When Calls the Heart, Prelude to a Kiss (2014)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Considering I wound up reviewing all eleven episodes (thank you readers for tolerating this) of Hallmark Channel’s second scripted series, you had to know there was no way I wouldn’t post an entry rambling, gushing or ranting over the season finale, friends – no matter the conclusion. Luckily for you, with it now coming to a close, this will be the last gush of the series. For now.

Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) has a choice to make. She has to decide whether or not to accept a prestigious teaching position her family secured for her – worried over her safety following the reports of her sister, or stay in Coal Valley to teach the children she’s come to love and to fight for the man who has stolen her heart. Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) has a choice of his own to make. One between an old flame who was once his fiancée and unexpectedly showed up in Coal Valley with her New York swagger, and Elizabeth, the woman who he has come to love without doubt. Also plaguing Coal Valley is one of choice: whether or not its residents want to tangle with its businessman Henry Gowen who has suddenly laid blame of the mine disaster on a once respected resident.

In today’s entertainment culture, coming across a series that families can sit down to watch together is nearly non-existent. I know when I was a kid this series would have been gold. Much like Christy or Little House on the Prairie, not only would my mother have approved of it, my sis and I both (okay, so maybe mostly just me) would have loved movie nights watching the sweet story of Janette Oke’s books come alive. This series has caused quite a stir in the conservative circles and even spurred a season two Twitter and Facebook campaign as well as forming its own fan group known as the “hearties.” Whether or not a person likes this series, it’s not at all difficult to understand why it has created the stir it has. This entire fandom craze has led up to this moment – this final season one episode.

When Hallmark teased upcoming episodes were “for the fans,” they weren’t playing with us. This episode is all about and for the fans. There is enough resolution without leaving us in panic mode for the yearlong wait at the end of which will hopefully result in a season two renewal order. Happily ever after is no longer a someday possibility (the script answers that one way or another, though not without promise of future ups and downs) and unfortunately, we are handed an upsetting blow as regards Abigail (played by Lori Loughlin) and her own hopeful future (if my TV radar is any good, I’m sure this won’t be what it seems. Been there, done that) plus welcome the presence of James Brolin as a judge summoned to rule in the matter of where fault is to be placed for that mine disaster – a continuous plot line throughout the debut season. Unfortunately, those of us who are horrible at accepting the perpetual television cliffhangers will be displeased to realize the latter two matters will have to wait until the much hoped for second season.

I’m not sure what fellow enthusiasts would say but this girl has to confess. I don’t care for Rosemary. There is just something about her that is unsettling. Not in a creepy or dangerous way, mind you, just something in her manner that disqualifies her from being a genuine candidate to win Jack’s heart – or as a friend more or less recently said on Twitter, how did this girl ever catch his eye in the first place? What does this say about our beloved hero!? Jack is far too cool for her. Just saying. Irrespective of how her story will in time play out, there is every good chance that Hallmark will renew this for a second season. If not a season order than at the very least a series of films will follow if prior network choices are anything to depend on. Faithful as this fan base is, excitement is in high form that along with its enthusiastic cast (have mentioned how darling Erin and Daniel are as their respective characters, playing off each other…) and producers, our chances of returning to Coal Valley are excellent. Until then, we'll remember our time in this community fondly.
Thank you, Hallmark, cast and crew.

Purchase episodes of When Calls the Heart

Catch episode twelve, the season finale, ‘Prelude to a Kiss' on Saturday March 29th on Hallmark Channel and see the promo video.


  1. I have not yet been able to see any of Season I yet -hopefully I will though, if it comes out on DVD- but I have very much enjoyed hearing your thoughts on each of the episodes. :)

    1. I hope you have a chance to see it on DVD (or you can buy it via Amazon/iTunes instant video), Eowyn. It's quite sweet in a very charming, wholesome way. Cannot wait to know your thoughts - and thank you for reading! :)

  2. Enjoyed your Review, Rissi! I wholeheartedly agree with you - they will surely continue the series in some way to satisfy fans - whether it's a series of movies or a Second Season. Whatever they decide, it was certainly a joy to watch! And, btw...I loved all the gushing - as I was gushing right along with you!!! : )

    1. Hi, Net! Thank you for reading - I'm always grateful for your great blog and Hallmark information. Thanks for everything.

