The wait is over!
On Sunday, October 17th, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will premiere the latest Signed, Sealed, Delivered movie entitled Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made.
Fans of this popular series, known as “POstables”, have waited patiently for the latest installment and we can safely say, it was worth the wait.
Today, we have a recap & review of Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made from Amanda Pezet. Many fans in the Hallmark universe will know Amanda as the administrator of the POstables Hallmark’s Signed Sealed Delivered Fan Group Facebook page. You can read her recap & review below.
**SPOILER** If you have not seen Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made, do not read this recap and review until you do!
The POstables, Shane (Kristin Booth), Rita (Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe), Oliver (Eric Mabius) and Norman (Geoff Gustafson) reunite to deliver a story of love and hope in a time when those gifts are so desperately needed in the world. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made is a beautiful labor of love. A love letter to fans and a message of hope to all that feel lost or broken. Hope is delicately woven into the fabric of this installment. The creator of Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Martha Willimson, gently teaches us that we may find ourselves feeling broken and alone, but there is always hope where love lives. When we are willing to dig deep, face the scary, and accept that sometimes we have to lean on those that love us the most until we feel whole again, until we feel found.
The journey begins with a young boy being rushed into a hospital. A distraught mother is handed a letter that was found in the boy’s pocket, written for his friend Fred. His mother addresses the letter, and with hope in her heart, she places it in the mailbox.
An epic Oliver monologue, brilliantly delivered by Mabius, accompanies this heartbreaking scene, “Shakespeare once wrote that we are all actors strutting and fretting on the stage until our part is played. Of course, Shakespeare was a playwright. A doctor might compare the world to a vast waiting room into which we humans bring as much hope as we can carry. A farmer may see us as seeds in a field awaiting the harvest. Or to sea captains we are a universe of ships seeking safe harbor. But to a postal worker, like me, I believe that we are all, in some way, living letters. Unique souls slipped into fragile human envelopes, stamped by our creator, and sent into the world with a story only we can share, even if we are missing a stamp or two. Like the mail we are sometimes mishandled, misdirected, even lost along the way, and yet, what is written on our hearts can never truly be lost, and will somehow, some way, one day be delivered.”
Shane and Oliver enter the post office, arm in arm. They immediately encounter the ever excited Hazel. They share their excitement about their impending wedding, and quickly have to rush off for an interview with a potential temp that will be assisting Norman and Rita while Shane and Oliver are on their honeymoon, next week.
Norman and Rita, in what appears to be an updated version of the original Dead Letter Office, affectionately known as the DLO, are conducting an interview with a less than impressive candidate. He touches everything, and he refers to them as the “Dead Letter Guys.” Norman immediately sets him straight with a firm, “we’re an elite task force with wide powers of postal discretion.” Rita sweetly chimes in with, “Some people call us the POstables.” The interviewee mindlessly picks up a letter out of the horribly ripped and mangled bin, and the envelope tears due to a brown gooey substance sticking it to everything else in the bin. They thank him for coming, but it’s obvious he’s not getting the job.
Shane and Oliver join their friends in the DLO at the very end of this fruitless interview. Oliver is hopeful that there will be a much better option to come, but he is informed that there were only two applicants. The dud, and someone named Charley that will be coming after lunch. Norman and Rita take this opportunity to invite Shane and Oliver to see the home that they are considering purchasing.
Oliver decides that before lunch, they must address the horribly ripped and mangled, and this week sticky due to a food truck mishap that led a bucket of syrup to fall off of a waffle wagon, that ran into a bag of dead letters, that had fallen off of a postal van. The contents of the bin are all glued together and smell like breakfast. They decide that they will solve the mystery of the letter that the interviewee had damaged. The letter is in bad shape and there are very few clues available immediately, but fear not, Norman has been working on a “special separating solution specifically for paper preservation.” Oliver notes that it appears that there is a child’s drawing inside of the envelope. He takes this child’s parcel very seriously and declares that , “We cannot allow our country’s children to lose faith in the United States postal system.”
