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Kevin McGarry defends the Season 8 finale of When Calls the Heart

Kevin McGarry on Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart
Kevin McGarry on Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart. In a recent interview, the actor defended the show’s Season 8 finale, which upset some fans. Pic credit: Crown Media

Actor Kevin McGarry knew people would be upset about the Season 8 finale of When Calls the Heart. After all, viewers had watched for three seasons as his character, Nathan Grant, and another character, Lucas Bouchard, vied for the hand of widow Elizabeth Thornton.

He knew that viewers would have strong reactions when Elizabeth finally made her choice.

“It was three years in the making,” he said in an interview on the Hallmark Happenings podcast. “I knew that it was going to be a bang.”

Still, McGarry was surprised at how long the outcry lasted when Elizabeth (played by Erin Krakow) chose Lucas (played by Chris McNally) instead of Nathan in the final episode of Season 8.

“I wasn’t expecting the longevity,” he said.

Many fans expressed anger and disappointment with the decision, saying Elizabeth should have ended up with Nathan. But McGarry said he thinks it will all work out for the best.

“Change can be hard, don’t get me wrong, but change can also be good, and I think moving forward with the show, it’s going to be in a good place,” McGarry said.

Kevin McGarry talks accents, co-stars, and comedy

In the hour-long interview, McGarry also touched on his latest movies for Hallmark, his relationship with co-star Kayla Wallace, and his appreciation for the comedic antics of Bill Murray.

He said it was difficult to adopt a Boston accent for The Wedding Veil, and said that, at one point, he overdid it.

“The director said, ‘You’re sounding very much like a Kennedy right now. Let’s try to pull back a bit,’” he said.

He talked about meeting his girlfriend, who plays Fiona Miller on When Calls the Heart, when they joined the cast in Season 6.

“We spent a lot of time as friends before anything really kind of developed so that when they did, it just felt very right for both of us,” he said.

When Calls the Heart Season 9 and beyond

Though he couldn’t reveal much about what will happen to Nathan in Season 9, he did hint at some romantic possibilities. He brought up his character’s interactions with Hope Valley’s new arrival, Mei Suo, played by Amanda Wong, as well as his ongoing friendship with Faith, played by Andrea Brooks. And then there’s Fiona.

“Nathan has a mustache at the beginning of the season, and it’s not there at the end, so somebody had to shave it off, and Fiona is a barber,” he said.

McGarry said he thought Elizabeth choosing Lucas was ultimately the right choice for the series.

“Where we’re going with the show is new and exciting,” he said. “…In any kind of storytelling, things need to change.”

Season 9 of When Calls the Heart premieres on Sunday, March 6, on Hallmark Channel at 8/7c.

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  1. There are three (3) reasons my wife and I are going to boycott the upcoming ninth season of “When Calls the Heart”, a show that we once enjoyed but can no longer watch in good conscience.

    REASON #1: The producers ignored the wishes of the majority of Hearties (the show’s fans) when they paired up Elizabeth with Lucas instead of Nathan, and this is a tremendous disappointment. When Daniel Lissing, the actor who played Elizabeth’s late husband Jack, decided to leave the series back in season five (sadly quitting the role of the best male character in the last decade or more of television), the Hearties never got to see something that they sincerely wanted in the seasons to follow: stories framed around the married life and shared parenthood of the two heroic lead characters.

    It’s true that Nathan is very much like Jack, but he’s actually even BETTER for Elizabeth than Jack, because he’s willing to give up his career for her (something that Jack was reluctant to do, and which led to his untimely passing). Having Elizabeth choose Nathan would’ve been much more logical and believable from a character standpoint, and most of all would have given the fans what they deserve and waited for from seasons six through eight. For the producers to decide that Elizabeth choosing Lucas was the better way for the series to go proves that they’re either out of touch with reality, or they simply don’t care about the fanbase that’s their bread and butter. Either way, they made a big mistake and we’re not going to accept it. Until they decide to be more sensitive to their audience, we’re going to hit them in their pocketbooks. Hearties, we deserve better! It’s time to draw a line and stick to it. If the show tanks without us, it’s no great loss at this point.

