March 26-April 1
“My Heart Will Go On” | When Calls the Heart
It’s been a wild yet quiet week with Once Upon A Time’s heartbreaking episode and Madam Secretary’s intriguing hour following on Sunday. The Flash gave us one shocking twist after another. The Americans once again dealt with Philip and Elizabeth’s marriage beautifully. And Chicago P.D. broke our hearts 20-times more than before. But it was When Calls the Heart which left me bawling for an entire hour with a mixture of happy and sad tears.
“My Heart Will Go On” was absolute magic—the kind of episode that stays with you for years to come. [I couldn’t believe it upon finishing, but it so happens that Jack and Elizabeth’s proposal is now tied with Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope’s for me. And for those who don’t know me, I literally (Chris Traeger voice) thought that’d never happen.]
When Calls the Heart has always been a gorgeous little show, but “My Heart Will Go On” was on another level. And while I’m fully aware that this post is meant to pay homage to one moment, it’d be cheating if I didn’t discuss the episode in its entirety, for it was the entire thing that brought the weight of the proposal to life masterfully. At its core, When Calls the Heart is a series about family, friends, love, and our dreams with God as the center of it all. And no episode has balanced each part of it as exquisitely as “My Heart Will Go On.” In its desire to be an undoubtedly special hour, “My Heart Will Go On” succeeded in capturing not only the essence of the entire series, but the sheer adoration that’s an everlasting presence throughout Hope Valley.
While it was subtly clear in last week’s episode that something’s been missing in Jack’s life, in “My Heart Will Go On” the pain and hollowness was on full display. And though I didn’t expect an engagement, which made the episode that much more special, I expected that this would still somehow be a monumental episode for the couple we’ve all grown to love. Elizabeth and Jack have often been two peas in a pod and not because of the obscene amount of similarities, but rather the way their hearts vibrate on the same frequency. Their hopes, dreams, and innermost desires have often been on a similar level, and “My Heart Will Go On” brought it to life effortlessly.
It’s easier to connect with someone on a profound degree when they’re the type of person who’d look at you and understand the very depths of your soul without you even confirming the facts. And though they didn’t start out as the best of friends, that very spark that burns through them today was transparent from day one. As time passed, it became easier to let guards down in order to allow the very depths of their being to find serenity with another’s hopes and dreams. They’re both incredibly passionate and wonderfully brave souls who’d never step down from making another’s life easier, thereby in an episode where Elizabeth’s dreams were put on pause, it’d make complete sense that Jack would be torn between his, too.
There comes a point in everyone’s lives where something we’ll do will unintentionally harm another, but in some cases, it’s necessary, and the only thing that can be done is the attempt to make that heartache a little bit easier to bear. From the beginning of the episode, it was clear to the audience that Jack had made his decision, and his love for Elizabeth was the only thing that stood before him. And as much as it hurt, I appreciated Elizabeth’s raw, anxiously tearful reaction to the news. A reaction which reminded us all of the horrors women in her position face when their loved ones are off fighting the good fight with no promise of a return. A reaction which Erin Krakow layered beautifully with pangs of sorrow and immeasurable devotion.
In an episode where love was the center of the story, on a show like When Calls the Heart, it was key for friendship to serve a great role as well. And when Elizabeth ran off in tears, you knew a conversation with Abigail would put things back into perspective. (These two, they’re some of my favorite best friends to exist. Aren’t they just the sweetest?)
Although “My Heart Will Go On” was beautiful for a number of incremental ways, it’s the symbolism and profound storytelling that floored me the most. And the tears would not stop streaming down my face after reading “take a walk with me.” Take a walk with me—a simple yet indescribably profound declaration that showcases the immense weight of Jack and Elizabeth’s love exquisitely. After that first relationship altering walk they took, each of their walks together have played a crucial role in strengthening their relationship. Without even telling us, it’s served as the best parts of their relationship throughout an episode. They’ve grown on their walks, they have laughed, cried, revealed themselves, and inspired one another to keep hope and faith alive in their hearts. And just as they once allowed themselves to walk into an ever-blossoming friendship with someone, it was this moment that’d allow them to walk into forever.
And much like the fact that a lot of their walks ended where Elizabeth needed to teach, it was gorgeously magical to have Jack propose in front of the church they’ve appreciated together. A place where God’s love and light could weigh in on their relationship, and thereby, remind viewers that it plays a key role in fortifying their bond. The physical and symbolic presence of light easily illuminated the element that from day one, they’ve been brightening each other’s lives through prestige, unwavering adoration.
The facts are these (Pushing Daisies anyone?), even if the episode had ended at their engagement, it would’ve still been magical, but it’s the scene at the church which gave the episode its perfect spectacle. Once again, When Calls the Heart’s ability to say an abundance with a few words is easily what makes the show memorable, and this scene was a lovely paradigm of that fact. As the cinematography gave us a glimpse into their postures inside the church, we could see the heaviness in their hearts through their body language. But where there’s darkness, there’s also light, and in this scene, there were no more candles to light their surroundings, but the early moments of a sunrise where we could clearly see that they, alongside God’s love that permanently resides within them, serve as the brightest light in their lives. As someone who greatly appreciates analyzing clothing, don’t get me started on the symbolic representation of Jack being Elizabeth’s armor (as she is his hope) in his Mountie jacket. There are tears. Lots of them.
“My Heart Will Go On” was undeniably a gut wrenching, indescribably special hour of television. Whether it was their short engagement party with Abigail toasting and Rosemary disappointed in the fact that she can’t throw a proper one, everything came together seamlessly. And for a show that once dealt with Elizabeth being the other woman, I appreciated the scene we were given with Rosemary’s genuine sadness upon learning that Jack will be leaving. The scenes in their house with Lee was the perfect little touch.
Ultimately, there was not a single moment throughout “My Heart Will Go On” that felt out of placed or misused, but rather each millisecond felt meticulously constructed to tell us the story of this incomparable little town. A love story for all ages. And that final scene with Elizabeth singing “Danny Boy” was all we’d need to be reminded of the fact that hearts will most definitely go on in spite of the tears. In the same way that Jack could never turn his back on someone in need of help, no matter how heartbroken, it was evident that Elizabeth would never turn her back on her students. An act that allowed the episode to come full circle giving “My Heart Will Go On” the immaculate, poetic ending it deserved.
Whether it was the thoroughly impressive performances, the riveting narrative, the thought-provoking symbolism, the intricate directing, or the breathtaking cinematography, “My Heart Will Go On” was a masterpiece. The most brilliant, wondrous hour in dare I say, Hallmark history.
What was the most exquisite thing you watched on TV this week?
To read more on When Calls the Heart, be sure to check out our Most Noteworthy Performance to see what we had to say about the charming Daniel Lissing.