The foursome arrive at Norman and Rita’s adorable prospective home. Ramon, in yet another new occupation, serves as the couple’s realtor. Norman and Rita excitedly ask for Shane, Oliver and Joe’s (Gregory Harrison) blessing. After the whole group agrees that the house is perfect, they make an offer and it is immediately accepted! Joe remarks that it is a big week for everyone. There’s a new house and a wedding, and they will all get to meet Shane’s mother. Shane quickly quips, “Well two out of three ain’t bad.” Shane is obviously frazzled at the thought of her mother’s arrival and it is apparent that they don’t always, or ever, agree.
Back at the DLO Norman and Oliver go over the wedding checklist. Oliver is taken aback when he realizes that he needs a wedding gift for Shane. Norman explains that it’s protocol for a fiance to get his bride-to-be a gift on their wedding day. He goes on to explain that the gift should be something simple that will last forever. Oliver seems extremely uneasy at the use of the word forever.
Meanwhile, Rita and Shane are together for their dress fitting. The conversation turns to pregnancy and babies. Rita thought she may be pregnant, but found out that sadly she was not. She expresses her disappointment, but is hopeful that parenthood will come to them, in one way or another and until then they will “trust the timing.”
Joe arrives at Shane’s house carrying a box of supplies, when he unexpectedly finds Shane’s mother, Sharon McInerney (Sherry Miller), sitting alone on Shane’s porch swing, with her bags piled up next to her. To everyone’s surprise, she arrived a day early. She is abrupt and awkward. As he sweetly introduces himself she claps back with, “I’m Sharon McInerney and our children are getting married.” Joe sweetly says, “No kidding?” To which she responds, “ya didn’t know?” He tries to recover the conversation, but her less than warm reception is difficult to respond to, even for Joe.
At the DLO Norman is working on separating the sticky letter in the lab, but they still can’t quite get the information that they need. The moment is interrupted when Shane’s phone rings, it is Joe, and in true stressed out Shane form, she runs out of the room and loudly screams, “NO, NO, NO!” Oliver follows her and she gets agitated. She explains that her mother is more than she can handle for longer than a couple of days. This early arrival puts her past that threshold. She describes her mother as “A kettle of crazy,(she is) a laboratory beaker full of bad chemistry, (she is) the holy grail of guilt.” It is abundantly clear that Shane does not think that anyone will be able to handle her mom’s level of peculiarity. Oliver tries to calm her nerves and reassure her that it will all be okay. He is saved from this losing endeavour when Norman and Rita enter the room with the dried letter.
Oliver is able to examine the child’s hand drawn picture that had been stuck inside the envelope. On the picture it says, “Dear Ferd I miss you love from Owen.” Along with the drawing they also find a letter, written by, what they assume to be, Owen’s mother.
The letter reads, “Dear John, It’s been two years since Fred left us and went to live with all of you. It’s always meant so much to Owen to know that his friend was still out there on the ‘lawn’ with you. He’s such a happy little 7 year old and I’m so proud to be his mom. Anyway, tonight he just suddenly collapsed- and now I’m here with him at Rocky Canyon in the ICU and they think he has leukemia. He’s so afraid and he’s been asking to see Fred. If there’s any way you can track him down and bring him to the hospital, then no matter what happens I know I’ll find some peace, Gratefully,” Unfortunately, the rest of the letter is gone.
The letter was marked return to sender, and it is impossible to know how long it had been floating around. Oliver is so sad that the boy is waiting for someone that he loves to come back to him. The POstables get to work! Shane checks the hospital records, but there hasn’t been an Owen in the ICU in the last two weeks.
The other interviewee shows up for their interview. It turns out that, what they assumed was a man named Charley, was in fact, a VERY pregnant woman. Norman immediately seems very uncomfortable and Oliver reminds all of them that they are not allowed to ask or discuss her belly or the baby. As they begin to awkwardly introduce themselves Charley (Rhiannon Fish) starts screaming in pain. They put her in a mail bin, wheel her out of the post office and get her to the hospital.
Meanwhile, at the DLO, Joe shows up with Sharon. Oliver eagerly introduces himself and Sharon awkwardly responds with, “The Oliver that is marrying my daughter?” Shane is overtly annoyed with her mother. Oliver, trying to deflect, offers her a tour of the DLO.
