the season finale? What do you think will happen? Tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: You Are Not Alone

In this episode of When Calls the Heart, Angela changes her mind about learning Braille. She explains to Elizabeth that when she plays the piano, she can go wherever she wants in her imagination and she doesn’t feel alone. Angela hopes that if she learns Braille, she will continue to not feel alone. Though Hope Valley is a small town, there are many people who call it their home. Everyone’s home life is different, with some residents living by themselves. However, no one in this town is ever alone. Whenever someone is in need, neighbors help one another. Friends visit each other and are free to go wherever they please. Even when a resident leaves Hope Valley, they sometimes find a way back home. A network of people exists on this show, connected to each other to some extent. Because of the show itself, a network of fans exists as well. Speaking of fans, it’s time to start this re-cap 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.

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

Season: 8

Episode: 8

Name: A Parade and a Charade

Major stories:

Elizabeth approaches Nathan to discuss the awkward situation that took place at Ally’s adoption ceremony. They barely have time to discuss it because Nathan has to return a prisoner to prison. Elizabeth then visits Lucas at his office to tell him what happened at Ally’s adoption ceremony. But as she’s starting the conversation, Lucas receives an important phone call about a painting for his parents. He says he’ll talk about it at dinner later that day. After she helps Angela learn seven Braille letters, Elizabeth witnesses Christopher running out of Henry’s office in search of Carson’s help. She learns that Henry’s blood pressure has risen. That night, Elizabeth visits Lucas at his office again to let him know that Henry is doing better after receiving medical help. Because of everything that happened that afternoon, Lucas forgot about their planned dinner. To make up for that, Elizabeth suggests she sit with Lucas in his office. Even though she sits with Lucas for a short amount of time, they do hold hands and almost share a kiss. The next day, Elizabeth talks with Ally after school about what happened at her adoption ceremony. Ally says that she and Nathan talked about it, giving Elizabeth a replacement invitation to make up for the event’s awkwardness. However, this invitation is for Elizabeth to join Nathan and Ally for dinner. Elizabeth then tells Ally how she is currently seeing Lucas. This makes Ally upset and causes her to tear up the invitation and leave. At Bill’s send-off celebration, Elizabeth demands to speak with Nathan. During this heated conversation, Nathan reveals that at Fort Clay, he was originally supposed to lead the training mission. But, due to a disciplinary action, Jack took his place.

 Bill is still upset about having to turn in his Mountie uniform. He tells Lee at the café how it doesn’t feel celebratory. Other residents of Hope Valley become aware of Bill’s sentiments. Carson tells Mollie about what Bill is going through when Carson brings his lumber order to the Infirmary. Lucas even takes notice of Bill’s demeanor when he sees Bill serving customers on the café’s porch. As Bill is getting ready to leave in order to return his uniform, Mollie reminds him how important he is. She also encourages him to put his uniform on, as she brings up the fact that no one in Hope Valley has seen Bill wear his uniform. After Bill puts on his uniform, he discovers a band playing outside the Mountie office. The majority of Hope Valley is waiting to send Bill off, cheering him on as he takes one final ride in his uniform. Even though he reminds everyone he is returning to town, he still gets his picture taken.

Mountie face image created by Bakar015 at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/a-set-of-canada-icons_1050671.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food vector created by Bakar015 – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

Christopher visits Rachel at the dress shop. Their original plan was to spend some time alone. But because Rosemary happens to be at there, Rachel and Christopher change their plans. Later that day, Christopher visits Rachel at the dress shop again. Rachel tells Christopher he can’t stay for long because Rosemary and Lee are right across the street. During their interaction, Rachel tells Christopher she saw him pick-pocket Lee’s pocket-watch and hasn’t said anything about it. She also kisses Christopher on the cheek. When Christopher visits Henry at his office, he discovers his father isn’t feeling well. Immediately, Christopher runs to the Infirmary for Carson’s help. During this ordeal, Faith explains to Christopher that his father has had high blood pressure for quite some time. That night, Carson and Henry share dinner at the café. Henry thanks Carson for helping him and reveals how Christopher called him “dad” instead of “Henry”. Meanwhile, Christopher and Rachel are sitting outside. Christopher feels bad that he isn’t having dinner with his father. Rachel reminds Christopher that he’s afraid to get close to the people he cares about. After this statement is made, Christopher and Rachel share a kiss. The next day, Rachel leaves Hope Valley to spend her birthday with her family in Bellingham. Before Lee and Rosemary take Rachel to the train station, Lee tells Rosemary he found his missing pocket-watch under the car seat. Rosemary also shares with Lee that Dottie is not planning on selling the dress shop, for now. After Lee, Rosemary, and Rachel leave, Christopher visits the dress shop. But when he arrives, he discovers the front door is locked.

