It’s the second to last episode of the season! Are we ready? I am. I am ready to get to this wedding we’ve been anticipating since last season’s finale, but that won’t happen until this Friday. So, until then, let’s talk about last Friday.
We’re back from a break and, hopefully, we won’t see another break for the remainder of the season! Let’s jump right in to reviewing “Past Tense”. This was a pretty action packed episode with a lot of familial themes all around.
I’ll be the first to admit that I thought FBI was just going to be another procedural show. Just one of many, many others that we already have cluttering our TV schedule, without nothing really new to offer. But I watched a trailer and realized Missy Peregrym was going to be in it, so I just had to give it a chance. The Rookie Blue fan in me wouldn’t let me pass this by, so when it premiered, I was ready for it.
We are back from a two-week hiatus! I hope everyone enjoyed the break and managed to find something to fill their Friday night in its absence. I know it was probably difficult. Blue Bloods is not an easy habit to kick, and why would you ever want to? Let’s get started, shall we?
Well hello, my fellow Blue Bloods fans! This week’s review is going to be a little different than my previous reviews. I want to break my normal pattern for one week because I have one thing I need to express at length.
I love Frank Reagan.
I have said numerous times before that this show gives us a near perfect example of leadership. In my personal ranking of fictional leaders, I would say Frank Reagan is tied with Josiah Bartlet from The West Wing. What makes a good leader is not being perfect or making the right decision every time. No, what makes a good leader is being able to say “I made the wrong call and now I need to fix it.” Ownership, personal accountability, a functioning moral compass. These are all things that we need in our leaders.
Frank Reagan is a good man, but he is not perfect. He takes the burden of his decisions seriously. When he gets it wrong, he feels it deeply and must do what he can to make it right. He is the kind of leader the world deserves. Thank you, Tom Selleck, and the writers of this show for giving us this example of what leadership looks like. We’re not seeing much of it in the real world these days. Watching Frank Reagan acknowledge that he made a mistake directly to the person he wronged was both encouraging and humbling. I absolutely loved his plot in this episode. So much so that I had to address it first and foremost. Hence the break from my usual formula.
Jamie is following in his footsteps. We saw him stumble last week and this week we see him hold strong professionally (while stumbling personally, more on that later). He admits to his mistakes and he wants above all else to do right by his officers and the people of New York. He is what cops should be and the idea we want to believe in. Eddie mentioned earlier this season that Jamie could take his career in any direction he wanted to from here. She specifically mentioned police commissioner, and I very much believe that she will ultimately be right.
The show is setting Jamie up for a larger than life career. The writers are making some decisions that I do not understand, but overall I believe that is their ultimate goal. Both men lead by example. They strive to be the best version of themselves they can be and when they fall short of their own expectations they are tortured by it. They resolve to fix it.
This is a quality we need in all of our leaders, not just the fictional ones. I hope soon we find those leaders or that they decide to stand up and act for themselves.
Alright, and now we go on with the rest of the episode. Since we started talking about Jamie already, let’s finish that up.
Jamie made good decisions professionally this episode, but bad ones personally. The minute he and his officer had that conversation, I knew he was going to open his big fat man mouth and say something dumb. You know, like calling his and Eddie’s wedding “a waste.” His point was not a bad one, but the way he approached it was the worst possible way to do it. You tell her this after you’ve been planning for months? You tell her this in the middle of looking at a location? And you phrase it like that? Oh, Jamie. You are much smarter than that.
Thankfully, our boy wised up by the end, and it was worth it for the emotional scene we had at the end. Jamie telling Eddie she makes him better and offering up the perfect compromise with a beautiful location. Though, I’m still not sure if that means they’re going to the courthouse or not? Or how I would feel about it if they did. This is Eddie’s one and only wedding and I want her to be happy with her day. I’m not sure the courthouse would make her happy. Also I was deprived of seeing the proposal and I want to see at least some of the wedding, darn it!
Vanessa Ray delighted me this episode, especially in the family dinner scene. She was the perfect mix of friendly and mad. Her interactions with Jamie were very pointed but not nasty. I also loved her outsider’s perspective on Reagan family dinners. Because she is right, sometimes it is about making sure the other guy is wrong. Plus, the way she turned to Jamie and said “I like him. I hope you turn out like him” was a stunning read on those lines. Ray as Eddie continues to be a delight.
