The Rookie s2 ep 13

The end of season 3 of The Good Doctor has given me a bit of capacity to write about something else. So I thought I’d give The Rookie a go, for a couple of weeks at least. As I said at the end of the first season I was, specifically because of the loss of Afton Williamson, more than a little concerned about how things might go: as well as what it might say about the culture of the show, she was an excellent member of the cast. And my worries increased when we were introduced to Nolan’s new training officer, Nyla Harper (Mekia Cox), who seemed at first to be the sort of aggressively difficult character that The Rookie really doesn’t need. She settled down, though, and while Williamson is still missed, as far as I’m concerned the show is ticking over nicely.

This week’s episode is typical, and typically enjoyable, with each of the rookies given the task of following up on a dormant investigation. So Jackson and Lopez look into the theft of a hideous statue from a garden in an affluent area: suspects, everyone, including the wife of the man who bought the statue. Nolan and Harper have a robbery/homicide, in which a shopkeeper was shot. And Bradford and Chen are given perhaps the trickiest case: a young man out of prison is working in a bakery and trying to get out of gang life, but his former associates are determined that he’ll launder dirty money for them. Keeping him both out of trouble, and alive, looks like an impossible circle to square. Sergeant Grey (the terrific Richard T. Jones) tells Bradford that it’s the sort of difficult call he’ll need to make when he’s a sergeant himself: yes, Bradford has passed the sergeant exam, a favourite device of every American cop show I’ve ever seen.

Nolan’s personal life, meantime, is becoming complicated: not only does he invite Dr Grace Sawyer (Ali Larter) over to his new house for dinner, he suddenly discovers that his estranged father has died, leaving him a legacy in the shape of a car. And that he has a half-brother, Pete. Pete is played by Pete Davidson, who is actually quite good, but kind of feels as if he’s maybe wandered in from another show. He then wanders out again with exotic dancer Chastity, played quite charmingly by Meg DeLacy.

But there’s another reason for liking The Rookie. For most of the show’s run I’ve been enjoying, in a kind of low-key way, the taut but undeniable chemistry between Chen and Bradford, while coming to terms with the unlikelihood of any sort of romantic connection: Bradford regards his duties as a TO as sacred; and Chen, of course, gave up her relationship with Nolan because of the complications involved in dating a fellow officer. (It should be acknowledged in passing that Chen and Nolan’s graceful transition from lovers to friends is very much to The Rookie’s credit.) After episodes 10 and 11 of this season, though, in which Chen is abducted by a serial killer, throwing Bradford into a state of terror, I am unashamedly shipping Chen and Bradford VERY HARD INDEED. I don’t care that they work together, or that he supervises her. I am ALL ABOUT THE #CHENFORD. (And if you want reasons why you should be too, I recommend this on ShipRecced.) 

And so this week, Grey pulls a few strings and ensures that Bradford is offered the chance to transfer to another division as Sergeant. In two weeks. Chen looks suitably shocked. Two weeks! At the end of the episode Chen puts a brave face on it. “North Hollywood”, she tells Bradford, “is lucky to have a sergeant like you coming in”. But Bradford tells Chen that he’s turned the offer down. “Tim Bradford finishes what he starts. I haven’t finished training you yet.” Beat. “No, you haven’t”, murmurs Chen. No, indeed he hasn’t. And how her “training” might be “finished” is something which is going to consume me for the next few weeks.

One thought on “The Rookie s2 ep 13

  1. CJ Cregg April 14, 2020 / 1:39 pm

    I was a bit snobbish about The Rookie when it first came out – didn’t need yet another cop drama I thought, can’t be doing with yet more tv, bit over Nathan Fillion etc – then got even more reluctant to give it any sort of attention on the basis of the Afton Williamson awfulness. So I didn’t. Then suddenly, over the past week, Jed’s chat about this “Chenford” ship he liked and then the article at ShipRecced he sent me to made me think: “well, I think I will check this out” which was either my greatest mistake or the BEST MOVE OF MY TV LIFE because I am RUINED for other ships now. RUINED I tell you. I haven’t been able to get s1 but I mainlined all these 13 eps of s2 over the holiday weekend and now I am ALL CHENFORD ALL THE TIME.

    Before I start sounding like I might start sending stalker mail to the cast made of cut up newspaper letters and big red arrows and hearts, I should say I agree on the merits of the show in general: it’s a nicely-judged procedural ensemble, as Jed has said in a similar vein to 9-1-1 in that it‘s all about decent (attractive) people trying to do their best in incredibly hard situations. It also struck me as a very much lighter version of the late, great Southland (a very downbeat drama about cops in LA) which is worth a look if you can get hold of it and also involves frequent use of the word “Boot” albeit it’s an infinitely tougher, sadder watch than this one.

    I think Nolan is a bit boring tbh, although that’s not Fillion’s fault, but the rest of the ensemble is good fun and the stories (again like 9-1-1) are quick, nicely-judged and really showcase everyone’s talents. I particularly like Sgt Grey and Nick Armstrong. I quite like Lopez although her relationship with Wes seems both unconvincing and doomed to me. Rachel is lovely, even though she’s in the wholly unenviable role of romantic speed bump. Jackson annoyed me at first but I think I caught him at a bad time when he didn’t do great on his exam; he’s now got a grip and seems much better now. Ditto Harper.

    But never mind all that. I am OBSESSED with Chen and Bradford. Both characters are really well-drawn, and their relationship is brilliant, with SO MUCH going on under the surface – my God. Eric Winter and Melissa O’Neill are both fantastic, and particularly good at tiny looks and moments which can be as significant as you like – the faith and trust in her face when she told him he had to have a fix for Marquel this week, his face last week when she asked if he had a time machine and he said he wished he did etc. And that’s not even the half of it – don’t even get me started on the shipper-palooza that was her kidnapping/rescue and everything involved in that, because we will be here forever and I already sound absolutely crazy. Suffice to say, Jed, you have my sword. CHENFORD forever. I need this to happen. SQUEEEEEE.

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