      I'll be surprised if this doesn't get a second season order though in all honesty, I won't be terribly disappointed as I'm confident at the least, they'll be movies to tie up loose ends given how long they prolonged the Love Comes Softly saga. Either way, we're assured more time with these characters and I cannot wait!

      Yay! It's fun to gush with friends over shared fandoms - love it. :)

  3. Hi, Rissi. Please don't apologize for gushing -- there was a lot in the finale to gush about! I really, really liked the fact that every time Jack met Elizabeth in the finale he took the opportunity to verbalize some of this feelings: in front of the school children, in their midnight talk on the porch, and in front of all the adults at the town meeting. And by the time he revealed that fabulous drawing to Elizabeth, and explained that he was better at expressing his feelings through art instead of words, he nonetheless did come up with the perfect words to express exactly how he felt. That was truly lovely. And the anonymous donor's identity was the best surprise I've seen on TV or in movies in ages. How generous and humble he is!

    My only concern for a 2nd season is that they don't ruin this wonderful and rare gem of a romance by creating any more obstacles to their love. Elizabeth and Jack have already had more obstacles than they should have in an entire lifetime. I know that a barrage of obstacles for a couple is a common theme in shows, but I think it would be disastrous here, even if it sometimes works well in other genres. For example, the drawn-out flirtations of Castle and Beckett never sabotaged the enjoyment of "Castle" because "Castle" is primarily a crime show. Every single week there are interesting crimes to solve, and this holds true whether the leads ever got together as a couple. And it also can work on ensemble shows when there might be 3 or 4 main romances.So if one couple has obstacles, there might be 1 or 2 others that are developing nicely and are there each week for viewers to enjoy.

    But with "When Calls the Heart" -- despite the great secondary stories -- the romance of Elizabeth and Jack is the centerpiece of the whole series. At some point they have to let the couple be happy, and let the viewers sit back and enjoy the romance grow, or they are sabotaging the very thing that makes the show so wonderful.

    The finale left us with an awful lot of points of intrigue, whether rather ominous (the trial, the slander of Noah, the possibility that Bill lied to Abigail, the loss of business at the cafe), the hopeful (the new church and school, whether Wyatt's invention might improve air quality in the mine), and the charming (we still don't know the identity of Gabe's sweetheart!)

    I'd love to see Elizabeth and Jack happily grow in their relationship, while individually or together getting involved in these other stories -- comforting Abigail, helping build the school, supporting the widows at the trial. That way there would still be plenty of intrigue about other things. But I think it's time for Jack and Elizabeth to be happy -- and stay happy. That way we viewers - and even the schoolchildren who are so intrigued with Miss Thatcher and Mountie Jack,- can finally just sit back and watch this wonderful romance continue to grow.

  4. Gushing is in no short supply around here, Jordan - hopefully it comes across okay. ;)

    Aw, you put Jack and Elizabeth's scenes together in this episode beautifully! Their scenes together were special (and yes, that donor bit was great! The can't-anyone-keep-a-secret look was priceless - especially coming from Jack!) and of course, it was sweet that Jack sketched a portrait as part of his declaration. I can relate to him on some extent though my creative bent is writing - wish it were drawing. :)

    If writer's take into consideration the novels - and they should even with these being different characters - then they should pair up these two permanently without the hassle of old flames, etc. The novels grow the romance, marry the couple and follow their adventures travelling for Wynn's (or in this instance, it'd be Jack) work and of course, there are still obstacles even in their marriage. (Great remark about Castle BTW! I'd be lying if I didn't admit that went on longer than it needed too - in my opinion, and the show is just as good with them as a couple - but I can "deal" with it certainly.)