Carson plans on expanding the Infirmary. He purchases a large order of lumber in order to build a separate operating and recovery room. But, as the episode progresses, Carson ends up changing his mind. After helping Henry with his medical emergency and operating on Ned, Carson realizes what he must do. Toward the end of the episode, Carson tells Faith how he isn’t going to expand the Infirmary. He also reveals how he is reconsidering the John Hopkins offer. This concerns Faith because she was considering staying in Hope Valley. Carson and Faith are not on the same page like they originally thought.

Ned goes back to working at the Mercantile. But he’s not working, as Florence is temporarily running the store. Also, Robert is temporarily working as the Mercantile’s mail delivery service. These changes frustrate Ned because he doesn’t feel like he’s making a contribution. As the episode goes on, Ned tells Florence exactly how he feels. Florence apologizes and says that she was only trying to help. Their part of the story ends with them holding hands.

Canada postage stamp image created by Ibrandify at freepik.com <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/canadian-flag-stamp-template_836872.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/template”>Template vector created by Ibrandify – Freepik.com</a> Image found at freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • As good as this season has been so far, I don’t like how several storylines have been dragging on longer than necessary. One example is Rosemary trying to figure out what her next occupational step should be. This is episode eight and we still haven’t seen Rosemary make a decision. I understand choices like Rosemary’s take time and stories have to be told in a certain amount of episodes. But because some of these stories have been drawn out, it makes them feel like they are at a standstill.
  • I’m glad to see Christopher return Lee’s pocket-watch, even if was anonymously. Small steps like this one show he is growing up and changing his ways. Even though we only have a few episodes left until the end of the season, I hope we get to see Christopher’s growth as a character.
  • I found this episode’s title to be somewhat misleading, as there was no parade. Technically, Bill paraded out of Hope Valley. But there were no parades in the traditional sense. There has been a parade in Hope Valley before. However, it took place during one of the Christmas movies.
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 this episode? Are you looking forward to the next one? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: For the Longest Time

There have been some storylines on When Calls the Heart that have lasted a long time. Some of these stretches of time were justified, such as the conflict with the train depot. Other storylines could have taken place in a short amount of time, like Elizabeth’s love triangle. But the one thing these storylines share is how they have been allowed to travel at their own pace. They all contain a beginning, middle, and end, each one dealing with their own unique issues and conflicts. Characters may vary and situations change from season to season. But an answer, more often than not, is found. Sometimes, it’s exactly what a character wanted, like Elizabeth getting a library in season six. But there are times when characters receive something completely different, but in a good way. Speaking of good ways, 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 may be spoilers within this re-cap.

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

Season: 8

Episode: 7

Name: Before My Very Eyes

Major stories:

Ned is still unconscious after falling in front of the Mercantile. Carson feels they should have taken Ned to the hospital, but Faith tells him Ned wouldn’t have made the trip. Despite not having a diagnosis, Carson decides to operate on Ned. Before Ned enters surgery, he asks Florence to marry him. Florence says yes, even though she is still concerned about his final outcome. The next day, as Elizabeth is passing by the Infirmary, Carson reveals how he tried the best he could, but still doesn’t know if Ned will make it. After noticing Ned’s jaundice and his shallow breathing, Carson decides to operate on Ned again. This situation has taken its toll on Florence. She volunteers to run the Mercantile and operate the phone board. When Elizabeth visits the Mercantile and discovers Florence struggling to hold down the fort, Elizabeth suggests Florence should take some time off in order to rest. But after two days of worrying, Ned begins to recover. He asks Florence if he asked her to marry him before he had his surgeries. When Florence tells him yes, Ned appears satisfied with his decision.

At the saloon, Bill gives Nathan the final adoption papers for him to sign. Bill also reveals he will pay for the adoption fees. To commemorate this milestone, Nathan plans to host an adoption party. Later in the episode, he asks Elizabeth if she would like to attend. Even though Elizabeth agrees to go, Ally doesn’t want Elizabeth to show up. She not only thinks Elizabeth will bring Lucas, but she’d also rather see Elizabeth with Nathan. Nathan tells Ally the most important thing is to see the people you care about happy. On the day of the adoption party, Lucas gives Elizabeth a gift to give Nathan and Ally. When Lucas points out Elizabeth’s unwillingness to express displays of affection, Elizabeth agrees to hold hands with Lucas as they walk to her house. At the adoption party, Elizabeth discovers the only attendants are Bill, Nathan, Ally, and herself.

Heart image created by Dashu83 at freepik.com <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-valentines-day-and-heart-card-with-happy-valentines-day-and-heart_1747001.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image found at freepik.com

Minor stories:

Christopher wants to follow in Henry’s footsteps and work in the oil industry. But Henry doesn’t want his son to grow up to be like him. When Christopher is late for breakfast, Henry says that no matter what his mother and Jerry, Christopher’s stepfather, has told him, he has to be on time while he is living in Hope Valley and working with his father. At the petroleum plant, Christopher is surprised by how little time Henry spends in the office. He thinks he will gain wealth by working in the oil industry. But Lucas reveals to Christopher how Hope Valley’s petroleum plant isn’t doing as well as expected. After Christopher meets Mike in Henry’s office, Mike wants to talk with Henry in private. However, Henry says he’ll talk with Mike at another time. Lucas hears of Lee’s missing pocket-watch. When he asks Christopher about the pocket-watch’s whereabouts, Christopher lies and says he doesn’t know where it is. The next day, a car is towed into Hope Valley. Nathan shares with Elizabeth how the car was reported stolen. This car is the same one Christopher parked in the forest in the previous episode.

Clara and Jesse are still spending time apart. On the night of Ned’s first surgery, Jesse attends the prayer vigil Joseph organized. When Elizabeth tells Clara about Jesse’s whereabouts the next day, Clara finds this odd, as she reveals how Jesse is not a religious man. Jesse visits the café later in the episode. Even though Clara is cordial toward him, she thought the interaction with her husband would be different. Clara then visits Joseph at his house. As she is desperate for advice, Joseph tells her to invite Jesse back home. He says that it’s important for her and Jesse to spend time together, advising her to address their issues later. However, this advice is easier said than done. When Jesse visits Clara at the dress shop, they get into an argument about the length of Clara’s skirt. Meanwhile, Minnie finds Joseph praying in the church. She asks him if he is considering becoming the town’s pastor. Joseph considers passing on the opportunity because of how he was treated differently in Fall River. He also points out how the church doesn’t have a pulpit or a bell. Minnie tells him that his decision will not only be important for him, but also for their family.

Small, western town image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Toward the beginning of the episode, Henry and Christopher enter the saloon in order to escape the rain. Henry could be seen laughing and smiling with his son. This is the first time I have seen Henry smile in a long time. I hope When Calls the Heart features more moments where Henry gets to smile.
  • I’m glad Ned was able to overcome his medical challenges. It’s also nice to see Ned and Florence get engaged. All I ask is for the show’s creative team to keep their promises to their fans. What I mean is if Florence and Ned say they want an outdoor wedding, give them an outdoor wedding and feature it on the show.
  • In one of my re-cap posts, I brought up a theory of Jack possibly returning to Hope Valley after his identity was mistaken and he experienced amnesia. After seeing the preview for the next episode, I speculate that this might be the case. In season eight alone, Jack has been brought up more than the previous two seasons combined. If everything is a coincidence, then nothing is a coincidence.
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 this episode? What do you predict will happen? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Shape of Things to Come

A few days ago, I published an editorial explaining why Bai Ling should join the main cast of When Calls the Heart. This editorial was written as a suggestion for the show’s possible next season. However, that article has received very few views. I also reached out to Brian Bird, one of the show’s executive producers, on Instagram and Twitter, in an effort to give him my suggestion for the ninth season. Unfortunately, he hasn’t responded to my social media posts. I’m not going to lie; I was disappointed when my article didn’t gain much engagement from readers. For a show that claims it is interactive with fans online, I, as a fan, felt ignored and unheard. So, I’m bringing up my editorial in the introduction of this week’s re-cap for more awareness to be brought to it. I will provide the link in this re-cap if you are interested in reading my article. Hopefully, more fans and even people from the show can hear what I have to say and give my suggestion some consideration. Until that happens, let’s start this week’s re-cap of When Calls the Heart!

Why Bai Ling Should Join the Main Cast 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.

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

Season: 8

Episode: 6

Name: No Regrets

Major stories:

After finishing Helen’s edits on her manuscript one morning, Elizabeth receives an invitation from Lucas. This invitation announces an upcoming private picnic for the two of them. On her way to the date, Elizabeth visits Rosemary. Rosemary expresses excitement for Elizabeth’s date. Elizabeth is curious about what Rosemary’s next step in her career will be. When Elizabeth arrives on her date, she meets Lucas by the river. Though the sky is cloudy, Lucas and Elizabeth enjoy a nice gourmet picnic. They discuss Elizabeth’s manuscript, when, all of a sudden, it starts to rain. Lucas and Elizabeth go to Lucas’ car to stay dry. While in the car, they are about to share a kiss. But before they kiss, Elizabeth stops and says she isn’t ready. The next day, Elizabeth visits the Mercantile. She not only receives more edits from Helen, she also receives a package from her sister, Julie. Elizabeth goes to the Canfield family’s home to give Minnie and Angela the package. This package contains a book written in Braille. Minnie reveals that her family tried to acquire Braille written books for Angela back when they lived in a town called Jameson. However, the Canfield family was denied these books. Elizabeth promises to give Angela more Braille written books and teach her how to read them.

