Since we last reviewed Shades of Blue aka #DetectiveJLo, the show has gone from what felt like second gear to seventeeth, with everything – the action, the plotting, and the sheer nastiness of just about every character involved – cranking up so hard over the past few weeks, that these two eps were almost hazardous to my cardiac health.
As Harlee tearfully continued trying to play both sides, every plan seemed to go wrong and everybody (especially her) just got themselves even deeper into the mire, with a succession of genuinely shocking, heartstopping twists and double-crosses helping them on their way. The acting was excellent, but the pacing was terrific too: in order to clear the decks for season two, a lot of swift, brutal, summary justice was dished out and I won’t weep for REDACTED or for REDACTED, but that final, incredibly unpleasant scene in particular (the sexual assault was incredibly disturbing on its own, but then, my God, that cracking sound) actually made me shriek out loud.
On the character development front, meanwhile, the by-now-supremely-creepy Stahl fully embraced the path of psychopathy and turned out to be as bad as, if not even worse, than everyone else; Loman did eventually sell his soul for the crew; and suprisingly, the only person whose character seemed to improve upon acquaintance was Ray Liotta’s Woz, a deeply flawed man who gradually, but unmistakably, turned out to be a lot more complicated than he first seemed to be. Against all my instincts, I ended up feeling significantly more sympathetic towards him (although what he did to poor Sap was unforgiveable) than I did towards Harlee who, by the end, was doing my head in almost as much as she was her increasingly insufferable daughter’s. Yes, Christina, you’re right, your mum does lies and whine with every breath she takes, but that doesn’t make you any less of an idiot.
Of course, this was JLo’s show, and she proved more than capable of carrying it, putting in a strong, compelling performance as a complex, determined but overwhelmingly loyal woman who was neither heroine nor villain. The same could be said, in fact, of most of the main characters; with the exception of ADA Nava, who was truly good and Donnie Pomp, who was truly evil, everyone else seemed to fall somewhere in between, with none of them (except Nava) being people I particularly liked or, somewhat courageously for a new network cop show, really thought I was supposed to. (Unless I was supposed to like Loman, in which case, sorry, but no.)
Thanks to the change in gear, though, I did become a lot more interested in what happened to most of them – except Christina who should just stay in Jersey City forever, please God – which means that, after feeling pretty ambivalent about it a few weeks ago, I now find myself looking forward to season two.