When Calls the Heart, Season 1: Episode 7 Review: Second Chances
There you are! I’ve been waiting for you; you’re just in time! The tea is on and so is the coffee, so take your pick and have a seat. It’s that time again… for our little chat. This episode’s question: Have you ever made a mistake, but you don’t know how to fix it…but you wish you could go back and fix it somehow? Or you don’t know how to go about doing something that you really want to do so you fumble at it, and even maybe make a fool of yourself in the process?
There’s no need to raise any hands here, but I think we’ve all been there in some way or another. Let’s face it, our favorite Mountie (Daniel Lissing)… he sure fumbled quite a few times already! In the last two episodes he was really unsure of himself, and even made a few mistakes that he ended up apologizing for. So let’s see how he fixes it.
Also something new is on the horizon for Coal Valley, in fact a few things are! Abigail (Lori Loughlin) has a big decision to make, and the only surviving miner from the accident will be home soon! This episode also shows some struggles within the Coal Valley residents [personally this happens to be one of my favorite episodes because it shows the struggle of dyslexia, something I personally struggle with]. Bo needs to choose… the mine or education?
As we begin our day in Coal Valley it is in the early morning, and we see the school children doing their reading lesson. We hear James Fermont (Darius Zaviceanu) taunt Bo Grady (Connor Stanhope) as he struggles to read the words of his reader. Miss Thatcher (Erin Krakow) goes over to see what is going on between the two boys and and gently, but firmly, puts James in his place and informs Bo that he no longer has to read aloud in the group reading session. [My heart broke when I saw this opening sequence, because 1900’s or not - it’s an all too familiar scene that is still played out in schools today.The fear and humiliation on Bo’s face felt like I was looking back in the mirror at my past self. Connor Stanhope does a phenomenal job at portraying his character as well as the struggle Bo Grady goes through throughout this episode. We must commend Connor Stanhope on his awards, as well as his nominations that he has received for this show and this particular role. Congratulations!]
After school Elizabeth is grading papers when a somewhat reluctant Jack brings in a trunk delivery to her. She then explains to Jack that she has requested some materials about word blindness so that she may help a student. It is also at this time that Elizabeth tries to reach out and apologize for her actions during the time that Billy was in town. Jack tries to tell her that there is no need for an apology, but instead of doing it politely he ends up insulting her again, and the poor Mountie walks away stunned by his own words, not at all sure what else to do.
Later we see Elizabeth and Abigail at the Stanton house where a frustrated Elizabeth discusses her encounter with Mountie Jack, but what she doesn’t understand is why he is taking such an interest in her love life when he has made it so clear he does not want a wife. Abigail, being as polite as she is, gives her a motherly glance, smile and a nod showing us that she doesn’t quite believe what Mountie Jack is saying and neither should Elizabeth. The whole time they’re having this conversation Elizabeth has been munching on baked goods that Abigail has set out on the table. She then makes the remark to Abigail that these are the best baked goods she has ever had out of everything she’s tasted - even with all the best cooks she has been exposed to in her life back at Cape Hamilton.
Late that same night we see Elizabeth arrive at Bo Grady’s home where she asks his parents permission to let Bo take a test, to see how she can help him. We find Mrs. Grady very willing; Mr Grady on the other hand makes his feelings very clear and says his son can take the test, but this is a mining town, and Bo doesn’t need to read in order to work in a mine. It is after this conversation with both parents that Elizabeth notices the 3D model airplanes hanging around Bo’s room. She asks him how he makes them, and he says he just sees pictures of the planes and then builds them from his mind. She is impressed by this ability and told him so.
It is very late at night when we see Abigail walking down a quiet Main Street with nothing but a lantern as she peers into the window of a dirty old, broken down building. She is startled by Jack, who’s coming into town as he inquires what she is looking at. She explained to him that it was once a cafe that Gowen (Martin Cummins) has now shut down. Jack asks Abigail a question in the way of an analogy [which, by the way, is rather hilarious! Kudos to the writing staff on this one!] You have to see it to believe it! Jack is asking Abigail why Elizabeth is so angry when he saves her from Billy’s scams. But there again he fumbles with this question, in true Jack fashion, but that’s what we like about him… right? Abigail offers an answer by telling him that maybe he should approach Elizabeth as a man rather than a protector .
What seems to be that very same night, we see Elizabeth in the saloon doing some studying when she is approached by Jack who is wearing plain clothes. Jack tells her he misses their friendship since he is moved out of the saloon and into the jail [makes a person wonder… how much time does Elizabeth spend in the saloon…], and he attempts to ask her out. This attempt was not thought through very well as again, in Jack fashion, he stumbles with his words and his thoughts. Annoyed, Elizabeth shoots him down but then feels guilty and asks for his help with a student and agrees to share a bowl of chili with him. He accepts.
Not long after this, we see Abigail in Gowen’s office pitching him the idea of a cafe. They go back and forth as they try to strike a deal. Soon he offers her a deal with them splitting the profits 50/50, plus she has to give up her row house and live above the cafe. He gives her a week to think about it.
The next evening we see Jack back in the saloon greeting Elizabeth as he sits down to take the practice test that she is going to give Bo. [The exchange during this scene is not only comical but very telling about the relationship between the two of them. It shows what Jack is willing to do to get back in Elizabeth’s good graces. To me, it also shows that Elizabeth is trying to see how far she can push him, and what her limits are in their friendship/relationship.] She continues to tell him that he needs to follow the simple instructions and shakes her head no every time he does something wrong, along with an indescribable frustrated facial expression of hers that Elizabeth is known for during this entire series.
The next morning Jack is called to a miners home to get a birds nest out of the chimney. This is the Miller’s home. Adam Miller is the only miner that survived the tragedy at the beginning of the series. Jolene (Lilah Fitzgerald) is reading to her younger sister and the last line of her reader says, “And when she saw his wooden leg, she began to take it off.” Could this be a foreshadowing moment of what is to come? Guess we will have to wait and see… Adam will soon be coming home, as his daughters excitedly announced to Mountie Jack. After talking with Adam’s wife, Laurel (Christine Chatelain), Jack realizes that he wants to apologize to Elizabeth for his missteps in their arguments as of late. Jack goes right over to Stanton house and does just that, as well as ask for a second chance at their date. Elizabeth stands there with a stunned smile on her face.
Without seeing the scene of Bo taking the specialized test, Elizabeth tells Bo of his test scores and the name of his condition: word blindness. She then goes further to tell Matilda Grady (Jennifer Copping) and her son what she can do to help and asks him what his aspirations are for the future. Mr. Grady (Alex Zahara) comes home to see Connor working on reading exercises and gives Miss Thatcher an ultimatum by saying if Bo can’t read by the end of a week, he will be going to work in the mines.
At school the next day, Bo’s frustration is shown when he watches other kids much younger than him read easily from their readers.
Late that night Elizabeth goes to Jack’s office worried about Abigail - who’s been coming in and out at all hours, being very secretive and seeming depressed. Abigail has yet to come home for that day. Jack assures Elizabeth that Abigail is fine, and he knows right where to find her. Elizabeth is covered with a shawl, yet Jack grabs a heavy coat. He brings Elizabeth over to the broken down cafe that Abigail has been secretly working to clean up. Jack leaves, and Elizabeth wakes Abigail - who has fallen asleep on the table. Abigail then reveals the deal Gowen has placed in front of her and why she decided to even try and move forward, wanting something for herself and to start a new chapter in her life after her husband and son passed away. Elizabeth then sees the fun shaped dough that was supposed to be made into cookies for the school children before Abigail had fallen asleep. This gives Elizabeth an idea for her student, Bo, who sees better with shapes. She asks Abigail for her remaining dough. [One has to wonder who cooked the letter-shaped cookies? It obviously wasn’t Elizabeth - they weren’t burnt!]
Early the next morning Miss Thatcher is disheartened to see Bo walking down the row-house road with the miners toward the mine. When she tells him of her plan and shows him the dough models that she has made for him out of letters, he says he does not understand what she means, and that he has made his decision. [I understand where this character is coming from. There are moments that you do want to give up, and you do get frustrated in your day to day life when you have dyslexia. Maybe not so much these days, but I’m sure back then it was ten times worse. I know with me, numbers are my biggest frustration. Some days it’s just easier to ask somebody else to figure out the numbers, or wait to read it when I know I can take my time; then I do just fine.]
Across town, Abigail signed the row house over to Gowen and took possession of the cafe with Gowen warning that an eatery will never work in “this” town. She is welcomed into her new cafe with raindrops coming through her ceiling.
Bo comes home from the mine to find a surprise from Miss Thatcher. She has left the basket of dough letters on his front porch. [It was raining all day, so it would be interesting to know how they did not get ruined by the rain while sitting on the mud splattered porch..?] In return, the next morning Elizabeth wakes up to find the letters arranged on her front porch in a sentence.
That same morning we find Abigail baking for the first time in the cafe when she is interrupted by one of the school children, Miles Montgomery (Logan Williams), asking if she has any cookies for sale. When she gives him one “on the house” the little boy politely warns her that he hopes she has plenty more… because there is a long line outside. Abigail then looks outside after the little boy runs off and is astonished to see a line almost as long as Main Street!
Later on we see Elizabeth back at the Grady home where Bo is handed a reader by Miss Thatcher. He then reads aloud to his mother and father for the first time.
As Elizabeth leaves the Grady home, she follows the school children and finds Abigail on Main Street helping a long line of people that are waiting to be served her baked goods. She then tells Elizabeth that she has made the deal with Gowen. Jack approaches them, and then he and Elizabeth continue to walk down the street as they talk about how they both now feel they have reasons to stay in Coal Valley. They also speak about things to come, including when Adam Miller, the only surviving miner from the accident, will be coming home in the next few days. This is when Jack also teases Elizabeth and says she has yet to take his test- just as he took hers.
In the evening, we see them in the saloon where Jack is grading a typed test as Elizabeth anxiously awaits her scores. He hints that she did poorly, but she does not believe him. While pleading for the test, Elizabeth stands up to grab it, and they gain the attention of all the miners in the room. She quickly gains her composure and sits back down calmly as Jack laughs and hands her the test.
As a new chapter opens up for Abigail’s life, we wonder what the next chapter holds for Adam, the injured miner, and his family as he comes home. One can’t help but be curious about these flirtations between Miss Thatcher and Jack Thornton. What’s to come of these things? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
Here’s my question to you for this review: If you were in Bo’s mother’s position, knowing the time period, would you go against your husband’s wishes and say it was okay for Miss Thatcher to start working with your son?
Written by Amy J. Falk
Fans of Believe Pictures Productions
Where you can find Amy:
Director Neill Fearnley
Writers Janette Oke (Novel) | Kim Beyer-Johnson
Producers Greg Malcolm | Vicki Sotheran
Composer John Sereda
Cinematographer Michael Balfry
Editor Bridget Durnford
Production Designer Brendan Harron