That’s what Elizabeth said to Jack. Well, good afternoon/evening, fellow Hearties who are desperately attempting not to foam at the mouth; or at least trying to contain the foaming inside the mouth. It’s difficult to wait for Season 5, isn’t it? But we must endure, and endure well! We’ll plow through this…together. Just like the title says, we HAVE been here a good long while, haven’t we? And we will also be staying “a good long while,” won’t we? Like many of you, I’m partially filling these empty weeks with all previous seasons, and I’m starting at the top with Season 1, Episode 1. I have no clue how many times I’ve done this, so we’ll go with umpteenth. But this time, I get to do it with my new set of DVD’s: my mother’s Christmas present to me! HOORAY!
One bit of fun trivia is I counted how many characters were in the very first episode, and are still a part of the series today. There are nine, which I think is a pretty decent record. There’s Elizabeth and Jack, of course. There’s also Abigail, Henry, Ned, Florence, and Molly. Surprisingly, there are also two children left: Emily and Anna. I do miss Cat Montgomery, though. I even had a dream a few nights that I was watching a WCTH promo announcing her return. But in the words of Sleeping Beauty, “And then…I wake up.”
I also admit to missing the portrayal of the townspeople. I miss the BEAUTIFUL period hats and hairstyles, and I especially miss the language: Ma, Pa, post, pleasant, fellas, etc. Those are some of my favorite things about Season 1. The town looks SO DIFFERENT from the 1st episode to now. I guess the sawmill was really good for its prosperity.
Let’s get to the specifics of this episode. It starts at the very beginning with the contrast in Elizabeth’s face. Her voice over talks about “stubborn pride”, and her face looks so serene as she gazes at the scenery. Then in an instant, her face twists into horror at a mere rock in the road. It only contorts further at the sight of the outlaws, and I LOVE how her voice quavers at the same moment she says “capable” and “independent”. That look is only rivaled by the look of horror and helplessness when the teacherage burns to the ground. A close 3rd is the look of fear and disgust at the outhouse. I had to giggle at that image since it’s what Brian Bird used to prepare us for the Season 5 drama that’s coming.
I just have one thing to say about Elizabeth: WHAT WAS SHE THINKING??? She didn’t have a single practical skill to survive on her own, she’d never done anything without servants, and there were no microwaves or washing machines back then. How was she planning to live? I presented the question to my husband, and his opinion was maybe she thought she could hire someone. Who knows, really?
Let’s go to her complete opposite: Abigail, homemaker extraordinaire. But looking beyond those skills, I love how she is immediately established as the nurturing one. My favorite aspect of that is how little of a snob she is. Even when people have started out like someone else, memory often fails them, and they think the new person should be just like them from the beginning. Abigail goes to great lengths to soothe Elizabeth’s troubled soul, and help her realize she started out just like she did. Plus, her makeup job even makes her look like she has traces of coal dust on her face, which makes her fit the role perfectly.
Now let’s move on to our Jack, BEFORE he was perfect. First thing’s first: his entrance. I’m noticing he gets most, if not all, of the dramatic entrances. He doesn’t even appear until 14 minutes into the 1st episode; but that really establishes Elizabeth’s character to us before…more complications arise. And something hilarious that I noticed: the child Elizabeth is holding gives Elizabeth a totally giddy “Teacher’s in lo-ove” smile when Jack rides off.
Jack’s emotions, though: WOW! They change on the face of a dime! Their first conversation, for example. Daniel Lissing said in an interview that Jack was really excited to meet Elizabeth. Pretty woman, she’s new in town, he’s new in town; he’s totally flirting! Then with a snap of the fingers, he completely resents her, and holds her personally responsible for his assignment change. Then when he shows up at Abigail’s front door for dinner all smiles and friendliness, and it instantly melts to a cold glare when Elizabeth answers…changeable! And so cocky! That “I was right” smile with the pinching shoes, tight dress, and not being disappointed…so infuriating! I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing Gabe was being truant either.
She throws it back at him though. Some of her best lines are: “I can take care of my own stubbed toes, thank you very much!”, and “You better get used to a steady diet of coal dust. I’m a Thatcher! We don’t run from a challenge.” My favorite lines of them playing off each other are: “Instinct is for Mounties, not for teachers.” “Students are for teachers, not for Mounties.”
Funny thing about Erin Krakow: she has a habit of playing characters who are very attracted to men chopping wood, (WCTH and Finding/Engaging Father Christmas). Can’t say I blame her! Somebody get me a cool cloth for my head! And thanks to her voice over, I found out what “P.S.” meant: “Post Script”.
See ya Monday, friends!