The Rookie s2 ep 18

As the end of the season approaches, The Rookie is hitting top form, with three strong plots in this episode. Nolan and Harper are required to escort a group of four cocky, sullen young offenders to a local prison, as part of a Scared Straight programme intended to persuade them that a life of crime is a bad idea. (Like quite a lot of ideas which seem to make intuitive sense, the evidence that these programmes work is mixed at best. At the very best.) They lose one delinquent along the way when he tries to steal the police van, but that still leaves three of them to be, theoretically, Scared Straight by some ferocious prison guards and a couple of inmates. Including, joyously, a recurring Rookie baddie, the urbane but thoroughly nasty Oscar Hutchinson (Matthew Glave).

Then a riot breaks out and, armed with nothing more than bits of wooden chairs, the visiting party has to escape through a prison which, by then, is mostly under the control of inmates who would like vey little more than to take a couple of cops and a few kids as hostages. At this point I started to wonder whether this was all some kind of demented theatrical production aimed at terrifying the kids, but no: it’s a real riot, and after Nolan and Harper get out, with an assist from Hutchinson, they discover that the prison warden has been captured. What to do? Well, plunge back in, of course, still armed with a couple of chair legs, and free the warden with Hutchinson’s help, traded for a plasma TV and a few other privileges. It’s ludicrous, of course, but also properly thrilling in places.

For Bradford, the day starts… badly? Rachel has been offered a new job. In New York. “You have to take it”, counsels Bradford. Yeah you do, Ms Speedbump, I thought; take yourself and your possible life-limiting illness off to Manhattan, and leave Bradford and Chen to get on with it. And for all of them, it gets a bit worse after that: Rachel has been monitoring the health of a young boy who seems to get better when hospitalised, and then worse when back home. His mother, a single parent, has been funding treatment through a Go Fund Me. Well, that all adds up to Munchausen syndrome by proxy if anything ever did, so Rachel ensures that the child is taken into care, only to discover subsequently that the cause of his illness is something else entirely. And then she gets arrested. Does Bradford really need this in his life? Does he, though?

Lopez, meantime, has been flagged, by data-analysing-tech-idiot Elvis Grimaldi, as the Officer Most Likely To Be Sued. And Grimaldi has the ear of the brass. So Grimaldi accompanies Lopez and Jackson on what is intended to be a low-risk, low-impact tour of duty, during which she will help old men across the road and rescue kittens from trees. Lopez, instead, has set up a particularly dangerous operation, intended to give her the opportunity to kick some perps around. While that’s going on, one of Grimaldi’s other clients has appeared at his HQ with a gun. Grimaldi didn’t see that coming, calling into question the predictive value of his algorithms.

And Nolan meets Grace’s husband – not divorced yet – Simon, when he turns up at the hospital. Which is OK as far as it goes, but Simon’s reason for doorstepping his estranged wife is that their son is having trouble at school, thought to be related to his parents’ marital woes. Simon wants to give it another go with Grace, and she’s considering it, because trapping yourself in an unhappy marriage is… a thing, I guess? That apart, though, this was excellent.

One thought on “The Rookie s2 ep 18

  1. CJ Cregg May 19, 2020 / 6:35 pm

    I agree with you on the Nolan and Lopez stories – both bonkers but great, and the Lopez one was properly funny thanks to Jackson. He was on tremendous form this week. “Yes I know all about beta phases. Officer Lopez taught me.” HEE. I am so glad he’s left that exam-related slump he was in at the beginning of the season) far behind.

    I thought the Rachel/Tim story was really badly-handled, though, to the extent that I was a) really annoyed and b) really surprised by it, given that the show is usually very clear about giving the female characters agency. There was a way to tell this story without throwing Rachel under the bus and her having to be saved by a big strong man, but this wasn’t it.

    Setting aside Chenford for the moment – which the writers seem determined to do just now – I had some real problems with the framing of the storyline. Rachel has always come across as sensible and good at her job, and in fairness her decision to remove the child seemed pretty reasonable at first blush. But then we find out she already knew other children in the neighbourhood had had similar issues but only decided to look into it *after* she’d removed him. Okay, let’s give her that one, it’s unfortunate but I can see why she might not have connected the dots at first. Except that THEN once she realises she’s made a mistake, she won’t even TRY to rectify it by going through the appropriate channels. Does she even ATTEMPT to escalate it to her boss and put it back before the judge to say “as the social worker on whose recommendation you moved him, I’m telling you now that recommendation was flawed”? And to get soc work dept backing for doing that? Nope. She decides that there’s no way the judge will listen unless she has some sort of smoking gun, goes crying to her boyfriend Tim for a bit (ok that bit I might have done as well, but then I’d have done something sensible), and then loses her mind and assaults some rich guy who is about as likely to give her that smoking gun in response to a bowl of water in the face as I am to get a recurring role on the show.

    To compound this, we’re then told that this same judge who would *never* overturn the order on the say-so (based on credible information) of the actual social worker/dept who made it, has happily and apparently secretly – since social work or at least Rachel didn’t seem to have been consulted – overturned it on the basis of Officer Tim Bradford’s “personal assurances.” I mean, *I* love him, but…. what?! And they were conveyed by cozy phone call through the Deputy Chief so he didn’t even actually give said “personal assurances” “personally”. How is that more convincing than the social worker/dept actually telling the judge she got it wrong, the reasons why and applying for the order to be revoked?

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m being unfair. I don’t know enough about the LA social work system to know how accurate any of this was, and maybe the Deputy Chief can make this sort of thing happen. And maybe he and the judge like Tim almost as much as I do. But, to me, it looked a lot like the story had been engineered to make Tim the big strong hero, saving the damsel in distress, at poor “emotional” “agitated” Rachel’s expense. Especially since they added insult to injury by framing it as “you did this for me, even though I’m leaving”? Er – did he not do it for the kid?! Because he had been wrongly removed from his mother and that needed to be remedied? ARGH. I’m having a trying week so maybe I’m being unfair but everything about this storyline rubbed me up the wrong way and since I actually like Rachel (not for Tim, though – Chenford FTW!) and love Tim, that takes some doing.

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