Because Ned is still experiencing stomach troubles, Florence gives him a family remedy. Since she is concerned for Ned, Florence approaches Carson and asks if he can help Ned. Even though Carson is about to help Angela, who has a minor knee injury, he does promise to give Ned an evaluation. Within this episode, Carson continues to contemplate the offer he was given in the previous episode. Faith worries that if Carson doesn’t accept the offer, he will regret his decision. Carson tells her he has everything he needs in Hope Valley. Later in the episode, Carson makes the decision to not accept the John Hopkins offer. Faith feels he is making a mistake. At the barber shop, Faith shares with Clara how she feels her relationship with Carson is traveling on a rocky road. Meanwhile, Florence gives Ned an early birthday present. Even though it is the wrong gift, Ned loves the beekeeper suit. When he asks how she knew he was interested in beekeeping, Florence reveals how she’s interested in him. As they hold hands and are about to kiss, the bell on the door rings, indicating an incoming customer. Later that day, Ned leaves the Mercantile to show off his beekeeping suit. Suddenly, Ned falls down the stairs, appearing to be unconscious. Carson rushes to Ned after witnessing the fall.

Illustrated beekeeper image created by macrovector at freepik.com. Business vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Minor stories:

While Joseph is preparing to build a swing, Cooper is pushing Angela on another swing that is connected to a nearby tree. All of a sudden, Angela falls off of the swing. Joseph and Cooper go to inform Carson of what happened. At the Infirmary, Carson discovers that Angela has a minor knee injury. However, this concerns Minnie of what could have happened. After finding her husband praying out loud in the forest, Minnie expresses her doubts to Joseph about working with Elizabeth. Joseph reassures Minnie that Elizabeth seems trustworthy. Jesse visits the Canfield family to help Joseph build the swing. During this project, Joseph hears about Jesse’s marital issues. He gives Jesse advice by comparing marriage to the swing they are building. Joseph says Jesse and Clara represent each leg of the swing. He also says God represents the post that holds the swing up.

Since Fiona is still out of town, Clara is working at the barber shop. One day, Mike visits the barber shop announcing he received a two dollar raise. He plans on using the two dollars to bribe Clara into giving him a haircut that day, on Ladies’ Day. This plan fails, as Clara gives Mike his two dollars back. The next day, Mollie receives a package from the Mercantile. She immediately rushes to the barber shop to reveal she purchased hair extensions and how she’d like Clara to apply them immediately. Because this emergency appointment takes place during Mike’s appointment, Clara tells him to come to the barber shop in the afternoon, with the price now at half-off. When Mike arrives at his newly scheduled appointment, Clara tells him the haircut is on the house. After Mike expresses his satisfaction over Clara’s haircutting work, Clara considers working full-time at the barber shop.

A man named Christopher Hughes arrives in Hope Valley. After pick-pocketing Lee’s watch, Christopher takes notice of Rachel in the dress shop window. He stays by the window in order to avoid Henry, as he is passing through town. However, when Christopher tries to enter Henry’s office, he discovers the door is locked. At the saloon, Christopher sits at Henry’s table. Henry not only recognizes Christopher, but he also asks Christopher to leave Hope Valley. Christopher then meets Rosemary and Lee, who also happen to be at the saloon. The next day, Christopher visits Henry at the petroleum plant. He points out how Henry’s name is associated with the business, even though he doesn’t work for the plant anymore. Christopher asks Henry what he has learned over the years. In an emotional monologue, Henry reveals how he has hurt many people and no matter what he does, there will always be broken pieces. On his way out of Hope Valley, Christopher decides to park his car and walk back to town. When Rachel notices Christopher’s return, Christopher considers staying in Hope Valley. He also addresses Henry with the prospect of getting reacquainted. When Elizabeth approaches, Henry introduces Christopher as his son.

While making breakfast one morning, Rosemary discovers who tried to buy Dottie’s Dress Shop. Lee reveals how he negotiated with Dottie in an attempt to buy the dress shop for Rosemary. Appearing upset, Rosemary tells Lee to leave the house. Later in the episode, Lee tells Rosemary how he thought he was doing something nice for his wife. But then he realizes that Rosemary wouldn’t want to buy her way to success, but earn it instead. With that, Rosemary turns down the offer to purchase the dress shop. In her free time, Rosemary tries to come up with a list of potential career options. But she ends up thinking of nothing. The next day, Elizabeth and Rosemary talk about Elizabeth’s date and Rosemary’s future. Rosemary tells Elizabeth that even though she has enjoyed working at the dress shop, her mind has changed, like fashion. She says she looks forward to whatever comes her way.

