How 'When Calls the Heart' Wrote Out Lori Loughlin's Abigail Stanton (POLL)

Meredith Jacobs
Spoiler Alert Ricardo Hubbs/Crown Media

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 6, Episode 4 of When Calls the Heart, "Heart of a Mountie."]

Hearties didn't have to wait long to find out how When Calls the Heart would deal with Lori Loughlin's absence.

In the first scene of the Hallmark Channel series' return, Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) narrates as she writes of Abigail Stanton leaving Hope Valley to care for her ill mother back east. "True to her nature, Abigail wasted no time in rushing off to care for her," she says. "Abigail is much more than a friend. She's family. I will miss her and Cody deeply."

However, she continues, the residents of Hope Valley will "soldier on" without her. That means a couple changes to the town, but what we don't learn is how it will deal without Abigail there to serve as its mayor. Lee (Kavan Smith) and Rosemary (Pascale Hutton) do pause when walking by the office, but that's it.

After that, it's business as usual.

(Eike Schroter/Crown Media)

Bill and the new Mountie, Nathan Grant (Kevin McGarry) investigate the theft of Lee's payroll. Rosemary uncovers Carson (Paul Greene) and Faith's (Andrea Brooks) budding, secret romance. Jesse (Aren Buchholz) is jealous of the attention Lucas (Chris McNally) pays Clara (Eva Bourne), and even tells her she can quit her job in the tavern since he picked up another one.

These are all storylines that Abigail could have — and likely would have — been involved with, had she been around. As mayor, she likely would have at least been told about the robbery. Rosemary may have gone to her as she struggled to keep news of the new relationship secret. Clara likely would have spoken with her mother-in-law about her relationship woes.

Should 'When Calls the Heart' Replace Lori Loughlin With Another Hallmark Actress?

Should 'When Calls the Heart' Replace Lori Loughlin With Another Hallmark Actress?

The series and Hearties may not have to say goodbye to Abigail Stanton.

It's unclear what When Calls the Heart plans to do in the future for Abigail. This could be the end of her character, and at some point, one of the residents will receive word she decided to stay back east to be with her family. Having Cody go with her suggests this is likely to be the case; otherwise, the door would have been left wide open for the character to return.

However, that doesn't rule out Abigail (and Cody) returning to Hope Valley in the future if the series recasts Loughlin's character for Season 7.

(Eike Schroter/Crown Media)

Whatever does happen, fans will likely have to wait until between seasons or the next one for a definitive answer on-screen about Abigail's future.

Hearties are happy with the explanation for Abigail's absence — and especially with the show for addressing it so quickly in the return episode.

However, some are hoping for Cody to return.

How do you feel about how When Calls the Heart is handling the character of Abigail? Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments.

When Calls the Heart, Sundays, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel