The wardrobe of Signed, Sealed, Delivered has always been a big thing around here. From what it says about the character who wears it, to variations that can indicate anything from internal conflict to descending back into old habits, it certainly serves a dynamic function in terms of storytelling in this series.
And since I was thinking of clothing in an abstract way, I started viewing the coloring, composition and clothing of the Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground key art that showed up last week in a similar manner. Safe to say a I learned a lot----which I intend to share with you.
Without a doubt this staircase is going to be a focal-point of the next film, the most obvious reason being it seems to be where the POstables find Gabe playing his guitar. It's clear it's his letter that the POstables are trying to deliver, so, of course, it becomes shorthand for the overarching story.
Back & Fore
Where each Shane, Oliver, Rita and Norman are featured in this image speak volumes about dynamics in this film.
Think of it this way, if we ranked the POstables in terms of House Rule and professional achievement, Norman clearly ranks highest---the world is his oyster, he's incorruptible to his core, and he has spearheaded one or more letter mysteries since the series began. As as result, he's highest on the staircase. Coming in close second is Rita. Though she came into her House Rule the fastest, she has yet to really lead a mail mystery. Could Higher Ground be her shot? After all, it's the first time we've seen her with the letter in hand in the key art.
Together, Norman and Rita are in close physical proximity, reflecting their closeness in just about every other way. In addition to their work cohesiveness, their relational cohesiveness is just as strong and close. Situated in between Shane and Oliver, in a sense, it highlights just how far apart ShOliver is.
Of course, their clothing has an interesting story to tell, too. Immediately I notice that Rita is wearing bold stripes, when, at least since Truth Be Told, she has been decked out in bold floral prints. What prompts this departure may be a function of her story in Higher Ground. But the only reason this stood out was because Shane has actually adopted floral print, a first for her in the series. Floral print is particularly feminine and might signal an even softer, sweeter Shane may be waiting in the wings for us to discover in this upcoming film. Or, at the very least a consistent Shane, confident in herself in a new way, perhaps?
On another note, in addition to their distance, there's a distinct amount of tension between Shane and Oliver's wardrobe. Oliver's not only wearing that blue plaid suit, but has adopted a striped tie, blue striped dress shirt and perhaps paisley pocket square. Where at least Shane's wardrobe and colors are of one mind, Oliver's seem to be absolutely all over the place, and I don't even see Shane's color represented in his pocket square---at least not obviously. And he's fussing with his cuff links. If ever Oliver exhibited subtly his internal need for orderliness in the world around him it's when he pulls, tugs, fidgets and buttons his suit. I think we should consider that Higher Ground will see another massive upset in the way Oliver arranges his world, likely triggered by Shane's sudden absence, and reflected here in his wardrobe.
Two Of Anything...
Let's be honest, it has been a minute since we had some really good key art---the kind that tells us more than just Shane and Oliver are in it. I longed for the days when all four principle characters were the focus of each new piece of key art, and it seems those days have returned. I can only hope they continue into 2017. Look how much we learned just now!
Any thoughts on the new key art you want to share? The comments section is always open!
Growing Anxiously Impatient,