Danny is back to carrying the procedural aspect of the episode. I loved last week’s plot for him even if I didn’t get the chance to review it. I loved seeing him as a neighbor and a dad first, cop second, for once. Donnie Wahlberg is so brilliant in the way he plays Danny as a parent. He cares, but he’s not soft or warm. He’s as recklessly hot headed while he parents as he is while he works. But, I will say, seeing Danny master the procedural aspects of these episodes proves how brilliant he is. He was meant to be a detective. He reads people exceptionally well and can put pieces together faster than most.
Erin’s plot was a heartbreaker about motherhood where no one really won. One mother lost a child, and another feels like she failed to protect hers. Erin made the right call. This young girl needs help and she won’t get it if she’s sent to prison. It was a rough decision, but Erin got it right.
The scene with Erin and both mothers in the conference room toward the end of the episode was devastating and brilliant. Watching one mother take on the blame for her daughter’s mistakes, and then watching the other immediately begin to blame herself for the death of her son was the type of boomerang that makes my chest ache. The speed with which everyone in the room spoke up in that moment was beautiful. They would not let this woman blame herself for a tragic accident she could not have predicted. The moment where she accepts the apology but doesn’t not offer forgiveness was so real.
Not everything is as simple as forgiveness. The heart is a complicated thing and it can logically understand the circumstances, but processing that logic into your emotional state is not easy or instantaneous. Grief is the most heart wrenching emotion of them and forgiveness takes time. That moment was real.
This show continues to exceed my expectations and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the season leads us. The Reagan family learns and grows together and I love watching them do it. Until next episode, my friends!
Blue Bloods airs on Fridays at 10/9C on CBS.
This week, each plot revolved around one of three things: trust, betrayal, and respect. Those themes make sense considering the episode was called “Authority Figures.” Jamie and Eddie continue to struggle with their careers tangling with their personal lives, Danny again carries the procedural aspect of the case, Erin is forced to fire someone for the first time in her new position, and Frank deals with a family of cops other than his own. Overall, a good episode, but I do have concerns.
So, let’s get started.
I’m not sure this show knows what it wants to do with Danny this season. Maybe they, like me, were spoiled by last season and his struggle with Linda’s death. Watching Danny in mourning is not my desired way for character growth, but the writing and performance for that plot were so well done that I know they can do more with Danny than what they’ve been doing.
This week his case has to do with music journalist who was murdered. He and Baez, as always, break the case and find out that it was all related to a story she was writing to expose the past of a famous rapper. The case ended with Cameron finding out his best friend killed the woman he was in love with. Which meant he’d been betrayed by his best friend.
Donnie Wahlberg performs well as Danny. He always does. But I want so much more for him than a procedural plot week after week. The show gives me a glimpse of a personal plot every now and then, but it’s not nearly enough.
This episode, Erin deals with a young lawyer in her office who allowed himself to be intimidated by a defendant. He threw a case, and Erin was forced to fire him. Erin mentored him and had high hopes for him. She was very disappointed. I was sad for Erin because I could tell she was personally invested in this young lawyer’s career. Bridget Moynahan was brilliant, especially in the scene where she talks Richardson into walking away from the potentially ruining his life by threatening the defendant. She was firm and insistent but you could see she genuinely cared.
The fact of the matter is, Erin was never going to win here. Richardson was never going to thank her, and Erin was always going to lose that time she invested in him. I loved Anthony’s reaction when Erin pointed out Richardson thanks him, but not her. She fired him so Richardson really doesn’t have anything to thank her for. It’s true. Her new position is a double edged sword. It’s a step up for her, but it does mean that there will be distance between her and the people who work under her. The buck stops with her, good or bad.
While I loved Bridget Moynahan and her performance, I did not love this plot. As a viewer, I know I’ve seen Richardson a handful of times, but hardly enough to be as emotionally invested in him as the writers wanted me to be. There are many other plots they could have written for Erin that would have been more dynamic at this point in the season. Richardson’s betrayal would have been better saved for a day when the audience knew him better, or they should have given us more insight into Richardson over the first nine episodes of this season. Without feeling as though you know him, the betrayal simply isn’t that dramatic.
I was critical of Frank last week, but I am glad to see him this week. This is the Frank I’m used to. The Frank who is the level headed voice of reason. He played that role all episode, between both Sid and Garrett and Lieutenant Harvey and Detective Powell. Last week, Garrett overstepped and this week it was Sid. I do love Sid. I love how deeply he cares for his cops, even in this episode, when he loses it in a press briefing. I understand Garrett’s point, but I was glad Frank was there to moderate and focus on the other issue. Who leaked the footage?
