Everything about Heartland, eh?

Ratings: Week of March 16

From Numeris:

Top Programs – Total Canada

  • #10 Masterchef Canada – 1.659 million
  • #17 Murdoch Mysteries – 1.261 million
  • #19 Motive – 1.154 million
  • #21 Rick Mercer Report – 1.082 million
  • #26 Marketplace – 969,000
  • #27 Dragons’ Den – 960,000
  • #29 Heartland – 950,000

Review: Amy and Ty tie the knot on Heartland

The wedding between Amy Fleming and Ty Borden has been a long time coming. There have been Princes and punches, fights and frustrations, breakups and bonding … a roller coaster of emotions for not only them, but their families and viewers. But after eight seasons of waiting, the two said their vows and became a couple.

“I was ready for this,” Amber Marshall told me after a meet and greet with Heartland fans last Thursday in Toronto. “I feel like if we waited any longer, people would start to get mad. It was time. It was totally time.”

That doesn’t mean Sunday’s season finale, “Written in Stone,” wasn’t without a few tense moments. It appeared the pair had decided to elope in Pike River, leaving Lou steaming because of all the planning she’d done. But Amy and Ty opted out of that, realizing they wanted to be surrounded by family and friends on the biggest day of their lives. It was a welcome relief to everyone, especially Lou. Well, until she got a call with some bad news: the hall she booked wasn’t available anymore. (To be fair, Lou has had a lot on her mind, but it was still funny to see the Queen of Planning thrown for a loop.)

Enter Jack, who has always been as steady as the rock hearth he sat in front of, recalling his marriage right there in the house in front of the fireplace. That sealed it for Amy and Ty: they would be married there too. The ceremony itself was a small and meaningful affair that called back many Heartland characters from the past to be there. And while Amy and Ty looked confident as they stood up and professed their love, things were a little different for Marshall during filming.

“I was nervous the whole time,” Marshall said. “I couldn’t remember the vows, I got dizzy, I was more nervous filming this wedding scene than I was on my actual wedding day. It was a really surreal experience.”

Heather Conkie’s script didn’t solely revolve around the happy couple. There were other storylines to wrap up, most notably Caleb losing his property to the dastardly Jesse Stanton. That was taken care of thanks to Val, who pulled Caleb aside and apologized for her hot-head son. She handed over a cheque that covers the loan still owing on the land, freeing it up for Caleb to stay.

Finally, there was Trouble. Because Amy was busy, you know, getting married, Georgie took it upon herself to gentle the annoyed beast. That wasn’t an easy task, but it sure was rewarding. The most touching scene of the season finale for me involved Amy and Ty watching Trouble charge at Georgie, pull up short, and nuzzle her arm in friendship. The perfect way to end a dramatic season of Heartland.

Notes and quotes

  • Amber Marshall wore her real-life wedding dress. Her mom’s wedding dress is actually owned by Heartland‘s showrunner, Heather Conkie.
  • Amy and Ty weren’t really watching Georgie and Trouble in that field. They were, as Marshall explained, “looking at a stick in a field” and the scene was edited afterwards.
  • The actress who plays Katie didn’t appear in the scene where the Fleming-Morris family danced together. Michelle Morgan explained Julia Maren Baker’s allotted on-set time had expired, so they used another girl in her place and filmed so you just saw the back of Katie’s head.

What was your favourite moment from last night’s episode? Comment below or at @tv_eh.

Tonight: Heartland, Masterchef Canada, Motive, Big Brother Canada

Heartland, CBC – “Written in Stone” season finale
In order to give Amy and Ty the wedding they really want, Lou struggles to deal with a slew of last minute hurdles.

Masterchef Canada, CTV – “No Piece of Cake”
The Top 11 home cooks face a sweet but emotional Mystery Box Challenge that requires them to bake and decorate birthday cakes that express something about themselves. Then, a dramatic twist gives two home cooks a strategic advantage in the Elimination Challenge, where they assign their competitors challenging ‘odd couple’ ingredients.

Motive, CTV – “The Glass House”
The gruesome discovery of a dismembered body leaves the homicide team looking for a killer with access to power tools. The case becomes even more complicated when the victim’s 16 year-old daughter is abducted, and Detectives Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) and Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira) must race to find the connection between the teen and the killer. Angie continues to secretly investigate the Neville Montgomery (Victor Garber) file. Dylan Walsh (UNFORGETTABLE) guest stars.

Big Brother Canada, Global
The houseguests face nomination in tonight’s episode of Big Brother Canada.

Heartland’s wedding day finale a hit with die-hard fans

The girls sitting behind me were crying. I could hear them, sniffing self-consciously in the dark. That’s the only sound I discerned from them—or the other 400-plus in attendance—during Thursday’s sneak peek movie theatre screening of Heartland‘s Season 8 finale, “Written in Stone.”

