Let me just say, there are certain things I have come to expect from Blue Bloods and, while last week’s premiere was excellent, this episode felt more like what I really want from this show.
It tackled difficult topics, explored social concerns, featured family struggles, and still one of our Reagans was in jeopardy. Every bullet point that I look for in a truly excellent Blue Bloods episode was ticked off the list this week. Let’s talk about what made this episode particularly strong.
Jamie and Eddie
I have made no secret of my love for Jamko and especially my love for Vanessa Ray as Eddie Janko. My one complaint last week was that I didn’t see enough of her. Well, they certainly corrected that this week, didn’t they? I am so pleased with everything they did with this couple in the second episode. Jamie got his promotion, which will be a challenge all on its own, and Eddie gets to maintain her individual identity.
Really, they couldn’t have made me happier if they tried. Jamie struggling with his new house and his officers was interesting to watch. I love the honesty that Will Estes maintains in his performance. Jamie is truly good. He wants to connect with his officers. He wants to get to know them as people. But the edict from his boss is to be hard on them. Jamie follows orders, so he did as asked. Yet he still did it with the honor we’ve come to expect from him. I applaud Will Estes and the writers for finding that delicate balance with Jamie Reagan. It is why he will continue to be, in my eyes anyway, the least toxic male character on television.
Eddie’s struggle this week was whether or not to follow Jamie to his new house. Ray and Estes finding their footing with this new dynamic is interesting to watch. Eddie begins the episode eager to follow Jamie, but you can tell it’s awkward for her to bring that up to him. This is new ground for them and the subtle stilted way that exchange went down was a nice touch.
By the end of the episode, Eddie has changed her mind. Like Jamie, I was not expecting it, but Eddie’s explanation of why had me applauding. It would have been easy for these writers to let Eddie be a prop for Jamie. It happens all the time on television when a supporting character has a relationship with a main character. My heart soared when I realized what was happening.
Bravo to the writers and Ray for working together and allowing Eddie to stand on her own two feet. She earned her badge and she’s worked hard for exemplary record. She is as good a cop as Jamie and that deserves to be acknowledged. Her identity and accomplishments should not be swallowed up by Jamie’s family legacy. As hard as it may be for Jamie to not work with Eddie and see her every day, her concerns are valid. And the beauty of Jamie is that he sees this. He may not like it, but he supports it. He supports her. My Jamko heart nearly exploded after watching the end of that scene.
My fears of the show undervaluing and underusing Vanessa Ray were soothed with this episode. Her performance as she explains to Jamie what she wants and why she wants it was really beautiful. I am so excited to see where they take Eddie Janko and Jamie Reagan from here. Especially now that they’re starting a totally new journey together.
Commissioner Reagan and the Women
This show is at its best when it is tackling the big issues. They regularly cover topics such as racism and police brutality. Blue Bloods has never been afraid to dive in to such things, and they are always very careful to be evenhanded when addressing these topics. They acknowledge that not every cop is a good cop while also acknowledging that it is possible for someone claiming to be a victim to be deceitful. They acknowledge that gray areas exist where some actions are legal but harmful, and that sometimes the punishment may not fit the crime. These moral dilemmas keep the show relevant and in tune with our attitudes as a society.
The second episode of the season did just that. Not only did it successfully explore how victims of sexual assault should be treated, but it explored it while taking proper advantage of Abigail Hawk and Bebe Neuwirth. I raved about Hawk as Baker last week and this week I’m going to do it again.
Abigail Hawk in the interview scene was so spectacularly perfect. It was layered and monumentally difficult. She was portraying Baker who was portraying a sexual assault victim while also shrewdly observing the detectives’ behavior. She had to sound organic so as to not tip this detective off to who she really was. I was blown away by her throughout the episode.
In addition to Hawk as Baker, this show also blessed me with the return of Neuwirth’s Kelly Peterson. This woman is strong and opinionated and not afraid to take the bull by the horns. I enjoy her every time she’s on my screen. Neuwirth’s chemistry with Selleck is undeniable as well. I can only hope that the writers and showrunners have noticed this and plan to do something with it. Those two actors together are a joy to watch and I would gladly watch more of them.
