But it was the champagne and private booth set up at Shane's birthday dinner that was the first real indicator that Papa O'Toole was Team ShOliver.
So what did Shane do to garner what I believe ultimately amounts to Joe O'Toole approving of his future daughter-in-law?
Well it starts with Shane inviting him to her birthday dinner. She was attempting to advocate for Joe by inviting him to her dinner where Oliver would be present and available to talk. Though we know how that went, he efforts likely did not go unnoticed.
Then there's her attempt to get Oliver to meet with him after he so publicly rejected Joe during her birthday dinner. I mean she got Oliver to use a cell phone! And when he tried to shirk his way out of it she continued to press, eventually taking the phone back and forcing Oliver to choose a location for the meet.
I can only imagine what Joe O'Toole thought of the awkward voicemail. One thing is for sure, though, and that's him noticing Shane's potential influence on his son. After all, Joe had given his number to Shane not Oliver. One stands to reason ShOliver would have had to discuss the situation in order for the numbers to get dialed!
After attending the reading of his biological father's will, Joe and Oliver's falling out would have left anyone thinking there was no chance for reconciliation--especially Joe. So I'm sure it was quite the surprise when Oliver showed up at what is apparently Joe O'Toole's retirement pad. [Which, can I just say, has me beyond excited for future potential plots?]
If I'm Joe, I'm wondering what my son is doing there. But, more specifically what, and in this case who, caused him to change his mind. Joe's a smart man, and I don't think, given Shane's previous efforts, that it took him long to put everything together.
Part of me believes this is why he went ahead and breached the subject with Oliver upon learning about his wife leaving him.
Joe also did something else very important here. In a lot of ways, bringing Shane up, calling her nice, and encouraging his son to tell the truth about his feelings for her all amounted to a nod of approval. If ever Oliver has wanted or needed his Dad's opinion on the matter, this was his green-light. Not a single other person he might be considered to trust up until this point has encouraged him to pursue her. If Oliver ever wondered about whether or not he and Shane could work, and despite his own poor track record, Joe O'Toole was clearly telling him it wouldn't be the worst decision he ever made.
There was one other moment that stood out to me, and for obvious reason, probably all of you, too. And that moment was that lingering stare Shane and Oliver shared that Papa O'Toole caught on to.
See, if there was any remaining question in Joe O'Toole's mind about the depth of Oliver's relationship with Shane, the look they shared would have done it.
But there was also another moment that revealed the same. Remember how Joe told Oliver he wished he wouldn't try and tough out all the hurt and pain of the past 24 hours, and how Oliver rejected Joe's offer to come to meet the lawyer with him hours before?
So when Joe caught them staring at each other across the room, it was only an affirmation of what was already apparent to him---Oliver is in good hand and definitely isn't alone.
And it's for all of these reasons, from the cozy table set for two to his outright breaching of the subject with his often hesitant son, that make Joe O'Toole #TeamShOliver's MVP. With a thumbs up from dear old dad, Oliver is clear to take the next step. And I have reason to believe this might very well be the case....
Grateful For The Green-light,