Blue Bloods 9×20: Erin Faces the Consequences

We’re back with another episode that has season ending gravitas, this time for Erin. You can really tell we’re reaching the last few episodes because stakes are increasing and individual decisions from earlier episodes are leading to consequences. Let’s discuss.

Erin

We’ll start with Erin considering her plot line felt like one of the heaviest and was the one that illustrated the high stakes. She really stepped in it, didn’t she? Of course, I think we all knew that was coming the minute she made her deal with the Governor. But I would say that Henry was right. Her trade off did a lot of people a lot of good and while she got in over her head, what she accomplished outweighed what she risked. The good she did isn’t something she should lose sight of, but the risk is something she should keep in mind in the future.

She’s in a much larger pond now with much bigger, hungrier, fish. She’ll need to learn and adapt if she wants to keep her head above water.

Her decision to accept her consequences, after Frank dressed her down, was an honorable one and had Frank left it alone she would have faced the damage to her reputation head on. But that’s not what happened and I think, while Frank did gain something (we’ll get into that later), it was another part of a bigger lesson that Frank is trying to teach her. If she wants to play with the pros then he’s going to take her to school. But, between you and me, I’d rather owe Frank a favor than the Governor.

I enjoyed the way Selleck and Moynahan played off of each other in this episode, as I always do. Frank and Erin struggle more than most with their personal relationship versus their professional one. It has always been that way, but the amount of times this has happened has increased since her promotion. These actors manage to do a wonderful job playing those conflicting layers and the way they love and respect each other despite sometimes being adversaries. There’s frustration and anger with an undercurrent of reluctance. They don’t want to play these roles and clash the way they do but they both know it’s necessary and at the end of the day they know they will still love and respect each other as they always have. Fighting each other is just how it has to be for the sake of law and order, checks and balances.

It’s a dynamic that is unique to Blue Bloods, and I enjoy the way it complicates things every time.

Danny & Anthony

I’ve never put these two in a header together. Usually because they’d rather get into a brawl than work together, but I think this time the plot called for it (even if they still almost got into a brawl. Ugh, boys.)

Danny tainted a line up. Now whether he did that intentionally or not seems suspect to me. Danny presented it to Baez as if he were just being considerate of the victim and maybe that was actually the case. Fact of the matter is, when Anthony accused him of it Danny only half heartedly denied it. Anthony had no choice but to advise the ADA of it and tried to warn Danny to track down another witness and try to do it right. Danny, of course, snapped at Anthony and left. Which led to their criminal being released.

Danny, Baez, and Anthony unknowingly set out on the same mission later, to catch Rivers in the act. Baez, being a level headed strong willed angel, kept Danny and Anthony from killing each other and forced them to work together. Because of that, they caught Rivers.

Donnie Wahlberg and Steve Schirripa always give amusing back and forth antagonistic banter. They play characters who are honestly too similar for their own good and every time they work together it ends in apologies and begrudging respect. This was no different. It was a fun plot that played with two characters the audience loves. But, personally, I’m giving props to Marisa Ramirez as Baez for putting up with these two hot headed jerks. Bless her ever patient soul.

Eddie & Jamie

I’m putting Eddie’s name first here because honestly this was Vanessa Ray’s plot. They really did a wonderful job of using her to her full potential here. Early on they showcased her struggle with being seen as the hard lining patrol cop versus exposing her softer warmth and femininity. It was a short moment but I appreciated it nonetheless. Then they allowed us to see Eddie at her absolutely best. Thinking clearly and saving a life when most people would be frantic.

I also am absolutely adoring Lauren Patten as Rachel Whitten. Hopefully, I’m not deceived by her like I was Maya. She seems like a good soul who genuinely wants to help people and I love the way she gently pushes Eddie to branch out. She’s young and idealistic, much like Jamie was during season one, and I think she’s just what Eddie needs. Her insistence that Eddie accept the title of hero and hold the baby while they’re at the hospital was precious.

