I’ve heard whispers about this series for quite some time but never really knew much about it. Given that Hallmark is not really a channel I frequent, I suppose not being knowledgeable about it is understandable. I was slightly confused when this disc came across my desk; I was sure if it was a television series or if it was a made-for-television special. Turns out it’s a series which follows a city girl from a prominent family that relocates to a small town and accepts a position as a schoolteacher. Upon her relocation, she catches the eye of a young Mountie. Now given that I’m coming in at the middle of the story, I’m going to ask the readers to bear with me as I get my bearings with this series.
If you don’t watch the series from the beginning, it may take you a while to get your bearings, as from the moment I pressed play, I was thrust into the story. As a new audience member, this was a bit disorienting and off-putting for me, as I was not required to play catch-up and try to familiarize myself with the already established story. Now, admittedly, not all that responsibility falls on the series; however, a brief recap at the beginning could be beneficial on two fronts: first, it will allow anyone new to the show a better understanding at what has already happened as well as the characters within the universe. Second, it could serve as a hook to bring in more people. No one likes being brought in at the middle of the story, so a brief recap would have definitely helped me get comfortable as I watched the show.
As I got through my initial shock, I became more comfortable and found that the show was easily relatable. There are no overly-complicated dynamics occurring, and the story flows very naturally. The obvious draw is the relationship between schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher and Constable Jack Thornton. There is definitely chemistry between the actors, and their relationship is subtly explored, making it true to the established time period (no sloppy make-out sessions). This, in my opinion, is the show’s main draw, because without all the sexual innuendo that has become the norm for this time period, the show is forced to focus on true emotional connections rather than physical ones.
There are a lot of simultaneous storylines intertwining with this storyline, and though some are mildly interesting, for the most part they are distracting from the original. Also the plot changes midway through the film, confusing me for a while. In the beginning the plot centered around Elizabeth agreeing to look after a single father’s kids and farm while he went into the city on business. The first half followed her struggling with the everyday tasks on the farm, being a city girl with no real farm experience. However, towards the midway point, the father returned and a different story began with a presumed old flame coming to town to see Elizabeth, thus impacting her budding relationship with Jack. Now, I can’t tell if these were two separate episodes or all part of the same episode; however, if they are one, this is off-putting. Changing plots midway through was too, thereby damaging and flow and established dynamic. This transition need to happen slower and with ease. Finally, the episode ended on a bit of a bittersweet moment, leaving a lot of unanswered questions, though I suspect that was the intention.