Back at the hospital, it turns out that Charley’s presumed labor was a false alarm, she was only having braxton hicks contractions. Which Norman notes is a terrible name for a baby. Norman and Rita conduct their interview with her in the courtyard at the hospital. She explains that mail is in her blood and she is motivated to work. Rita hires her on the spot.
At the DLO Oliver continues to try to win over his future mother-in-law. He explains to her the importance of letters and how each letter has their own destiny. In the middle of his tour, Sharon cuts him off. Shane snarkily asks her mother why she has arrived early, and she explains that she wanted to get to know Oliver in his “natural habitat”. Shane’s mom sits at the desk and picks up Owen’s drawing, making Oliver very apprehensive, as she begins to evaluate it. She tells them that as a retired grade school teacher, she can confirm that the picture is of a boy and a fireman. Oliver is quick to defend their thought that the picture was of a boy and a superhero, but she points out that the FF on the hat, along with the way the figure is drawn is exactly how a child draws a firefighter. She pats herself on the back and tells them that it’s a good thing that she came early. Joe, being the awesome human that he is, diverts attention and offers to host a barbecue in Shane’s backyard. He goes as far as offering to bring the grill and convinces Sharon to come with him to prepare. After they leave, Oliver admits that he can’t keep up with Shane’s mom, but agrees that she is correct about the firefighter.
At Shane’s house everyone has arrived for the barbeque. They discuss the letter, and Rita worries that it will take forever to find the little letter writer. Shane worries that Oliver won’t enjoy their honeymoon if he is still thinking about the case. Sharon asks Norman if they have any children. He says that they “‘trusting the timing,’ like Oliver says.” Sharon snarks that “Oliver says all sorts of things.” Norman tries to convince her that Oliver is a wonderful man and that she should give him a chance.
Sharon confronts Oliver on the porch. She notes the yellow roses behind him. He tells her that he planted them to remind Shane of her childhood home. He awkwardly tries to explain his feelings for Shane, in a way only Oliver can, and then breaks down and in plain english tells her that he just wants to make Shane happy. Sharon tries to understand Oliver, by asking him probing questions that obviously cause him to become flustered. She asks him why he has such an affinity for things of the past, and takes it a step further by pointing out that his father isn’t that way, implying that she can’t understand why he would be. Oliver seems a little sad and stunned by this question and doesn’t know how to answer her. Ramon interrupts the moment when he shows up with food. They all sit down for dinner and begin to discuss the letter case. Oliver, worried about the timeline of finding Owen, shockingly suggests that they push their wedding rehearsal from Thursday to Friday. Shane, obviously stunned, tells him that the minister is only available on Thursday. Joe interjects with an idea about the case. He suggests that firefighters belong to a tight knit community and that if they ask around someone might remember Fred. Norman thankfully has a cousin, Theo, that works for the fire department. They decide that they will go to the fire station first thing in the morning.
After everyone leaves, Shane and Oliver sit on her porch swing. Shane asks Oliver why he seems so preoccupied. She’s worried that it has something to do with the wedding, or her mom. She asks him why he was willing to move the rehearsal dinner. He brushes it off and says that he just doesn’t want work on his desk when they leave for their honeymoon. They share a sweet kiss and Shane assures Oliver that they will find Fred.
The next day, at the DLO Charley and Rita discuss life and marriage. Charley tells her that marriage is hard. She tells Rita that she’s single and isn’t in a good place to keep her baby girl. So she’s decided that she is going to put her baby up for adoption to give her a chance at a good life.
Norman, Shane, and Oliver go to the fire station. They visit with Norman’s cousin and he tells them that he recognizes Fred, the DOLL. He tells them that Fred was an honorary fireman. The legend goes that a five year old boy gave the fire department his favorite toy to keep the crew company when they were experiencing peak to peak fires. Fred went from station to station until he was sadly left at an arson call in Roosevelt National Forest when they had to leave quickly, and then fire and rescue declared it a crime scene so they couldn’t retrieve him. Theo doesn’t know where Owen ended up, but this gives them the idea to follow Fred in reverse, from station to station, in order to find Owen. Oliver gets the grand idea, that as official Federal Investigators, the POstables have the authority to look through the boxes at the Denver Arson Unit. After a few boxes, Oliver finds Fred!
