by L.T. Milroy
Our heroines are lost in the world of academia this week. There are stuffy old books and stuffy professors who get verbally smacked down by junior detectives. A good time is had by all. Except for the dead guy.
Remember last week when I bitched about the really violent way the show opened? Well, apparently the show doesn’t give a damn about what I think, because this week’s crime of the week is set up with another upsettingly violent scene. It’s torture this time around, and when the fingers started getting broken, I was out. I find it jarring to have this kind of thing randomly inserted into what is generally a lightweight cop show. It’s unnecessary and unpleasant. Fortunately, it’s brief.
In Maura’s kitchen, Jane eats plain toast and complains. Due to morning sickness, it’s all she can keep down. I think that’s what’s being implied here, although they don’t spell it out. And after all the times I’ve already done so, should I even bring up again that Jane still looks decidedly not pregnant? I guess she has to say she’s hurling to remind us of the baby, ‘cause we still can’t see it.
At this point, I have to address the whole gay “Rizzles” aspect of this show, which I’ve never done because it’s been discussed to death and has been rendered redundant. But what happens next hits that subject so right-between-the-eyes that it can’t be ignored. Maura walks in the room and criticizes Jane’s clothes. Jane is wearing her usual outfit (shouldn’t it be maternity clothes?…no, I won’t go there), so it’s strange that Maura should say anything. She follows it up by mentioning their dinner tonight.
Jane will be meeting Jack for the first time, and Maura is concerned about how Jane will present herself. She says, and I quote: “I want you to look as good for him as you do for me.” I think Jane follows that up with some remark about her Wang dress, but I’m not sure. I couldn’t hear over the sound of my head exploding. Of course, Maura would want everyone to be as enthralled with Jane as she is. I think that would be impossible, though. Seriously, you two, get a room. Or better yet, just start making out right on the kitchen table. You know you want to. It’s obvious to all of us.
Whew, I need a break after that. But the show barrels on as if nothing happened, as Jane says Maura ought to worry about how she looks. Maura gives herself a onceover and sees nothing amiss, so Jane points out she’s wearing only one earring. Maura confirms the errant earring in the mirror and frets about what else she might be missing. Jane says she hopes it doesn’t rhyme with “man-tease” (no comment on that, because it’s just way too easy, and I still have some self-respect, damnit!).
Jane gives Maura a few tips on how a normal person behaves on a date, such as to keep calm and no lab talk. Maura protests, so Jane says some lab talk is okay, just not so much involving guts. That would seem to be a simple guideline for someone else, but we all know Maura will be regaling Jack with some story involving innards, probably sooner than later. Jane says to talk about puppies instead, and Maura immediately starts talking puppy guts (the woman is incorrigible), but Jane says no, the outside of puppies. Who else but our Maura would need this pointed out?
At the crime scene, the victim of the week, Brendan McCahill, is dead in his rare book bookstore. Fittingly, under a pile of rare books.
Maura throws in her theory of the murder, that this is what happens when you do away with the Dewey Decimal System. Then she examines the body and describes how his fingers were broken, one by one. We know, Maura, we know. A safe in the room is tampered with but not open. Jane, Korsak and Frankie speak with an employee, Ricky Kelly, a street kid Brendan took a chance on and hired. He’s all tatted up, and Korsak makes the comment that he doesn’t look like someone who would work in a rare bookstore. Ricky doesn’t say much, except that he liked Brendan, as did everyone. He’s a bit surly and has no alibi. Korsak asks Frankie to check him out.
At the lab, Maura tells Jane Brendan died of shock, caused by torture. The torturers even tried to revive him with amyl nitrate after he was dead to torture him some more. Korsak walks in and says to cancel any dinner plans. The cop guarding the crime scene was attacked, and the bookstore broken into. Maura says she’ll reschedule their dinner with Jack for tomorrow night. Jane says she hates to screw things up for Maura who understands it’s because she’s finally dating a guy who doesn’t want to kill her. Just in case, she does the double-cross fingers.
It’s amusing they keep going back to that. Accurate, yes, but amusing nonetheless. Jane
At the bookstore, they talk to the cop, but he was knocked out and doesn’t remember much. Tobin, the squad’s safecracker, has been called, but he’s at a convention in Las Vegas. Jane grouses about how unfair it is that she never gets to go to a convention in Vegas. I hear ya, girl. She and Korsak wonder what could be in the safe that the bad guys would risk coming back to the crime scene to get. Korsak says nothing of value in the store is missing.
