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.

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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

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Timelier Than Ever

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 19th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actor of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actress poll will be re-posted on the 20th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Now it’s time to choose the Best Actor of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

As I mentioned in last week’s Word on the Street story, the Coronavirus has heavily impacted the world. This has caused several movies and television shows to be postponed or delayed, including upcoming projects from Hallmark. While When Calls the Heart’s seventh season went into production last year, I highly doubt Hallmark knew how timely this episode would become. As I was watching it, I couldn’t help noticing the parallels between Hope Valley’s chickenpox outbreak and the current Coronavirus outbreak. There are definitely differences between these events, such as the Mercantile not running out of supplies. But the same ideas were found in the script, such as cancelling school and keeping a safe distance from those infected. Whenever a television show responds to a national or international crisis, an episode will be dedicated to the event after it has occurred. One example is when the ‘80s sitcom, Punky Brewster, created an episode around the Challenger disaster. In When Calls the Heart’s case, it’s very rare when a show’s episode arrives at the exact time and place when a real-life situation is happening. While I don’t think this episode was meant to reflect the world’s current medical situation, it does provide the show with a sense of relatability.

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 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: 4

Name: Sweet and Sour

 

Major Story:

At the beginning of the episode, it is revealed that Opal has contracted chickenpox. When Elizabeth asks her class who has had chickenpox before, she discovers only one student has: Ally. This causes Elizabeth to cancel school until Opal’s illness has been cured. Because of Opal’s chickenpox diagnosis, an outbreak of the sickness takes place in Hope Valley. Other people find themselves with the illness, including Rosemary, who claims to have never had chickenpox before. Nathan and Lucas volunteer to warn elderly citizens and neighboring towns about the outbreak. Meanwhile, Elizabeth delivers homework to her students and does whatever she can to help Rosemary. She also tries her best to keep her son away from anyone infected with chickenpox. One night, while delivering soup to Rosemary, Elizabeth discovers that Rosemary has a dangerously high fever. Lee and Elizabeth, as well as Carson and Faith, respond immediately in an effort to bring the fever down. After applying “submersion therapy” and using any trick they know of to combat the fever, Rosemary pulls through and beats the illness. Another piece of good news is Faith won’t have to miss medical school due to the chickenpox outbreak. When Carson and Faith are finished taking care of Rosemary, Carson shares with her that if she left for Chicago the following day, she would arrive just in time to start classes. The next day, as Rosemary recovers from her illness, Faith leaves Hope Valley in pursuit of her medical dreams.

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Minor Stories:

A man named Sean comes to Hope Valley in an effort to sue Henry. He claims that Henry lied about the quality of the oil at his petroleum plant. Henry and his silent partner, Lucas, deny this allegation. As Bill starts the process to have this case go to trial, Lucas requests a jury be present. Bill not only agrees to recruit a jury, but he also tells Henry and Lucas they have twenty-four hours to gather evidence to support their claim. After this meeting, Henry approaches Nathan and asks him for help with the case. Nathan agrees and takes a trip to Sean’s oil Refinery. Later in the episode, Nathan meets Cornell, the person who oversees operations at the oil Refinery. Nathan learns that Cornell had his own petroleum plant, but he had to sell it to Sean around the time Henry started his petroleum plant. After this introduction, Nathan takes a look around the facility. He meets Cornell’s son, Danny, who is seen collecting oil. Danny explains to Nathan that the oil is tested in a lab, where its quality is determined. When all of this information is collected, Nathan confronts Cornell and Danny about the case. Cornell confesses that he tampered with the oil samples from Henry’s plant. As he’s talking with Cornell and Danny, Nathan discovers that Danny was the one who tampered with the samples. The next day, Nathan shares this information with Bill, Henry, and Sean. Sean vows to fire Cornell and apologizes with Henry. Henry forgives Sean and chooses not to press charges against him.

