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Episode 3007 - Heartbreak
From the Production Journal of Brian Bird, Executive Producer of When Calls the Heart

This week we begin filming a script co-written by head writer Robin Bernheim and Richard Manning (better known as “Ricky” in the writing room). It’s called “Heartbreak” and I have to say it is about as fine as it gets when it comes to firing on all story cylinders. There is lots of Ricky’s trademark humor, but also lots of Robin’s tear-producing emotional moments. And oh, my… it’s Tears Ahoy in this episode as we conclude some of the poignant storylines set up in previous episodes and introduce some new ones. Also we get a proposal of marriage – although not the one I’m sure the Hearties will be craving after our Season 2 Finale seismic shift caused a collective gasp across North America. (I’m not kidding… I saw videos posted on Twitter and Facebook of whole groups of Hearties of all ages screaming at their TV sets).

Early on in Act One of the script, Abigail Stanton has this line: “It’s just hard to let go.” She’s referring to the surprise arrival of Cody and Becky’s Aunt Caroline and the prospect of the kids leaving Hope Valley to live with their only blood relatives, a decision that will rob Abigail of her chance at motherhood again with these two kids she has fallen in love with. As I think about the rest of the episode, the theme of “letting go” is on almost every page.

The silver miner, Roy, who we met in the last episode and who abandoned his wife, Edith, and baby boy, Oliver, at the settler’s camp has to let go of deep hurt and bitterness suffered in his childhood. When Jack tries yet again to encourage him to do the right thing by his wife and child, Roy reveals the thorn in his side – a father who was never there for him as a boy and who robbed him of the confidence of being a good husband and father.

Then there’s Rosemary who has to learn to let go of some of her aspirations of being a star in order to hold onto what has become even more important to her – that guy in the plaid pants who blew into town in Season 2 on his motorcycle and brought prosperity to Hope Valley once again after the mine closed. She realizes she loves Lee Coulter more than her unfulfilled dreams.

Bill and Jack have to let go of their biases against Henry Gowen when their investigation of the sabotage of Lee’s sawmill reveals that the perpetrator is Wade Barrett and not the usually guilty Mayor who this time has been framed. Even Elizabeth has to let go of her hopes and dreams for Becky’s talents and future when Aunt Caroline rules out college for her.

As for Jack and Elizabeth, this episode more than any other in Season 3 feels like they are finally shedding the hurt and confused emotions of that Season 2 cliffhanger. At least, Hearties will be pleased at the amount of snogging that goes on between them in this episode .

And as I reflect back on these three amazing seasons of When Calls the Heart, I can’t help but be a little emotional. Hope Valley has come so far since its days as Coal Valley, and so have all of our characters. They are having to let go of so much, and yet in doing so, are gaining so much more. Sometimes in this life, we have to be willing to stop clutching so tightly to what we think we need in order to receive the blessing of what we really need.

Someday… I hope in the very distant future… we will have to let go of Elizabeth and Jack, Abigail and Pastor Frank, Bill and Nora, Lee and Rosemary, Cody and Becky, Florence and Dotty, little Opal and Brownie, and all the rest of our Hope Valleyites… even Mayor Gowen… at least until they return to us in reruns. I went through that same sad parting with characters I loved and wrote for on at least five other TV series. But what we will all be left with in the Hearties Nation are the lessons we learned on the journey, and the flesh-and-blood relationships we made along the way. I think that will be the ultimate legacy of When Calls the Heart. I hope you agree!

– Brian Bird