The next morning, Maura tells Jane that Jack is fine with the rescheduled dinner. Jane quizzes her on how last night’s date went, and it turns out, Maura did talk about puppies. Of course, this being nerdMaura, she didn’t talk cute puppy videos she saw on Facebook but about how you can cross a poodle with almost any dog to make it hypoallergenic. They’re called doodles. Maura’s favorite is a mix of schnauzer and poodle, the schnoodle. See? Maura doesn’t have to talk guts to have fun! Jane only wants to know if crossing two poodles would be a poo-poo-doodle. Oh, Jane.
Jane, Korsak, and Frankie are at the crime scene. Frankie says a popper vial has been found in a trash can near the bookstore. Tobin the safecracker has been summoned home from Vegas and will be there in two hours. Frankie’s done a background check on Ricky, and finds that he’s a troubled kid. Two weeks ago, he was caught trying to sell a page from a rare book, but charges weren’t pressed. Frankie theorizes maybe he knew his time was running out and was trying to make some quick cash. Korsak says that makes sense.
Jane and Korsak question Ricky, who says he’d never hurt Brendan. He says after Brendan found out Ricky stole the page, Brendan gave him more to sell. In the past six months, Brendan had changed a lot and stopped caring about how the store was run. The pages had to be sold to pay the bills. He’d also recently started going to church a lot, but Ricky didn’t know why.
Frankie walks into the lab, where Maura has the lid from the trash can where the vial was found. It has fingerprints, and Maura is about to run them. Wouldn’t a trash can lid be covered with many different sets of prints? I know, trying to apply logic to this show can be a futile undertaking sometimes.
Maura tries to pretend she waited for Frankie to run the prints, but essentially, she just hadn’t pressed “enter” yet, which she does. As they wait for the results, Frankie asks about Jack. Maura tells him about the canceled dinner and how Jane hasn’t met him yet, but Frankie says Jane likes everyone Maura and Frankie like, and she’s an excellent judge of character. I think Jane just likes Maura and everything about her, including her potential beard. The prints match up with a Donald Maxwell. Yikes.
Maura and Frankie agree, he’s not the kind you want to bring home to mother. Maura cracks, “Not even HIS mother.” Ooh, good one, Maura. Since he’s the only non-Irish surname involved in the CotW so far, I’m guessing he’s probably guilty.
Safecracker Tobin is doing his thing as Jane and Korsak watch. How nasty to have to leave Vegas to rush back to Boston to open some skanky safe. There are no other safecrackers available to the BPD? Sucks to be Tobin. Speaking of sucking, Jane notices a hickey on his neck, and he answers with the ‘it stays in Vegas’ trope. And just to really make Tobin feel cheated out of his vampire vacation, he gets the safe open, and it’s empty. Maybe Brendan knew the bad guys were coming, so he hid whatever it is somewhere else?
Jane notices the baseboard behind the safe looks weird and asks to borrow Tobin’s crowbar. When he asks if she wants him to do it for her, she asks if he wants her to hit him in the nuts with it.
Dude, never treat Jane like a delicate flower. Your nuts are in danger.
She pries open the baseboard, and behind it is a book hidden in the wall. In the book is a letter with “Father Cowen” written on the envelope.
Korsak and Frankie give Cowen the letter, which just says “Thanks.” Cowen says that if anything happened to Brendan, he was supposed to take the book to a Professor McTavish and tell him it was a riddle. Cowen says it was clear something was bothering Brendan, because lately he’d begun going to church regularly, when he’d always been a “holiday Catholic.”
As for the book, Cowen says he was going to come back and get it when the coast was clear. Korsak says he’s glad that didn’t happen, as it would have ruined his case. The Father doesn’t appear to care about that at all, and Korsak speculates that at least he’s honest.
Maura and Jane discuss what could be so special about the book that Brendan would die for it. Maura says McTavish is a professor of literature at State (that’s how they refer to the college, just ‘State’) and is a superhero in the world of illuminated manuscripts. She tells Jane about how he spent fifteen years tracking down a book. Jane says he’s a nerd, and Maura says “Yes, bigtime!” Uh oh, Jack, you may have some competition. We all know how much of a nerd hag Maura is.
