Evenings At The Shore: You Fit In Just Fine

Now we are coming to the end of another season of Chesapeake Shores. With this story complete, I can now give my honest opinion on the season as a whole. This has been one of the strongest seasons in the show’s history! That balance between character and plot driven stories has returned! One of the strengths was the addition of new cast members. Because Robert Buckley was promoted the most, I’ll talk about his character, Evan Kincaid. With new characters, it can be hit or miss. But with Evan, he fit in just fine. In fact, it felt like he was meant to be on Chesapeake Shores all along. Evan was a well written character, with each layer being pulled back as the story went on. Robert also presented a personality that hadn’t been seen on the show before. Despite joining Chesapeake Shores this season, I can’t imagine this story without him. As this chapter of the show comes to a close, let’s re-cap the season finale!

Just a reminder: If you did not see the season finale of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers within this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 10

Name: As Time Goes By

Abby’s story: Abby comes back home from her business trip in Cleveland. She is surprised to discover Evan waiting for her at the airport. Afterwards, they agree to have lunch at Sally’s Café. During their meal, Evan confesses how he might have romantic feelings for Abby. She turns down this possibility at first, as she and Evan are business partners. But Evan convinces her to, at least, think about the idea of them together. The next day, Evan visits the O’Brien family home to deliver some homemade brownies. Abby is not only amazed by how good the sweet treats are, but how Evan created the brownies so that Caitlyn, who is lactose intolerant, could eat them too. In the middle of this exchange, Evan shares with Abby how he learned to bake from a man who used to date Evan’s mother. When Abby asks Evan if she can meet this man, Evan says he’ll try to locate him, as he is a truck driver. Later in the episode, Jay reveals how every year, he takes a picture for his “Best Moment of the Year” collection. For the previous year, he shows Abby a picture of her, indicating how she was his “Best Moment of the Year”. Jay also confesses how he has romantic feelings for Abby. But he says he has romantic feelings for a female guidance counselor named Cam as well. The information Abby received from Evan and Jay puts her at a fork in the road. After consulting with Bree, Abby calls someone and tells them how she has feelings for them too. But the identity of the receiver is not known.

Mick and Megan’s story: One morning, Mick and Megan share the news that not only are they taking a trip around the world, but Mick is also taking a year off work in order to make this trip happen. While the family is shocked by this news, there are happy to see Megan and Mick move forward with their relationship. While she’s at the location where the art show took place, Carter tells Megan how she has received multiple job offers due to the art show’s success. Megan says she has given up that life, indicating her disinterest in these offers. Then, Carter reveals how a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles wants Megan to join their team. Because she has always dreamed of working with that particular gallery, she thinks twice about her future. Mick ends up finding out about this job offer from Carter, as Carter is on his way home to New York. When Mick addresses this piece of news with Megan, she says she hasn’t made a decision yet. But, by the end of the episode, she questions if she can have both the job and the trip. This makes Mick wonder if she’ll leave the family again.

Connor’s story: While Luke’s court hearing has received a different judge, the date is scheduled for the very next day. Even though this concerns Connor, he continues to look for a way to help Luke. Meanwhile, Margaret has her concerns about Connor’s well-being. Remembering what Connor said in the previous episode, Margaret brings s’more ingredients to the firm, in an attempt to help Connor relax. Connor likes Margaret’s gesture, which ends up with both of them kissing. But, the following day, Luke and Bree discover Connor slept at the firm. Because of this discovery, Luke reveals how he takes sleep medication. This information gives Connor an idea. He recruits his doctor as an expert witness, in an attempt to show how Luke’s sleep medication could be mistaken for amphetamines. The plan works and Luke doesn’t have to go back to prison. Toward the end of the episode, Margaret visits Connor at the O’Brien family home. While they are kissing, Connor collapses. The cause of his ailments is unknown.