Frank was more entertaining and genuine than he has been in quite some time. I loved his reactions to Kelly Peterson. He respects her. You can obviously see that. She also frustrates him. Again, you can obviously see that. Selleck’s expressions amused me every time he was on camera with Neuwirth or with Hawk. Frank dealt with two formidable and capable women at once and was able to admit when he might be wrong. He showed both women the respect and gratitude they deserved, weighed their concerns as serious and urgent, and in the end conceded their point.
Men of the world, take note — this is how a leader should behave. If Frank Reagan were not a fictional character I would be screaming, “Frank Reagan for President” at the top of my lungs. As a matter of fact, while we’re at it, let’s put Baker on the ticket as his running mate. I would vote for that team in a heartbeat regardless of political party. A person who can objectively consider an issue, investigate it, and admit possible failure is the type of person you want in a position of power.
They are humble enough to acknowledge they aren’t perfect, logical enough to realize an investigation is not an insult, and honorable enough to make the right decision. If you’re running for office and you can’t manage all three of those things then please…leave. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Erin Reagan, you glorious paragon of honor and virtue, I love you. If all lawyers were like Erin, especially those who are public servants, then our justice system would be much more successful and humanity would have a deeper understanding of each other. Crimes against women, or any member of the human race, will not be tolerated no matter what type of influence or connection you think you have.
Erin’s situation was a slippery slope. She had to navigate justice and her personal ambitions. But honestly, with the way Bridget Moynahan portrays Erin, was there any doubt Erin would find a way to pursue justice? This plot was brilliantly executed. If this is what we’re in for now that Erin is Bureau Chief, then I am here for it.
Crimes Against Women
How utterly timely was this episode? We had not one but two plots about sexual assault. Both plots explored the topic of making the victim feel like the perpetrator. The reasons women are hesitant to come forward were discussed at length. The real life issues that victims of sexual assault face every day are in desperate need of some spotlight. Thank God Blue Bloods is willing to bring that to the forefront.
The scene where Erin is speaking with a victim of abuse who is adamant about not wanting to press charges because she knows her abuser will get away with it felt like a punch to my gut. Follow that with Baker being interviewed by the Special Victims detective and hearing him say things like “juries rarely convict when the victim has had consensual relations with her assailant in the past” while she is sitting in front of him, looking shaken and freshly beaten, and I wanted to throw a desk.
The sickening way that detective dismissed “no means no” as an official voice of the NYPD felt so real, that it was maddening and emotional as a female viewer. But maddening and emotional in the most meaningful way.
We live in a world where the President of the United States deems it appropriate to mock a victim of sexual assault to a crowd, a world where women are often told they are “asking for it”, and a world where a victim runs the risk of losing everything in order to get even a small amount of justice. Women are terrified of coming forward, even in light of the MeToo movement.
That type of fear should be a red flag to the world. It should be a signal that screams, “we need to fix this”. If I wasn’t already a fan of Blue Bloods, I would be after this episode simply because they took a stand. They took the time to write an episode that openly discusses the flaws often found in the way victims of sexual assault are questioned.
The writers decided to entertain us and make us think. Which is exactly what television and all forms of art should be doing. Thank you, Blue Bloods and CBS. You have proved my faith in this program to be absolutely correct. Please keep doing what you’re doing. It is good and honorable work.
The first thing that drew me to this show was the family. The idea that this wasn’t just a procedural, it was also a family drama. So I want to end with that.
Watching the Reagans have a lighthearted family moment was a balm to my angst ridden television loving soul. Eddie making dinner for the Reagans was a sweet gesture and the scene could have stopped there, but the Reagans expect more from Eddie than smiling and nodding during family dinner. I knew they would, but I had no idea how they would help her understand that expectation. So, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the hilarity of ‘Code Blue.’
This entire ensemble has been together so long that the family scenes are always on point. This was no exception. The jesting and the teasing and then that final moment where Eddie snaps had me cackling for the entirety of it. This cast has both dramatic and comedic chops and I couldn’t be more impressed with them as a unit.
I am ready for a season full of Eddie learning what the Reagan family is truly about and I cannot wait to see her take a more active role in family dinners. I think “So you’re saying you don’t care if I can cook as long as I can fight?” is a fantastic start to her lessons on how to be a Reagan. I wonder what she’ll learn next week? Guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 10/9C on CBS.