    Cannot wait to see how the (assumed) S2 will resolve all of these plots. Should be a great premiere - and I'm thinking what Abigail found it isn't what it seems...! (A S2 announcement is supposed to come next month.)

    As for your last paragraph, you are right. Going back to the finale, I see there have been plenty of things set up that can be the show's conflict without making Jack and Elizabeth's romance encounter more bumpy roads. They've admitted to their feelings, now let them court in peace - although the minor, flirty spat I can handle, as they're cute when they debate. ;)

    Great thoughts - as always!

  5. A few final thoughts! I realized that my wording of my comparison to "Castle" was a little fuzzy. The comparison I meant to make was that I think "Castle" can afford to draw out the obstacles to the romance between the leads a little longer because the romance plot is secondary to the crime-solving plots, but that "When Calls the Heart" can't afford too many obstacles to the romance bewtween its leads because the love story is by far the central story of the show. (I did like the fact that a romance between the leads on "Castle" developed. I don't think I was clear about that in my previous post.)

    And yes, I like Elizabeth and Jack's "flirty spats" as you call them. I loved in the finale when she made him raise his hand in the classroom like "all the other children." Their playfulness with each other is fun to watch.

    Loved going through your blogs for each episode of this show. It was really fun posting my thoughts in such a supportive atmosphere, and I enjoyed reading all your thoughts and the thoughts of all of your posters. Hope we get to gather again for a Season 2! In the meantime, I'm off to check some of your other reviews.

    Best wishes!

    1. No, not at all. Your remarks about Castle were very clear - I knew what you were saying. Apologies if my response made it seem otherwise. :) I'd say that the characters are just as important as the mystery solving. Perhaps I have that mindset though because I'd big on good characters. Oh, I adored how the relationship developed between Castle and Kate, too - it makes where they're at now so much better. One of my pet peeves in TV (or book/movie) romances is when the couple barely know each other and they become romantically involved. In Castle, they had this great friendship before they became a couple.

      I think those scenes between Jack and Elizabeth are precious! Having Jack raise his hand in class or the time she challenged him to look up a word she used to describe him. So cute - and so long as the entire cast returns, I'm all for a season two.

      Thanks for the kind words, and for joining in our convos! Glad you are a readers. Bring on season two - and in the meantime, we'll enjoy the original movies on Hallmark and the new POstables fandom. ;)

      Thanks for all the comments - visit anytime.

  6. I just finished this series--I loved it! It reminds me so much of Christy; it's just, thankfully, much less ambiguous ;) It's really too bad that Christy wasn't secured for a second season. But oh well--that's a whole 'nother topic, and I can't wait for season two of WCTH, as I hear it's been confirmed :)

    walking in the air.

    1. Yay! I'm so glad you liked this series, Hannah. I mainly like it because of it's wholeness (well, that, and the fab chemistry between the leads). You said it best, Christy should have gotten a second season. It deserved at least that or a 2 hour TV film (to tie up loose ends) and of course, it's lovely that WCTH is getting a second season. Hopefully it uses it wisely. :)

    2. Indeed! It was nice to see such a clean series. And I totally agree about the 2-hour extra for Christy. They did make a couple full-length movies after that--but with different actors (except for Dr MacNiell). *sigh* Also, I'm glad my comment went through. It didn't look like it did when I commented last night :)

      walking in the air.

    3. For whatever reason I always forget about those Christy movies. Maybe because I didn't care for them as well as the series...? Who knows. I do own them and have seen them more than once, though there just isn't the same "pizazz" to the characters or stories or something! ;) Either way, it's sad CBS didn't give us a wrap up production with the same cast. To do so know wouldn't be nearly as good.

      Wholesome TV is a rarity, so whenever we find it, it's worth promoting. Speaking of that, I cannot remember, did you watch Signed, Sealed, Delivered? It's contemporary but darling, and is also a Hallmark original.

      Sorry about the comment confusion! I reset the comments and now if a post is 10 days old (or something like that), I have to approve any new comments first. I changed it because sometimes I've missed comments on older posts and I figure this way, I'll always see them. :)


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