That leads them to Detective Powell and gives Frank a chance to observe another family of cops. It’s a unique family where one cop lives in the other’s precinct. Frank ultimately sees the value in that, and believes they can work it out between them. Powell needs to know he can go to Harvey and express his concerns with how he’s policing his precinct, and Harvey needs to know that his tactics aren’t flawless.
Frank made sure to be fair and firm. He brought them together and advised that they listen to each other. In this scene, you can imagine Frank often had to do that with his own kids. He is an exceptional leader and an exceptional father and, despite last week, I still wish I could vote him in as President of the United States. Is there anyone out there in real world who is at all similar to Frank Reagan? Can they stand up and be counted please?
Jamie and Eddie
While I love Jamie and Eddie, this was my least favorite plot of the entire episode. I had a commenter last week who stated that splitting Jamie and Eddie up was about safety more than professionalism. They are not wrong. It was about safety, but it was about more than that or Frank wouldn’t have insisted Jamie tell his Sergeant. A romantic relationship, especially one as committed as Jamie and Eddie’s, influences so much of your decisions and your life. They should be each other’s best friends and highest priorities. That makes being in the same precinct or patrol car a conflict. Add in the fact that Jamie is now her boss, and that makes this a thousand times more complicated. But it’s not just that, it’s the secrecy of their relationship.
I cannot understand why the writers made the decision to have them keep the engagement a secret from the NYPD. Jamie is all about ethics and honor. He has to know that this situation will bring them trouble in the end. For the first time, Eddie lied about their relationship. Her partner, Maya, is figuring it out and Eddie acted offended at Maya’s blunt question regarding her and Jamie’s relationship. I cannot get behind that. She lied to her partner. I get that their relationship should only be the business of Jamie and Eddie but in the real world that is not how this works. Especially in a real world where both people work together. Even in an office setting, where lives aren’t on the line, it’s considered ethical to disclose a relationship to your Human Resources department. It should be no different in the NYPD. The stakes are too high.
Eventually, the truth will out and when it does Jamie and Eddie will have to answer to everything they are doing now. Potentially, this could destroy the new trust Eddie’s has built with Maya. Potentially, this could destroy Jamie’s promising career. This all seems to be too big of a risk to me, especially because Eddie’s reason for transferring doesn’t seem to be working out. She transferred so she could have Jamie’s back, but every time she has his back it seems to be in a way that backfires. Truly, Jamie would be better off being allowed to be the boss without Eddie trying to protect his reputation. Her intentions are honorable, but it rarely works out the way she wants.
They can’t possibly maintain this arrangement. Something will have to give. The question is, what will be left in their wake when it all comes to a head?
Let me also say, as a viewer, I’m already bored of watching them hide it. I’m bored of watching Eddie and Jamie fight over professional decisions verses their personal relationship. I want to see discussions, not fights. I want to see them face challenges together, not against each other. I want to see mutual support and understanding more than I see them butting heads. I’m also afraid of how the show will address this building conflict of interest.
Hopefully, the show deals with this in a smart way that is true to the heart of this show. They haven’t let me down yet. I may have concerns, but I still have plenty of faith.
Happy Family Christmas Memories
I am so grateful that Eddie has been added to the family dinner scenes. I love watching the Reagans get to know her. Her confession about her dad and never really experiencing Christmas the way they have was handled well. Vanessa Ray performed it beautifully. That could have been a maudlin moment, but it wasn’t. Eddie isn’t feeling sorry for herself or wishing things had been different. She is simply stating a fact. It makes me hate that we’re going into winter hiatus. I want to see Eddie on my screen as she enjoys Christmas the Reagan way. Hopefully, we’ll at least hear about some of when the show comes back from break.
I loved the debate over Christmas decorations and how stressful the holidays can be. It’s all true of many families, including my own, but we often forget the stress and remember the warmth, don’t we? That’s how it should be.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate! I’ll be back in the new year with more reviews! I hope you all get everything on Christmas wishlists! I don’t know about you guys, but Blue Bloods Season 10 is at the top of mine! (I’m looking at you, CBS.)
This week’s episode was called “Handcuffs” and I won’t lie to you, there were times this episode was very frustrating to watch. Much like our characters, I had conflicting opinions on a lot of the decisions that were made. So much of this episode’s plot was interlinked that I’m not sure how to divide it up this week. But let’s go ahead and discuss.