by L.T. Milroy
We’ve already had one very special episode this season, and I think we’re being set up for another. I could be wrong, but it looks like the saga of the knocked-up detective might be coming to an end. We’ll find out next week, but in the meantime we have this episode, which includes a new addition to the squad, among other revelations…
Two party girls are laughing outside a club. One wants to have a smoke, so she stays in the alley while the other goes inside. A stranger comes along offering a light but promptly takes out a gun and shoots her. It’s her own fault, everyone knows cigs kill. But unlike the last two openers, at least it’s quick and mercifully un-graphic (if that’s a word, which it’s not according to my spell check). I’m not above crafting new English. If it was good enough for George W., it’s good enough for me).
After three aborted attempts last episode, Jane is finally having dinner with Maura and her new and so-far non-homicidal BF, Jack. He is amusing the gals with a self-effacing story about teaching class one day with his fly open. It’s meant to endear him to us, but he can talk about how humble he is till he’s proverbially blue in the face, as long as he looks as much like Paul Ryan as he does, I’ll keep finding him somewhat repulsive. He seems like a nice enough guy, I guess. Hmph. Whatever.
After Jack leaves to get a refill, Jane tells Maura she likes him and to relax, because she’s “way too stiff.” When Jack returns, Jane is pleased when she thinks Maura is going to tell an embarrassing story about herself, since she never does it. Turns out, it’s an embarrassing story about Jane and their camping to the Adirondacks. We don’t get to hear it, but as we go into title credits, Jane looks really uncomfortable.
Jane and Maura discuss the previous night’s dinner with Jack as they arrive at the crime scene the next morning, Maura daintily hobbles up to the corpse in heels. She’s also wearing a rather slinky black dress. Do most chief MEs dress this way for field work? Do chief MEs even go to crime scenes on a regular basis? And why do I ask these questions? The victim is Sydney Allen. She’s married, but the detectives check her cell phone and find no calls from her husband, even though she was gone all night.
At the station, Jane and Frankie try to piece the crime together but run into dead ends. Frankie tried calling the husband and got no answer. Jane got a warrant for his credit cards and found out he stayed at a downtown hotel last night. She wonders if it might be to establish an alibi.
As Jane and Korsak walk to the husband’s hotel room, Korsak talks about studying for the lieutenant’s exam. Seems he has to bone up on endless pages of stupid crap, because some of it will be on the exam, and he isn’t sure what. That’s how just about every institution of higher learning is set up, so he should be used to that by now. They reach the room and notice the front door has a bullet hole where the peephole should be. There’s a dead body inside, shot through the eye. And we get a close-up. Remember that gross graphicness that was missing from the opening this week? Here it is.
The episode’s second victim is Judson Allen, Sydney’s husband. Maura says the time of death was sometime after Sydney’s but not much. Korsak asks a few questions, but since they involve a certain amount of speculation, Maura won’t answer. Jane says she expected that, but they never get tired of asking. Maura gives her a sweet smile. She can say definitively at this point the bullets that killed Sydney and Judson are the same caliber.
Frankie wants to know who has info on Judson, and it turns out to be Nina Holliday, the new addition to the squad. She’s from Chicago and has quietly slipped in as Frost’s replacement. She’s been looking into victim number two and found that he was about to come into quite a bit of money. She also has video of the hotel hallway, which shows someone in a hoodie walking by about the time Judson was killed. His face is obscured, but Nina gets a pretty good shot of it off the reflection from the glass in a picture. Good introduction to the squad, Nina. Frankie is impressed.
Korsak goes to see Maura, who confirms the same gun killed both victims. He surmises it’s a professional killer, since a silencer was used. He also wonders out loud who could have hired the hitman to kill them.
Then he goes to see Jane to tell her what he’s learned and hands her a box with a ribbon. It’s a gift left by Jack, which turns out to be a baseball signed by Dodgers lefty Grover Verben, who apparently is phony.
When I Googled his name, all I got was references to this episode. If they were going to make up a name, why not make him an ex-Red Sox player, with Jane being a fan and this being Beantown and all? Weird. It’s obviously a collectible Jack has had for a long time and a pretty cool gift. It’s Jane’s turn to be impressed.
Korsak interviews a Mr. Harper, an employee of Inverta, Judson’s company. He says Judson is the brains of the operation, and it will go out of business without him. Korsak asks if anyone would want him dead, and Harper says no, but if only Sydney had been killed, he thinks Judson would have done it. He said Judson had discovered that Sydney was a gold digger, and he wanted a divorce, but hadn’t wanted to give her half his money.
Frankie introduces Nina to Jane then says that three $10,000 withdrawals were recently made from Judson’s personal bank account. Jane says it rules out the killer murdering him over a money dispute if Judson paid for the hit in advance. Then we get something this show has become infamous for: throwing out a whole slew of important information as quickly and in as confusing a manner as possible.
Nina plays the two 911 calls about the shooting, one made by a burner phone and one obviously made by the woman’s friend. By virtue that there’s no background noise with the call from the burner phone, Frankie says that it was made before anyone came out and discovered the body. This means there was a witness to Sydney’s shooting.
Jane comes up with the theory that Judson hired the hitman, but since there’s a witness, Judson becomes a liability, so he goes and shoots Judson. With both Sydney and Judson dead, the killer could only be given up by the witness, and he would likely currently be searching for said witness. Since he’s shown no hesitation to kill, the cops have to find the witness first.
Jane and Korsak return to the scene of the crime to look for clues as to the identity of the witness. They find a door to an abandoned building in the alley with a broken lock and a bullet hole. They go inside and find a sleeping bag, along with a school bag and books. A kid has been living there.
At the station, as they await an ID check on the school books, Korsak asks what Jane thinks of Nina. Jane doesn’t really take the question seriously until he tells her that Nina is permanent. She’s Frost’s replacement, and she’s not a detective, she’s a homicide analyst. Korsak was in charge of filling the open slot, and he thought hiring an analyst was the best thing for the squad. Jane looks unsure at first then smiles ruefully. No one can really replace Barry, but Nina seems okay. Jane will come around.
Jane is at the park with Ma Rizzoli, and shows her the Grover ball. Ma is impressed. The ball also has a new coffee stain. She’d obviously been throwing it up in the air, when she dropped it, and it hit a coffee cup then rolled away. She asks Ma if she can get the stain out, since a replacement is five-hundred bucks. Apparently Jane had once spilled motor oil on her communion dress, and Ma made it look like new, so Jane is hoping she can do the same here. Ma says it won’t be easy, but she’ll try. I can’t imagine anything will go wrong, can you?
Korsak has narrowed down his search for the hitman, and he’s got it down to two. Judson was from the rough side of Philadelphia, so Jane tells Korsak to check if he got in contact with someone back home.
Frankie has checked with the local high school and found that a student named Tasha Williams didn’t show up today (Tasha Williams?? That has got to be a shout-out to The L Word. It can’t be just a coincidence. Once again this show flirts with its gay fan base). As Jane leaves for the high school, Frankie says he’ll send her directions in the car. When Jane’s phone beeps, it’s a text from Nina with the desired directions. Wow, she’s good. Jane, Frankie, and Korsak are all impressed with Nina.
Ma is in her kitchen peeling carrots when Maura walks in. Ma’s a little startled and asks what Maura’s doing there in the middle of the day. Maura came home for the file she forgot, which she was looking at while in the bath last night. She starts to go on about the therapeutic aspects of baths, while Ma just says she likes taking them, so she can catch up on reading People. Can’t say it surprises me this is her choice of literature.
