Today we turn our attention to the development of Shane and Oliver's romantic relationship, an homage to the many stages of which were covertly crammed into the films' final moments, only to be discerned after careful consideration and repeated review of the telling footage.
Embedded in it is a series of subtle shifts in Shane and Oliver's relationship, revealed in the circumstances, disguised behind the lines of dialogue, and lurking just beneath the surface of the song they share a dance to. It was both a look back, and a hint at what's ahead, and what you learn will have you seeing this scene in a whole different way the next time you watch!
After Hours (Truth Be Told)
The last time Shane thought she was going to score evening one-on-one time with Oliver, it was over her possibly tilting porch swing. She was pretty disappointed when Oliver scheduled his repairs for the following morning before work.
Their dinner is clearly an evening affair, demonstrating Oliver's intentions towards Shane are shifting towards what Shane was hoping for a little less than a year ago.
After taking some time to watch The Masterpiece recently, it occurred to me, given Oliver's recitation of the lyrics, that Oliver kind of chose "The Water Is Wide" to share a dance with Shane, much like Shane chose "And So It Goes," and more or less asked Oliver to try it out with her, in that series episode.
Shane's restraint in From The Heart is the result of her hard-fought transition into letting Oliver lead their relationship more. He is the one that mentions dancing as an objective of the evening in the Valentine, and while Shane prompts him during dinner, Oliver clearly makes the final decision in rising from his chair and offering Shane his hand.
All Things Valentine (From Paris With Love, Impossible Dream)
One of the things that has fascinated me about Oliver as of late is his propensity to simultaneously connect with Shane's past and present. Not only is it revealed that the last time Shane received a homemade Valentine was as a child, we as the audience also know the significance of Oliver making reservations at Montaldo's for their date.
And then there's Shane and her offhand comment, about a boyfriend and a reservation at Montaldo's from earlier in the episode, seemingly fulfilled by Oliver, unbeknownst to him. In a lot of ways this was very reminiscent of Shane having something thought lost once again restored to her. This date at Montaldo's was her Valentine's Day dream, seemingly deferred as a result of the circumstances, though eventually fulfilled, perhaps even beyond what she had anticipated. And, in case you forgot, this dinner invitation was the follow through of the invitation Oliver extended to Shane in Impossible Dream.
[Front] Window (The Edge Of Forever, A Hope & A Future, From Paris With Love)
Oliver has verbalized on multiple occasions throughout the series his esteem for personal privacy, so when Shane let it ever-so-gently slip that she had jogged to his home and casually observed his evening activities from outide, I think we were all waiting on the edge of our seats to see how he would react, including Shane!
The "Lady" & The "Gentleman" (Pilot, The Treasure Box)
A subtle shift in and of itself when uttered in The Treasure Box, Oliver's reference to "a lady's affairs" was a clear reaffirmation of this perception of Shane, and the high regard in which he holds her.
Never Too Late To Apologize (The Edge Of Forever, From Paris With Love)
Whether you believe Shane had anything for which to apologizes or not, Shane and Oliver's verbal apology at dinner is a critical moment. It is the first time in the entire series that these two have done so ever in the series. They always seem to share a look or some other non-verbal gesture to convey the sentiment. In From The Heart, they look each other in the eyes and do so sincerely. Oliver even makes sure to actually call
I've often heard that a hard thing in any relationship is to admit fault, and to apologize the absolute hardest. To see these two openly doing so gives me such hope for them moving forward. If they can do that, they can do anything!
An astute comment on an earlier post analyzing From The Heart posed the theory that "Moonriver" from the Pilot was somehow connected to "The Water Is Wide," and with further consideration I believe that comment-er was correct. In fact, they are bookends.
"Moonriver" was the first song Shane and Oliver ever danced to, and the melancholic lyrics paint a picture of someone lost trying to find their way in the company of a fellow lost soul, very much the picture of Shane and Oliver early on, both well acquainted with the sting of abandonment which still lingered for each of them.
While a seemingly brief scene, Shane and Oliver's dinner was filled with a plethora of callbacks and subtle signs of growth in their relationship. Oliver's interactions with Shane demonstrate his matured understanding of her as a person, and their more open dialogue and mutual apology signal a maturation in their relationship more broadly, boding very well for the future as they seemingly close one chapter to begin the next.