"Imagine whirled peas."
It might have been a pithy play on words featured on Bill's t-shirt the first time we meet him, perhaps even a clever call on his hippie ways, but it's also a spot-on commentary that reaches to the very core of what Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again is all about---peace. It's about making peace with the past, the present, and even the future.
Ironically, the core of the story centers on a vase, the introduction of which comes from the disrupted peace of the Kellser family. Young Peggy, Mary Lou and Bunny Kellser's attempt to sell the vase and save their farm resulted in the priceless artifact becoming lost and literally "falling" into the hands of the POstables 18 years later.
While obviously at peace in their personal lives, the POstables---particularly Oliver--were learning to make peace with their new, much more cozy, professional work space. Shane's effort to help Oliver do that led to their discovery of a secret annex containing the fabled "lost mailbag of Harry Snap," who, one day, apparently "snapped" and left without a trace, leaving behind a lost delivery containing the vase.
Filled with "hope," the vase held a letter written by Mary Lou for the art dealer for whom the package was destined. Her strong sense of heritage laid out the history of what they referred to as the "just in case vase," and the line of "strong American women" who acted as custodians of the heirloom for decades after WWII.
Determined to return the heirloom to the sisters, the POstables embarked on what can only be described as a routine mail investigation in which nearly every resource available got utilized, including Dale and Serge's twin brother, Igor. Both sources proved just enough to propel the team closer to the sisters who sent the package, all the while confirming the value of the vase.
Of course, the POstables tracked the vase back to a farm in Edgewood, which, much to their surprise, was once again in jeopardy of being sold---and in just a few short days. To make matters worse, the matriarch of the family, Kim (played by Kim Delaney) was battling a terminal illness, and two of the sisters, Mary Lou and Peggy, were at odds, with Mary Lou nowhere to be found to sign the required paperwork.
To help restore peace to the family, and keep hope alive of saving the farm once again, the POstables raced against the clock to track down Mary Lou, a task made easier with Peggy's solid lead, which Oliver successfully pursued.
Leave it to Shane, however, to identify another roadblock, mainly the revelation that the vase was a stolen artifact, the history of which traced all the way back to the 1700's. But it's the story of Johan Reubl, the loss of his family as a teenager during German occupation, and the confiscation of his family treasures during World War II---just before it was gifted to the Kellser family---which prompted a moral dilemma of to whom the vase actually belonged.
Forced to break the news, Shane and Oliver returned to the Kellser farm the day before the auction for the family to see the vase one last time before returning it to a now 99 year-old Johan Reubl, their hope in saving the farm effectively dashed, and Mary Lou still nowhere to be found. Prepared to "lose the farm, but not [their] soul[s]," the price to restore peace to Johan Reubl came at the cost of the Kellser family farm. Or so it appeared...
Making use of the O'Toole Foundation's plentiful funds for the first time since Lost Without You, the POstables used their wide powers of Executive Committee discretion to permanently restore the farm to the Kellser family women now, and for generations to come. And, just in time, Mary Lou followed her heart home to hear the news, and she and Peggy finally made peace with the past and each other.
Norman gave a first impression only he could produce, between blended bifocals and the missing engagement ring, it was clear that even though Sunny was warming up, it was going to take a lot more for Norman to make peace with Bill. Norman's various attempts to do so went unrecognized, and, despite glowing endorsement from everyone within range---including Papa O'Toole--- it was only his little girl expressing her heart that finally changed Bill's. That, and of course Norman's sweet and genuine second proposal!
After the relational turmoil of Higher Ground, Shane and Oliver were refreshingly free to explore their recently cemented romance in Home Again. As a pair, they enlisted Joe's help to persuade Bill of Norman's fitness to be Rita's husband, hit the streets as part of their mail investigation, and generally spent the film experiencing and defining their relationship through action before finally labeling it "going steady."
Overall, Home Again provided a solid balance of humor and heart, all the while acting as a transition from Higher Ground to what I'm hearing is The Road Less Traveled (more on that soon). It was a remarkable installment given that it came on the heels of genuine uncertainty about the future of the series. I possess a deep respect for the lengths Martha and company had to go through to tug and pull on the loose ends that were seemingly tied up at the end of Higher Ground to keep these characters, and this narrative, moving forward in a way that was true to the legacy of the characters and the series.
Just as you might have guessed, the review is only the first stop on the road to deconstruction. As always, there's SO MUCH more to talk about! Keep returning to A&D in the coming weeks to see Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again from new perspectives. After almost a month (sort of!) off, I'm excited to get back into things with POstables nation---pretty sure my four pages (and growing) of notes proves it!