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Tommy - Free to Go - Review

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Tommy “Free to Go” was written by Jill Blotevogel and was directed by Sarah Pia Anderson, whose other credits include Dark Angel, Veronica Mars, This is Us, and Bosch. Given the subject matter of the episode, I was really impressed that they had both a woman write and direct the epiosde. Once again the show wades into controversial territory with a story surrounding women’s rights in the Middle East. In addition, this episode finally circles back to the Arturo murder from earlier in the season. Lots of great, snappy dialogue in this episode – and another terrific performance from Edie Falco as Tommy.

The episode opens with a young woman trying on rings at a jewelry store. Her mother waits impatiently as they need to get to the airport. When the young woman apparently tries to steal one of the rings, the police are called. Things quickly get out of hand when she slaps one of the officers, and she is arrested. It turns out that Norah (Salena Qureshi) wanted to be arrested so that she would not have to return to Saudi Arabia with her parents – Sheikh Fayed (Ramsey Faragallah) and Rima (Anna Khaja). In fact, she’d already applied for asylum in the US – but it hadn’t been granted yet.

The show once again dips its toes into the current political situation in the US too – and I love how the show just wades right in. Tommy is waiting for $7 million in funding for community policing that was promised by the Department of Justice. Deputy AG Hughes (Christopher McLinden) explains that it’s not just business as usual in DC. The Department of Justice is currently like a bunch of abused kids who are afraid to make “Dad” angry – and Tommy’s recent tangling with ICE didn’t go unnoticed by “Dad” (ie the President).

A former cop and friend of Cooper (Russell G Jones), Len Egan (Paul Schulze) drops in on the pretense of leaving a copy of his new book – about his catching a killer – but in reality to act as a liaison for the Sheikh. Tommy tells him flat out that she’s not releasing the girl because she hit a cop. He insists that Norah is a nice girl who made a mistake – but he also makes a veiled threat about a “dust up” over it. Tommy tells him that she wants to hear the girl apologize.

Tommy interviews Norah and she tells Tommy that she’s applied for asylum and that one of her Professors – Dan Ritter (Nicholas Delany) is helping her. She also tells Tommy that her sister wrote an article criticizing the male guardian system – and then disappeared. The guardian system stipulates that any woman must have a male guardian. Women are considered minors in the eyes of the law for their entire lives. If you want to know more about this “law,” check out this site. Because, yeah. This is a real thing.

Norah refuses to apologize, and Tommy tells Egan and Rima that she’s charging her. Egan tells her that she doesn’t want the storm that she’s bringing on – but Tommy tells him to “bring it on.” I love the way she never backs down from what’s right!

Blake (Adelaide Clemens), meanwhile, gets a visit from Vincent (Matt Dellapina) who is still working on the Arturo murder. He asks her to get information from the police evidence locker on Edward Wilson – a homeless guy who was murdered a few years earlier. Blake agrees and Vincent seems really paranoid about anyone noticing. When Blake does get pictures of the files, Vincent tells her not to email them but to meet him in a bar with them.

Tommy meets with the team about Norah. Cooper points out that they don’t get involved in immigration. Tommy insists that Norah is afraid for her life. Ken (Michael Chernus) points out that asylum can take months to work out. Tommy sends them to look for Ritter and Mrs Gates (Tonye Patano) interrupts to say that Washington wants a word…

The Sheikh and Egan meet with Tommy to expedite Norah’s release and offer some insight. It turns out that the Sheikh isn’t in favor of the current treatment of women, but can’t say anything publicly. He tells Tommy that Norah has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She’s been studying pre-law. Tommy is also introduced to Norah’s guardian, Gamal (Abubakr Ali). Tommy replies that Norah seemed rational and asks about the sister.

The Sheikh arranges a Skype call between Tommy and the sister – Areen (Amel Khalil). It turns out that she is a prisoner in her father’s house – and has been for two years. However, it’s actually for her own protection because if she went out, she would likely be beheaded! She tells Tommy that the Sheikh saved her. Areen also tells Tommy that the more people who learn about what Norah has done, the more people will want to kill her because it’s a criticism of their way of life. Tommy is worried that they are putting Norah’s life in danger, and Areen tells her that their father will lock Norah up to protect her.

Tommy visits Norah again and confronts her about lying about her sister. Norah insists that her father is a jailer and she wants him to fight the system openly. Tommy tells her that they can’t find Ritter and that what Norah is doing is unrealistic – even while Tommy sympathizes that she understands what she is trying to do. Norah tells Tommy that she wanted to get a law degree just to make her father angry, but she learned the power of knowledge, and now she wants to complete her degree and go home armed to fight.

