Before The Way Home season finale served Kat and Elliot ‘shippers a twist that even left star Chyler Leigh “devastated,” Hallmark Channel’s time-traveling family drama gave viewers a swoon-worthy kiss in Episode 8.
High off a trip to the past that brought good news about her parents’ marriage, Leigh’s Kat rushed to her best friend Elliot in the present day to tell him what she learned. As Elliot wrapped her in his jacket and rubbed her arms for warmth, Kat decided she was done waiting for him to kiss her and planted a passionate liplock on him, with the sun setting behind them.
“That was such a magical time, because we literally had a 10-minute window to do that whole thing, to stage it, to prep it, because we were losing light,” Leigh tells TVLine. “With that beautiful sunset in the background, it was like, ‘This is the most epic. You can’t write this material to be able to work with, so we’re going to take advantage of it.’ So the whole thing, we did in like three takes. We went for it.”
Indeed, they did: The pair’s first kiss wasn’t a traditional Hallmark quick peck, followed by a fadeout or a fast cut to the next scene. In fact, Kat and Elliot went in for another kiss as the camera swirled around them.
“They were saying like, ‘Hey, we’re pushing the boundaries on this show, so when you kiss, get it,'” Leigh shares with a laugh. “We were like, ‘OK, we’re gonna get it. I don’t know if you’re going to use it all, but we’re gonna get it,’ and they did.”
What made it to the screen even surprised Leigh. “I was like, ‘Ooh, that’s fire!'” the actress says. “I think that’s kind of racy for Hallmark, if I do say so myself.”
There's no such thing as perfect timing, but Kat @chy_leigh and Elliot's @evan_m_williams first kiss comes pretty darn close! 🥰 #TheWayHome pic.twitter.com/B2spBHQRma
— The Way Home (@TheWayHomeHC) March 13, 2023
Kat and Elliot’s intense kiss is just one of the ways the series is pushing boundaries for Hallmark Channel and upping the network’s storytelling game.
“If you talk to any of us, that was definitely such a big part of what we were most excited about was the opportunity we have to really take risks,” says Leigh, who also serves as an executive producer on the drama. Typically, the Hallmark audience knows “what to expect when they’re watching [their] shows or they’re watching the movies or whatnot, and what Hallmark is known, classically, for is for people to feel kind of safer and people to know the environment that they’re walking into.”
But The Way Home allows for “this amazing opportunity… to really kind of push it and shake it up so we can show people that have been tuning in for so long what we’re capable of,” Leigh continues. “And what we’ve been finding is the response from all the different age demographics has just been wild, because we’re bringing in a younger audience and also an unexpected audience.”
The Way Home Season 1 is currently streaming on Peacock, Hallmark Movies Now and Hallmark TV.