I think it’s safe to say that this past episode of When Calls the Heart, entitled Heart of a Teacher, had a major shift in tone from the previous episodes this season. Previously everything had been much more lighthearted, but it looks like we are about to get into the real drama and conflict of the season. We saw Elizabeth fighting for her job, Jack is extremely conflicted with tough decisions he needs to make, and a strict new teacher arrives.
We always knew Elizabeth was a strong, independent woman. However, I think this past episode did an amazing job of truly highlighting these qualities. Elizabeth immediately questions Gowen as to why there is a new teacher in Hope Valley. He explains to her that he received a letter from a superintendent, Thomas Higgins, stating that she used her family’s wealth to get her teaching position. Of course, this leaves Elizabeth furious! The truth was that Mr. Higgins had feelings for Elizabeth, and after she rejected him he was clearly left bitter. Therefore, he did this to her out of revenge. She decides to leave for Cape Fullerton, accompanied by Abigail, as soon as possible to try to convince him to tell the truth. Upon arriving, she meets with Mr. Higgins and expresses her frustrations to him. Of course, he doesn’t care about the situation she is in. Instead, he tells her that he would consider telling the truth if she reconsidered her feelings for him. Are you kidding me?! Infuriated, Elizabeth and Abigail come up with an idea to try to talk to another teacher, Francine Fessler, whom Elizabeth believed Mr. Higgins also had eyes for. Unfortunately, Francine is unwilling to help and it’s clear she is hiding some important information about Mr. Higgins. Elizabeth and Abigail return to Hope Valley disappointed, but Elizabeth is still determined to gain her position back.
During this time that she is away, we are introduced to Mr. Stoneman. Was anyone else completely terrified by this man? Right away it’s clear that he is extremely strict. No talking, always raise your hand, have your homework memorized and be fully prepared for class. He even took Brownie away! Philip is immediately targeted by Mr. Stoneman since he is somewhat behind compared to the rest of the class. Mr. Stoneman is unable to understand that Philip hasn’t had much schooling and needs extra help to complete his work. Deciding it’s not worth his time to help this young boy, he expels him to prevent him from bringing down the school’s average based on the regional test scores. When Elizabeth finds out she is completely heartbroken and tries explaining to Mr. Stoneman that each student is different, but worthy of an education. Unmoved, he continues to teach using his methods. The turning point comes when the class is taking their practice exam. Emily doesn’t hold her pencil correctly when writing and Mr. Stoneman takes it upon himself to rip the pencil from her hand continuously and break it in half until she holds it properly. Emily begins to cry when Cody stands up for her by saying that bad things happen if good people do nothing. Cody ends up walking out of the class with Emily, and encourages the rest of the class to do the same. Those Hope Valley kids truly are some of the coolest and bravest kids I’ve ever seen! Afterwards they talk with Miss Thatcher and she agrees to tutor them after school, but makes them promise to be on their best behavior with Mr. Stoneman.
Along with these two prominent story lines, we saw Bill digging deeper into the suspicions he has about the charges being dropped in Gowen’s case. He is certain Gowen and Ray are working together. Ray also makes his first move with Faith. After having a conversation with her in the saloon, he offers to walk her home. She kindly rejects his offer. Clearly this doesn’t sit well with him, causing Ray to firmly grab Faith by the arm. Concerned for Faith, Carson steps in and says he’ll actually be walking her home. This only angers Ray more, threatening Carson as he walks by. We still don’t know much about our heroic drifter, but we do find out that he was most likely previously married but he must have lost his wife. There was also a very funny scene where Rosemary gives Mr. Stoneman a piece of her mind!
For the past couple episodes, Jack has been very conflicted about everything that is happening in the Northern Territories. In this episode he goes to Mountie Headquarters and finds out they’re outnumbered 2 to 1, and are in need of Mounties with more experience. Jack knows he’s needed, but he’s clearly torn between his duty and his love for Elizabeth. At the end of the episode he receives terrible news. Doug, whom we met last week, was killed in the line of duty.
This past episode was filled with emotion and powerful moments for each of our protagonists. The preview for next week seems to take the emotion to yet another level. Jack will be forced to make a tough decision, but not before he shares a very special moment with Elizabeth. What do you think Hearties, will there be a proposal next week?