Change is constant.
That doesn’t mean that everyone has to embrace it.
When Calls the Heart Season 9 Episode 1 shows how change is catapulting Hope Valley into the future, whether they like it or not.
Just like Elizabeth, we were ready to return to Hope Valley. It’s like covering up with a warm, weighted blanket. All seems right with the world when we return to the beloved town.
But my, oh my, how things have changed.
Automobiles are encroaching on the town as they become easier to obtain. Residents have moved on, and newcomers are welcomed. A new shop promises fun for the whole family. And romance continues to blossom.
While it wasn’t a strong focal point of the premiere, the mayoral race is very important in this context, especially since different candidates see the future of the valley differently.
I just had a talk about this with the Canfields. Things are changing around here. That’s why the election for mayor is so important. We don’t want that happening, we gotta do something about it. Simple as that.
It’s easy to see where mayoral hopeful Lee Coulter stands. He’s always embraced change and done it in the least disruptive way.
Lee: You love me.
Rosemary: [chuckles] What do I need to do? Write it on the front page in a big banner headline? Because I will!
Lee: You should.
Rosemary: Don’t dare me.
Moving to Hope Valley and introducing the town to new jobs was a clear indicator of that viewpoint. He was eager for an automobile. And he supports Rosemary’s desires to enhance the social culture of Hope Valley, whether with her journalism or hope to establish a theater.
By contrast, Lee’s fiercest running mate, Bill Avery, has a background in law and justice, but he’s not eager to embrace the changes infiltrating Hope Valley.
A brief conversation with Nathan showed that the two of them like the status quo. They like riding horseback and feeling safe strolling through town, both of which are not compatabile with the automobile.
Nathan seems like a decent ally to have for Bill’s race, but Nathan’s about to get shaken up with is attraction for the new girl in town.
Sure, May still rides horseback (with incredible finesse!), but she’s a woman who will fit right in with the female movers and shakers taking Hope Valley by storm.
She’s come to the valley under suspicious circumstances, and everyone loves a mystery. Faith knows May and stood up for her with Ned and Florence, but even Faith was taken aback by May’s suggestion that Faith doesn’t contact Jeffrey, the man Ned and Florence thought they were hiring.
All it took for Nathan to be intrigued was May’s spirited arrival in town, which made her look like the caped crusader. They seem like a match made in heaven, as she has all of the characteristics that made the idea of Nathan and Fiona so exciting (if a short-lived non-event).
But that interest suggests that Nathan isn’t as against change as he might let on, and once Elizabeth teaches him how to drive, he might abandon any notions contrary to progress.
Nathan: I was wondering if you thought that maybe Lucas could teach me how to drive.
Elizabeth: A car?
Nathan: No, a team of horses. Yes, a car! Headquarters sent a directive that we have to learn, and I don’t want to let Bill know that I’ve given in.
Elizabeth: Well, what about me?
Nathan: What about you?
Elizabeth: I could teach you.
Nathan: Oh, uh.
Elizabeth: You’re not afraid, are you?
Nathan: No, I.
Elizabeth: My father taught me years ago, and I have a spotless driving record.
So, that leaves Lee and Bill holding all the cards for the town’s future, come what may.
And yes, I know that Mike has thrown his had in the ring, too, but he’s already got posters vandalized to say Not Wanted. He doesn’t stand a chance.
And that’s OK since he’s going to have his hands full with the oil business. Lucas has decided to move on, and so far, Henry doesn’t want to reengage after Fiona brought Jerome Smith to town to work with them.
It’s disconcerting that she knew Jerome had worked with Henry at the Northwest Mining Company. That company was an utter disaster plain and simple, and the tragedy changed the scope of the town forever.
Since Henry took blame for not being forceful enough about his concerns over the company’s policies, he has every right to be overly cautious. He has every right to say no, full stop.
Yes, Mike will have his hands full as their operation maneuvers in light of so much change.
So, my vote goes to Lee for Mayor. Change is coming, and how they deal with it will make all the difference. He’s got the right mindset to ensure change is beneficial to Hope Valley.
And there are other changes, still.
Faith has hung her own sign on the infirmary, and she and Carson are not engaging in a long-distance relationship. She’s ready to move on.
Since they just broke up, she can use the time to expand and perfect her practice. That’s a good idea, since it’s slim pickin’s in town in the suitor department. There’s very little to work with there.
We got word that Jesse and Clara took the 1883 route to claim free land in Montana. They’ve already amassed 75 acres, a goat, six chickens, and a dog. We wish them well!
And Ned and Florence have opened a soda fountain and pharmacy, greatly expanding medical care and family entertainment options in the valley. With the store, the new shop, and Ned’s invention of the band-aid, they’re pretty well set for the future.
And we’ve even got some teenage angst in town. Cooper Canfield is giving Minnie and Joseph a run for the parental money.
Jerome is acting up at home and in town. It rankles Joseph, and Minnie is left trying to keep things copacetic.
Kids are kids no matter where they’re raised, and they’re usually so good in Hope Valley, so introducing a story involving the youths that will not move on (as Lee’s niece did) should provide some interesting storylines.
We know what it’s like to work and fall in love and create a future in Hope Valley, but we don’t really know what it’s like to grow up there.
Here’s hoping that Cooper’s growing pains aren’t easily solved so we can better understand what it feels like to grow up there.
And, finally, Elizabeth and Lucas are an actual couple, sharing tender moments all over town and engaging in dating rituals that include early morning hellos and airborne romantic gestures that bring them closer together.
There’s a lot to love about the When Calls the Heart Season 9 premiere, especially as it set the stage for an adventurous year filled with all of the things we enjoy about the show.
After you watch When Calls the Heart online, please share your thoughts about the premiere in the comments below.
What storyline has you the most excited? What do you think of the changes?
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.