Back at the DLO Shane does the math and the peak to peak fires were 10 years ago, she worries that Owen may no longer be alive. Oliver becomes very agitated at that assumption and the two get snippy with each other Joe calls and interrupts the argument. Oliver apologizes and Shane tells him it’s fine, which it obviously isn’t, and leaves.
At the chapel Sharon declares that she wants to build a canopy for the wedding day. She describes it as a sacred space for the bride and groom. Shane seems less than enthused, but Ramon quickly volunteers himself and Joe to build a “Tabernacle of Love” for the wedding. Shane storms out and Joe follows. He reminds her that her mother is just excited and trying to help. Shane asks him to explain Oliver’s behavior. She’s worried that he’s more interested in solving the case than he is in getting married. Joe reassures her and tells her that Oliver may have more that he needs to process than just the letters on his desk. He tells her to ask Oliver about “Dumbarton Oaks.”
Oliver goes to a bunch of fire stations with Fred, desperately hoping to find his way back to Owen.
Oliver arrives at the Chapel for their rehearsal to find it empty except for Shane. She tells him that she cancelled the rehearsal because she feels like they don’t need a rehearsal for their wedding, they need a rehearsal for their marriage. She doesn’t understand what is happening with Oliver. She’s concerned because he won’t share his feelings with her and if he can’t share his feelings now, then how can he share a life with her? She asks him about Dumbarton Oaks and he deflects by talking about the literal museum in Washington DC. She asks him point blank why Joe told her to ask him about it, and he goes into a story about how his mom left him, not once, but twice. The first time she left he was only 8, when she returned she brought him a stuffed bear named Dunbarton Oaks from her trip to Georgetown. She thought he needed a friend. Little Oliver loved the bear so much, he thought keeping the bear where she could see it would prove how much he loved his mom and that this proof of love would keep her from leaving him again. Sadly, it did not. When she left again he was so angry, he planned to throw the bear in the trash, but couldn’t go through with it. Instead, he left him on the altar at church and didn’t look back. Shane lovingly tells him that he still has baggage that he needs to leave at the altar. He is flustered and overwhelmed by this revelation. Shane offers support, by vowing to get Fred home, no matter what. They share a kiss. The mood is lightened when Oliver questions the appearance of the “Tabernacle of Love.”
At the DLO Norman works in his lab. Oliver asks him if as a child he wanted to be a scientist when he grew up. Norman says he wanted to be a cowboy, like his biological mother described his father to be. Rita says that she wanted to be just like her mom, a cave explorer and UFO activist. Shane chimes in that she considered being a teacher, like her mom and wonders if their parents know how much they shaped their children’s dreams. Rita and Norman use this opening to segue into a conversation about the potential of them adopting Charley’s baby. They all share in the excitement of the idea of a tiny POstable running around, but they admit they are yet to talk to Charley about it. Sharon arrives at the DLO to ask Shane’s opinion on her dress for the wedding, to which Shane is snarky and says they have no color scheme for the wedding. She asks what Oliver’s favorite color is and it’s obvious that Shane doesn’t know. Sharon takes this as an opportunity to give them a hard time again. Sharon offers to make them dinner, and Oliver requests clams and red wine, well known as Oliver’s stress food. After her mother leaves, Shane questions why she would ever say that she would want to grow up to be like her mother. This triggers Oliver to think about the firefighter aspect of the letter, he questions if Owen took Fred to the fire station because his dad was a firefighter. When he goes for a YooHoo he asks Norman how he grew up to be such an open and trusting human despite the fact that he was left by his parents. Norman gives credit to the fact that he found his forever mom. Oliver struggles with the word forever. At that moment, Norman’s solution works and the information on the envelope is revealed! Norman turns to Oliver and tells him that he needs to stop focusing on what he lost and start focusing on all of the amazing things that he has found. Yes, Oliver’s mother left him, twice, but there are so many amazing women in Oliver’s life that have stuck by him. Flashbacks appear as Oliver thinks about Miss Genzinger his Bible study teacher, Norman’s grandmother Ms. Parker-Pennington-Paine, Theresa Capodiamonte who had been DLO supervisor, and of course Shane.
