When Calls the Heart is a television series on the Hallmark Channel. It is in its sixth season and has been on the air since 2014. Lori Loughlin is one of its stars. Lori Loughlin will soon be off When Calls the Heart.
First, let’s acknowledge the fact that the Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart feels like a jumble of words someone plucked out of a bag, Scrabble style, and rearranged into a show title. Who is calling the heart? And how is that happening? In 2019 no one calls at all but this show takes place in Canada during “pioneer times” (very vague) so no one was calling anyone then either.
The show title is from the first book in the Canadian West series written by Janet Oke. Subsequent book titles are equally as perplexing: When Comes the Spring, When Breaks the Dawn, When Hope Springs New, Beyond the Gathering Storm and When Tomorrow Comes. Not sure what happened to Beyond the Gathering Storm but based on how nonsensical the other titles are I would absolutely accept When Beyond the Gathering Storm as a title.
In 2013 When Calls the Heart debuted as a two-hour pilot on the Hallmark Channel, known for its mostly white people Christmas movies featuring an alarming amount of crafts and delicious food. In January of 2014 it was picked up to series. Here’s a brief breakdown of the show since the title gives us absolutely nothing (hey, it’s me, your heart calling?). When Calls the Heart is about Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher who comes from a comfortable background. Her first classroom assignment is in Coal Valley, a small coal-mining town in Canada. If you’ve ever played Oregon Trail you already know that life during pioneer times can be tough.
Lori Loughlin’s character, Abigail Stanton, just lost her husband and son (and 45 other coal miners) in a tragic explosion. To survive, both women must go to work in the mines. I guess teachers were also paid shit back then because Elizabeth Thatcher had to have a coal mining side hustle.
The series was temporarily suspended when Lori Loughlin and her husband and Felicity Huffman plus seventeen other parents were caught paying a fake charity to get their children into college. While the country has stayed glued to this story with the kind of glee that only comes when the rich fuck up and get caught, I have wondered what the Hallmark Channel is going to do about Lori Loughlin’s character in When Calls the Heart (I hear the heart gets to make one call from jail). The series returns with a two night premiere May 5 and 6. Here are 5 ways the Hallmark Channel should get rid of Loughlin’s character.
When Calls the Fake Death
Loughlin’s character discovers that her husband and son faked their own deaths. Turns out they harbored a secret desire to start a mildly successful clothing company called Smossimo that mostly makes ill-fitting bonnets sold at Bullseye, an affordable chain of general stores. This of course was an unorthodox career choice for men at the time so to pursue their dream at ANY COST they had to do what was necessary. What they didn’t take into account is Loughlin’s character’s love of a good deal and her appreciation of a cheaply stitched, widely available piece of clothing. She stumbled across them both while shopping at the Bullseye the next town over, which is a Super Bullseye. Upon seeing them she was struck with grief. The devastation forced her to flee Coal Valley in the hopes of settling in a city free of Bullseyes which as we know doesn’t exist.
When Calls the Full Cabin
Now that Abigail Stanton is a widow she is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain her home, work in the coal mine and keep up her confusing pioneer time blonde highlights. In order to survive she invites her dead husband’s brother, his 3 children and a family friend who everyone refers to as Uncle Samuel (despite not being related to anyone) to move in with her. Sounds like a Full Cabin! Unfortunately while horseback riding with her dead husband’s brother’s youngest daughter, Abigail falls off the horse and is struck with amnesia. She asks about her husband and son, not remembering that they passed away. Abigail then takes on several different personalities due to the amnesia: a musician, a comedy entertainer, one half of a set of twins who is married to a much older Frenchman, an obnoxious next door neighbor, a whiny middle child and a hormonal teen before finally passing away in her sleep due to swelling of her brain from the fall. How rude!
When Calls the Mystery
In an effort to make money beyond the coal mine Abigail starts an antique sales side business which is just called a sales business because honestly everything in pioneer times is already an antique. Sorry, but they used too much wood! Her business allowed for Abigail to work closely with the town Sheriff because running a business alone as a woman can be quite dangerous, even in Canada. While cleaning an old clock Abigail discovers a note from someone claiming they were in danger. GASP. Unable to resist a good mystery for reasons no one quite understands as she works in a coal mine and owns a store, Abigail and the Sheriff proceed to track down the note’s origins only to discover it was written by local school teacher and friend Elizabeth Thatcher. While confronting her, Elizabeth stabs herself in the arm and (when?) calls for the Sheriff who is outside. Elizabeth immediately accuses Abigail of attempted murder and without DNA evidence, Abigail is immediately arrested. Unfortunately in both Hallmark programs and pioneer times motive is NOT necessary.
When Calls From Inside the House
Believe it or not working in a coal mine is not what Abigail Stanton wants to do with the rest of her life so she offers to watch her neighbor’s children for some extra cash (dubloons? what year is this.). One particularly dark and stormy evening Abigail was next door (a cool 3 miles away because Canada) reading to her neighbor’s daughter while her parents were out for the nights (it takes days to get anywhere). Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Abigail opened it up and a letter was sitting on the porch. She opened it up and read it out loud “What’s your favorite scary Bible story?” “That’s not funny!” Abigail screamed while shutting the door. Immediately there was another knock with another note asking about her favorite scary Bible story. “It’s the Whore of Babylon from Revelations,” Abigail screamed, slamming the door shut. Another knock. Another note. “Do you have a gentleman friend? You never told me your name,” it said. “No I do not. Why do you want to know my name?” she asked nervously. Knock. Note. “So I know WHO I’M GOING TO KILL,” the note said. Abigail screamed and ran to the other side of the cabin (honestly that’s like 10 feet) but a ghostly figure blocked the other door. He was holding a scythe that he plunged into her stomach. While collapsing to the ground she pulled his mask off and saw that it was a former suitor, to whom she lost her virginity. And he still had that one strand of hair that fell over his forehead. “Why?” she gasped while dying. “If you never married my brother he would have never died in that mine,” he growled while not pushing the one strand of hair away from his face. That hair was the last thing she saw before sliding into darkness forever.
When Calls the Lie
Unable to work in the coal mine for much longer Abigail decided she needed to go back to school in order to better herself. Unfortunately it’s been many years since she has walked through the hallowed hall (it’s just one room) of an educational institution (again one room). Abigail is worried she won’t have what it takes to return. Of course there is more than one way to prove one’s worth. Competitive log rolling is a much easier feat to fake than studying, hard work, and the kind of astute moral compass it takes to go to school in a fair, honest way. Sadly Abigail hasn’t competitively rolled a log a day in her life. With the help of the competitive log rolling coach at the school Abigail sets up a competition, rigged so that she wins. She even commissioned a fake portrait of her rolling logs up a hill. It didn’t occur to Abigail that other more deserving log rolling competitors should be attending school. No. The ends justified the means. It worked and she was allowed to attend school, for the parties. Eventually Abigail is caught in what the Sheriff called Operation Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’. She loses her job at the coal mine but Abigail maintains her innocence trusting that the legal system (and her own raging narcissism) will remain on her side. It does not. Abigail is sent to prison, forever damaging her relationship with the community.