 

Because of Lucas’ request, Bill spends the majority of the episode recruiting people for the jury. When Mollie and Florence find out about the jury, they volunteer to play their part. Bill informs them that jury members don’t volunteer for this duty. Bill successfully recruits Clara for the case’s jury. When Jesse asks why he can’t be on the jury, Bill tells Jesse that he might not be unbiased toward the case because he sued Henry before. Ned becomes another successful recruit in Bill’s attempt to form a jury. Eventually, Bill finds enough people to be candidates for the jury. He asks these candidates a series of questions to determine the right people for the job. A select handful of these people are chosen for the jury and are told by Bill to arrive at 9:00 in the morning. When the day of the trial arrives, every member of the jury shows up at the scheduled time. As they get to Bill’s office, Bill tells them that there’s no need for a trial because the case had already been resolved. Disappointed, the members of the jury return home.

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Some thoughts to consider:

  • I understand that the story-line about Henry getting sued was meant to give the audience a break from the stressful nature of Hope Valley’s chickenpox outbreak. However, I wish the episode would have just focused on the chickenpox situation. When I first read the synopsis for this episode, I expected to see how an illness outbreak could affect various people, similar to how grief affected the people of Hope Valley in the season five finale. While I still think this was a very timely episode, some aspects felt rushed because the main plot had to share time with the subplots.

 

  • Even though the commercial for this episode made it seem like Rosemary’s situation contained uncertainty, I knew that Rosemary was going to be fine. Hallmark’s programming usually shows characters finding solutions to their problems. Also, the creative team behind When Calls the Heart experienced a lot of backlash after Jack’s death. Because of these facts and because Rosemary is one of the most popular characters on the show, I didn’t think that anything unfortunate was going to happen to her.

 

  • In the scene when Elizabeth discovers Opal has chickenpox, Ally’s reactions were hilarious! What made them work was the believability that Jaeda brought to her role. Even though she has only appeared on the show for about a season and a half, Ally’s incorporation into the overall story has been one of the best things to happen to When Calls the Heart!

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.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Do you think the citizens of Hope Valley handled their medical situation well? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: The Company We Keep

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 12th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The Best Actor poll will be posted on the 13th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

Let’s Choose the Best Actress of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

In her opening monologue, Elizabeth says that in life’s journey, the most important aspect is the company we, the travelers, keep. Similar to season seven’s first episode, I thought about how Elizabeth’s words connect with the show. What I love about When Calls the Heart is how the overall story doesn’t focus on just one character. Since 2014, the audience has been introduced to a variety of characters, each of them serving a specific purpose. Some of these characters have remained on the show, while others have left after a short period of time. But no matter what their status is, each character has held a great importance to someone. As I write this re-cap, I wonder if this is one of the reasons why When Calls the Heart has lasted this long on television?

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 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: 3

Name: Family Matters

 

Major Stories:

At the beginning of the episode, Archie is still in jail and under suspicion of theft. One Sunday, after Mass, Nathan asks Bill if he’ll question Archie. He says that questioning his own father would be too difficult for him. After hearing this, Bill agrees. When he questions Archie, Bill learns that a debt was owed to Archie by a man named Donnie. Archie reveals that this debt was paid after he had gotten out of prison. After the interview, Bill tells Nathan what Archie told him. Not satisfied with what he heard, Nathan travels to Benson Hill to learn what his fellow Mounties had discovered. At a local hotel, a Mountie tells Nathan that a witness claims to have seen Archie leaving the room that contained the stolen necklace. But, when Nathan asks the concierge if Archie had checked in, the concierge tells him that his father was given a room on the second floor. The fellow Mountie shares that the robbery took place on the third floor. Remembering what Bill had told him, Nathan asks to look at Donnie’s file. As he’s reading it, he notices that Donny has a known alias. When Nathan questions the concierge if anyone with the alias’ name had checked into the hotel, the concierge reveals that a person with that name was given a room on the third floor. After this discovery, Nathan tries to track down Donnie’s whereabouts. He eventually finds Donnie in a nearby forest. As Nathan is searching his bag, he finds the stolen necklace. This information is able to put Donnie back in jail and clear Archie’s name.