Maura says McTavish is an expert on the Middle Ages, but Brendan’s book is from the nineteenth century. Ma Rizzoli drops by the lab wearing a rather unattractive dress.
Maura pronounces it an “challenging palette,” but Ma was going more for hideous. She’s breaking up with Sean today (that’s Lt. Cavanaugh, for those who don’t recall. Who remembers they were even dating? He’s been MIA for the vast majority of this season), and she doesn’t want to look too good. Mission accomplished, Ma.
She likes Sean, but lately she’s rethinking her life and needs to let some things go, including him. Awesome explanation. Rethinking her life? That’s even lamer than It’s-not-you-it’s-me. Jane says sincerely that Ma has never looked worse. Come on, the dress isn’t that bad. But Ma is delighted, while Maura is confused. Jane confirms Maura will figure out the book before she figures out Jane’s mother.
Frankie questions Donald about his incriminating fingerprints. He says he knows Donald is guilty, but he’ll let him make a deal, if he spills why the book is so important. Donny ain’t talking. Frankie tells him to write it down. Don pauses then takes the pen and paper and writes “Lawyer.”
Maura is in the lab, looking at parts of the book through a magnifying glass. Yes, parts of. She’s dismantled the book, which makes Jane freak out when she walks in. But the book is a fake, or a ‘Frankenstein’, says Maura. Brendan made it himself. The binder and pages are from the nineteenth century, but the glue and thread are less than a year old. It’s worthless, which seems to be a major setback for the case. Jane wonders why anyone would kill over a fake book, and Maura, anticipating another late night at the office, says she’ll cancel dinner with Jack.
Ricky stops by the station to see Jane. He asks if he can go inside the bookstore to tidy up. He thinks Brendan would appreciate that. Jane says she’ll check with the crime techs to get him clearance. Ricky starts to leave then turns and says he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Brendan showed faith in him and expected certain things of him. Jane tells him that now he can expect those things of himself. He asks if they know who the killer is, and Jane says she’ll let him know as soon as they make an arrest.
Maura and Frankie are in the lab with Professor McTavish, and Maura is a little starstruck. She asks about his fifteen-year quest and says, “Perseverance, the secret of all triumphs,” which the prof recognizes as Victor Hugo. Aww, nerd bonding.
Since the book is a fake, Frankie thinks there must be something hidden inside it. McTavish agrees and says he’ll take it to the university (isn’t that “State”?) to study it in order to solve the mystery. But of course, it’s evidence, so Frankie tells him the book isn’t going anywhere.
The prof protests, but Frankie shuts him up by saying Maura could probably solve the mystery in half the time, anyway. Ooh, burn!! Frankie holds the door for the prof, who reluctantly leaves, then tells Maura she has seven and-a-half years to crack the case, and not a minute more. Like the divine Miss M will need that long.
Ma and Cavanaugh are at the Dirty Robber, where Ma is telling him how wonderful he is, but she’s rethinking her life. It’s not you, it’s me. And it gets worse. She tells him she got a fortune cookie that said “Start over,” so she is. Really? A fortune cookie? If I were Sean, I’d want to give Ma a serious bitch-slapping right about now, but he’s more of a gentleman than I. He just wants her to be happy. He hates the dress but also says he remembers what she looks like without it, before he kisses her goodbye. We’ve barely seen Cavanaugh at work this season, and now he’s not going to be hanging around outside work, either. So I guess he’s off the show?
Jane and Korsak watch Donald in “the box.” This guy is so cool, he doesn’t even move. Jane says she saw him blink twenty minutes ago. When his lawyer arrives. Jane remembers him, because he’s also the lawyer for Paddy, Maura’s gangster father. Korsak says, “Well, well, well, look what the cat DRUG in.” Oh, Korsak, really? Drug as the past-tense of drag? I thought you knew better. Anyway, that prompts Jane to visit Paddy in prison.
She shows him Donald’s photo, but Paddy says he doesn’t know him. Jane lays out the facts of the case and says it seems like how they’d do things “in the old days.” Paddy says he knows nothing, but Jane says even in prison, he’s still a respected crime boss. Paddy still deflects and asks how Maura is. Jane says she’s good. Paddy looks at the photo again and says Donald is a total idiot no one would trust with anything important. He’s an errand boy. Jane thinks Donald is probably driving someone around who’s not from Boston and will have to get back to them. Paddy Agrees. Jane thanks him and gets up to leave, when he asks her for a favor.
