by L.T. Milroy
It’s time for a very special Rizzoli & Isles. That’s not my description. It was TNT’s introduction to this week’s episode. The centerpiece is the aftermath of the death of Detective Barry Frost and how his colleagues deal with his absence on both professional and personal levels. It’s handled pretty well and had to be a highly emotional episode for the actors, who’d spent their last four years working alongside Lee Thompson Young. But the saying, a very special episode, gives it kind of a cheesy feel and makes it sound like an afterschool special. Kind of weird phrasing. I also noticed the episode was written by the new show runner, Jan Nash. I remember first seeing her name in the credits of Ellen, Ellen Degeneres’s sitcom of the mid 90s. From what I’ve read, she wasn’t all that familiar with R&I when she was approached about taking over and gave herself a crash course in the show by watching all the episodes. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes is exactly what’s needed. I guess we’ll find out, as Nash is officially running the show now, pun intended.
We open in Maura’s kitchen. Ma Rizzoli stops in and tells Maura she has to let out her feelings about Frost’s death, but Maura’s not ready yet. Ma Riz gets philosophical, trying to draw her out. You’re wasting your time, Ma. It’s only the first minute of the episode. Maura will come around when she’s damn good and ready. Ma is worried about how Jane will handle things, being pregnant and all. Maura reminds her that Jane doesn’t know that Ma knows, so be quiet about it. I can’t believe Ma hasn’t spilled the beans yet. That seems entirely unrealistic to me, given how she’s been established as such a busybody. Ma says Jane and Maura both need to have a cry. Maura says she will, but later, and brings up the stages of grief. Of course she does. I just can’t believe she waited this long to do it.
Jane walks into the kitchen. She says she stayed over the night before, because neither she nor Maura wanted to be alone. Since when is an explanation needed? Remember the sleepovers of S1? They always just happened organically with nary a thought to exposition.
Jane is going to work, because it’s what Frost would have wanted. She then says she needs coffee and grabs the mug Maura had offered her of “real” coffee, pours it into Maura’s vase to use it as a “to-go” cup, and leaves.
At the station, Korsak asks Jane why she’s at work. She says she must work, but Korsak orders her to go home, considering she just used the coffee cup as her new pencil holder to get Maura back for messing with her. But pulling rank ain’t gettin’ anywhere with Jane, so of course she’s staying.
Frost’s mother arrives. She’s having an understandably difficult time dealing with the sudden death of her son. To help out, Jane volunteers to plan the funeral.
In the police station lobby, Korsak again tries to get Jane to go home, when a woman covered in blood and holding a gun walks in. She says she killed someone, but she doesn’t know who, and she doesn’t know who she is, either. As they wait for the case of the week to change out of her bloodstained clothes, Maura tells Jane a funeral is going to be a lot of work to arrange and hints that maybe she should turn her full attention to that and forget about police work for a while. Jane is having none of it and says “he” would want her to solve the case. Maura notices she can’t say “his” name, so Jane does and gets exasperated.
Frankie says Frost is entitled to an Honor Guard, even though he didn’t die in the line of duty, but Jane doesn’t want the funeral turning into a photo op. Plus, Frost hates the mayor. At that moment, a PD grief counselor is brought in, and everyone is told they have to spend thirty minutes with him. Of course, that makes everyone very busy, and the room clears quickly. Frankie isn’t quite fast enough and is nabbed as the counselor’s first victim.
Maura is with the amnesia victim. To distinguish her from the “less alive” bodies, she decides amnesia woman needs a name. She estimates the woman’s age and says Jessica was a popular name at that time, so she’ll call her “Jessica Doe.” Maura takes some fingernail scrapings while BSing with Jessica about the Red Sox. . . you know, like anyone would.
After their bonding session, Maura goes to the detectives with the results of her “live autopsy,” then backtracks, because an autopsy is done upon the dead, then bickers with herself about it in adorable Maura-like fashion. At last, she tells the detectives she thinks Jessica might be in a dissociative fugue state. Cynical Jane wants to know if that means faking it. Hee! Maura says that no, it’s amnesia brought on by severe trauma. Find the trauma, solve the crime. She suggests the cops try to jog Jessica’s memory. Skeptic Jane thinks it’s a waste of time, because Jessica is obviously a lying liar, but if she has to do it, she has to do it, and she walks out (and I won’t even mention how great Jane’s ass looks in those pants. Yowza! Yes, I know I just mentioned it).