Courtroom image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/isometric”>Isometric vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Kevin and Sarah’s story: At the beginning of the episode, it is revealed Sarah had a miscarriage. Devastated by this latest heartbreak, Sarah tells Kevin to keep it between themselves. But, later in the episode, Kevin shares this information with Mick and Megan. They tell their son how they suffered a miscarriage years ago. Through the interaction, they show their support for Kevin and Sarah. When Kevin tells his wife what he told his parents, Sarah is upset. However, she comes to appreciate Mick and Megan’s support when Megan pays her a visit. Megan tells Sarah how her miscarriage happened after Jess was born. She also tells Sarah how, in time, she will get through this tragedy.

Jess and David’s story: Jess has a lot of thoughts about Mick and Megan getting back together. So, at three in the morning, she decides to write Megan an email, which contains her real thoughts. Later that day, Jess freaks out because she actually sent the email. When David reads it, he thinks it is brutally honest. So, Jess goes to the O’Brien family home to talk to Megan. She apologizes for the email, telling Megan how she’s actually happy for her and Mick. But Megan responds by saying she hadn’t checked her email yet, but appreciated Jess’s honesty. Meanwhile, David discovers his trust fund has been cleaned out. Only his father has access to this fund, but he is nowhere to be found. David goes to Boston to find out more information on his father’s whereabouts. When he returns, David tells Jess his father flew out of the country, with the FBI looking for him.

Money image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/bills-and-coins-in-isometric-design_1065328.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/business”>Business vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • Looking back on the show as a whole, it seems like Kevin and Sarah can’t win. First, they don’t have the wedding of their dreams because season four only contained six episodes. Now, they are dealing with a miscarriage. I understand things do not always go according to plan, in real life and in fictional stories. However, I was hoping the writers would try to make it up to the fans after the omission of a wedding in the previous season. If Chesapeake Shores receives a sixth season, I hope Kevin and Sarah meet happier circumstances.
  • While talking to a family member about this season, I realized injuries and falls seemed to be a common theme. Sarah fell twice, Thomas fell while hiking, and Evan fell in Tae Kwon Do class. There was also Mick’s plane accident, Thomas’ sprained ankle, Evan’s hurt back, and Connor’s medical issues. I’m guessing this was all a coincidence. But, as a fan, I found it concerning how five of the show’s characters were in harm’s way, sometimes on more than one occasion.
  • While I know cliffhangers and season finales can sometimes go hand-in-hand, I thought it was risky for the season to end with four cliffhangers. As of October 2021, there has been no announcements about a sixth season. This means if the show were to be cancelled, several stories would receive no resolution. Personally, I think one or two cliffhangers would have been just fine. Some of these cliffhangers could have been introduced earlier in the season, such as the whereabouts of David’s dad. Had this been the case, David and Jess’s story could have contained more depth.
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What are your thoughts on the season finale? Would you like to see Chesapeake Shores receive a sixth season? Let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: What is Your Gift?

Throughout this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Caitlyn is searching for a gift. In an attempt to find it, she asks Abby what the other characters’ gifts are. This question actually brought up a really good point that I hadn’t thought about until Caitlyn mentioned it. Chesapeake Shores is a show that has a larger cast. Because of this, each character has their own unique gift they bring to the show’s table. As Abby herself points out, her gift is numbers. Arthur’s gift is art, but he sees more as a curse. In this episode, we learn Evan’s gift is thinking. During the duration of Chesapeake Shores, the characters have used their gifts to their advantage. Still, there are characters whose gifts are unknown. Like any gift, the anticipation and excitement of discovering what it is makes that moment so memorable. But until each character’s gift is revealed, let’s re-cap this episode of Chesapeake Shores!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there are spoilers in this re-cap.

Chesapeake Shores Season 5 poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel.