And, big surprise, Ma has left Jane’s autographed ball on the counter where Maura can see it. She recognizes it as Jack’s; Ma stumbles a bit then goes on about what a nice gift it is. But Maura wants to know why Ma has it. Ma tries to keep it away from her, but of course Maura wins the battle and grabs the ball. Ma has not only removed the coffee stain, but half the signature, as well. Turns out her amazing removal of the motor oil was that she’d bought Jane a new dress. Gee, hadn’t suspected that at all.
At the high school, the woman at the front desk says she thinks Tasha is homeless. She has an address but doesn’t think it’s correct and adds that her uncle was at the school earlier asking for her. Jane shows the woman the reflection photo of hoodie guy. and she ID’s him as the uncle. The woman wouldn’t give him any info on Tasha, but the woman’s phone rang before he left, and when she picked it up, there was nobody there. Jane leans over the desk a little, where she can easily see the computer screen, so she guesses the killer must have called her and looked at the screen while she was distracted.
Frankie has some more intel on Tasha. Her parents are dead, and she’s supposedly living with a grandmother, but the address she gave the school is an abandoned building. She goes to school regularly and has a B+ average. Jane says she could be getting Social Security survivor benefits, and Nina says she’ll try to track down an address that way. Jane also thinks it would be a good idea to look at check-cashing places. Since they’re dealing with a suspect who’s already displayed a propensity to kill, Korsak orders bulletproof vests for everyone.
The counter guy at a check place recognizes a photo of Tasha and says she’ll probably be in on Wednesday. Jane asks to see the security video, but he says the owner doesn’t allow him access to it. Jane suspects this guy can be pretty easily manipulated, so she convinces him to be an awesome rebel, give the finger to management, and go get the video. So, she manages to make this wimp feel like a badass while also getting what she wants. Well done, Jane.
Jane is on the way to the partial address from the SS check that was captured on camera, because Tasha has her thumb over the rest of it.. She tells Korsak where she’s going, but the phone keeps breaking up. Her search takes her to a bunch of spooky-looking, deserted buildings. Said spookiness doesn’t deter her at all, though, as she parks and gets out to look around. Fortunately, at the last minute she remembers the vest, and goes back to the car and puts it on. Tense music plays.
Jane enters a building and pokes around while calling for Tasha. As she leaves, she hears Tasha lock the door behind her. Jane tries to get her to talk and is successful when she tells her she’s in danger.
Jane says she knows what Tasha saw and that the killer is looking for her. She begs to be let in.
After seeing a badge, Tasha opens the door. Jane convinces her to come to the station, but as they leave, shots ring out. Tasha is hit first, then Jane Jane loses her gun in the confusion. They get inside and on a freight elevator. Jane closes the door as the killer chases them.
After stopping the elevator between floors, Jane tries to keep Tasha awake and distracted by telling a really bad joke as she applies a tourniquet. When she gets to the punch line and Tasha is laughing, Jane pulls really tight on the belt. She can’t get a signal on her cell phone, and the elevator phone is broken. Jane tries to comfort Tasha by telling her “my team knows we’re here”, but they don’t. Back at the station, Nina has been trying to track down Jane’s location before they all hit the streets, but Korsak wants to be close by when she calls, so they all head out.
Jane manages to hotwire the elevator phone and gets the building’s security company. The security guy keeps telling Jane how many buildings they service and how hard it will be to track her location, but from what she tells him, he narrows it down to two. When she finally blows a gasket and starts yelling instructions at him to get in touch with Korsak and Maura. That gets his attention.
Korsak, Frankie. and Nina are in the car trying to find Jane. The security company has called Frankie and tells him the general are Jane is in and that she’s trapped in an elevator. Korsak has Nina call an ambulance and says they’ll need more cars.
Meanwhile, Maura is home having coffee with Jack. Her phone rings; she starts to answer it then blows it off. Then her cell phone vibrates, but she ignores it and tells Jack to finish the story he’s telling. But Jack insists she answer, so she does. The security company connects her to Jane, who needs some medical instruction. Still on the phone, Maura and Jack drop what they’re doing and get in the car. On the way, Maura tells Jane what she can do for Tasha, who will most likely go into shock.