Frankie’s at the station on the phone with Jane and tells her Donald is being released in fifteen minutes but assures Jane they’ll be right behind them. The elevator opens, and Maura hears Frankie talking to Jane and asks where she is. Frankie tells her Wellington, and perceptive Maura asks if it’s “for the case.” Frankie says yes, but it’s obvious Maura knows something is up.
Donald, being tailed by the cops, goes to a house, but Korsak and Frankie stop and cuff him before he can get to the door. Seems they only let him out on bail, so he’d lead them to the bad guys who hired him. Inside, a guy attacks Frankie before he’s handcuffed.
Jane goes to see Maura in her office, and Maura immediately tells Jane she knows about Paddy. Maura says no explanation is necessary, though she probably doesn’t mean it. But that doesn’t, matter because Jane has some news. Paddy’s being transferred to a prison in California. He wants to see Maura before he goes. Jane says he has some things to get off his chest.
That inspires Maura to abruptly go to the lab. She’s had an epiphany. She says Brendan felt guilty and he was willing to die to protect the book and get it to McTavish. But it wasn’t McTavish’s expertise that made him valuable. It was his persistence. The answer isn’t in the book, it is the book. Maura determines something called fore-edge painting was used, which means a decoration painted on the edges of the book. She puts the book back together and…wait. So that writing was there the whole time, but Maura didn’t see it until she thought of it and put the book back together then just bent the pages a bit? Yes, she’s a genius. Anyway, it turns out, Brendan was involved in a terrorist bombing that killed two people. It’s a confession.
Back at the station, Frankie watches a British cop, Jolene, talk with Jane and Maura in the next room. Korsak walks in, and Frankie says Jolene’s accent is like James Bond and Mary Poppins rolled into one. She’s easy on the eyes, as well. Then he talks about what an idiot he is, as he offered her coffee instead of tea. Hee! He wants to know why Brits sound so much smarter than Americans, and Korsak says he’s like that with Hungarians. All those guttural sounds push his buttons, apparently. I like a nice Irish lilt, myself. How come this episode was full of Irish, people and we never got to hear one?
Jolene says Jane must be a bibliophile for figuring out the book mystery. Jane says it was Maura who cracked the case and calls her an “everythingophile.” Maura looks sheepish and says she doesn’t know everything. Oh, stop being modest Maura. Of course you do! And we love you for it. Jolene says no one was ever arrested for the bombing, and Brendan’s confession will tie up some loose ends. She also says there’s been a lot of chatter lately that Brendan was going to confess, so Brendan’s co-conspirators may have gotten jumpy. The book was like an insurance policy. She thanks Jane and Maura for their help.
Back at Ma’s place, Ma is trying yoga. Are we going to have to watch as Ma has a (post) mid-life crisis and does all kinds of silly things? I guess it beats having to watch her meddle in Jane’s life endlessly. Jane asks how it went with Cavanaugh. Ma says he understood, and she’s fine not being in a relationship. She also quit her job. It’s a fresh start, so everything must change.
Remember how she was trying to sell pastries at the station before she started working there, because she needed cash so badly? So how can she afford to quit her job? That isn’t addressed, but Jane does ask if she plans to keep staying at Maura’s. I guess a ‘fresh start’ is easier if you have a rich friend to fall back on. Ma says she isn’t sure, but Jane reminds her that her couch doesn’t fold out.
Maura walks in and notices Jane eating cream cheese. Everything is still making Jane nauseated, but she’s throwing caution to the wind. With something as gamey as cream cheese? I’d start with something more traditional, like chicken soup, but whatever. Jane says she’s ready to meet Jack, but it seems Jack will be a three-time loser. Maura has already canceled dinner again. She has an appointment and asks if Jane will go along.
Of course, the appointment is back at Wellington.
Jane sees her off Maura, as she goes inside and reunites with Paddy.
A busy episode. Lots to unpack this week. One question: where was Susie? They’ve spent the last few eps throwing her in our faces and now we enter a Susie-free zone. It’s unnerving. Maybe she was in Vegas with Tobin? Let’s get a dental check on that hickey!