Season: 5

Episode: 7

Name: What’s New

Abby’s story: One morning, Evan arrives at the O’Brien family home. He’s there to give Abby the legal papers related to his departure from the hotel project. While looking at O’Brien family photos, Evan accidently drops Mick’s childhood portrait. As he’s attempting to pick the picture up, Evan has a back spasm. When Nell hears about Evan’s unfortunate circumstance, she insists he stay on the O’Brien family’s couch until his back heals. For Abby, this is an awkward situation. But for Evan, he makes the best out of his troubles. He is able to work on his phone and laptop, even teaching Caitlyn how to create a video game. Mandrake, Evan’s chauffeur and personal assistant, is able to help Evan wherever help is needed. In a private conversation with Abby, Mandrake reveals Evan was diagnosed with Dyslexia later in life, which explains why Evan tries to avoid reading. He also reveals how Evan originally hurt his back in an accident, but hasn’t been told any of the details. After receiving all this information, Abby sees Evan in a new light. But her opinion on him hasn’t completely changed. A few days later, Evan’s back has finally healed. He also rips up the aforementioned legal documents. When Abby asks why he made such a dramatic gesture, Evan explains how his time with her family has given him an idea. Instead of scrapping the hotel project altogether, he shares his plans to build the hotel on the lot next door, a lot he already purchased. On the original hotel lot, Evan plans to build a museum to house all the artifacts that are found on the excavation site. His problem-solving skills prove Abby right, showing how his gift is thinking.

Kevin and Sarah’s story: With Gahagan stepping down from his Fire Chief position, new leadership positions are available at the fire station. One of the members of the station, Chief Lee, tells Sarah she’s eligible for the Lieutenant position. This news puts Sarah at a crossroads. Later that day, Sarah shares this news with Kevin, mentioning how she’s always wanted to be Lieutenant. But she wants to try to have a baby. This frustrates Kevin, as he’s worried he and Sarah are not on the same page. While helping Connor renovate his law office, Bree can sense that something is bothering Kevin. After Kevin shares his concerns with Bree, she reminds him how the point of marriage is figuring out how to navigate life while on two separate pages. Bree’s words of wisdom make Kevin feel better about his situation. The next day, Kevin tells Sarah how he supports whatever decision she makes. After Kevin leaves on a call, Sarah is asked to help fix a nearby banner. But while she’s on the ladder, Sarah falls off due to dizziness. At the hospital, Sarah is fine, despite still feeling dizzy. As the doctor is releasing Sarah from the hospital, the doctor reveals that Sarah is pregnant.

Jess and David’s story: After their first night as a married couple, David tells Jess how she kicked him in her sleep. This information makes Jess feel self-conscious. While spending time with Abby, Jess tells her about David’s discovery. Abby reminds Jess of when they were younger, how they would share a bed while on vacation. She recalls Jess kicking her while they were sleeping, but quickly points out that started happening after Megan left the family. Abby tells Jess that maybe she is anxious about something. Later that night, Jess decides to wear socks to bed. When David points out the socks, Jess tells David that she’s anxious about this new chapter in her and David’s life. David reveals how he’s anxious too, but it’s important to know they’re in this together. After their heart-to-heart conversation, both Jess and David have a more restful night’s sleep.

Sleepover guest image created by Macrovector at freepik.com.<a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by macrovector – http://www.freepik.com</a&gt; Image found at freepik.com.

Bree’s story: Bree and Luke volunteer to help Connor renovate his law office. During this activity, Bree tells Kevin how she likes both Luke and Jerome. But she doesn’t know how to let one of these men down gently. Kevin tells her being honest as soon as possible is the best way to go. The next day, at the University of Maryland, Bree tells Jerome that she doesn’t see him the way he sees her. This means that Bree is not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with Jerome. Jerome takes this decision well by agreeing to just be friends with Bree. Meanwhile, Luke is dealing with his own dilemma. While removing the floorboards from Connor’s law firm, Luke shares with Connor how he has gone to prison. He also tells Connor that Mick already knows this information. Luke wants to share this part of his story with Bree, but is waiting for the right time. Connor reassures Luke that Bree is a good sister, but reminds Luke that he needs to tell her his news. He also agrees to help Luke after Luke mentions how he’d like to switch parole officers.

Nell and Arthur’s story: Nell and Arthur have been spending more time together. Because Arthur has been providing Kerry art advice, he has been making visits to the O’Brien family home. Nell and Arthur reminisce about the past. They even do this during their outing in town. Arthur and Nell appear to enjoy each other’s company. He even secretly sketches Nell, applying he is learning to enjoy art again. While all of this is taking place, Megan is planning an art show to showcase Arthur’s art. After making several failed phone calls, she reaches out to an art dealer in New York. Megan makes the discovery that this art dealer owns the rights to Arthur’s art, with the pieces increasing in value after Arthur dies. The art dealer plans to go to Chesapeake Shores to check out Arthur’s pieces, but Megan is not intimidated.