The killer has searched around and found the building’s electrical workings.
Maura tells Jane Tasha needs an ambulance immediately, so Jane decides to make a break for it. She puts Tasha on the phone, so Maura can talk with her and keep her awake. Then Jane takes off her vest and puts it against Tasha before she pries open the elevator door and hoists herself out. So now Jane is nearly incapacitated and isn’t wearing her vest. Nothing can go wrong.
Maura tries to keep Tasha talking. She asks what she wants to be, and Tasha says a doctor. An Oncologist to be exact, so she can save someone else’s mom. A street kid who apparently likes school, gets straight B’s, and just wants to help people. Very impressive. I sure wasn’t that motivated at her age.
Though Jane had her vest on and is not bleeding, she obviously got hit hard by the bullet, because she seems in considerable pain and keeps holding her stomach. It will likely result in her losing the undetectable baby. Does it need to be stated that Jane has been totally careless with this pregnancy? Instead of switching to desk work for a few months, she’s elected to carry on as if nothing was different. Since the season started, she’s gone flying through the air, crashing to the ground in pursuit of a perp, and been in an explosion. Now this.
Can I also mention that she really hasn’t shown the slightest interest in this baby? She hasn’t once speculated wistfully about what her child might be like or said anything about how she’s looking forward to being a mother. All she does is bitch about morning sickness and how she can only drink decaf. If she loses this baby and agonizes over it, I call bullshit, because she’s done nothing to indicate she really wants it. Just my two bits.
The killer gets the elevator working by hitting the manual override button. Jane sees it’s working and struggles down the stairs. She’s doing such a great job of convincing me how much pain she’s in, now I’m in pain.
Despite Maura’s best efforts, Tasha eventually passes out.
Jane makes it to the basement and tries to call the elevator, but it keeps going.
Maura keeps calling out to a passed-out Tasha.
The cops arrive. Frankie goes to one building, while Nina and Korsak head to the other. When Korsak sees the pool of blood, he tells Nina to get Frankie, because obviously, Jane’s in the building with the blood in front of it. Korsak goes in with a couple of the uniforms and sees Jane’s gun.
Jane is still stumbling along, trying not to pass out.
The killer waits for the elevator to open, gun drawn.
Korsak and Frankie go to the elevator, where they last heard Jane was, and see the numbers advancing. They go to the stairs.
Jane turns off the electricity.
Maura and Jack pull up outside, and Maura says she has to go do medical stuff. Jack wants to come along, because he wants to “help.” He’s a college professor. What does he really have to offer in a situation like this? Maura tells him that, in a much nicer way, and kisses him before she goes. Somewhat inappropriate, IMO, given the circumstances, but maybe I’m just a hopeless non-romantic.
The killer looks around for Jane then goes back to the elevator, that’s now working again. Huh? It looked like Jane had cut the power to the building, but the elevator’s working again. It was just a switch that Jane is no longer even near, so he probably went over and switched it back to the on position.
As the door opens and the killer aims to shoot Tasha, Jane grabs a pipe and whacks him. They tussle, and he punches her in the stomach, of course. That puts Jane on the floor, and just as she’s about to be hit with the pipe, the cops arrive and shoot the killer. Jane loses consciousness.
Jane comes to as she’s carried out of the building, with Maura and Frankie close by. She asks about Tasha, who is wheeled out then, and the two briefly hold hands before Tasha is put in an ambulance.
Jane looks up at Maura, who simply tells her, “You did good, Jane. You did really good.”
And that’s the end, which means this is basically a two-part episode. I’m su
re some baybay drama awaits next week. Also, it looks like Jane becomes interested in adopting Tasha, or being named her guardian, or whatever. Not a bad idea. She’s the sweetest, most well-behaved street urchin since Annie. It’s the hard-knock life, indeed. Jane could do worse, as roommates go. Like Casey.
One last question: Has Susie been kicked to the curb in favor of Nina? Can’t we have both?