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The Rookie – The Q Word, The Hunt & Consequences - Triple Review

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With a new episode on tonight, let’s do a recap of the final two episodes of S2 as well the storyline’s conclusion in the S3 premiere last week.

In 2.19 – The Q Word we start out as our Rookies are unwinding with the rest of their class just before their final 30 day push. Everyone is sharing stories and we get to meet some of the other friends of our beloved trio: Chris Rios, Jackson’s “rival” for the top of the class, and Erin Cole who looks up to John for guidance and advice.
The camaraderie and familiarity is ever present even among these new arrivals to our cast (earning the show’s casting director another pat on the back, for knowing that leaning on the ensemble moments is what really makes this show), and makes it easy to believe all these people did in fact go through the grind together. This offers a light intro to the bleak storyline that will span across the next three hours of the show, and in hindsight all that levity in those first few minutes of the episode should have raised major red flags for everyone.

The shift starts out quiet enough, giving us time to catch up on how things are on the personal front for everyone: Lucy and Emmett are getting a bit serious, which she seems unwilling to share with Tim. For his part he seems to be proud of her for not sharing. Angela is stressed out about making detective while the moms take that opportunity to highjack her wedding. John is still thinking about his break up with Grace. While Nyla, has a hearing for the appeal of her custody agreement.

We get to learn all that until Nolan makes the mistake to comment exactly how “quiet” the shift is... and then the S hits the fan... Not long after John more or less makes fun of Nyla for being superstitious, a frantic call for shots fired comes through the coms. The action is in another district, but things escalate enough, that backup is requested and our units are also mobilized. West recognizes Chris’ voice over the radio, and sure enough when he and Lopez reach the scene Chris and his own T.O have the suspect at gunpoint. Amid the action and adrenaline Rios, with a nice callback to the pilot, makes the mistake to leave the cover of the shop and ends up getting shot.

Harper and Nolan go after the suspect but he ditches the car and his weapon in a parking lot and manages to get away. John is the process of securing all the evidence when Armstrong joins them. They proceed to use his portable finger print ID unit to identify the shooter from a print they lifted from the gun. A hit on the data base points them to Serge Darian, a member of the Armenian mafia. Armstrong and Nolan edge Harper on to go to her hearing while they follow the lead. Meanwhile Chris gets rushed to the hospital, Jackson in toe, but things are looking dire and surgery will be useless unless Grace manages to get the bleeding under control.

Lucy and Tim follow up on the finger print but not before they engage in one of their patented “Bradford scolds Chen” moments. Emmett being on the scene feels the need to step in and defend Lucy but frankly neither one of them is up for it. They have the rapport they have for a reason and they both know it.
At the raid, sadly the suspect is nowhere to be found, however there is enough evidence found on site that leads to suspect a mole in the department. Grey takes this opportunity to give Angela a shot at operating as acting detective to root out the rat, as she is someone he can trust.
Angela leads a second raid at the house of Ruben Darian, brother of the shooter and head of the organization. John and Nick join her, and while we also see Erin is on site she however sits out the breach. Ruben is apprehended and when everyone is back at the precinct John realises the gun has gone missing. A gun that is now officially a murder weapon since Chris didn’t make it.

All signs point to the mole being the perpetrator and everyone from the raid gets called back to surrender their body cams for review. As Nyla and Nick ineffectively interview Ruben, Angela via the cam footage manages to deduce that Erin is most likely the dirty cop. And young Officer Cole is officially on the run.
As everyone is following various leads trying to track Erin down, it’s John who remembers a conversation he had with her earlier in the episode and they end up chasing after her as she’s trying to make a getaway in an RV. Erin finds herself in dire straits, distraught and feeling guilty over Chris’ death. John is trying to talk her down from killing herself but in a split second confrontation Armstrong ends up shooting her.

While on the personal fronts things are somewhat looking up (with John deciding to talk to Grace, Nyla winning joint custody, Tim giving Lucy sage advice regarding Emmett, with whom she patches things up, and Angela doing exceptionally as acting detective), it’s an unsatisfactory ending to the case: two young cops are dead, the weapon is still missing and Serge will most likely walk because of that. Something doesn’t sit well with Nolan about all this... it’s as if the mole isn’t completely rooted out... And as he’s reviewing the case for his own benefit, the twist is clear: Nick is the real, really dirty cop...