 

Ally is upset about Archie’s recent arrest. Because of this, she decides to run away to Elizabeth’s house. While Ally leaves for Mass with the Coulters, Elizabeth visits Nathan at the Mountie office. She tells him that Ally has run away to her house. When Nathan says that Ally might be overreacting, Elizabeth reveals that Ally’s suitcase contained all her belongings, indicating that Ally’s decision was legitimate. After Mass, Nathan tells Ally that running away from home was a bad idea. Ally says that she’ll come back home when she’s allowed to see her grandfather. Nathan refuses, so Ally continues to stay with Elizabeth. In the evening, as Ally is drawing a picture of her former house, she tells Elizabeth that the reason why she wants to see her grandfather is to learn more about her mother. Elizabeth reminds her that Nathan does have her best interests in mind. The next day, at school, Elizabeth discovers that Ally has gone missing. When Opal refuses to share Ally’s whereabouts with Elizabeth, Elizabeth realizes where her student went. A trip to the Mountie office later, Elizabeth finds Ally having a conversation with her grandfather. Upset with Ally’s defiance, Elizabeth reminds her of the aforementioned rule that she and Nathan had put in place. Ally then shares her concerns about her small family, saying that her grandfather is one of the only family members she has left. Toward the end of the episode, after Archie is found innocent, Archie leaves Hope Valley to take advantage of a new job opportunity. Before he leaves, Archie gives Ally a letter containing stories about her mother. Archie promises to share more stories through a series of letters.

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Envelope with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hearts-and-pink-envelope-for-mothers-day_1950691.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/love”>Love image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Minor Stories:

Jesse and Clara continue to plan their wedding. Before Mass, Jesse asks his friend, Kevin, if he’d like to be a groomsman. Because he has never stood up in a wedding before, Kevin agrees. After learning this news, Clara is disappointed that the wedding party will not be an even number. So, the next day, she and Rosemary ask Elizabeth if she’ll be a bridesmaid. After Elizabeth accepts the position, Clara feels that the wedding party is now an even number. Over the course of the episode, Clara and Jesse ask some of Hope Valley’s residents if they’d like to play a role in their wedding. In an effort to help, Fiona shares some bridal magazines with Clara and offers to give wedding advice. Fiona says that she has stood up in several weddings, so she feels that her knowledge could be of use to Clara. This causes Clara to ask Fiona if she’d like to be a bridesmaid. After Fiona accepts this role, Jesse and Clara talk about how the number of people that attend the wedding doesn’t matter, it’s the people themselves that matter. At the end of the episode, Clara tells Bill that he’ll be walking her down the aisle. This is a relief to Bill, especially since he was worried about being left out of the wedding ceremony.

 

Faith is still contemplating the idea of medical school. One day, she receives a phone call from the president of the medical school in Union City. He tells Faith that, because of her academic record, she only has to take two classes in order to be eligible for medical training. However, in those classes, there won’t be an opening until next year. Feeling defeated, Faith thinks that it might be a better idea to wait a year. Later in the episode, Faith receives another phone call from the medical school president. He reveals that an opening for the two aforementioned classes is available at a medical school in Chicago. These classes will begin the following week. As Faith is still figuring out what to do, Carson gives her the medical book he used in school. After he claims the book brought him luck, Faith decides to attend the school in Chicago.

 

Elizabeth has finished some chapters of her novel. She gives them to Lucas so he can provide feedback. After he reads these chapters, Lucas tells Elizabeth that he enjoyed her work. According to him, the characters are strong, yet vulnerable. One character in particular has caught Lucas’ curiosity. He believes that this character, Luther Brant, could be based on him. When Lucas questions Elizabeth about her inspiration, she claims she made the character up. Several days later, Lucas meets up with Elizabeth at the Mercantile. He tells her that while he was reading her literary work, he learned that Luther was a widower with a daughter. Elizabeth tells him that he shouldn’t focus so much on who the characters are based on, especially since her story is a work of fiction.

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Wedding schedule image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by Freepik</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/welcome-to-the-wedding_831989.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found on freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • While some of Hope Valley’s residents were given roles in Jesse and Clara’s wedding, I honestly thought that Bill would end up officiating the ceremony. I was expecting a conflict where the pastor couldn’t come to the wedding, so Bill would have to take his place. But the idea of Bill walking Clara down the aisle came as a pleasant surprise. When Clara told Bill he was the closest person to a father she’s ever had, I found myself getting teary-eyed. Once again, the writers of When Calls the Heart are doing a good job at subverting my expectations!