Sewing pattern image created by Nenilkime at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Nenilkime – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/sewing-color-background_1380853.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Out of all the times Martin Cummins, the actor who portrays Henry Gowan, has appeared on this show, his monologue at the petroleum plant was one of his best scenes! Henry truly appeared wrought with anger and frustration. With the tone of his voice and the amount of emotion in his words, you could tell Henry was hurting.  It helps Martin was very expressive in this scene and came across as believable!
  • As I said in this re-cap, Florence claims she gave Ned the wrong present. However, this does not make sense. If Florence knew enough about Ned to purchase a beekeeping outfit, how is that not a good gift? It makes me wonder what she originally planned to get him.
  • After hearing Joseph’s advice to Jesse and seeing him praying in the forest, I wonder if Joseph will consider becoming Hope Valley’s next pastor? This episode was one of the more faith-based stories I’ve seen in quite some time. It should also be noted that Hope Valley hasn’t had a pastor since season three or four.
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 this episode? What do you think Ned’s medical outcome will be? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Hope Valley, We Have a Problem

Over the course of seven and a half seasons, the residents of Hope Valley have experienced a plethora of problems. Some of these problems have been dire, like Henry’s blood pressure or troubles at the bank. Others might be minor and require less than a day to solve. This season of When Calls the Heart has seen all sorts of problems. However, what matters most is how those problems are solved. There have been times when the whole town had to pitch in and help, like when there was a fire at the church shortly before Jack and Elizabeth’s wedding. But sometimes it takes only one person to find a solution to a conflict. Not matter what the residents of Hope Valley face, they always find the answers they are looking for. Let’s see if they solve their problems in this re-cap 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.

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

Season: 8

Episode: 5

Name: What the Heart Wants

Major stories:

As the school year comes to a close, Elizabeth and her students prepare for the upcoming graduation and moving up ceremony. Elizabeth is also preparing for the Parent Teacher Conferences. Later that day, Elizabeth meets with Joseph and Minnie during the Conference. Despite spending a short amount of time at the Jack Thornton School, Cooper has been earning good grades and doing well among his peers. After their meeting, Elizabeth invites Minnie and Joseph to the graduation and moving up ceremony. Even though they agree to go, Minnie seems hesitant to attend. When the conferences are over, Elizabeth realizes Nathan hasn’t shown up. So, she sends him a note telling him to come to her house. That night, Nathan arrives at Elizabeth’s house, saying his and Ally’s fishing trip is the reason why he didn’t come to the Parent Teacher Conferences. Elizabeth tells him Ally received straight As on her final report card, but her math grades are the most impressive. Because of this, Elizabeth recommends placing Ally in an accelerated math program. She also points out how the inquiry caused Ally to lose concentration on her studies. Nathan apologizes for the effects of the inquiry and for not attending the Parent Teacher Conferences. He tells Elizabeth he’ll think about the accelerated math program. Later in the episode, Elizabeth goes to Dottie’s Dress Shop for a fitting. While there, she shows Rosemary the dress she plans on wearing for her date with Lucas. Rosemary is impressed with the dress and agrees with Elizabeth’s choice.

The next day, before the graduation and moving up ceremony, Lucas takes Elizabeth horse riding. However, this ride is short due to Elizabeth needing to prepare for her event. When they visit a bridge in the forest, Elizabeth invites Lucas to the ceremony. Lucas declines, as he doesn’t want to make things awkward for Nathan and Ally. At the ceremony, Elizabeth is surprised by a song the students performed in her honor. She’s also surprised by the arrival of a Valley school board member. He wants the Jack Thornton School to join the district and reminds her how she’s not certified to teach disabled students. Elizabeth stands up for herself by telling him the Jack Thornton School is independent and how she will try her best to teach all her students, no matter their abilities. Because she was impressed with the ceremony, Minnie agrees to work with Elizabeth, as she plans on sending Angela to school with her brother. Nathan and Ally also agree to the accelerated math program, even though Ally doesn’t seem too happy about it. The episode ends with Elizabeth having dinner at home with Lucas, due to her desire to stay close to her son. They agree to slowly start a relationship and proceed to hold hands.

After Rachel’s first successful sale at the dress shop, Rosemary is impressed with how well Rachel is adapting to her new life in Hope Valley. But after receiving a letter that says Dottie might sell the dress shop, that happiness is shattered. The news causes Rachel to take a walk and Rosemary to contemplate her future. When Lee visits the dress shop, Rosemary tells him the news. Lee isn’t too worried, as he thinks everything will work out for the better. This troubles Rosemary, with her believing Lee doesn’t understand what she’s going through. Rosemary and Rachel are not the only ones troubled by the news. Clara is concerned about her future income. She’s not only stressed about her temporary position at Nichols and Dime, but she also accepts more hours at Abigail’s Café. At the café, Bill brings up the idea of buying out Abigail to gain more ownership of the café. He asks Clara and Jesse if they would also like to buy out Abigail, but they decline the offer. That night, Clara makes the discovery that all the money in their bank account is missing. When she addresses this to Jesse, he reveals how he gave all their money to an investment that didn’t work out. In anger and frustration, Clara kicks Jesse out of their house. Meanwhile, Rosemary and Lee realize Rachel hasn’t returned from her walk. So, they take a drive in order to look for her. When they arrive at the forest, they find Rachel wandering through the woods. Before they go home, Rachel says she lost her way.

