We've finally made it into the home stretch of the canon callback challenge for Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To The Altar. Trust me---it only gets more fun from here. Let's see what connections could be made this round!
From The Heart
Mail Carrier- "The Water is Wide" was a recurring piece of score in From The Heart that carried its own meaning about alternate translations, as well as the more poignant parallels explicated during Norman and Rita’s wedding ceremony. Where is was mostly recognizable in From The Heart as a violin piece, it had an acoustic tone playing underneath ceremony & toast in To The Altar.
Section Lead- The historical love story of Abe Lincoln and Ann Rutledge was a cornerstone of From The Heart. In To The Altar, the tale of Randall Bartlet O’Toole & Letisha Hepplewhite became a historically romantic cornerstone of its own with regard to Oliver and Shane’s engagement.
One In A Million
Mail Carrier- Martha knows how much we loved Lester Kimsicle. So if we didn’t get him in To The Altar, she was sure to slip in one of his classic lines, which Papa O’Toole had the honor of uttering “Happy To Do It” with regard to helping Oliver plan for the Bachelor Party.
Section Lead- “Face the music---you’ll know what to do next.” It was Shane’s sage advice to Nikki about what to do about Graham. And when Nikki faced the music, the next steps revealed themselves. Interestingly, when Papa O’Toole told Oliver to “face the music” about his differences with Shane, it was a unique bit of reverse psychology that ushered Oliver to “I Love You” and eventually a marriage proposal.
Lost Without You
Mail Carrier- Rita was pretty excited that she and Norman ate enchiladas during couples counseling with Ramon. But I’m surprised Norman was eating them at all in light of the Enchilada expedition in Lost Without You that left him extremely ill.
Lost Without You was also the first time we heard Norman refer to himself as a “student of U.S. postal history,” so when Ardis cut a check to the O’Toole foundation to establish the Haywith-Dorman Scholarship for Students of Postal History, it was a direct reference to that moment.
Shane’s phone call to Papa O’Toole in Lost Without You canceled the Montaldo’s reservation Oliver set for them, resulting in their father/son camping trip. In To The Altar, it was another attempt to connect grandma/grandson that canceled Montaldo’s reservations by default.
Two scenes from Higher Ground were also included in the ceremony flashback, the first was Norman proposing to Rita the first time, and the second was Shane and Oliver’s unseen kiss in front of the Ephlat Lounge.
Mail Carrier- Norman & Rita met Ramon for couples counseling at the Mailbox Grille, which he announced he was the new owner of in Higher Ground.
Section Lead- Use of familiar music and scores was particularly poignant and important during Higher Ground, and continued to be the case in To The Altar. The piano piece, Clair De Lune, heard as Shane and Oliver kissed in the DLO at the end of Higher Ground, could be heard as ambient music as Oliver told Shane “I love you” in the Brown Palace Hotel lobby. Keb’ Mo’s “Every Morning” was the soundtrack of Oliver’s bleeding heart in Higher Ground, and was heard once more in To The Altar as the wedding processional took place.
Intern- When meeting Joe for the first time in Home Again, Sunny enthusiastically declared, “I weave, I’m a weaver,” a line we heard Ardis repeat when Bill mentioned Sunny’s special skills over video chat in To The Altar. Another dialogue-based callback is the fact that when Bill tried to explain the origins of his name, Ardis knew it was "short for Bilbo---like in The Hobbit," a revelation in Home Again that left Oliver without reply.
Mail Carrier- The barn in which Norman and Rita were married was a product of the events of Home Again. It was the educational center established as part of the Living Lands Conservancy, which saved the Kellser farm from "ever being sold or developed." It's now not only an educational center, but Bill's workshop as well.
The Road Less Traveled
Mail Carrier- One may remember that when Rita began to panic over wedding tasks, Shane attempted to soothe Rita by offering Ramon’s restaurant as a venue and suggested he also take over the music. Little did we know that, come To The Altar, Ramon would play so many different, and important, roles in NoRita’s wedding.
A small, but memorable, detail of Annaliese and her mailing habits was the fact that she had the dress sent from Hawaii. More valuable and memorable than a postcard, it was certainly better than a coconut! In The Road Less Traveled, Shane lamented to Hazel and Rita that in a place like Hawaii---with postcards galore---people still sent coconuts. The coconut---and the dress---were both unattached or displaced items.
Section Lead- My favorite abstract association of this bunch, this one draws on the Road Less Traveled phrase "Any mistake can be traced to an assumption." All throughout To The Altar, Shane is operating under a certain assumption that Oliver has no plans to get married again. While I'll leave it a bit unqualified for now, the assertion is supported by her slowly backing off after the wedding dress incident, and her reactions to details, or lack thereof, that emerge about Oliver's previous marriage in the movie. It's clear Shane took Oliver's lack of proposing and lack of wedding as a sign he might not have the intention to do so, which, in her insecurity, she seemed to believe. That is, until Oliver wore the green tie...