The opening of 2.20 – The Hunt employs an interesting narrative tactic to validate the twist from the penultimate episode: the first third of the episode is a retelling of the events of 2.19 from Armstrong’s perspective. We get context and backstory, and all the pieces fall into place. Even those snide comments Rosalind made about Armstrong’s character all those episodes ago. Ruben clearly has him tied in deep and, try as he might, there is no way out for Nick.

With the audience properly caught up we see Nolan sharing his theory with Harper. Grand speeches about “going against everything they stand for” aside, it’s worth mentioning, Nathan Fillion plays up the conflict and the sentiment of betrayal to a T here. Nick Armstrong had been portrayed all season as nothing more than an exceptional cop, a good friend and a mentor to look up to. Thinking this of him doesn’t come easy for neither Nolan nor the audience... not for Harper either, who while not entirely convinced, trusts John’s instincts enough that she agrees to help him investigate further.

The morning after finds Angela and Jackson trying to place Serge in the car in order to make the case against him stick, and Tim and Lucy tracking down a CI in the Armenian mafia that might be able to help out with the case. Meanwhile John has gathered some circumstantial evidence against Armstrong from the shop and body cams, showing Nick possibly texting Ruben updates on the investigation. Harper comes up with a plan for them to be able and trace the burner number he’s most likely using for this communication. They lure Armstrong to an abandoned area in order to isolate his burner’s number and be able to get a warrant for the phone.
While Angela, Jackson, Lucy and Tim manage to get breaks on their ends, Nyla and John find themselves in a bind with Nick. Finding an opening while Nolan gets a distracting phone call from Grace he clocks their ruse and puts into motion the steps to cover his tracks.

Feeling frustrated their plan hit a road block John results to desperate measures and goes to see Rosalind. She agrees to help, but requests a favour in return: information about his personal life. The result is John getting to finally have the talk with Grace which he has been avoiding for days, as it effectively ends their relationship, despite his love declaration. Rosalind seems satisfied enough to spill the beans about Nick: he keeps the evidence in his laundry room. She however seems unimpressed with John’s plan to break in Armstrong’s house and find the evidence. Nick’s too smart and ruthless of an opponent for John... he caught her after all. Still John goes ahead, but hits another dead end. Nick showing up while Nolan is still in his house doesn’t help matters.

Meanwhile Angela and Jackson manage to put Serge in the car in question and the CI, tips his location to Tim and Lucy. The hunt for Serge is on, which leaves Tim having to bail on Rachel for their last date... might be for the best, seeing that he was going to break up with her anyway. Serge is arrested, right after which Tim finds the time to catch up with Rachel and let her know he’s willing to give the long distance a shot (I dunno how this works timeline wise, but okay...).

Nick for his part calls Nolan to “confess” and asks him to show up at his place so he can explain. John shows up and Armstrong has his explanation and his excuses up and ready. But John’s onto him now and it all falls on deaf ears. So Nick goes on the offence and just lets John know point blank he’s spent the day setting him up to take the fall instead. With Serge corroborating the story there’s nothing John can do but shoot Armstrong in self defence and rush back to his place to find the incriminating evidence. He tears down the walls and does just as we hear and see the sirens...

And that’s where the show left us off last spring.
Last week 3.01 – Consequences picks up pretty much at that same moment. Grey calls Nolan informing him Armstrong’s on his way to the hospital and is accusing him of trying to murder him. John lets Grey in on his side of the story and pleads his case that things need to go by the book. So they should wait for a warrant and he’ll call a lawyer.

Enter Wes who while automatically springs into action willing to help, also accidentally dumps into positive pregnancy test while he’s getting ready. As luck would have it it’s Angela who gets tasked with getting the warrant and they bump at the judge’s house. He gently goads her to tell him but she’s got other things in mind. Mainly getting through this mess.

Armstrong is being escorted by Smitty and West to the hospital and tries to get more info out of them. Smitty is chatty but Jackson knows to keep his mouth shut, but still finds himself spiralling. Thankfully his dad is there to take on the case and give the appropriate perspective about how this investigation should go. In the meantime Nick find his opening to point the finger at Harper too.