The Sheikh and Egan again call to try to come to a peaceful resolution. When there is talk of a “sword dropping,” Diaz (Vladimir Caamano) says he hopes it’s just a metaphor! The Sheikh goes to the press and accuses Tommy of applying a double standard – letting her own daughter – Kate (Olivia Lucy Phillip) – out of jail after only 2 hours when she struck a police officer!

Cooper asks Tommy if it’s really worth it to keep protecting Norah. Hughes tells Tommy that the $7 million in funding is off the table and that the Federal Civil Rights Division is thrilled to be able to defend Muslim civil rights for a change. Tommy even goes to Lou Woods (John Bedford Lloyd) for help, but in the end, refuses to take his terms.

When Tommy goes home, she discovers that Kate has been sent home from school because of the news. She’s not too upset by that – or the fact that Henry has finally left. She actually feels good about it. Tommy tells her that she did the right thing, and Kate tells her that she’s glad that she’s there.

Ritter is discovered murdered. Keller (Patch Darragh) shows up and asks to work it. He wants a second chance – and Diaz is ok with it. Keller immediately suggest that Gamal may have taken his duty as a bodyguard too seriously. Again, Mrs Gates interrupts – this time to say that Rima wants a face-to-face meeting with Tommy.

Rima tells Tommy that she was 22 when the Taliban came to power. However, she is content with life in Saudi Arabia. She tells Tommy not to let Norah’s idealism blind her. She also tells Tommy that the longer Tommy keeps Norah the more in danger Norah becomes. They have to say that Norah is mentally unbalanced to save her. Tommy asks about Ritter, and Rima admits that Gamal had told them about him. They were worried that Norah was attracted to him because she is promised to someone else – another lovely feature of their society… It turns out that Rima didn’t tell the Sheikh about their meeting.

Phil Goldstein (Garth Kravits) shows up as the Sheik’s lawyer with a court order to get Norah released. Ken tells him that they need to get two psychiatrists to evaluate her.

Keller finds footage of Ritter getting in a car with the Sheikh on the day Ritter disappeared. The Sheikh says that he didn’t blame Ritter. He said that Ritter said he was only trying to help Norah get asylum – there was no romantic involvement – he wasn’t going to endanger his career. Tommy asks what would have happened to Norah if she had slept with Ritter, and he tells her that she would have gotten 100 lashes!

Ashley (Sasha Diamond) finds footage of another entrance to Ritter’s office and Norah speaking to him – without Gamal present.

When Vincent doesn’t show up at the bar and doesn’t answer Blake’s texts, she goes to his apartment. Helpfully, the door is ajar and she goes in to find all his papers – including those on a board on the wall – gone along with his computer. She finds a paper stuck behind a table that shows pictures of Lavall’s place in Malibu – where she stayed with the Mayor! Vincent then texts her and tells her that she can email the papers – he’s sorry to have stood her up, but he’s sick in bed. Blake checks the bedroom – and of course, it’s empty.

Keller and Tommy interview Gamal. He tells them that Norah is his second cousin and that as guardian, he would accompany her everywhere that there was mixed company. They give him water – to get his DNA – and then tell him that there was skin under Ritter’s nails. They let him go because Tommy is sure that he will run to someone.

Gamal stops the elevator on the way down. He makes two phone calls. On the first, he tells the person that they know and that he did everything they asked. On the second, he leaves a message in Arabic. He then takes the elevator back up and confesses to having killed Ritter – under the pretense of jealousy – which he’d previously denied in the interview.

Tommy meets with Norah, Keller, the Sheikh, Egan, and Goldstein. The 48 hour hold is up, but Norah is staying as a material witness to Ritter’s murder. Tommy tells them that she will continue her studies and not be a prisoner. The Sheikh tells Norah that if she wants to be an American so badly, so be it – but she’ll no longer be his daughter. Nora tells Tommy that she got what she wanted – just not how she wanted. She also tells her that Gamal supported his whole family by being her guardian. And then the penny drops. It was Rima who had Gamal kill Ritter – the first phone call. The second phone call was for Gamal to tell his family that Rima would continue to look after them.

Tommy goes to the airport where she’s had Rima detained. Tommy tells Rima she knows everything and that she can’t get away with murder – it’s not justice. Rima tells Tommy that they gave Norah more freedom than she could have and yet she still wanted more. She tells Tommy that Norah is dead to her. Rima tries to tell Tommy that they are alike – both powerful women, but women must be subtle in wielding their power. Tommy tells her that they are nothing alike – and that there is nothing subtle about the power she has. Rima ominously tells Tommy to enjoy it while she can.

I really liked how this episode shone a light on another pressing issue of human rights, and especially women’s rights. Tommy is definitely the hero we need! The witty dialogue and fast pace were back in this episode. I really hope more people will start to realize what a great show this is! What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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