At the conclusion of the first season of When Calls the Heart, heroic schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) shared a kiss with hunky Constable Jack (Dan Lissing). In many fairy tales, a kiss signifies “happily ever after,” but for Elizabeth and Jack, or “Jackabeth” as their fans have dubbed them, nothing is ever that easy. “It would be nice if I could say that they go on lots of dates and they ride off into the sunset,” says Krakow, but “we might make them work for it.” Not long after the start of their romance, Elizabeth receives a telegram begging for her return to her hometown. And in the two-hour season premiere of Hallmark’s beautiful series (airing Saturday), Elizabeth’s departure from Coal Valley is only the first of this season’s big changes.
Elizabeth, accompanied by chivalrous Jack, returns to her family home in the city of Hamilton and we see her in the upper-crust world she left behind when she moved to Coal Valley. The disconnect between Elizabeth’s lifestyle and his own working-class roots becomes almost too much for Jack to bear. “They come from very different worlds, and that hasn’t been in their faces as much in Coal Valley,” says Krakow. “It’s not that they don’t accept and deeply care for each other; it’s that they’re seeing each other in a new light.”
And it isn’t that her character has changed, says Krakow; it’s the way she’s treated by those around her that changes. “There are different expectations,” she says. Elizabeth is torn by the two very different worlds she inhabits, and she doesn’t want to have to choose between them. “The question is: Does she have to choose?” wonders Krakow.
While Elizabeth feels the tug between the people and life she left behind in Hamilton and the life she’s grown to love in Coal Valley, big changes are in store for the quaint 19th-century frontier town as it moves on from the tragic mine explosion that shattered the town’s residents in Season 1. “The town is brightening — there are flowers, there are new businesses, people are in better spirits — and it feels like the town is starting to come to life again,” reveals Krakow. “It’s a happier, brighter place.” The town’s spring awakening is fueled by the arrival of the long-anticipated mining disaster trial, and new and interesting characters who move into town.
Jack Wagner, who last season was a supporting character, becomes a mainstay in Coal Valley, and in Episode 3, Wagner’s former General Hospital costar (and former wife) Kristina Wagner joins the cast in a mysterious role. “It’s exciting to see those actors work together again,” gushes Krakow, who must have been a Frisco and Felicia fan.
Krakow marvels at the exuberant reception When Calls the Heart received in its freshman season, admitting, “We were blown away.” And despite the big changes headed to Coal Valley, Krakow reassures the show’s fans that they only enhance the beloved family-friendly show, saying, “This season brings more intrigue, more romance, more adventure and more comedy.” And the actress even reveals, “I got to do a little bit of stunt work!”
When Calls The Heart > Hallmark Channel > Saturdays at 8pm ET beginning April 25