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The Rookie - New Blood - Review

3 May 2021

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After yet another (but thankfully mini) hiatus and with a new episode on tonight, let’s do a recap of the show’s outing from two weeks ago.

Now that Lucy and Jackson are officially P2s it’s time, as the title of the episode suggests, for some “new blood” to enter the fold of Mid-Wilshire.
Firstly we have Larry “The Badger” Macer, who is essentially a manifestation of all of Grey’s worst fears when Nolan joined up: a middle aged man on his version of an “eat prey love” reinvention. This, turns out, is a character that merely amounts to a cameo by Greg Grunberg, seeing that Larry washes out before even roll call properly starts, after his gun goes off in the room.
Second we have Katy Barnes, Tim’s new charge. Office Bradford starts off the day pretty much in the same curt, direct, strict and no nonsense tone we are all too familiar with, and which Lucy, all endorsements about Tim aside, did warn Barnes about. However not far into the rundown of the “prep the shop” protocols, Tim clocks Barnes as a recruit with a military background and suddenly switches gears completely. He buys Barnes coffee and lets her drive. He is reasonable, conversational, compassionate and zen. Things we’ve so far seen occasional sprouts and glimmers of during his training Lucy.

This doesn’t go unnoticed by Officer Chen who does seem to be taking his different approach a little personally. When she confronts him about it, Tim explains he adjusts his teaching style to the respective recruit. While Lucy might be the best rookie he’s ever trained, she needed some “toughening up” when she first started, whereas Barnes needs to learn how to stop seeing threats and enemies everywhere. Drawing for his own personal experience when he came back from the war, it becomes clear his read on Katy is more than astute, as throughout the episode she keeps on referring to “suspects” as “enemies” and “backup” as “reinforcements”. Every little bit of her demeanour even during the more quiet moments is informed by being constantly vigilant. It’s only when Tim points these things out to her that she starts to realise this might not be as good a fit of a job as she thought. By the end of day two and much to Tim’s disappointment, she decides to quit.

Elsewhere, Angela and Wesley are dealing with Patrice’s continuous vying of control over the wedding planning. Things have gotten so tense they end up asking Tim to play intermediary. After some tough negotiating which only leads to more frustration for all parties (Man of Honor included) Mrs. Evers requests for some honesty from both her son and future daughter in law, instead of these “antics”. This leads Angela and Patrice to finally have a heart to heart, opening up and trying to understand each other. Angela knows she hasn’t been spending as much time with Patrice as she’d hoped during the planning, which would have been a great opportunity for them to really bond. And Patrice says she just wants to be helpful because Angela and Wesley are busy, but understands how she might be jumping the gun on things instead or taking what they want into consideration.

Meanwhile Tamara gets herself in some trouble with her cousin, as plans for her moving out and into transitional housing, now that she’s finally a legal adult, get delayed. Lucy yet again steps in to help offering up her and Jackson’s apartment until things are sorted out with her new place. Also Nyla continues playing the “post divorce” dating field, accepting a date with James from the Community Center.

Lastly Professor Ryan has been receiving some threatening messages and asks for some protection. The stalking and threats escalate throughout the episode, as Fiona stands her ground refusing to back down. She gets doxed and put on the radar of a white supremacist group. Nolan gets charged with her protection detail until her publisher can get her some proper security. This storyline climaxes with a chase and a shootout that finds Professor Ryan at the center of it all, but our ever reliant officers manage to thwart any kidnapping and murder attempts against her and keep her safe.
Throughout this storyline Fiona and John get to share some great character moments. We get a glimpse into Prof. Ryan’s backstory, with the added perk of a well needed history lesson about police brutality against the black community. And Nolan gets to vent his concerns about Henry to another more objective party. They get to help each other as John dispenses some advice regarding trauma of this nature and how to cope with it, and Fiona gives him some well needed perspective about Henry’s future and choices.
That last bit seemed to be the last push John needed to properly and genuinely be supportive of Henry’s choice to quit school and work for Ben’s start up, and going so far as to prove it to his son with a homemade dinner, for both him and Abigail who are in town for Henry’s work orientation. All seems to finally be well on that front until Henry collapses just before dinner...

The episode offered some nice callbacks, from the throwaway mention of Henry heart condition in 3.07, to even moments as far back as the pilot. Don’t you think I didn’t notice the music cue when Tim was giving Barnes the shop rundown Alexi Hawley & Co.! Personally I was expecting the new recruits would stick around for the rest of the season... and considering how much I like Greg Grunberg on principle, and how interesting a character Officer Barnes turned out to be, I’m a bit bummed we were done with both new additions by the end of the hour. Thankfully, at least where Barnes is concerned (and -fingers crossed - baring the show gets renewed) there’s hope we’ll see her again. I for one would be down for her to be John’s first Rookie when he manages to he himself become a TO. If I did the math correctly, her eligibility to come back would still be applicable if his new career plan works out. Not to mention if, (as all signs seem to indicate), Tim has indeed been promoted to Sergeant by that time, it would be quite like him to pair her up with John “I can get through to anybody even Nyla Harper” Nolan. Speaking of Nyla, it’s always a joy to see James and I’m glad they didn’t waste that chemistry I myself registered between Mekia Cox and Arjay Smith, the first time he popped in the show. Finally I will admit as someone who’s been a bit on the fence about Professor Ryan, this was a great episode for her. Her backstory peeled back layers of her steadfastness that until this episode we were asked to take a little too much at face value.

Picking up from the cliffhanger over Henry’s well being the show comes back on tonight. Tune in for a brand new instalment of The Rookie!