Can When Calls the Heart Maintain the Magic Without Opposing ’Ships?


When Calls the Heart Season 11 has offered different storylines without the Lucas, Elizabeth, and Nathan love triangle. Adding the political aspects and eliminating the love triangle almost seems like a different series.

During When Calls the Heart Seasons 8 through 10, Elizabeth’s love life was center stage, and there was enough material to please both the Team Lucas and Team Nathan fan bases.

Elizabeth’s breakup with Lucas in the When Calls the Heart Season 10 finale was emotional and unexpected, especially after years of being only good friends with Nathan. Have the tides changed, and can the show maintain its magic without opposing ships?

Elizabeth already had true love with Jack Thornton. After she grieved, watching her interact with Lucas was entertaining since he brought out her feisty side, and their different personalities meshed well.

Their romance was a slow burn, and they didn’t become an official couple until the When Calls the Heart Season 8 finale.

The Happy Couple - When Calls the Heart Season 8 Episode 12

One of the best parts about Lucas and Elizabeth’s courtship is that we see it occur on-screen, from romantic dates to Lucas bonding with Little Jack. It occurred gradually, so we invested in the characters.

One of my favorite moments was when Lucas created a library for the town because he knew how much Elizabeth valued reading and education. While Lucas often created big surprises, he did them out of affection and grew to value community, family, and friends.

That’s why it was so upsetting when Lucas left Hope Valley to focus on his political career since that wasn’t the character viewers watched evolve since When Calls the Heart Season 6.

It seemed like a slap in the face that Elizabeth dumped him as he was sacrificing everything so her little town could be saved, but he ended up alone.

Lucas's Return - When Calls the Heart Season 11 Episode 3

We needed Lucas back in Hope Valley, but it’s unclear if he’s only there for a political purpose or if he’ll be a thorn in Nathan and Elizabeth’s side.

The love triangle got tiresome on its best days, and seeing him make announcements every time Nathan and Elizabeth shared a fraught moment brought back ugly memories.

If the series is determined to push Nathan and Elizabeth together, they need to find a way to do so without making it awkward.

It seemed like Nathan and Elizabeth missed their romantic opportunity, but now they’ve settled into a close friendship, albeit one with stolen glances and incredibly awkward misrepresentations and misreadings of their feelings for one another.

Nathan & Elizabeth - When Calls the Heart Season 11 Episode 3

While we have no doubt they’ll take that romantic turn again, it’s still hard to imagine Elizabeth with another Mountie. Her love for Jack ran deep, and she initially felt betrayed when she learned that Nathan was supposed to lead the training mission that ultimately killed Jack.

Elizabeth felt more hurt that he never told her the truth, and after losing Jack, she was afraid to go through that again. If the series followed through on this thread, their love story could be compelling.

In the wake of that, it mostly seemed that Nathan and Elizabeth were good friends who shared advice with each other about the adventures of single parenting.

Even though Elizabeth called Lucas the “safe choice,” Nathan seems more like a safe and dependable option.

Awkward Nathan - When Calls the Heart Season 11 Episode 3

Elizabeth and Nathan’s conversations now seemed forced and awkward, and every time either of them attempted to confess their feelings, they were interrupted by something about Lucas.

It’s a plot device that has already grown old after three episodes. How long will that continue?

While Lucas and Elizabeth’s relationship had more chemistry, do we really want to see Lucas’s heart broken again? He’s finally moved on to the point that he and Elizabeth can be friends.

The problem is that everyone is so polite and awkward, and it’s not as fun to watch. Watching Lucas and Nathan battle in the streets via car and horse for Elizabeth’s heart in When Call the Heart Season 9 Episode 5? Now, that was something to see!

It created a buzz in Hope Valley and within the fandom. We were fully invested. Sadly, those fun beats are missing now.

Gentlemen of the Hour - When Calls the Heart Season 10 Episode 10

Many TV shows lose their magic in their later seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with Elizabeth taking time to decide what she needs and being single before jumping back into a relationship.

However, many viewers watch mainly because of Elizabeth’s journey; her love life is part of that. Hopefully, the series will sprinkle some romance into the season for her.

The other magic missing is scenes of Little Jack with whoever she dates. Lucas and Little Jack’s relationship was special. They were “buddies” and formed a genuine bond. Hopefully, for Jack’s sake, that will continue even if they don’t date.

However, if Elizabeth dates Nathan, they need to show more family moments. She and Allie have grown close over the years, but we haven’t seen similar moments develop between Nathan and Little Jack.

Buddies - When Calls the Heart Season 10 Episode 8

While we wait for Elizabeth’s romantic relationships, the series still sprinkles some magic around elsewhere. Mike and Mei’s blooming romance has been one of the best parts of the show.

Their relationship is still in the sweet “honeymoon phase,” but they have included compelling angst by featuring Mei’s fears about getting too serious because of her ex. They’ve become a rootable couple who should be shown more often.

Showing the families and children ignites warmth and magic as well. While Nathan and Elizabeth may have awkwardness, his relationship with Allie exudes warmth, and it’s the ideal time to explore how raising a teenage girl changes things.

Faith just had her world altered and is raising a child for the first time. Lucas mentioned that the children of Hope Valley were the future. Let’s return to the glory days when they were part of the magic and feature them more often.

For the Future - When Calls the Heart Season 11 Episode 3

What do you think, Hearties?

Are you enjoying When Calls the Heart Season 11 with the changes? What do you want to see with Elizabeth’s love life? What’s your favorite part of this season?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so let us know in the comments below.

When Calls the Heart airs at 9/8c on Sundays on the Hallmark Channel.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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