Besides, who didn’t immediately catch feelings at the sight of Eddie Janko holding a beautiful little baby girl? Of course this gets under her skin and, as she and Jamie tend to do, Eddie goes out of her way to help the little girl. She waits beyond her shift for Child Services and searches tirelessly for a relative little Annie can go home to. This leads to an interesting discussion between her and Jamie.

Jamie’s very sweet admission that he would support her if she wanted to adopt Annie was adorably awkward. But the discussion that came after was more of that complicated layered honesty that I mentioned in the first section of this review. Selleck and Moynahan aren’t the only actors who pull that off remarkably well. Estes and Ray are exceptional at that too. Always have been.

The discussion about possibly having their own kids reveals Eddie’s understandable reluctance and Jamie’s never ending optimism. He chooses not to look down the rabbit hole, he says, that would leave their children alone as a result of the uniforms they wear. He clearly empathizes with Eddie’s fear but he refuses to let it dictate his choices. It’s a very Jamie point of view. Steadfast, idealistic, and hopeful

Even better is the discussion they have at the pet rescue. Eddie has him meet her there to share with him that she volunteers there sometimes to enjoy a little puppy love. I don’t blame her. We don’t deserve dogs. They are too good and pure. But I loved Estes’ read of the “we’re not that couple” exchange. It added a nice dose of levity between them that we’ve rarely seen this season.

Vanessa Ray then does a masterful job of bringing up an emotional and sensitive topic in a very logical way. Being logical doesn’t discount the emotion and that’s exactly how Ray portrays it. It was spot on in tone. I love the sentiment that as long as they check with each other and ensure that the other is one hundred percent on board there is no limit to the life they’ll create. It’s beautiful. She’s putting her faith in him and letting him know that while she’s not ready for children now, she would never discount the possibility as long as he’s with her. They are partners, a team, and they make the big decisions together.

This is the Jamko dynamic that I love and the dynamic I have missed for most of this season. I desperately want this show to embrace the Jamko against the world attitude in every episode, but maybe not always quite so literally. I want to see them debate things like children or where they’ll live or wedding details more often than I want to see them face professional sabotage and Internal Affairs investigations. Maybe we’ll see more of that as we head toward the season finale.

Frank, Syd, and Garrett

Frank’s plot was by far the heaviest but also featured very little Frank. He was more involved in Erin’s plot than his own. The heavy lifting for his plot belonged to Syd and Garrett. Not that I’m complaining. Those two are opposing forces and I love to see them debating the issues this show tends to cover. Oddly enough, this plot ends up being about that very thing. Garrett has an essential perspective and it’s high time that Syd learns to, at the very least, respect it. He can disagree with it, that’s fine, but he should definitely listen to it. I’m glad Garrett could help him see that.

As for Frank himself, well he got what he wanted didn’t he? He kept a cop killer in jail. Whether this is right or wrong seems to up to the audience, as often times big controversial issues like this are, but Frank’s decision was made. Personally, I tend to side with the family’s explanation. We live in a society that has laws and order. Targeting a cop is essentially targeting that idea and, as a result, the punishment should be more severe. But as for the topic of mercy? Well, for me, that’s a more complicated question that would require a more intense debate.

Mostly, I am thrilled that Blue Bloods cracks open these topics and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions. Frank always validates the people at family dinner who disagree or don’t understand. It’s not that the other side is wrong. It’s that the issue is multi-faceted. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Frank Reagan is the leader we deserve. One who listens and considers opposite points of view and then does what he believes to be the right thing – the just thing. He acknowledges that the law is not perfect and the system can fail and he insists on learning from those failures.

Why, oh why, can’t Frank Reagan be a real politician that can be put on a ballet? I would vote for him in a heartbeat.

All In All

This episode was much stronger than the last several, as you can probably tell by the length of my review. This show can be a truly riveting show but I will admit that lately it has fallen a bit flat for me. The talent is still there, performing beautifully, but the writing quality fell for a handful of consecutive episodes.

But starting last week, the momentum is back. You can really feel them ramping up to something. Start preparing yourselves now because I have a feeling we’re in for some big emotions over the next few episodes.

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