    REASON #2: Elizabeth is barely a shadow of the inspiring character she used to be. When the series began, she was a courageous woman who left behind an affluent lifestyle and ventured into the unknown to be a schoolteacher on the Canadian frontier. Coming to a mining town that had been struck with awful tragedy, she quickly established herself as a true heroine and a role model for women in any time or place. Why? Because she was SELFLESS. She earnestly, generously, and continually gave of her time, knowledge, and energy to benefit the grieving children under her care—as well as their mothers, some of whom were unkind and wrongly judged her.

    Eight seasons later, the once selfless Elizabeth is virtually unrecognizable. Not only is she out of character for rejecting a selfless suitor in favor of a self-indulgent one, but after misjudging her best friend and treating her badly, she resolves to make up with her ONLY because she desperately needs her advice. Whatever happened to doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing, without any personal gain being involved? Say hello to the “Me generation” on this sadly degenerated series. How are we supposed to believe that Elizabeth does ANYTHING anymore—including teaching school—for a reason that doesn’t suit her personal ambitions? Add the fact that she’s out of character for rejecting a selfless suitor in favor of a self-indulgent one, and you have more evidence that the heart of this show’s central figure has been lost.

    REASON #3: Season eight embodies a very poor message about fatherhood. When Elizabeth picked Lucas as her “lifetime” companion, fatherhood was totally absent from her equation. There wasn’t a single piece of dialogue or narration anywhere in the whole season in which she affirmed or even considered that Lucas would be a good father for her son. Whether or not Lucas has this potential is beside the point—the fact remains that this crucial detail was a NON-ISSUE to the writers, producers, and network executives.

    This is unacceptable for a series that espouses family values. When selecting a mate, single mothers have a responsibility to think wider than simply who they are “in love” with, because the poor choice of a step-parent can lead to drastic problems…and very often has. Too bad this show didn’t have the guts to make a statement about how the “Me generation” mindset is a recipe for familial casualties. Instead, it took the final step in modeling the deceitful fallacy of “following one’s heart” at any expense in the effort to achieve personal happiness.

    To all you “Hearties” out there who share our disappointment, we recommend that you join us in boycotting the series until the producers stop churning out this fluff-and-nonsense excuse for a program that once stood tall for its inspiring lead characters and the embracing of TRUE family values. We don’t need another politically-correct series encouraging the lie that fathers, at best, are secondary or inconsequential factors in how a child should be raised. We also don’t need a show pushing the lie that following one’s heart will invariably lead someone in the right direction. There’s more to a successful life than self-fulfillment, especially where children are concerned. Of all the characters on the show, it’s essential that Elizabeth personifies this truth.

    Did anyone else notice how her son was relegated to a background character this past season? And that whenever he was mentioned, it was usually in connection with a babysitter? Yet again, the “Me generation” calls the heart! Just get a babysitter, and go have fun. You also may have noticed that when Nathan asked Elizabeth out, he wanted her son to join them. Did Lucas ever mention anything about including the boy on his dates with Elizabeth? No, not once. And yet, the writers and producers expect us to believe that Lucas is the better choice.

    One final thought. It’s suggested in last year’s final episode that Nathan may wind up with Faith, an irritatingly conflicted woman who previously couldn’t recognize true love when it was staring her in the face. If that ridiculous match-up (a “band-aid” if there ever was one) were to be foisted upon us, it would be the final insult to our intelligence. “When Calls the Heart” MUST restore its credibility with the fans who hung in there all these years to experience a better outcome than what season eight saw fit to give them. As it is now, my wife and I wish that we had checked out a long time ago.

    Christopher Dufour
    Pastor, Arising Light International Church

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