Blue Bloods 9x06 Review: Can Jamko Find Work-Life Balance?

Blue Bloods 9×06 Review: Can Jamko Find Work-Life Balance?

I love how Blue Bloods manages to stay so relevant. This could very easily become a show that doesn’t adjust with the times. It has a solid audience that will always come back, mostly for Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg and Jamko, so the writers could decide that’s enough and play it safe with standard procedural storylines. But they don’t. They continue to explore topics like diversity, sexism and the ramifications of public opinion; and they always do it with class and intelligence.

Frank

This week, Frank’s story was defined by promoting an Asian American woman to Deputy Chief of Training for the NYPD. Sullivan, one candidate from the short list, has decided to pursue a lawsuit against the NYPD because a Jane Kimura was promoted over him. He is, of course, middle aged and white; and he cannot imagine that a woman — let alone an Asian American woman — could actually be more qualified than him. No, she has to have been promoted due to affirmative action.

But Frank never once doubts his decision or wavers.

He meets with Sullivan after Garrett comes to him, saying that media outlets are contacting him about the situation. The conversation with Sullivan makes me want to punch something or someone, because Sullivan is the prime example of a self-absorbed white male who chooses not to see his privilege. He walks around, blindly assuming that he is owed a promotion based purely on the length of his time with the NYPD, but being a public servant is about more than your years of service. It’s about the quality of that service.

The speech Frank gives Sullivan is perfect and exactly what I would hope a leader would say. He explains why the training position wasn’t for him by telling a story about Danny Reagan believing Sullivan was too tough on the officers. If Danny Reagan says that you’re too tough, then you must be extremely tough. If Sullivan is as good at his job as he thinks he is, then he’ll take that feedback and apply it to his performance. If not, then I suspect he’ll be passed over for many more promotions.

Frank and Jane talk about her thick skin. I loved this scene so much because it is an important discussion to be had. We all need to understand the struggles of others and how much resistance people of color are met with — especially in certain arenas. To ignore that this resistance exists is to bury your head in the sand; and as a society, we can no longer afford to do that. In order for us to be educated and compassionate, we need to seek out the experiences of others. We need to see the reality of our world.

Thank you, Blue Bloods, for showing us what that looks like.

Anthony and Henry

Anthony is a big teddy bear. If there was any doubt of that, then this episode should have erased it. His mother’s well-being is at risk, so Anthony throws himself into investigating her retirement home. Once again, Steven Schirripa plays Anthony with a beautiful blend of toughness and softness. He is both tender and rough around the edges, which makes it impossible to not love him or understand why Erin values him so much.

I also love Anthony’s mother, Lucille. She is exactly the type of woman you would imagine raising him: strong, warm and accommodating. Unfortunately, she’s so accommodating that she doesn’t understand that she’s being mistreated by the people who run her retirement home.

Enter Henry.

Finally, we get some focus on the eldest Reagan. I love him so much, and I love any time we get to watch him stretch his cop legs. You can see in episodes like this one what made Henry Reagan an outstanding cop — and likely an even better police commissioner. Len Cariou is only a few years older than Tom Selleck, and he plays a character who is much older than he actually is.

Because of this, I would love to see a formula-breaking episode that focuses on Henry’s time as a police commissioner. I would love an episode set in the past that allows us to see Henry sitting behind that desk at 1 PP, and maybe even a young Frank Reagan, played by someone besides Tom Selleck, of course, before he became the legend he is today. I love Henry so much that I would gladly watch an hour of him behind the desk at 1 PP. Maybe someday we’ll get that chance.

Henry is so clever with the way he questions the residents of Lucille’s home; it’s the best strategy that allows him to learn the most insider information. The home is taking advantage of its residents. Anthony gets what he needs, and Henry is reminded of how fortunate he is to have such good health and a family that has the time and resources to take care of him themselves.

Danny

Danny still carries the procedural element in this latest Blue Bloods episode, but the writers are still doing what I’ve been begging them to do, which is show me more of single dad Danny.

The case that Danny has in Blue Bloods 9×06 involves a frat party that went sideways, and it makes him anxious about not hearing from Jack. Danny is still adjusting to having one son in college and almost grown. I love watching the softer moments where you see how much he cares. Donnie Wahlberg always executes these moments with an even-handed mix of gruff and concern. He can leave his son one voicemail every hour out of worr, but his voicemails don’t sound overly worried.

Cases that involve young people always remind me that Danny Reagan is a wonderful father. He wants his children to be who they want to be and will support them no matter what. His compassion toward the families and victims on these cases show us Danny’s heart, even when he tries to hide it. I’m so glad we’ve seen more of it in the last few episodes.

Jamko

Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room because I have recently seen a lot of comments online about how the show is handling Jamie and Eddie’s romantic relationship. I understand the frustration over the lack of actual romance or even the lack of domesticity. So far, we’ve seen them on dates and at work. It’s different than what we saw of Danny and Linda or even what we’ve seen of Erin and Jack.

I wish we could get a little more of soft Jamie and Eddie discussing their issues over their kitchen table or a cup of coffee. But when I’m at my most frustrated over it, I stop and consider what Blue Bloods is actually trying to portray.

At the end of last season, Jamie and Eddie went from platonic to almost married in about two days. This transition won’t be smooth or easy. They’ve been friends and partners for so long that I imagine the transition to more than that will take some time. I think what Blue Bloods is trying to do is show them figuring out how to be a team when they are not riding together. They are having to build something new from their foundation as partners. It seems to me that the team behind the show is putting more focus on that story than showcasing Jamko’s romantic intimacy.

Personally, I would have preferred for Eddie to stay at their old precinct, but this is what the writers and producers decided to do, so I’m embracing it. So far, I have liked what they’ve done with it. Jamie and Eddie still have each other’s backs at work, but in a different capacity. Do I love that their engagement is a secret from their colleagues? No, I do not. But if they’re going to be in the same house, then it’s necessary. Working in the same space and sharing personal lives is still a conflict they need to resolve, but I have faith that they will.

I believe, and I may be wrong, that once their professional lives are sorted out then we’ll see more of Jamko’s private life. The balance between the two is being built very slowly. It’s definitely possible that it could be too slowly, but from a storytelling point of view, I can understand why the creative team would take this angle. I think, as an audience, we just need to have a little more patience and let the characters’ professional journey unfold.

And yes, I know Jamko shippers have already been abnormally patient when it comes to these two. We’ve been so patient that I have faith we can do it a little longer.

With that being said…

If the wedding is as off screen as the proposal, I may riot. I had better see Eddie in a beautiful white gown while Jamie watches her walk down the aisle. I need that visual. It’s the ultimate pay-off for the years of unresolved romantic tension.

Bottom line for me, Jamie and Eddie are neither Danny and Linda nor Jack and Erin. They started as colleagues first, so our transition to seeing their romantic life may take some time. And I am just as willing to wait for Jamko as I always have been. I just hope I don’t have to wait too much longer.

Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 8/7C on CBS.

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