Hallmark's beloved drama When Calls the Heart brought its fifth season to a heartbreaking end on April 22 with the reveal that leading man Jack had died. The heroic Mountie lost his life after he was caught in a landslide, although he managed to push two of his men out of the way to save their lives. The heroic nature of his death may not have been enough to console fans that Jack would no longer be a part of the series. The unfortunate reality is that actor Daniel Lissing's contract with the series had expired and he decided the time was right to move on. Co-star Lori Loughlin explained why the show wrote Jack out by killing him, saying this:
We talked about it and then we talked about it again. We talked about, like, 'Do we recast the role? No. We can't recast the role, how can you recast the role? No!' The chemistry that these two have, we just didn't feel like -- the writers didn't feel like that was possible... We knew our time was limited with Dan and the actor wouldn't be coming back. So if we sent him off to the Northern Territories, now we have Elizabeth sitting at home in Hope Valley just pining away and waiting? Not much story to tell... the only way he would leave her is in death. That was a really hard decision for the writers to make. Truly it was. But I want the fans to know that we, in making that decision, we really did take you into consideration.
Lori Loughlin revealed why Jack had to be killed off When Calls the Heart in a Hallmark post-finale video on Facebook Live. Perhaps her comments will help fans deal with the fact that Jack is dead and not coming back in Season 6. While the show could have found a way to write Jack off without killing him, not one of those ways would have been true to his character. The love story of Jack and Elizabeth has been the backbone of a lot of the series; suddenly sending him off without his new wife, alive and well but never to return, just wouldn't feel like something Jack would do.
Sure, fans could have had fun imagining a future for Jack and Elizabeth if he was simply offscreen in the Northern Territories, but would the Jack they came to know and love really do such a thing? At least he got to die like a hero. If Jack was going to be killed off, he died in an honorable way, and When Calls the Heart took the time to allow the characters to grieve and say goodbye to him.
The good news for Elizabeth is that she'll still have a piece of Jack with her, even after his death. In the finale, she realized that she's pregnant. She's a widow who will at least start out her parenthood journey as a single mom, but she didn't lose her husband entirely. She'll get to raise their child, assuming nothing tragic strikes her in Season 6. The love story of Jack and Elizabeth can continue with the birth of their son or daughter.
We'll have to wait and see what happens next. When Calls the Heart was renewed for a sixth season, which will hit the airwaves without Daniel Lissing as Jack in 2019. For what you can watch in the meantime, swing by our summer TV premiere guide. If you're in the mood to watch some happier times before Jack was killed, you can find the first four seasons streaming on Netflix. Our Netflix premiere schedule and 2018 Amazon Prime guide can help you find other streaming options as well.