Chalkboard image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/mathematical-operation-written-on-blackboard_1357576.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor stories:

When Lucas crosses paths with Henry, Henry expresses interest in wanting to work with Lucas at the petroleum oil plant again. Because of this, Lucas gives Henry his old office key. Later in the episode, Henry discovers his office is dusty, as it hasn’t been utilized in a long time. Henry is not the only Hope Valley resident to experience good occupational news. Early in the episode, Carson receives a letter from a surgeon he worked alongside in Union City. Though he doesn’t say what’s in the letter at first, Faith eventually puts the pieces together. Carson is invited to become a resident surgeon at John Hopkins. Despite Carson’s concerns about the future of their relationship, Faith encourages him to consider the invitation. Meanwhile, Ned experiences stomach troubles. Even though Florence and Carson insist that Ned accept medical treatment, Ned refuses. Florence expresses her concerns for Ned, which cause her to place her hand over Ned’s hand. Because Carson and Faith walked into the Mercantile at that moment, Ned suggests putting a bell on the door to let Ned and Florence know if customers are coming in.

Colorful image of key created by orchidart at freepik.com. Flower vector created by orchidart – www.freepik.com

Some thoughts to consider:

  • During Elizabeth’s fitting at the dress shop, Rosemary thinks about her future employment options. She tells Elizabeth she wants to do something she loves while also making a difference. This makes me wonder if Rosemary will finally get her long-awaited theater? She could lead acting classes as well as directing plays. The theater could also be a place where families can spend some quality time together.
  • Ever since When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I have felt there are too many continuous storylines on the show. This episode serves as a perfect example, as new pieces of different stories were introduced. None of these stories were resolved at the end of the episode, with the conflict of Angela’s education being resolved way too quickly. Having so many storylines make the overall show feel bloated. The creative team needs to have a better handle on which storylines can be covered over several episodes and which ones should be resolved in one episode.
  • As I mentioned in my re-cap, Lee doesn’t seem too worried about the future of Dottie’s Dress Shop. Because of his demeanor, I wonder if Lee is planning on purchasing the dress shop for Rosemary? That could mean the dress shop would be Rosemary’s, with the name of the business making a change to Rosemary’s Dress Shop. It would also mean Rosemary would become the next small business owner of Hope Valley!
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 this episode? How do you think the characters will solve their problems? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The House of God Review (A Month Without the Code #2)

The theme for August’s Genre Grandeur is “Medical Dramas”. I’m not going to lie, I had to do some research in order to find my entry. This is due to how specific the theme itself is. At first, I was going to review Article 99. But while reading some reviews on IMDB, I saw someone bring up the 1984 film, The House of God. Having never heard of this movie until this week, I read its synopsis on IMDB. After that, I was fortunate to find the movie on Youtube. According to IMDB’s description of The House of God, the film shares similarities with shows like M*A*S*H and St. Elsewhere. In fact, St. Elsewhere is referenced by a character named “The Fatman” in the 1984 title. While I’ve only seen pieces of M*A*S*H, I’ve never seen St. Elsewhere. However, I am familiar with each show’s premise.

The House of God poster created by United Artists. Image found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087429/mediaviewer/rm2187241473.

Things I liked about the film:

The camaraderie between the characters: For a story like The House of God, the camaraderie between the characters is the heart and soul of that project. In the 1984 film, there was camaraderie to be found among the interns! The scene where they go to Dr. Watson’s Pub serves as a perfect example. Within this scene, the audience gets to learn about some of the characters. What the scene also does is showcase each of the characters’ distinct personalities. Because of the actors’ performances and their on-screen chemistry, it gave the impression that these characters got along well with each other. It also provided an interesting component to the movie!

A sense of honesty: In the synopsis for The House of God, it says “this film is closer to the truth than the public wants to know”. While watching the movie, I could tell the creative team wanted to present their story as truthful as possible. The character of “The Fatman” is one example of this honesty. He tells one of the interns that the reason why the doctors approve so many procedures is for the hospital to make money. Later in the film, Roy, one of the interns, questions the practices of Jo, one of the residents. He accuses her of caring more about autopsies than the needs of her patients. I know The House of God is based on a book written a real-life doctor. But I’m glad the film’s creative team chose not to sugar coat or glamorize their version of the medical world.