The quiet sniffling from those die-hard fans, dressed in jeans, cowboy hats and boots and checked shirts, was a sharp contrast to half an hour earlier when the Heartland cast was introduced to the audience prior to the screening. Then, those same girls screamed “We love you Ty!” and then squealed when he—or rather Graham Wardle, the dude who plays Ty—looked their way, smiled and waved.

“Oh my God, he’s so gorgeous,” opined one.

“I’m going to die,” confessed another.

I’ve been reviewing Season 8 of Heartland for TV, eh? and have become engrossed in the characters and storylines. But I had no clue just how beloved the folks at that Alberta ranch are to faithful viewers who have been tuning in since the pilot.

“We held a charity event for the citizens of High River, Alberta, after that horrible flood [in 2013],” showrunner Heather Conkie told me hours earlier at CBC’s Toronto headquarters. “We expected 500 people to show up and 2,000 tickets were sold just like that. The event started at 11 a.m. and there were people lining up at 8. People had come from Ohio and Florida. It was stunning.” The same was true during a meet and greet on Thursday, where fans from across Canada and the U.S. trekked to Toronto for the chance to have a picture taken with Wardle and co-stars Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Alisha Newton, Shaun Johnston and Chris Potter.

With that kind of adoration comes responsibility. CBC’s Sunday night stalwart—it has been renewed for Season 9—had detractors who tuned in last fall to see Amy Fleming a changed woman after spending months in Europe. She was snooty and sometimes downright snotty to her small-town family, and it rubbed some viewers the wrong way.

Heartland_screen

“We expected it,” Conkie admited. “I had faith that if fans stayed with us they would understand it was a good way to go.” Conkie travelled to Europe when she was that age and returned home “insufferable” because she knew everything and Toronto was stupid and ugly. Amy was immersed in the posh horse racing set for four months, so it made sense that she would have attitude. Conkie and her fellow executive producers were worried they’d gone too far once they took a look at online comments, but kept their fingers crossed the fans would stick around. They have; Heartland has averaged 1 million viewers per week.

It’s understandable viewers want their favourite characters to stay the same and have each episode end happily. But that’s not reality, and Heartland strives to be real. That was driven home in a season that saw Georgie (Newton) torn between her birth family and adopted family, Ty figuring out his career path, Tim (Potter) dipping his toe back into relationship water and Lou (Morgan) and Peter (Gabriel Hogan) seeing their marriage fall apart. That last storyline has been difficult to watch, but necessary.

“It has been hard to play these scenes, but a lot of Canadians have gone through this,” Morgan said after the photo op. “We think this is a situation that a lot of people can relate to. It made me sad, but families go through ups and downs.”

“The important message there is that we don’t need to be beside each other to love one another,” Johnston explained. “We can be separated for a while but we can still maintain that sense of family, and caring and sharing. It just doesn’t have to look the very same way every day.”

That word—family—was used a lot by the cast and producers on Thursday, both in reference to their co-workers and those fans. During a question and answer session following the screening, Potter took a moment to thank everyone for their continued support of Heartland, something he’d spoken of earlier in the day.

“When I read the pilot, I realized this was a show that could go on for 15 years,” he said. “And I wondered if the Canadian business model would allow that to happen. In the States they’ve lots of shows like this that have gone on for years. Touched by an Angel, 7th Heaven. I feel like, as long as there are viewers, this can just keep going.”

But getting back to those girls behind me, quietly crying during the season finale. We’re those tears of joy, or sadness? Will Ty and Amy really tie the knot after eight years of growing their relationship? Let’s just say those girls—and everyone else in the theatre—were very happy by the time the lights came up.

Heartland‘s season finale airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Tonight: Motive, Masterchef Canada, Heartland

Motive, CTV – “Oblivion”
When Robin Gould (Alexis Bledel, GILMORE GIRLS), an ambitious architect, goes missing, Detectives Brian Lucas (Brendan Penny), Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman), and Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira) find evidence that her case may be tied to a seemingly unrelated murder. Vision troubles prompt Vega to turn to Dr. Rogers (Lauren Holly) for advice as his weapons recertification test looms.

Masterchef Canada, CTV – “One Potato, Two Potato”
The home cooks’ second Team Challenge takes place on the University of Guelph campus, home to the school’s ground-breaking food research department which has developed numerous food products, including the Yukon Gold potato. After being divided into teams, the home cooks test their culinary and entrepreneurial skills by creating crowd-pleasing poutine dishes to sell to hundreds of hungry students. Back in the MASTERCHEF CANADA kitchen, the members of the losing team must master a difficult stuffed pasta dish or face elimination.

Heartland, CBC – “All I Need Is You”
Lou spearheads preparations for the big day while Amy throws herself into gentling a rescue horse in order to avoid all the craziness.