John calls Nyla to fill her in as Tim and Lucy show up to take her to IA. Angela gets the warrant and John’s time is up. Back at the precinct Wesley presents the situation to John, who seems very obtuse about having “the truth on his side”. Wesley in turn is rather astute in pointing out to John that the favourable treatment John has been getting, is very much because he’s white and a cop and that shouldn’t go past him. In a similar spirit Commander West rails in on Harper as she tries to defend the way she and John went about their investigation and choosing to bypass Internal Affairs and the department’s function altogether. It’s a powerful scene, one we rarely see in cop shows. Michael Beach delivers in spades the frustration of an officer who is not allowed to his job by his own fellow officers because they tend to see him as the bad guy. But lo and behold, they are in this mess exactly because of that.

Tim and Lucy spend the investigation arguing and debating about John’s morality, how capable he is of this and how much we truly know people, as they try to track down the evidence. Tim is happy to follow the clues while Lucy hedges her bets on John. And thankfully Commander West’s questioning of Nolan proves her right. Percy satisfied enough with the leads so far, directs Tim and Lucy to head and talk to Rosalind and corroborate Nolan’s story further. Because of their history, Tim is reserved but Lucy seems up for the task.

In trying to make up for past mistakes John offers himself up as bait to try and get Ruben now that he’s lost his inside man. Neither Commander West nor Wesley are too keen on the idea but, Nolan pleads with Grey who bulks.
Wesley both frustrated with John and Angela seeks out to at least get answers on the baby front. He and Angela have a sweet talk where she gets to voice her concerns and he gets to talk her down and reassure her that they can do this. And, I’ll say it again: these two crazy kids might just make it!

At the prison Rosalind makes it a point to get under both Tim and Lucy’s skin, but they both manage to hold their own against her. She does give them another good enough lead they can track down, insinuating Armstrong probably has a go bag at play. Angela deduces it’s probably hidden at his wife’s gravesite and manages to dig it out.

The sting against Ruben is underway. Nyla gives John undercover pointers while he gets wired up. However Ruben and his men are smart enough to both get rid of the bugs and spot the tail. All the while Nick is lulled into thinking things are looking his way, until a phonecall from Rosalind lets him know otherwise. This makes him desperate enough to run. He slips Jackson and Smitty and reunites with Ruben in order tip him off about John. At the meet though, Ruben seems happy enough to get rid of both John and Nick. Armstrong gets shot in the crossfire as Nolan barely gets away and manages to apprehend Ruben.

In the end John is off the hook... but has to bare the, you guessed it, consequences: a letter of reprimand on his record (Harper gets one of those as well BTW), essentially making any promotion he may have been aiming for unattainable, and an extra month hold back as a Rookie. Always the glad half full kinda guy, John seems willing to go home and wake up tomorrow trying to start anew.
The episode closes out with as John goes back to his wrecked home only to receive a gleeful phonecall from Rosalind. He seems unwilling to appease her, and her vague insinuations that this whole mess with Armstrong being dirty could very well be her ticker our. Instead he hungs up on her midsentence and proceeds to clean up his house.

Random notes:

- Armstrong started out as such a great and rootable character, which that made this betrayal really hit hard. That was obviously the case, for the audience to be left just as numb and hurt as Nolan was, so job well done I suppose. Still Harold Perrinau’s lovely presence will be missed.
- I don’t know how I feel about Rosalind possibly getting out of jail as a result. She’s an interesting antagonist, sure, and Annie is brilliant, but the shtick could get old fast. If they go ahead with that I hope it’s a S4 storyline at least... let some time pass inbetween...
- Not even a passing mention of Grace in the S3 premiere? I can assume why, but that felt a bit off, when it was such an emotional point in the previous 2 episodes.
- It was smart writing in Alyssa’s pregnancy because hiding it was gonna be hard. I could very much tell already before they even mentioned Lopez was pregnant and had no idea she was so IRL. Plus, I do think it is gonna be a great storyline for her and Wes. Also I do hope this is what will finally give us the chance to meet her mom and brothers. I feel that’s long overdue at this point.
- Speaking of: YAY! Angela is officially Detective Lopez! So happy for her! Awful timing, but SO happy!
- I’ve had my issues with Jackson’s dad before but Percy was stellar in this week’s episode. And pushing Jackson for a career in IA might not be the worst storyline... means more Michael Beach, which is, after all always a good thing.
- I will say, if they really aren’t planning on getting Tim and Lucy together and don’t want people to ship it, they should really stop writing them this way. AND more than that they need to explain that to Eric and Melissa, explicitly. Because they can’t let them keep on doing all that on screen and then not follow through... they just can’t!

That’s that for our catch up with the show. Tune in tonight for a brand new instalment of The Rookie!

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