This is the penultimate recap/review for Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas. When Calls the Heart: The Greatest Christmas Blessing aired on Christmas Day which is either the most coveted spot of Hallmark’s films or no one watches stuff on Christmas, so they put whatever on. Anyway, When Calls the Heart is a book and TV series. I think it takes place in old timey locations. I tried to find an official synopsis on the Hallmark page, but there surprisingly was none. Instead, they did their own recap which potentially puts my line of work in jeopardy. However, seeing as I have a truly unique voice that could never be replicated, Hallmark can try all it wants, but I’m not going anywhere. Unless I get bored.
The lead character, Elizabeth, reads a story to her unborn child. This short scene is to show she’s pregnant.
Lori Loughlin’s character, Abigail, arrives home to a guy making figgy pudding. (I haven’t eaten my Christmas pudding yet. I’m looking forward to setting it on fire.) Abigail is panicking over the upcoming Christmas dinner. People are changing the dishes they’re meant to bring.
We cut to two women bringing some clothes to Elizabeth. They’re worried about her raising a child on her own. Elizabeth insists on carrying the basket upstairs herself. She’s an independent woman. Once they leave, she breathes heavily from carrying the basket. It doesn’t look all that heavy, but I suspect things change when you’re pregnant.
Elizabeth is a schoolteacher and she’s getting the kids ready for Christmas. A young girl asks the teacher what she’d like for Christmas. Elizabeth hopes for a healthy baby. The girl then talks about “Mountie Jack” seeing the baby from heaven. I suspect Jack is the father and is dead. I know I’m jumping into a series I know nothing about, but this Christmas special is truly keeping Hallmark theme with a dead family member. The schoolhouse hears a mysterious group of children on a horse and wagon singing a lovely Christmas carol. The kids would like to see them, but Elizabeth shoos them back inside.
The group makes their way into the center of town and is introduced to the mayor, Abigail. Abigail invites everyone to have some free hot chocolate. Abigail and her husband Figgy Pudding have a chat with the two ladies who lead the group, Lillian and Grace. They’re on the way to another town to start an orphanage but had a wagon mishap. Thankfully, one of the town locals picked them up.
Figgy Pudding takes some time help check out what happened to the ladies’ wagon. Lillian tells him a bit more about their trip and it sounds somewhat suspicious to him. The mechanic isn’t in town and won’t be for a while. Looks like they’re going to have to spend Christmas in Hope Valley.
Elizabeth watches her kids decorate the tree. A woman intrusively touches her stomach. Abigail approaches her to ask if the baby’s room is ready. Elizabeth lies. Elizabeth asks about the Christmas feast and Abigail expresses her annoyance with how things are going.
Abigail’s kid, Cody, makes friends with the orphans. Together, they all build a snowman and discuss what they did for Christmas last year. The kids haven’t had any great ones and they’re disappointed that they won’t be having a real one this year. Cody feels bad for the kids and tells his mom just that. He’s adopted so he feels the whole “sad orphan” vibe.
Abigail, Elizabeth, and another woman named Rosemary have tea with Lillian and Grace. Abigail offers them a place to stay since they won’t be making it to their destination. Lillian and Grace disagree on whether or not they accept the hospitality. Grace is seemingly nervous, but they end up staying.
Cody comes up with a plan with the kids and starts rounding them up through a game of telephone. They get caught taking down a bunch of ornaments from the “wishing tree” in the center of town. The three Hope Valley women interrogate the rascals. The kids say that they’d like to change their wishes to one common one: make Christmas special for the orphans.
While Figgy Pudding continues making food, he shares his suspicions about the orphanage women with Abigail. She agrees with his assessment and both will keep an eye on it.
Rosemary has taken the girl orphans of the group to stay in her home. One of the orphans is mute and likes to read so Rosemary has her visit Elizabeth. A schoolteacher should always have books. While the little girl looks at the small selection, Rosemary tries to put something in the baby’s room, but Elizabeth plays interference.
Figgy Pudding continues to make a huge meal. Hopefully, there are no town emergencies while he’s baking pie. Abigail tries some of his stuff but is disgusted by the pudding. I thought he forgot the sugar, but she tells him in a completely non-ironic way that he needs to put more love into his food.
Rosemary takes the mute kid to the doctor. They hope that he can just slap the words out of her. However, he sees nothing wrong with her, so the issue must be psychosomatic. Lillian and Grace use this opportunity to try to bully some words out of the girl. She’s not having it.
At the schoolhouse, the kids try to brainstorm ways to make Christmas special for the orphans. They decide to give them their favorite toys.
The mute girl starts to follow a man and gestures that he read the book she took from Elizabeth. As she can’t speak, the guy has no idea what her deal is. She even follows him into his house. Stranger danger is nothing to this kid. He finally figures out what she wants and does it for her. They appear to start from the middle, so he doesn’t have to spend all day doing this.
The next day, Abigail whines about the Christmas feast. There are more mouths to feed. Figgy Pudding interrupts to tell her that the story of the girls checks out. They’re not human traffickers. Cool.
Abigail runs into a distressed Elizabeth. She’s worried that she isn’t ready to be a mother and hasn’t even made the baby’s room. The dead husband thing also stings. Abigail understands her stress and she even gets the ladies of Hope Valley to make the baby’s room.
Lillian and Grace have a cryptic conversation. Apparently, they can get in trouble. I suspect they stole the kids. Meanwhile, the mute girl asks the guy to read the same book, this time, to her sister. He does it.
Figgy Pudding and Abigail have another one of their conversations. Apparently, he received a wire that essentially communicated that Lillian and Grace have another kid in their mitts, more than they accounted to the authorities. Human trafficking one kid seems like a weird move. The music becomes ominous, so this means we’re getting serious.
Lillian and Grace talk about their mother. Are they sisters? Because no two people ever looked more different. I thought they were two orphans that grew up together.
Figgy Pudding approaches them for a serious conversation. He accuses them of stealing the mute kid from an orphanage. Figgy Pudding announces that a train is coming to pick up the kid and that they’ll have to plead their case in front of a judge. A little girl overhears and shouts that it was her fault. She hid the mute girl, her sister, in a wagon so the orphanage ladies had no clue at the time. Figgy Pudding understands, but still aims to send the mute kid back to her rightful orphanage.
They send her off the next day…EXCEPT IT’S A FAKE OUT! Yes, Mr. Figgy Pudding hired a horse and buggy to pretend to pick up an ORPHAN and make all of the other ORPHANS SAD, just so he could do a reveal that she’s not going until after Christmas.
Figgy Pudding tries to make his pudding again, but it sucks. He enlists the orphans to help. Thanks to the magic of child labor, the pudding is a total success. It’s not love that he needed, it was tiny child hands.
While eating his pudding, a woman appears to collect the little mute girl. Unfortunately, this lady haaaates Grace and Lillian for some reason. She demands that the two women be arrested, but Figgy Pudding is staying out of that. The orphanage lady says a mute kid needs to learn sign language and questions whether or not these two women have the skills to get that done. She makes an excellent point. However, I suspect that the mute girl will talk by the end because of Christmas love so her point will end up being moot. The lady doesn’t even want the girl eating at the Christmas Eve feast.
While that’s going on, the three main Hope Valley ladies drove to another town to run some errands. It’s nighttime when they head back, and they’re hit with a double whammy: heavy snow and Elizabeth’s baby ramming its way out. The men are worried about them due to the snow, so they take off on horseback to find them.
The women discover a cabin which helps the baby get born-deded. The men arrive just in time to see the disgusting miracle of life. But like all things in When Calls the Heart, it’s a very clean baby. Elizabeth calls him Jack after the dead dad.
The next morning, the snow has passed, and the orphanage lady is ready to get out of Dodge with mute girl in tow. Before she goes, the mute girl asks the man to read the book again. As he reads, she begins to quietly mimic his works. She starts to audibly speak. Everyone stares at her as she goes for it which isn’t unnerving at all for a small child.
Now that she doesn’t need to learn sign language, the orphanage lady is cool with letting her go.
The episode ends with a montage of scenes wrapping up everyone’s loose ends. The orphans get a flannel Christmas, the figgy pudding is tasty, the guy gets the perfect suit (there was a storyline about a dressing up for the ballet), and Elizabeth has a clean baby.
I don’t know much about this show, but it seems like stuff you watch in the background. Anyone remember the TV station PAX? This is a PAX show. Obviously, this is not the standard Hallmark romance fare, but it was part of the Countdown to Christmas, so it was included. It felt weird not to have a kiss at the end.
My dear readers, there is but one film left for you…A Midnight Kiss. While part of the Countdown to Christmas, I believe this film segues into Hallmark’s Winterfest. I don’t think I’ll be covering that.
- Rosemary’s hair looks really out of the time period. Every time I see just her head, I think it’s a contemporary film.
- Everything looks so immaculate for frontier times. There’s no dust or dirt and there’s a whiff of Balsam Hill. The orphans seem to bathe regularly.
- There were so many storylines. There was one about a guy takin’ his gal out to the ballet and how all the men try to dress him so that he doesn’t look like a country bumpkin
- What era is this? The trees have electric lights.
- Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.