When Calls the Heart, Season Three (2016) | Episodes Two and Three Review

February 22, 2016

One of the most rapidly growing series is Hallmark Channel’s
When Calls the Heart. Based on (or
perhaps “inspired by” is a better term to coin) a series of novels by famed
Christian author, Janette Oke, the series is a wholesome alternative to what’s
popular on network television today while accommodating to those of us who
enjoy period drama. When the third season begins, we are finding Jack and
Elizabeth in a very different place (in comparison to their trial of earlier
seasons) as Elizabeth inserts more independence.

Change is in the air for Hope Valley’s young schoolteacher,
Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow). Raised as a city girl, Elizabeth’s early days
in the dusty coal town of Hope Valley were fraught with many a challenge, not
the least of which was adjusting without some of the privileges her father’s
wealth afforded. But now, Elizabeth considers herself a resident of Hope Valley
– it’s home, she says. With the support of her friends and love of her beau,
Canadian Mountie, Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing), Elizabeth is setting down
roots. She’s decided to rent a house and strike out on her own. At the
same time, Jack contemplates building a house, one in which he hopes Elizabeth
will someday share.

Meanwhile, Abigail (Lori Loughlin) is settling into her role
as foster mother to young Cody (Carter Ryan Evancic). She settles into the role of overprotective
mother too quickly and spoils him more than is healthy, which gets him in
trouble with Elizabeth in the classroom and causes tension between Elizabeth
and Abigail. Also troubling Abigail are changes of co-ownership in her café and
the slow withdrawal into secrecy of Pastor Frank Hogan (Mark Humphrey), as he pulls away before he’s
even given them a chance.

Also among the fray of familiar and beloved characters are
Rosemary and Lee, Clara (Abigail’s daughter-in-law) and the recently cleared
Mountie Bill Avery (Jack Wagner) – who has his sights set on bigger things than a return to the Mounties, to say nothing of the resident baddie, Mayor Gowen (Martin Cummins).
Among these characters, many shifting plots begin to play out, most of which I
suspect will affect the larger part of the third season. Between Abigail and Bill’s unexpected
partnership, and Elizabeth and Jack’s every attempt to be alone thwarted, this
season sets out to spin some entertaining as well as potentially heartbreaking

As usual, I was entertained by Rosemary and her busybody
attempts to see everything in Lee’s company to rights. Naturally, many of her
notions backfire on her leaving her flustered and in a rare moment of normalcy
truly honest with the one man who sees beyond the façade she wears. One of the
things I think the writers have let become too messy is Abigail’s story. Between
her fledging new romance, a new relationship with her ex, and her ex’s ex-wife
residing in Hope Valley, I think a little simplifying of her life would go a
long way. 

Of course, the one relationship that probably keeps viewers
returning most consistently is that of Elizabeth and Jack. Having seen the
first two episodes of season three, I don’t think Hearties who tune in for this
romance will be disappointed. There is still a sense of incompleteness or
friction just because of the difficulties the pair find in carving out time
alone, but for now they’re in a committed relationship, which paves the way for
some really charming scenes (including one involving Elizabeth painting). 

Those of us who vividly remember the books (they were a part
of my childhood) might be disappointed in some of the things lost in the
adaptation. The books kept up a more realistic albeit entertaining timeline
that kept the pace and lives of the characters moving forward in a healthy way
whereas the series focuses on conflict as its primary goal. Bottom line, if you
liked prior episodes of this, this is a fun way to spend part of your Sunday
evenings. A return to the comfort of Hope Valley and its people is always a
welcome sight, and season three gets things off to an exciting start.
Photos: Hallmark Channel


  • Kara Lynn

    February 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I love the show dearly but loved the books even more so as a child and was/am a die-hard fan and book purist of the saga! I really wish the writers were taking it like the stories but am slowly accepting the fact that When Calls the Heart will probably end no where near that.
    Oh well…
    Thanks for reviewing Rissi!

    1. Rissi

      February 22, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      I am slowly coming to accept the drastic changes in the show, Kara. The books were a HUGE part of my pre-teen/teen years, and because of fond memories, I wish the show would follow them a bit closer. All of the drama of back-and-forth romantic feelings is SO not what these books are. I prefer that sort of drama be left to something like Downton Abbey if I'm honest because it really doesn't suit this kind of show. That being said, I do enjoy this and am looking forward to seeing what comes of season 3, and as always, I appreciate Hallmark putting out such sweet and wholesome family entertainment.