As Shane and Oliver walk together Oliver sees a tree that makes him think about the things that Miss Genzinger taught him at Christmastime about the rock holding on to the tree. Shane catches him in this daydream and when she asks him about it, he tells her about how Miss. Genzinger has known him longer than any woman, and that she taught him that he should hold on to love and never let go. Shane assures Oliver that she won’t ever let go.
At the DLO Norman and Rita invite Charley to lunch, hoping to talk to her about adopting her baby. She declines because she found out that her temp position would be cut and she needs to look for another job. Norman and Rita leave the DLO and Norman tells Rita that maybe Charley isn’t their miracle, but they might be hers.
Shane and Oliver go to the fire station where Lieutenant Walker had been stationed, in hopes of finding someone that remembers him and can point them in the direction of Owen. They ask for the officer on duty and she responds that she is Lieutenant Walker. They realize that she is Owen’s mother. They show her the letter. She is overwhelmed and explains that Owen is still sick. She thought that Fred had burned in the fire, but she never had the heart to tell Owen. They ask her how she has the courage to be a firefighter after losing her husband to a fire. They question if Owen is scared of her fighting fires. She says that they’ve learned that “being afraid to lose someone someday, steals the joy of having them today.” She tells them that Owen is about to start his last chance medical trial tomorrow, so this divine delivery is perfectly timed.
At Shane’s house Joe and Sharon cut yellow roses off of Shane’s rosebush. Oliver arrives and tells them the good news, that they’ve found Owen and they’ll deliver Fred to him tomorrow before the wedding.Sharon questions why they are working on their wedding day. Irritated, Oliver questions why they are removing Shane’s roses. Joe defends Sharon and tells Oliver to give her a chance. Sharon softens, she confronts Oliver about the need for comfort food and why he overthinks everything. She asks him how long it took for him to propose to her daughter and he admits that he fell in love with her that morning at the coffee stand all those years ago. Unfortunately, he was married at the time. Sharon expresses understanding and tells him that she knows the leaving must have been so painful. She asks Oliver who got him through that pain and he says that he had his faith. She thinks that his faith is great, but you can’t hug your faith. She calls him a good man and lists all of his lovely qualities. She tells him that he needs to get it together before the wedding. He admits that he doesn’t know what to do and then realizes that he needs to face up to the scary. Sharon reminds him that he needs to heal, but he doesn’t have to do it alone anymore. He has a whole family that loves him and that includes her because she chooses to love him. She offers to be the mother that he deserves and they share a warm embrace.
Norman and Rita meet Charley at the Post Office. They offer her a full-time job at the DLO and they tell her that they realize that she feels like she has to give something up to take that job, but they want to offer her both. They offer to adopt her. They want to give her a family that will help her raise her baby and a home for them to live in. She says yes, and then immediately goes into labor. Charley delivers her baby and Norman and Rita are there to greet the little one.
At the DLO Oliver looks very contemplative, as Shane excitedly rambles about her going away dress, and their honeymoon. Oliver continues to look at her with sadness in his eyes, unable to share in the joy that she is experiencing. She tells him that he’s scaring her. He admits that the letter awakened his long ignored fears of abandonment. He tells her that he delivers mail because he wishes to return to strangers what was lost, because he had lost something he could not restore. His mother and his wife had left him and he worries that Shane will leave him too. He feels that no one can promise him forever because they will eventually realize that he is not worthy of forever. Shane tells him that she knows exactly who he is and she is sorry that his wife and mother left him, but he needs to realize that he is not the reason that they left. They left because they didn’t know who they were, not because Oliver wasn’t worthy of their love. But she knows who she is and she has loved Oliver through every up and down that they’ve experienced since the day that they met. She gently takes his face in her hands and tells him that she knows him, and she loves him, and she will never leave him. They kiss and dance together as a series of their previous sweet moments play in flashback. When their dance is over, it’s after midnight which officially makes it Shane and Oliver’s wedding day. Oliver gives Shane the gift that he got for her. He gives her a beautiful clock on a necklace. He wanted to engrave “trust the timing” on it, but it was too long, so Shane suggests the word Forever. In turn, Shane gives Oliver his gift. He opens the box to find Dumbarton Oaks. Shane explains that Ms. Genzinger had found the little bear at the church all those years ago, and had saved it for him.