 

  • During the episode, Fiona approaches Kevin and asks him to fix her telephone station. Throughout this part of the story, they end up helping one another. When Kevin delivers the tools for the telephone station, Fiona provides Kevin with an explanation of what’s expected of a groomsman. Their interactions make me wonder if they’ll start dating by the end of this season?

 

  • In a Word on the Street story from last November, when I talked about the synopsis for When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I said that Elizabeth has seemed more self-centered and entitled than in previous seasons. I also said that the show was slowly becoming “The Elizabeth Thornton Show”. So far, Elizabeth seems less entitled than she did in season six! What helps is how she’s put her time and energy into writing a book. Providing the other characters with equally interesting stories also solves this problem. I really hope this change can continue in season seven!

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.

What are your thoughts on this episode? Are you looking forward to Jesse and Clara’s wedding? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen

Sunset Over Hope Valley: Complications May Vary

Before I start this When Calls the Heart re-cap, I want to remind everyone that Thursday, March 5th, is the last day to cast vote in the fourth poll of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The fifth poll will be posted on the 6th! Here is the link to the poll:

 

It’s time for the fourth poll of the 2020 Gold Sally Awards!

 

Life isn’t easy: plans can go awry and situations happen. Because of the complications that may appear, life can seem too overwhelming and out of our control. There are times, however, when some of these complications can be broken down into simpler concepts. That way, they have the potential to become easier to solve and manage. On When Calls the Heart, life isn’t about things always working in the characters’ favor or being care-free all the time. Moments of joy and peace can be found on this show. But it doesn’t shy away from dealing with problems the characters may face. Instead, the creative team tries to break these problems down in order for the characters to deal with them in a short amount of time. This episode of When Calls the Heart is a perfect example of this, with the citizens of Hope Valley trying to find solutions that benefit everyone involved. Maybe that’s why the town is called “Hope Valley”, as the idea of “hope” can help someone tackle whatever issue they’re facing.

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 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: 2

Name: The Heart of a Father

 

Major Stories:

 

As another school day ends, Ally asks some of her classmates if they’d like to attend a sleepover at her house. With the weekend just around the corner, Ally thinks this will be a great way to make friends. After school, Ally asks Nathan if she could host a sleepover at their house over the weekend, in which Nathan tells her yes. Later that day, Ally is at the Mercantile, searching for the perfect treat to serve to her guests. When Ally shares her concerns with Elizabeth, who also happens to be at the Mercantile, Elizabeth suggests that making cupcakes would make a good activity at the sleepover. After Ally and Elizabeth makes their purchases, they cross paths with a man named Archie Grant. While interacting with them, he introduces himself as Ally’s grandfather. Nathan quickly appears and pulls Archie away from the conversation, telling Ally to go home. At the Mountie office, Archie shares that he was recently released from prison and contacted Mountie headquarters in order to learn about Nathan and Ally’s whereabouts. Archie shares with Nathan that while he was in prison, he learned about his daughter’s death and about his wife ending their relationship so she could start a new life. Even though Archie tells him he has changed his ways, Nathan tells him to leave Hope Valley. Meanwhile, Ally struggles with expressing her feelings about wanting to meet her grandfather. When she tells Elizabeth how she feels, Elizabeth says that Ally should write down her thoughts in a journal. The next day, Ally reveals to Elizabeth that she ended up writing a list of the reasons why she should meet her grandfather. After Elizabeth helps her edit the list, Ally then reads it to Nathan at the Mountie office. Nathan says that he doesn’t want to see her get disappointed by Archie and his troubling choices. Ally, however, tells Nathan that he has nothing to worry about because he’ll be there to protect her. Even though he has been avoiding Archie for the majority of the episode and having reservations against him for destroying his family, Nathan asks Archie if he’d join him and Ally at the town’s barbecue. Archie agrees to attend the event with them. At the barbecue, Archie and Ally have a discussion about Ally’s mother. But just as everything seems fine, Nathan arrests Archie under the suspicion of theft. Prior to the arrest, Nathan received a phone call from a neighboring town. In this call, it was said that Archie had stolen a diamond necklace.

 

After eating a meal at the saloon, Ned is experiencing stomach pain. He tells Florence that he thinks the pain is the result of something he ate. When Florence shares with Molly what Ned told her, a rumor quickly spreads that the food at the saloon caused Ned to be sick. This rumor hurts Lucas’ business, as he is unable to make money from food purchases. Later in the episode, another rumor spreads that the food at the café caused Ned to become sick. Like the saloon, the café suffers financially because of this word of mouth. The aforementioned stomach problems continue to bother Ned. This causes him to pay Faith a visit at the Infirmary. Based on Ned’s symptoms, Faith thinks that Ned could be suffering from a gastric ulcer. Since Carson is out of town that day, she suggests that Ned drink cabbage juice for the time being. When Carson does return to Hope Valley, he looks into Ned’s medical situation. Just as Faith had speculated, Ned is indeed suffering from a gastric ulcer. When this news is revealed, Lucas and Bill try to figure out a way to save face with their businesses. They agree to host a barbecue where all of Hope Valley’s citizens would be invited. In order to advertise the event, Lucas and Bill recruit Florence to help them hand out flyers in person. They make this decision to help Florence learn from her mistakes. Meanwhile, Carson is impressed with Faith’s medical knowledge. After Faith shares with Carson that she had always wanted to become a doctor, Carson says that he believes she has met most of the requirements for medical school. He even tells her that he can find a way to make the Infirmary an official teaching practice where he can mentor Faith. At the end of the episode, Faith tells Carson that she’ll look into the offer.

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Minor Story:

Jesse and Clara continue to plan their wedding. However, these plans are not met with a warm reception. When Clara tells Rosemary that she wants to host an outdoor wedding, Rosemary tries to persuade her away from that decision. Even when Jesse suggests the pond as a part of the wedding background, Rosemary gives him reasons why that’s not a good idea. Even Lee finds himself giving the couple unwarranted advice. At the saloon, Lee tells Jesse that he should tell Clara what she wants to hear from him. But when Jesse follows Lee’s advice at the barbecue, Clara realizes what happened and advises Jesse to tell her the truth. Throughout the episode, Rosemary feels like no one listens to what she has to say. While expressing her feelings to Clara and Elizabeth at the café, Elizabeth reminds her that some people are not seeking advice, but for someone who will listen to them. At the barbecue, Rosemary tells Clara that despite them not seeing eye to eye on wedding plans, she agrees to support Clara and Jesse’s decisions. Clara uses this opportunity to tell Rosemary that she’ll be designing her own wedding dress and to ask her if she’ll be her Maid of Honor. Rosemary agrees to stand up in the wedding. Meanwhile, Jesse asks Lee if he’ll be his Best Man. Like Rosemary, Lee agrees to stand up in the wedding.

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Some thoughts to consider:

  • In one scene, when Elizabeth is telling Rosemary how sad it is that Nathan’s father is estranged from his family, baby Jack can be seen frowning right after this statement is made. Because his facial expression was so on point with this conversation, this scene became funnier than was likely intended.

 

  • The creative team behind When Calls the Heart did a really good job showcasing how word of mouth and perception can affect any business. In today’s day and age, the inventions of social media and the internet can play a huge factor in a business’s success or failure. Despite the differences in technology, the lessons of honesty, good impressions, and leadership are still the same. This storyline was relatable without trying too hard to be that way.

 

  • In my review of When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas, I said that Jesse and Clara should have received their own storyline by getting married at Christmas-time. However, the more I hear about an outdoor wedding, the more I like the idea. Before Jesse and Clara got engaged, the two weddings that have taken place on the show were indoor ceremonies. While fans have never seen a Christmas wedding in Hope Valley, they’ve also never seen an outdoor wedding either. So, this would be a good way to change things up within the story!

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.

Are you looking forward to the next episode? What do you think will happen? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun in Hope Valley!

Sally Silverscreen