I am so disappointed in episode 1 of season 2. It was sorely lacking in authenticity. If I glanced away from the screen for a moment, and then glanced back, it was difficult to tell whether this was modern day or the past. I was willing to overlook modern-day expressions and attitudes in season 1 because there was something that felt somewhat authentic about the sets, the costumes, the hairstyles, the dialogue, and the attitudes portrayed. But season 2 seems to have lost that completely, to the point where it was annoying.
I realize, of course, that it's Hollywood. Just as, according to Hollywood, Walnut Grove, (Little House on the Prairie), boasted the cleanest, toothiest, most beautiful dirt farmers ever, so Coal Valley evidently boasts the best-dressed, cleanest, toothiest, most beautiful coal mine towns people ever. Nothing at all like authentic historical pictures. In fact, they must have enjoyed modern day makeup artists, hair stylists, hair products, hair implements, and hair dyes.
Abigail was my second favorite character, after Jack. But by the beginning of Season 2, she was looking much less like a widowed frontierswoman living in a coal mining town around the turn of the 20th century, and much more like Laurie Laughlin, the famous, glamorous (glamorized) actress. Ego.
Okay,... But some of us like to watch historical shows because we enjoy the idea of a simpler more natural life. This attempt to fuse modern day aesthetics with historical accuracy does not work well.
I fell in love with the character Elizabeth during the first season. Even though she was a rich heiress, she did not come across as spoiled. She was a roll up your sleeves, nose to the grindstone, jump right in kind of young woman. She seemed genuinely concerned with the welfare of her new friends and neighbors. But Season 2 made me dislike her. She was such a different person in Hamilton, just like Jack says. Not just different, but self-absorbed, snotty, privileged, demanding, and thoughtless. She acted like she was madly in love with Jack and Cole Valley, but once they got to Hamilton, she didn't treat him right. She invited Jack to dinner at her family's house and then proceeded to spend all of her time with Charles. She left Jack in the background and basically ignored him all evening. But then she runs to the train station to plant a big wet one on him before he leaves. Very manipulative. The second time they are in Hamilton together, she is better towards Jack, and finally gets honest with herself about Charles, but she's so nasty about Jack's brother Tom. Rude. It's natural to for her to defend her sister, but she's snide and cutting about it. It really did make me wonder who she really is. I suppose this is deliberate on the part of the writers, but I think it's a little overdone. It made me wonder if she's trustworthy. The heroin should be somewhat sympathetic. The protagonist should be likable.
At the mine when she suddenly starts sobbing and saying that she's afraid of losing Jack, it's hard to buy. Bipolar? I think the writers should have had her and Jack in Hamilton again to show that she really could be as warm and loving toward him in Hamilton as she could be in the Valley. It was written as if she and Jack could only be good together in Coal/Hope Valley.
Didn't the storyline in episode 1 go a little off track? The plot was hard to follow. Really, Miss Madison proved that Noah Stanton did know that the mine was unsafe when he lead those men inside, including his own son. A bittersweet victory, I should think. But, hey, the widows got PAID.
And in short order, their money transported them to the future of clothing, cosmetics, hair care products, color and styling implements. Yay!