The informational inclusion of the medical world: Whenever a particular industry is showcased in a piece of media, there is sometimes an opportunity for the audience to learn something new. This is certainly the case for The House of God! One of the topics that “The Fatman” constantly brings up is “gomers”. He tells the interns this is an acronym standing for “get out of my emergency room”. “The Fatman” also explains that “gomers” are older patients who are dealing with a variety of medical situations, but are not high-risk. Dialogue like this is effectively used to educate the audience about the world of medicine. It helps them broaden their horizons and educate themselves in a cinematic way.

Heartbeat image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/medical-logo_763775.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/logo”>Logo vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The House of God’s limited scope: At the beginning of the film, the interns are shown a light-up map of the entire hospital. They are also instructed to follow colorful lines on the floor in order to reach a specific ward. Throughout the movie, however, the only areas of the hospital that are highlighted involve older patients and patients that are dealing with high-risk medical situations. I know there’s only so much story that can be told in an hour and forty-eight minutes. I’m also aware of how people in the medical field have to make rotations among different wards during their training period. But because the hospital’s scope was limited, it felt like a disservice was committed.

Limited amount of character development: While I liked the camaraderie among the characters, I never felt like I truly got to know them. That’s because the character development was limited. During the movie, the audience learns a little bit about some of the interns and the people working alongside them. But, in my opinion, more was desired in this department. In The House of God, there was a doctor named Dr. Alfred Pinkus. The only information about this character that the movie provides is he’s from New Zealand and he’s the resident heart consultant of the hospital. Because he is only in the film for a few scenes, the audience isn’t given the opportunity to learn more about him.

No overarching conflict: When I read the synopsis for The House of God, I thought the story was about a group of interns who oppose a lead doctor at the hospital they work at. This caused me to expect a narrative that features underdogs fighting against the leaders in their medical world. Instead, I got a story that didn’t have an overarching conflict. Sure, there were smaller scenarios within the movie that did get resolved. But this made the overall story feel more mundane than interesting. It also makes the synopsis on IMDB sound misleading.

A Month Without the Code Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/announcing-amonthwithoutthecode2020/.

My overall impression:

When I was searching the internet for medical dramas, suggestions for television shows were included as results. One of the most well-known is St. Elsewhere, which was referenced in The House of God. When I look back on this film, I honestly think the story would have benefited as a TV show rather than a movie. There was so much going on The House of God, but not enough time to explore it to the fullest extent. One of these areas is the character development, where some of the characters received a small amount. But the stronger components should not be ignored. The camaraderie among the interns was one of the most interesting parts of this story. It was brought to the audience through the acting performances and on-screen chemistry. This is not one of the worst films I’ve seen this year, but I can think of medical dramas that are better than this one. Despite The House of God being rated R, it could be “breenable”. However, these are the things that would need to be changed:

  • Throughout the film, there was language used that is not Breen Code friendly. This ranges from swearing to sexual references. More appropriate word choices would need to be chosen before production starts.
  • In one scene, Roy, one of the interns, and a nurse passionately kiss. This scene also heavily implies that they are about to have sex. During the screen-writing process, that particular scene would need to be rewritten to fit Breen Code standards.
  • Another scene in this film heavily implied a male and female intern was about to have sex during an autopsy check. These characters took their shirts/smocks off right before passionately kissing. This is another scene that would need to be rewritten to fit Breen Code standards.
  • One scene shows one of the interns using the bathroom. Because this scene doesn’t serve the plot and is not Breen code appropriate, this scene would be removed.
  • One of the interns ends up committing suicide. Instead of showing the act, it could be implied through Breen Code appropriate dialogue.
  • One of the patients at the hospital is shown bleeding. The amount of blood shown on screen would have to be reduced.

Overall score: 6 out of 10

Have you seen The House of God? Do you like watching medical dramas on television? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Audrey Rose Review

For June’s Genre Grandeur, the chosen theme is “New York Films of the 70’s”. After searching through a list on Wikipedia, I selected Audrey Rose as my submission! This is a film I have heard about in passing, but have never seen. What caught my attention is how the movie was classified as a horror film. I don’t always review movies in this genre, as a portion of them are too dark for my liking. However, I do try to go out of my comfort zone every so often. The synopsis also intrigued me, as I wondered where the story would go. Mysteries are a staple on this blog, so I was looking forward to helping the characters solve the case. Is Audrey Rose worthy of being included in Genre Grandeur? Keep reading my review so you can solve the mystery too!