      Glad you stopped by, Kara. :)

    2. Kara Lynn

      February 23, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Same Rissi – I agree with everything you said! Elizabeth knew she wanted Wynn (Jack) in the books and with the show she is always back and forth. It really is annoying! I have not seen season 3 yet so I'm feeling cautious….
      But like you also said, it's nice to have a good family TV show that my whole family can enjoy together and not have to worry about heavy content. I have siblings ranging from ages seven to fifteen and we all love it, which is nice.

    3. Rissi

      February 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      It REALLY is, Kara. I also recently read one episode is going to bring a woman from Jack's past into the fray which will cause some jealousy! Ugh.

      I am wondering about these characters though. Given the pilot movie (which switched off between Elizabeth and Wynn's story and a young Elizabeth Thatcher), could it be that the show is actually chronicling (original or book) Elizabeth's niece as the pilot movie did!? In which case, I can totally buy the differences – or at least accept them as creative differences.

      Aw, that is nice! It's great you and your siblings can all watch this together. I totally know all about being careful about what one watches since I grew up in a household that played by those rules. :)

  • Meghan M. Gorecki

    February 22, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    I am SO excited for this show. Just caught up via Netflix binging on the first two seasons and am having a Hearties night in with a dear friend Wednesday night when we watch these episodes and the New Years special On Demand.
    LOVE your review, Rissi! :)

    1. Rissi

      February 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      YAY! I hope you enjoy these this week, Meghan – I'd be curious to know what you think after you see the "New Years" special and episode 002 (which I think is technically what last night's episode was in the line of installments with the New Years episode being 001).

      Thanks so much for reading, Meghan. :)

      Totally off topic, but speaking of friends… how is Gabrielle doing? I thought of her recently, and hope she's doing well. :)

    2. Meghan M. Gorecki

      February 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Ooh nice! :) Thanks for the heads up–I was wondering about the New Years "special." I read these books in my childhood too I forgot to add and, despite my fond memories of all Janette Oke books–I am loving this series. SO not the books–by a long shot. But still really great, and its quality, sweet TV.

      Gabrielle is doing very well, I'll tell her you asked after her! :) This past October she got married to just the best guy who I consider a brother in law by heart, Scott. They're happily married in her hometown still and she's in college full time to get her Bachelor's in Multidisciplinary Studies with a dual minor in Psychology/Family Studies before she goes onto a Master's in Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling.

    3. Rissi

      February 26, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Exactly. And because Hallmark is pursuing sweet and quality family entertainment I have to remind myself they ARE wonderful for those reasons alone. Period. As I've been thinking about this TV show, I wondered if this isn't meant to be telling Book Elizabeth and Wynn's stories. Remembering the pilot movie (with a different cast), the Elizabeth in that was actually Book Elizabeth's niece. In light of that, the changes make sense.

      I'm so glad! I think of Gabrielle now and again as I visit various blogs or browse through some Femnista issues. Knowing some of her desire to find the right man (from her blog), I'm glad she found him in Scott and is working to finish her education. I wish her all the best. :)

  • Bekah M.

    February 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Oo this reminds me that I HAVE to catch up on the show on Netflix! I believe I only have a few episodes in Season 2 to go. BUT I did *finally* get my eldest sister to watch the show (she's caught up more than me) and now I only have two more sisters to go! Yay! Haha, anyways, thanks for reviewing Rissi! :)

    1. Rissi

      February 26, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      I've actually not seen all of season two, Bekah. I watched some in the beginning, missed the middle and caught the finale. But because this show repeats itself SO often, I didn't feel confused in this instance. Happily, everything seemed smooth. I'm going to try and keep up with this season because I might be recapping it over on Silver Petticoat.

      Glad you and your sister are enjoying it – and good luck with the rest of your family! Hope the other two join in. It's a perfect girl's night show to binge watch. :)

  • Becky Ritta

    February 22, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I watched episode 2 last night and was SO CONFUSED … because I missed the New Year's Eve special. So I may have to buy it and watch it. That said, I did enjoy the episode overall … I just need to fill in the blanks!

    1. Rissi

      February 26, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Bummer! I'm sorry about that, Becky. Being confused should never be in style in TV shows. But I know what you mean. I've been there before. Hope you get a chance to see the "New Year's Special" and feel better about the story. If you do, let me know what you thought! Always glad to chat all the Hallmark awesome-ness wish you. :)

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