Law school textbooks image created by Peter Skadberg at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Peter Skadberg.”

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While I’m glad Bree’s love triangle with Luke and Jerome was shorter than When Calls the Heart’s, I’m not surprised she chose Luke. This decision gives Luke a reason to stay on the show longer. He also serves as the O’Brien family’s only connection to The Bridge. It also helps how Stephen Huszar appears to fit right in with Chesapeake Shores’ series regulars. With any new cast additions, it can be hit or miss. In Stephen’s case, it feels like he was meant to be on this show.
  •  With Megan trying to host an art show without Arthur’s knowledge, I wonder if Arthur is going to find out about Megan’s plans? If he did, how would he react? Arthur is still distancing himself from art. But he did secretly sketch Nell while he and Nell were in town. So maybe he’s turning over a new leaf?
  •  I don’t think the creative team behind Chesapeake Shores is considering a spin-off show. But, if they did, I wouldn’t oppose to having a spin-off story revolve around Connor and his law firm. Because Connor is a character who regularly appears on Chesapeake Shores, he has a direct connection to the main story. But his work at his own law firm would allow a new story to be told. As of late September 2021, Hallmark Channel only has two television shows on air; Chesapeake Shores and When Calls the Heart. Maybe Hallmark would consider giving Chesapeake Shores a spin-off and have it air during the Spring?
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What do you think of this episode? Do you have any predictions for the next episode? Please let me know in the comment section!

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Elephant Man Review

Two years ago, I reviewed It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World. I chose to re-watch this movie in an attempt to give it a second chance. For the Anne Bancroft: A 90th Birthday Celebration Blogathon, I decided to do something similar with another movie. This time, the film of choice is The Elephant Man. Many years prior, I saw about ten minutes of the 1980 title.  At the time, I thought the film was boring. Upon discovering Anne starred in The Elephant Man, I thought it would give me a good excuse to re-visit this movie. It also provided a good opportunity to check out more of Anne’s filmography. So, in honor of Anne’s birthday, let’s raise the curtain on this review of The Elephant Man!

The Elephant Man poster created by Brooksfilms, Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors, and Paramount Pictures

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When I reviewed The Picture of Dorian Gray last week, I talked about how I was disappointed to see Peter Lawford in a smaller role, as he was one of the reasons why I watched the film in the first place. Anne Bancroft’s role in The Elephant Man made me feel similarly. She is one of the reasons why I chose to review the 1980 title. Like Peter Lawford, she appeared in the film for a short amount of time. However, I did like her acting performance! Portraying a stage actress named Mrs. Kendal, she brought a brightness to the story that was greatly needed. Her kind disposition is one of the reasons why I liked her interactions with John Merrick/ “The Elephant Man”. One of my favorite scenes is when Mrs. Kendal and John are reciting Romeo and Juliet. The way these actors conversed with one another helped create a genuinely sweet moment for both characters!

Speaking of John, I also liked John Hurt’s portrayal of the titular character! When it comes to historical figures or real-life people, it can, sometimes, be difficult to picture that person existing in the same world as us. That’s because we are, at times, so far removed from these individuals. With John’s performance, it made the realization of John Merrick’s/ “The Elephant Man’s” existence come alive. With the help of elaborate makeup, John was able to transform into another person. At the same time, he was able to bring the humanity out of his character. During the movie, John Merrick/ “The Elephant Man” builds a replica of a nearby cathedral. Even though this example is a simple one, it highlights John’s personality, as well as his desire to learn and dream.