Audrey Rose poster created by Sterobcar Productions and United Artists. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Audrey_Rose_movie_poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: One of Anthony Hopkins’ most iconic roles is Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs. Through his performance, he brought to life a character that was eerie and unsettling. In Audrey Rose, Anthony’s portrayal of Elliot Hoover was also unsettling, but for different reasons. During the events of the film, Elliot seemed to have power over the situation. This is because he had the answers Ivy’s parents were desperately looking for. Unlike Hannibal, Elliot was never meant to come across as scary. Anthony’s facial expressions, body language, and the way his character interacted with others supports this claim. When it comes to stories focusing on young characters, it’s important for a creative team to cast a young actor or actress who can carry a character’s emotional weight. Despite appearing in the film for a limited amount of time, Susan Swift impressed me with her portrayal of Ivy Templeton! It was heartbreaking to watch Ivy experience one of her nightmarish episodes, as Susan’s performance was that believable. However, that level of emotionality added to the captivation of this character.

The Templeton family’s apartment: I’ve seen a variety of apartments in television and film. But the Templeton family’s apartment in Audrey Rose is one of the best! An aspect that immediately caught my eye was the grand, wood staircase. This design feature is usually found in on-screen homes from the suburbs or wealthier neighborhoods. So, seeing this staircase in an apartment was unique. Speaking of woodwork, the fireplace in the living room was adorned with fine detailing. It shows how the apartment’s woodwork can compliment the space’s interior design. The showstopper of this living environment was the paintings on the ceiling! Exquisite is the word I would use to describe the art itself. I would be willing to guess that pictures and videos would not do it justice. Whoever created the apartment’s interior design should be commended for their work!

Elemental consistency: Throughout this movie, there were two elements that had a consistent presence. When Elliot first enters the Templeton family’s lives, the weather is very rainy. This is also the case when Ivy is experiencing nightmarish episodes. The incorporation of rain reminded me of The Crow, as this element served as symbolism in Audrey Rose. Not only did rain highlight sadness, it also showed how some situations should run their course. Fire is the other element that was consistently featured in the story. This was present during a tragic event and it emphasized how ignoring some situations only allows them to manifest. These elements created visual interest as well provide depth to the narrative.

New York City skyline with letters image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/new-york-skyline-typographic-silhouette_719554.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Not a horror film: On Wikipedia and IMDB, Audrey Rose is classified as a “horror” film. Even the film’s poster gives the impression that someone is coming back from the dead, which is a classic horror movie concept. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Two traits that have defined the horror genre are stories where characters get away from or get rid of something bad. None of these traits are found in Audrey Rose. The primary focus of this movie surrounded the idea of reincarnation. This idea is presented in a positive way, as a course that needs to run on its own term. While horrifying things happen to Ivy, in the form of nightmarish episodes, it was caused by fearing the unknown. Even though this aspect can be found in horror films, it can also be found in other genres. Audrey Rose is a film that I, personally, did not find scary.

A drawn-out story: Like I already said, the story of Audrey Rose revolves around the idea of reincarnation. While this provides the overall narrative with an interesting debate, the majority of the story focuses on whether reincarnation is legitimate. A solution to the Templeton family’s problem wasn’t found until the last thirty minutes of the film. This drawn-out story was the result of an almost two-hour run-time. Had about twenty or thirty minutes been shaved off of this production, the story would have gotten straight to the point sooner.

Scenes that felt like padding: Because Audrey Rose has a run-time of an hour and fifty-three minutes, there were a few scenes that felt like padding. One example is when Ivy is trying to talk to Audrey Rose through a mirror. This scene didn’t have a strong need to exist within the story. It also didn’t fit the overall flow of the film. If anything, this particular scene felt like a weak attempt at making the movie feel like it belonged in the horror genre.

Rose illustration image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Horror movies are not often found on 18 Cinema Lane. This is the reason why I chose Audrey Rose for June’s Genre Grandeur, as I try to explore various genres. Unfortunately, this was not the horror film I expected it to be. The project itself was interesting, exploring a topic in the form of a debate. But classifying it in a genre where it doesn’t belong is misleading. I can describe Audrey Rose in two ways. The first is a medical/spiritual mystery, similar to Lorenzo’s Oil. The second is a debate presented in the form of a movie, like Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Sweet Nothing in My Ear. The idea behind this film makes it worth watching. However, don’t go into this movie expecting a story with spooky atmospheres and sinister tones.

Overall score: 7 out of 10

Have you seen any ’70s films set in New York? Which movies do you think are incorrectly classified? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Two Sides to Every Story

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:

 

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

 

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.

When Calls the Heart Season 7 poster
When Calls the Heart poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=series&ShowTitle=When%20Calls%20the%20Heart%20Season%207&episodeIndex=7001.

Season: 7

Episode: 10

Name: Don’t Go

 

Major Stories:

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.

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Minor Stories:

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.

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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.

Red sunset clouds over trees.
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.

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!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen