When Calls the Heart Season 2: Review of Episode 1, Part 1: Trials of the Heart
Hello everyone! Here we are again - a brand new, fresh season. I am excited to move back with all of you! Let me say the whole production season has been quite exciting. I would like to take a moment to thank the cast and crew of When Calls the Heart, Season 2. They have been absolutely fabulous on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook - answering my questions and even teaching me a thing or two about the world of filming. I am hoping to pass those tidbits along to you. So thank you everyone, that was greatly appreciated! So what do you say? Should we step into Coal Valley and see how the trial begins? Everybody find your seats. I think our show is about to begin…
It seems to be a somewhat wet and muddy day when we see Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) [I love the blouse she is wearing! Great choice wardrobe!] She is walking down Main Street towards Jack (Daniel Lissing), who is saddling his horse when Elizabeth is approached by some of the school children, including “Pockets” (Sean Michael Kyer) and Emily (Gracyn Shinyei). [May I just say how wonderful it is to see the Coal Valley children’s smiling faces once again! :-) I hope we get to see a lot more of them. They make the show so bright for me! Hey kids and parents did you get the bookmarks Fans of Believe Pictures sent to you back in February? We hope you like them! :-)] The children approach their teacher, and she asked them about their break. They asked her about when they will be able to be in the new school house, and she tells them as soon as the church is built.
This next part made me sit up a little straighter and pay more attention. Something was obviously different, and I couldn’t put my finger on it immediately. Ok, I do realize this is going to cause some tension in the ranks of our group, as well as the people on our website, but I have to be totally and completely honest in this article: from this point on it almost seems as if the mood of the Show has completely changed for me. Now I realize that Jack and Elizabeth kissed last season and things were going to change. I know things change. I’m a writer myself, but considering the time period we are supposed to be in, I found Jack and Elizabeth’s flirtatiousness with one another to be a little much before and during the horse riding lesson. Although I do have to say I’m glad that Elizabeth seems to know where she stands in relationship with Jack.
Gowen (Martin Cummins) was with a suspicious-looking judge at the end of the last scene. [We won’t get into that right now. I’ll let you watch the show. Let’s just say, I saw that one coming a mile away! I will talk about the judge a little later. By the way, thanks Martin Cummins for showing us what a “Call Sheet” looks like on Instagram. I’ve never seen one before - although I would like to see a whole one instead of just the corner, but I’m not complaining :-) It was fun trying to figure out what all the initials meant. In case you were wondering, I finally did get everything deciphered. :-)]
Later at Abigail’s Cafe, Abigail (Lori Loughlin) and Elizabeth discuss what Abigail found in Bill Avery’s (Jack Wagner) room: a wedding band and a picture of a woman and child. Abigail has not brought the topic up to Bill because of the upcoming trial. [Please note that you will notice I will not give as much detail about the actual show in this or any of the upcoming articles as I am trying not to give away too many spoilers, for those who have not seen the show!]
Soon after we see none other than the “Red Dragon.” She (Pascale Hutton) needs no introduction [rolling eyes]. I was hoping she’d be gone by now, for some reason or another, but who knows - maybe they’ll find some different mischief for her to get into. Only time will tell… For now though, it seems she is up to the same old tricks and being the same old Nosey-Rosey as she joins the widows on the platform while they wait for the stagecoach. [Does anyone else notice all the changes in town: railings, newly painted buildings, etc.? It all looks very nice, but very unexpected. Where did the town get the money to do all that with a trial going on? I give the crew a lot of credit for all the hard work they had to do on the set. Like I said, it looks awesome! It’s just there’s no explanation for it.] There are several widows standing on the stage-coach platform. [Ok, number one: since when did we have a stagecoach platform? And number two, does anybody else notice a key widow missing? No one mentions her either… Where is Cat Montgomery (Chelah Horsdall)? Before they even started filming, it was mentioned on Twitter that Cat would not return for the second season. Why? I’m not sure. Anyway, there is no reason given for her absence. I find that strange since Cat was one of the key players in the first season of When Calls the Heart. They should have at least given some short explanation somewhere in this episode, but nothing is said. ON a separate topic: I love the hair and makeup this season! One question though, isn’t it more custom for women to have their hair up back then rather than down?] We get some banter between Rosemary and Elizabeth - finally! Although, go figure, Rosemary gets the last word in. Hopefully that will change soon!
Shortly after, the prosecutor - Sam Madison (Laura Mennell) rides in on the stagecoach and will you look at that - she’s a woman! Although it’s unusual, [I agree with the widows] I think it’s awesome! I was glad they had cast her on When Calls the Heart. I happen to be a fan of hers! Guess who disagrees with me? It’s Florence (Loretta Walsh) and you’ll have to watch and see what she has to say. [I, myself, was surprised when the prosecutor stated that she graduated in the class of 1910 from Stanford. Isn’t that the year we are suppose to be in? So this means that she is a brand new prosecutor, right? If she is new, where and how did Elizabeth hear that she is the best? We’re only a few minutes into the show, and this is not the show I remember… So far I am highly disappointed. It reads more like a Hallmark show, which normally would be okay - if that’s what I was expecting, but I was expecting a Hallmark show in cooperation with Believe Pictures. I know technically this is, but it doesn’t have the same format, and it definitely doesn’t have the same feel as Season 1; but let’s continue…]
A few minutes later we are in Judge Parker’s (Serge Houde) quarters above the saloon. Here’s where we get to know the judge a little bit more [which I still won’t go into detail for those who have not seen the show. I will say this much. Were you really surprised to see him with Gowen? I know I wasn’t. And really, a snake in Judge Black’s (James Brolin) room? Do we really have to guess who did that? I don’t think so!] There is knock at Judge Parker’s door and Prosecutor Madison is on the other side requesting a continuance as she catches Judge Parker red handed; he appeared to be conspiring with the defendant. He does his best to cover his tracks by granting her 48 hours. She seems frustrated by this.
Not long after this, Sam meets the widows back at Abigail’s cafe. [I’m confused. Was this a planned meeting? They seem to be expecting her.] When Sam shows up at Abigail’s, she finds Florence still sounding off about her being a woman instead of a male prosecutor, but Elizabeth is sticking up for her… [Wait, not that I’m complaining, I do love this new Elizabeth; but this is only supposed to be a few days from where we left off in Season 1. I didn’t know a person could change that much over night! Elizabeth used to be so shy; indignant maybe, but not this bold. So where did this Elizabeth come from? Oh and here’s another renovation note: where did the pie case come from in Abigail’s Cafe? Like I mentioned earlier, kudos to the crew and set builders. Nice work. What seems to be forgotten is that these people didn’t even have enough money to build a church. How did they have money to do these kinds of renovations?]
Later that afternoon, Jack drops by with a tip - bringing some baked goods to the judge - and to see how things went with the prosecutor. Although Abigail and Elizabeth are concerned that his suggestion would be considered a bribe to the judge, they eventually agree that he is right and head to the saloon. [Is it just me or does Elizabeth look taller this season? Do they have her wearing heels under those skirts?]
At the saloon Gowen gives Avery a warning that in a small town like Coal Valley, his secret won’t stay a secret for long. [My first thought: I knew it! He’s married. He has a kid, and he’s a scoundrel! I think I even said that out loud to the television on premier night. My poor guests! Just another side note: everything in the room looks freshly stained and/or painted as well.] As Elizabeth, Abigail and Jack walk into the saloon, they notice that Judge Parker is again fraternizing with Gowen and his lawyer at the poker table. Abigail confronts him with the help of Avery, then leaves the saloon - lucky enough not to be held in contempt of court.
Outside Bill Avery confronts Abigail above her attitude towards him the last few days. She admits to him what she has seen in his living quarters: the photograph of a woman and child. He then told her the “truth” [and I’m going to put the word truth in quotes because let me tell you, I don’t believe it! All I can tell you is: this better not turn into a soap opera!]
Back at Abigail’s Cafe while Abigail takes the afternoon off with Bill, Elizabeth and Rosemary have decided to try and work together [try being the operative word]. Poor Jack gets stuck in the middle of all this. While there, Elizabeth gets word that her mother is severely ill and is being requested that she come home immediately.
That night Jack goes to Abigail’s to tell Elizabeth that he is going with her, to escort her home. He also tells her he’s going to take this time off to visit his brother. [Brother? What brother? This is the first time we’ve heard of any brother living in the city.] It is during this time we realize how distraught Elizabeth is as Jack tries to comfort her.
The next day we see Sam introduce Joseph Sweeney (Matthew Harrison) as a witness in their the case. She tells Abigail and Bill Avery that he is going to testify on their behalf, supposedly [and I say supposedly because the minute you see this man he looks antsy, the most disingenuous man you have ever seen at this point in the show!] After the introductions Abigail offers Mr. Sweeney a meal in payment for his testimony, and they head into the cafe to discuss the case. [This entire section seems offbeat and read from a script - line by line. This acting was definitely not the same caliber as last year’s, reminding me more of a 9th grade speech class.
Soon we find ourselves in Hamilton where we assume that Jack and Elizabeth have gotten off a train and are waiting at the train station for her father’s car. This is where they meet Regina, a childhood friend of Elizabeth. [Okay, I’m sorry, but for some reason she doesn’t come off as genuine either; and I’m not talking about her character. I realize their characters are supposed to be smug - it’s her acting. What is going on?! It just seems like these actors are reading directly from their scripts.] After the car pulls up to pick up Jack and Elizabeth, we see a woman come out onto the street from the train station and she stops when she sees a man reading a newspaper with the headline about the mining trial. This newspaper headline seems to affect her. Who is she? Why would the mining town disaster affect her so much? And why would a coal mine disaster be so important in a big city that it would be the headline in the newspaper?
We are brought back to Coal Valley where there are some familiar faces playing ball out on the street: Bo Brady (Connor Stanhope), Gabe Montgomery (Mitchell Kummen) and Wyatt Weaver (Ty Wood). [Hey boys, your clothing looks so new! Did your parents get new jobs? Gabe, where’s your mom? We haven’t seen her around town… that’s strange, especially with the trial coming up!]
Soon the boys are interrupted by the rumble of a motorcycle - something they have never seen before as a stranger rides into town. [Something tells me I’m not going to like him. I do, however, like his bike. Can I have a ride?] The stranger parks in front of the mercantile and introduces himself to Rosemary.
In Hamilton, Elizabeth introduces Jack to her sisters where Julie (Charlotte Hegel) blurts out Elizabeth’s secret about the kiss to their eldest sister, Viola (Devon Weigel) much to Jack’s irritation. Elizabeth quickly tries to recover from this by procuring Jack an invitation to their family dinner the next evening as she greets her father (Garwin Sanford). [I was very surprised to see Elizabeth’s father so cold. In the pilot movie for When Calls the Heart, before the TV series began, Elizabeth’s father was portrayed as a very warm and loving person who wanted the best for his daughter, but also wanted her to follow her dreams. This new version of her father, seems completely different and the opposite of what was previously portrayed. That is very sad. I feel he made Jack uncomfortable. You know he did this on purpose.] After the introductions are over, Jack goes to take his leave, but before he does so Elizabeth makes plans with him that afternoon. [They never say where they’re going. How will they know where to meet in town? Then there is the almost kiss right in front of the Thatcher home. Really? This makes me think of a modern day Hallmark movie! At this point it’s 1910. Jack would not try to kiss Elizabeth in front of her parents home unless his intentions of engagement had been made! I know, I know… you all want to see another kiss, but remember the era we are supposed to be in!]
After Jack leaves, Elizabeth checks in on her mother (Lynda Boyd). [She doesn’t look that sick to me, personally… but I guess time will tell. I’m saying this mostly because Mrs. Thatcher tells the girls to go shopping. If my mother was so ill that my father wanted me to come home straight away. She wouldn’t tell me to go shopping just after I just got home. Nor would my mother be planning a party for the next night either.] After some discussion, the girls plan a shopping trip as instructed and Viola scolds Elizabeth for not being home more often to take care of their mother.
Jack and Elizabeth meet in town. [I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, where and how did they figure out where to meet?] They are discussing the differences between the city and Coal Valley when Jack teases her about not being able to afford her horse riding lessons and that it may cost her another kiss. [Ok, I’m going to stop you again right here. This is another example of a modern day movie. Jack and Elizabeth are not officially courting, at least he hasn’t made his intentions known to her father. Anyway they are in public and he’s asking her for a kiss. I am somewhat relieved, however, that she chose to only kiss him on the cheek. I know you’re going to tar and feather me for that one! There’s a lot of you that are waiting for another kiss. I’m just trying to be politically correct. This is just reading more like a modern day romance rather than something from 1910.]
Meanwhile back in Coal Valley the trial has begun. Prosecutor Samantha Madison gives her opening statement. [Note: I already mentioned that there were changes in the saloon before, but now I noticed that Noah Staton’s plank that once hung on the wall is now missing..? Where did it go? Why did they take it down? Are they going to use it as evidence? I guess we will have to wait and see.]
Back at the Thatcher household, Julie and Elizabeth are chatting as they head downstairs. As they come around the corner they are surprised by their parents and a childhood friend who now works for their father. Charles Kensington (Marcus Rosner) who we find out used to be quite close to Elizabeth [rolling my eyes… Oh no! Here we go again! Didn’t we already do this with Rosemary and Jack? It seems like the same storyline - just with different people.] Who is Charles? What exactly is his past with Elizabeth? I guess we will find out more in the next episode. [Hopefully Elizabeth’s not as gullible as she was with Billy Hamilton. That’s all I have to say!]
Our town has a new makeover. Where did they get the money? Everyone seems to have new clothes. Same situation: where did the money come from if the mine was supposedly shut down during this time? Even if it wasn’t, they don’t make that much money coal mining… Feel free to Google photos of 1910 coal miners to see photos of the appropriate clothing during that time period.
Where is Cat Montgomery? We saw the other widows, or at least most of the main ones, so where is she? Cat was very prominent last season, so to not see her now - or at least have her mentioned in some way shape or form if she could not join the cast - seems odd.
I see there are some new producers on the producers list in the credits. From my research there are a lot of new writers for this season. Some directors we’ve had in the past, but some are missing as well… Brian Bird and Michael Landon, Jr. started this project, and although they are still listed as producers, Michael Landon, Jr. is not listed as a director for a single episode during Season 2; and Brian Bird is not listed as a writer for a single episode during Season 2 - at least in my research anyway. If I am wrong in this, please somebody correct me! But I was sad to see that their fingerprints weren’t somewhere on this project other than being producers.
Written by Amy J. Falk
Fans of Believe Pictures Productions
Where you can find Amy:
Director Neill Fearnley
Editor Charles Robichaud