The morning of the wedding Norman, Rita, Shane and Oliver arrive at Owen’s house with Fred. Owen, in a wheelchair, is preparing to leave for the hospital. Owen is overwhelmed at the sight of Fred. They tell Owen that Fred was still fighting fires and that everyone was so grateful that he’d allowed them to keep Fred that they wanted to come and support him. Owen wheels out and there is a team of firefighters there telling him that they love him and they are there to support him
At the chapel, Rita and Shane share a sister moment before the wedding. Shane thanks Rita for being there for her. Rita tells her that she loves her and then hugs her and leaves to join the ceremony. Sharon enters and the two share a sweet moment in which Shane asks her mother for help with her dress. This brings Sharon to tears.
Oliver enters the chapel and is greeted by Ramon. The church looks beautiful with the “Tabernacle of Love” on the altar. Oliver tells his dad that he is ready and heads to the altar.
“And So It Goes” plays as Norman and Rita enter and then Shane follows dressed in a beautiful white gown.
Norman and Rita give a reading. Norman starts, “From the song of Soloman, set me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death. It burns like a blazing fire. Like a mighty flame.” Rita continues, “From Ecclesiastes. Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. If one falls down, his companion can lift him up.”
Together, “When you pass through the waters I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers they will not overtake you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.
Then Oliver and Shane recite their vows. Oliver says, “Shane Shannon McInerney.” Shane follows, “Oliver Joseph Linley O’Toole.” Taking turns they say, “Will you take me as your husband?” “WIll you take me as your fiercely loving, but utterly adoring wife?” Oliver asks, “Will you accept this heart I offer? And trust me with yours?” Shane responds, “Will you cherish me tenderly, love me patiently and basically put up with me?” They both giggle. “WIll you forgive my failings and overlook my obsession with the King’s English? Wherever you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.” Shane replies, “And your people shall be my people. And your God, my God.” Oliver sweetly asks, “And will you embrace my only dream, which is to make you happy?”
Shane responds, “Will you trust my heart to understand yours? And will you let me love you with all of my heart?” Oliver finishes, “Will you share every season of every year ahead, through rain, and snow, through sleet or sunshine, even dark of night, until God parts us?” They both say, “I will”. They exchange rings, kiss and everyone applauds.
Shane, Oliver, Norman and Rita celebrate as they leave the wedding reception. They talk about how fun the wedding was. Norman tells them that Charley named the baby Elenore, like Elenore from Passports who always thought that Shane and Oliver would get together. While walking out in the street and talking about leaving for their honeymoon in London, Oliver finds a wet letter in the street with the wax seal still intact and it is postmarked. The POstables examine it closely and imagine what it could be. Perhaps a love letter. They think the seal looks like a family crest and Norman says that he has a book on family crests at the DLO. Oliver asks his new bride if they could join their friends at the DLO and she tells him they have time. The fearless foursome, content with life, side by side, head down the street to the DLO.
As it began, this journey ends with Oliver’s wise words, “To deliver what is lost. To redeem what has been forgotten. To faithfully bring to completion the epic journey of a humble envelope and whatever dwells in that sacred space inside, that is a noble calling, and it is what we do, it is what we love. It is who we are and we are forever the POstables.”
Eric Mabius, as Oliver, never ceases to break hearts. His commitment to expressing such raw emotion is a true gift. Kristin Booth, as Shane, adds such strength and sincerity to every scene that she is in. I cannot imagine anyone playing Rita other than Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe, she embodies the light and sweetness that is Rita. Geoff Gustafson has a gentle and innocent sweetness that brings life to Norman. This incredible cast, coupled with the genius that is Martha Williamson, truly combines to create lightning in a bottle every single time they collaborate.
Thank you for taking the time to read our recap & review of Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Vows We Have Made. You can follow Amanda Pezet on her Twitter account and you can follow the POstables Hallmark’s Signed Sealed Delivered Fan Group here.
**All photos courtesy of ©2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Luba Popovic**