Prior to re-watching The Elephant Man, I had seen some of Anthony Hopkins’ films. Out of the films I have seen, most of Anthony’s roles were a source of fear. For example, as I talked about in my review of Audrey Rose, his character seemed to have power over the situation. That’s because he carried the answers Ivy’s parents were desperately seeking. But in The Elephant Man, his character was not a source of fear. This gave Anthony different material to work with. While portraying Dr. Frederick Treves, he came across as charming. Frederick always had his heart in the right place, going to the ends of the earth for John Merrick/ “The Elephant Man”. But there was one scene when Frederick was angry for the right reasons. In that scene, he was truly scary, from angrily yelling to pushing someone across a room. However, this incident was meant to show how one’s suffering can cause another person to react.

The use of black-and-white imagery: Because this story takes place in the Victorian era, the creative team chose to present their project in black-and-white imagery. I found this to be an interesting choice, especially since the film was created during a time when color cinematic imagery was available. Whenever illustrations or pictures from the Victorian period are shown, they are typically in black-and-white. Therefore, the imagery gave the illusion of these illustrations and pictures coming to life. This creative choice allowed the audience to be transported back to that time. To me, I found the overall project immersive, thanks in part to the black-and-white imagery!

The cinematography: Another area of interest was the movie’s cinematography! At times, the camera was positioned as if the view is from John Merrick’s/ “The Elephant Man’s” perspective. When John first goes to Frederick’s office, he stands in a corner of the room. As Frederick is entering his office, the scene is presented from John’s corner, as if John himself is holding the camera. When it came to the cinematography, creative decisions were found. As John is entering the hospital for the first time, Frederick meets him at the front desk. During this interaction, a long shot looking down on John shows him walking around the front desk. This was an interesting way of presenting this scene, shown in a way I never would have considered.

Anne Bancroft: A 90th Birthday Celebration blogathon banner created by Crystal from In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lots of establishing shots: Throughout the film, establishing shots built up to certain parts of the story. However, the abundance of these shots felt more like padding. A good example is when Frederick is on his way to see John/ “The Elephant Man” for the first time. Before Frederick arrives at his destination, scenes of him walking down streets and alleys are shown. But instead of the three or four establishing shots presented, there should have been only one. If some of these shots were cut, the movie would have a run-time of less than two hours.

Prolonging John’s/ “The Elephant Man’s” appearance: As the title suggests, The Elephant Man revolves around John Merrick/ The Elephant Man. The film is also based on an article titled The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity by Ashley Montagu. With all that said, it appears the creative team tried to emphasize the idea of someone having different life experiences or medical conditions than ourselves. But instead of normalizing John’s appearance by showing him on-screen sooner, John’s presence was prolonged for the first thirty minutes of the movie. During that time, John was either shown very briefly or his appearance was hidden. One example is during a medical presentation, where only John’s shadow could be seen. Even the movie’s poster features John covered up by a mask and cape. These creative choices went against the team’s good intentions.

Missed opportunity for a mystery: While John is having tea at Frederick and Ann’s house, he mentions how he’d like to find his mother and meet her. As soon as John said this, I thought Frederick was going to solve the case. Sadly, this part of the story never came to fruition. This disappointed me because omitting this mystery felt like a missed opportunity. At the same time, I can understand why this mystery was, simply, a passing comment. As I mentioned before, The Elephant Man revolves around the true story of John Merrick/ The Elephant Man. If little to no information is known about his mother, then it wouldn’t be faithful to make up details for the sake of intrigue.

Theater seats image created by weatherbox at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/weatherbox.”

My overall impression:

In The Elephant Man, Mrs. Kendal tells John “the theater is the most beautiful place”. While the theater, both on screen and stage, can be beautiful, it can also be quite ugly. Throughout the 1980 film, the script presents both ugly and beautiful moments in John’s life. The story is told in a way that I’d refer to as a “slow burn”. Even though this movie is based on a true story, it is a character driven narrative. It is also presented in an interesting way. I’m glad I gave this film a second chance! Because of my choice, I got to see familiar actors take on different roles. I also got to see more films from the 1980s. Looking back, I realize both films I re-visited, The Elephant Man and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World, were because I reviewed them for a blogathon. It will be interesting to see what film I plan to re-visit next.

Overall score: 7.4-7.5 out of 10

Have you seen The Elephant Man? Did you re-visit a film recently? Please tell me in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

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.

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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