Grade “A” Television That Touches the Heart
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Hallmark Channel original television series When Calls the Heart, so I might have squealed when I returned home from a vacation to find this DVD in my mail! Because this is such a high-quality show that — to paraphrase Michael Landon, Jr. — you can watch and be uplifted by rather than hardened by, we proudly call ourselves Hearties in my household.
As I’ve talked about in previous reviews, one of the strengths of When Calls the Heart is its strong ensemble cast. In previous episodes, Coal Valley and its inhabitants have allowed us a glimpse into their lives. And in so doing, they’ve begun to occupy a special space in our hearts. But what makes this particular pair of episodes special is that we finally get the chance to spend extended time with our principal characters, Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) and Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing). The pair are usually kept pretty busy with their respective jobs as school teacher and Mountie, so we’ve previously only been able to witness their banter and exchanges in small pieces. The writers have seemingly enjoyed teasing us with humorous interactions or flirty quips. Here, we’re finally rewarded with a bonafide date. Jack makes good on his dinner invitation, and this time it won’t take place in the saloon. Instead, he has enlisted the help of Abigail and some of the school kids to create a romantic and intimate after-hours meal in Abigail’s cafe.
It wouldn’t be proper television or true to life without a little drama. In this case, there are a couple of elements that add dramatic tension. First, just as Jack and Elizabeth seem to be moving along peacefully into courtship and romance, Jack is met by another man in red serge. It turns our Mountie had forgotten all about a telegram he sent a while back demanding a job transfer. Of course, since sending that hasty missive following his bumpy introduction to Coal Valley’s new schoolteacher, he’s had a “change of heart” as the title suggests. Will Jack and Elizabeth’s love be derailed just as the train is departing the station? And in case that’s not enough excitement for you, the new Mountie has come to town escorting a certain aristocratic young women named Julie Thatcher. That’s right, Elizabeth’s little sister has come for a visit! And boy does she have a flair for the dramatic. Influenced by her reading of fairy tales and romance novels, Julie views the world through a romanticized lens, with airy notions and dreamy thoughts of love rather than the more realistic picture of life that Elizabeth has come to see and learn first hand (Billy Hamilton) during her time in Coal Valley. In this episode, Julie learns the dangers inherent in misplaced trust and in keeping secrets. But will she learn her lesson without first endangering not only herself but others?
Once again, as in other installments, the residents of Coal Valley show resiliency, resourcefulness, and heroism. Abigail continues to stalwartly deal with Henry Gowen, who day-by-day finds new ways of being villainously creepy. Meanwhile, as far as heroics are concerned, Constable Thornton never disappoints. You’ll be pleased to see the crafty solution he employs to outwit this week’s bad guys! And last but not least, Elizabeth Thatcher shows us that there is a hero inside us all.
Thematically, the paired episodes in this feature-length DVD explore issues like love and trust, dreams, faith, family, hard work, determination, and friendship. We are witness to characters, sometimes from different generations, learning from and sharing wisdom with one another. Just as Jack gains perspective from some older Mounties concerning life’s priorities, he also finds that sometimes even young men like Gabe can teach him a thing or two about following one’s heart.
I could speak endlessly about how much I adore When Calls the Heart! If you have not yet given the show a peek, please don’t delay any longer. Go to iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, or any other place you go for television and have a look. Better yet, order one of the DVDs that I’ve reviewed, set aside an uninterrupted block of time, gather a friend or family member, and make a special night of it. I guarantee you’ll not be disappointed!
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. Grade “A” Television That Touches the Heart.
When Calls The Heart: Change of Heart continues the standard of excellence set by the writers, cast, and crew in the shows leading up to this episode. If there’s a not-to-be-missed pair of episodes from season one, these would certainly be it!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the above DVD for free from Edify Media in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”