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The Rookie - Amber - Review

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Apologies for the belated review for last week’s episode, but it was one those weeks where simply life got in the way. However I’m here today to make it up to you all. So without further ado, lets dive in on what happened on episode 3.09 titled Amber.

It’s finally Jackson and Lucy's final shift as rookies and where Lucy has a whole plan (of trickery) to properly emotionally process her farewell shift with Tim, Jackson doesn’t even know who he’s riding with. Enter Dt.Lopez: Since they started this journey together they’re ending it as such. Meanwhile Sgt.Grey saddles Nolan and Harper with a ride along. It’s Nolan’s ethic’s professor, Prof.Ryan, who’s doing research for her next book. Nyla’s annoyed and John is stressed, but Grey seems to be relishing in their discomfort.

And so shift begins. Lucy slyly wants her and Tim to go through the stages of grief one by one, and elated that they’re off to a great start as Tim goes into denial about missing riding with her right out of the gate. A bit later she fesses up about her “list” when Tim gets suspicious over her questions, but as he seemingly moves on from “denial” to “anger” Lucy is fairly pleased with herself. Jackson and Angela have their own moments of reflection in the car, as Jackson thanks her for sticking with him and believing in him after that first day. They also get to reminisce a bit about how far along they’ve come indivually and in their relationship in their personal lives as well as professionally. Meanwhile over at the ride along we learn a bit more about Prof. Ryan: she’s an activist and her next book is about the future of policing. We also learn that Nyla is well aware of Prof.Ryan’s work and seems to even be a reluctant fan, while John primarily continues to be preoccupied of making a good impression.

And it’s just about this time that our case of the week kicks in when an amber alert hits the radios. The kid is barely a few hours old and the primary suspect for the abduction is the father who was at the hospital but was asked to leave earlier in the day. A helicopter unit gets called in for air support in the search of the vehicle. Prof.Ryan makes a comment about the baby’s race, when she sees how mobilized the search gets, and puts Nyla a bit on the spot when she asks her if she thinks people would look just as hard for her daughter. Nyla argues that the media coverage might not be the same but the police protocols and efforts absolutely would be. Angela speaks to the mother who seems beside herself. She’s quite sure the father would happily sell their baby for drugs. Lucy and Tim get a negative hit on a truck that matches the vehicle description and have an honest discussion about the stigma of mental health and how to be in relationships, which, much to Lucy’s enthusiasm, prompts Tim to actually acknowledge what he and Lucy have is one.

Nyla and John get an affirmative on the suspect vehicle. After a tension filed and co-ordinated chase they spook the father, who loses control of his truck and crashes. Both thankfully and unfortunately the baby is not with him. He was just running because he had a gun and drugs.

Jackson tries to distract Angela a bit by talking about her baby. In the end only bums her out more when he talks about how his dad was gone a lot as he was growing up due to work. He tries to make up for it by asking her to talk directly to Harper instead for some more personal intel. It’s a well needed moment of levity in the episode as the two women discuss very real feminine issues. When Nyla gets too blunt John’s there to tell her to smooth things over. And when things get too clinical the men are happy to nope out. Hell even Lucy’s curiosity has a limit when “pooping on the table” gets mentioned. It’s certainly the moment Grey asks them to put an end to this conversation.

Finally the security footage from the hospital gets sent in, and it shows a woman taking the baby. As Jackson tries to be optimistic about the case, probably mostly to appease Angela, Lucy stresses and Tim tells her to get her head in the game. While she might have been through a lot this past year, and come out the other side stronger, a dead kid is different and she needs to prepare. So to distract her, he lets her pull out the list. The next step is about the lessons learned and expressing gratitude. Lucy says learning how to trust her instincts was the biggest thing she’s taken away from their time together and believes that will be invaluable for undercover work. Tim questions her desire to follow that career path because he doesn’t think she has the killer instinct it takes, to lie to someone’s face and backstab them. Lucy tries to prove him wrong on the spot with a love confession that renders Tim practically speechless only for her to take it back. Now she was merrily trying to prove a point, but as Tim points out in the awkward moments that follow she’s undermining it by feeling guilty.

Elsewhere as Prof.Ryan is explaining to Nolan and Harper what her plan for police reform would be (ie. fire all police officers and have them reapply for the job) a possible ID on the suspect comes in: Rita Cissane. John and Nyla interview the husband who called 911 in the first place. Turns out they just lost their 2 month baby that morning which is why they were at the hospital. Adding to the trauma, Rita was suffering from post partum depression. Mr.Cissane is going through what is likely the worst day of his life and major kudos to Joshua Bitton for a lovely performance, capturing this man’s devastation amidst his shock.

This case is proving to be Angela’s nightmare scenario in every way, especially as an expecting mother and she’s taking it hard, even if Jackson is there to remind her that the cases they deal with are the exceptions not the rule. For his part John is making use of Lucy’s psych major trying to gather as much information about PPD as he can so they can at least be able to approach Rita with an educated perspective. Tim and Lucy spot the car but unfortunately neither Rita nor the baby are to be found. An eyewitness lets them know she’s on foot so at least it narrows their search grid. It’s more a matter of getting to her in time before she does anything rash.

The airship spots Rita on a bridge and flags her as potential jumper. Harper and Nolan are first on scene, and as usual in crisis situations Nyla lets him take the lead. When Prof. Ryan asks why, Nyla explains how John is good with people. The rest of the units rally in, and as Jackson is tasked with keeping the news people and cameras at bay, the rest talk about options. Angela not feeling comfortable with the Fire department’s ETA decides to take a stab at talking Rita down. Being able to connect to her mother to mother, she gets through, and manages to get the baby back to safety. Poor Rita is wrecked and sorry and devastated, but thankfully everyone is safe.

It’s end of shift and so the end of the ride along, and we find out that the whole thing was a bit of a ruse. Turns out the book is already written. John and Nyla acknowledge that change is hard, but argue that some “police insight” might also be useful if Prof. Ryan wants to get cops on board in order for change to be achieved. While originally reluctant she seems to be willing to hear them out. John even volunteers Sgt. Grey for the task, mostly though as pay back, for everything from the ride along to being told he would be a failure on his first day.

The episode concludes with wonderful interactions by all our teams: Angela reassuring Jackson he earned this, Tim giving Lucy the goodbye she was hoping for (an acknowledgement he’ll miss her and a last bit of sage advice) and her getting him back for all those tests and lessons with a flour bomb of her own, while Nyla to comfort John for feeling down, invites him for dinner with her and Lila, accompanied with a reassurance he’s not far behind his friends.

A lot of tough subject were discussed and touched upon with nuance and genuine care in this episode, managing to underline all our beloved characters personalities in the process. It’s always the balanced writing that makes this show so strong. But also a commendation needs to be given to this episode for its unique filming style. The minute shift starts up until everyone is back at the precinct, all the shots are taken and cut together from the shopcams, the bodycams, the hellicam, streetcams, Prof.Ryan’s personal research footage and during the climax of the episode even the news broadcasts. Now to the show’s credit they have always used the real life cameras for cut-aways, so the audience is already well trained to the “gimmicky” look of some of those wide angle lenses. But to rely solely on that footage to tell this story brings the audience in the action in a whole new way. It grounds the storytelling since it’s told through the way we’d be privy to in real life as well. I honestly do hope it gets some recognition from a technical aspect, for the editing at least.

That’s that for the show’s ninth episode of its third season. Expect a review for last night’s outing as usual next Sunday, just a few hours before you tune in for a brand new episode of The Rookie!

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