Jane and Korsak drive Jessica around to see if anything looks familiar. While looking around the street, Jane sees Frost. She gets out of the car and runs through traffic to get to him.
But of course, he’s not there. She feels really stupid, so Korsak tells her a story of how he did pretty much the same thing years ago. After recovering from her vision, Jane gets back in the car and talks turkey to Jessica, basically telling her she has to come up with something. So, naturally, she does, right at that moment. Across the street is a bunch of little kids being led by a teacher and singing the school bus song. Oh, no. Little kids. Do you get it?? Jane is pregnant, remember?? Kind of like last week’s ep when everything was coming up babies?? Ugh. The kids trigger something in Jessica. Her trauma ties in with kids, so Jane guesses she’s a teacher. Pretty sharp, it being her first guess. I have to keep reminding myself the show is only forty-two minutes long, so some things have to be condensed.
Frankie is banging away on the computer, trying to find Jessica. It’s a sad scene, as computer work was always Frost’s forte. We also see Frost’s desk prominently displayed in the background at all times, with that action figure or robot toy or whatever it is that Frost loved so much, sitting there on display.
Korsak finally gets Jane to go home. Frankie and Korsak discuss the funeral.
Jane tells Maura about seeing Frost on the street. Maura says it was an anomalous experience, like crying. Hey Maura, we haven’t seen you cry, either, so stop jerking Jane around. But it seems Maura is planning out her cry, after she takes the time to properly go through all the proper stages to get to that point. How I love clinical Maura. Then she gets all morbid and says that when her time comes, she wants to be buried at sea. Jane bitches about the logistics. She hates boats, and they bicker a bit. It concludes with Jane saying what she really wants is to die a day before Maura, so she won’t have to get on a boat. Maura smiles like she gets it. And we know she does.
Ma Rizzoli has dropped by Jane’s place to make her eat some dinner and practices amazing restraint by not letting on she knows about the baby.
Back at the station, Korsak and Frankie are working late. Frankie has ID’d Amnesiagirl as Lily Green, a pre-school teacher. Pre-school. Of course. More baybeez!
As Maura is leaving work, some rando stops her to tell her how sorry he is about Frost and what a great guy he was. After he leaves, whether it was scheduled or not, Maura finally cries.
Time to solve the crime. The next morning, the gang goes to Lily Green’s apartment, which is a mess. They poke around and find a photo of Lily with a man and that she made a lot of phone calls to someone named Toby Warren. Turns out, he’s her boyfriend and the guy in the photo. Frankie starts tracking Warren’s cell phone, which leads them to a warehouse, where Mr. Warren is very dead. They determine the killing was an execution, and by the blood trajectory on him and on Lily’s clothes, she would have been right next to him when he was shot. So, she’s not the killer.
Maura and Jane tell Lily who she is and a little bit about herself. She says none of it is familiar, but when shown a photo of Toby, she freaks out. She remembers that Toby–who’s really a good guy, really, he just needed some money–robbed a drug dealer named Kyle and paid for it with a bullet to the head.
Frankie walks into the station carrying some record albums. Vintage vinyl, that is, from Frost’s place. Korsak looks at the records and says it’s helped him decide on the music for the funeral. It looks to me like Bruce McGill barely got through this scene without crying.
The case is wrapped up. A stakeout results in Kyle’s arrest. Lily, still recovering her memory, is picked up at the station by her father. She thanks Jane for her help.
That brings the funeral, which is as gut-wrenching as expected. There’s a montage of photos of Lee Thompson Young, many taken on-set with his co-stars. Jane gives a moving eulogy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scene like this in a TV show before, where the actors are obviously memorializing not only a character on the show, but someone they all knew and liked in real life. As the camera pans over those assembled in the church, Lorraine Bracco and McGill look particularly stunned and numb.
Jane is home at the end of a tough day and is going through her mail. She comes across a postcard from Frost. The card reads, Couldn’t be better here, but I miss you anyway. Jane collapses against the wall and cries.
Overall, the episode was a well-done, sincere tribute to LTY. It couldn’t have been an easy one for the cast to make. Back to the usual nonsense next week.