My favourite summer show ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ has returned for its 3rd season, in an episode that perfectly blended some well written drama with the shows trademark humour.
We open immediately after the events of last years season 2 finale. Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) has just shot down wanted mobster Paddy Doyle (John Doman), biological father to Rizzoli’s best friend, colleague and chief medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander). One of the many great things about this season opener was just how well the Jane/Maura rift was handled. I didn’t find myself siding with one and feeling annoyed at the other for starters. I can see Rizzoli’s viewpoint – Paddy had a gun and she was doing her job. I can also see things from Maura’s side – she’s hyped up and pretty devastated after both her mother and father end up in hospital critically injured. Like Korsak (Bruce McGill) said, “she’s in shock.” I bet she was.
The rift was serious enough to provide some brilliant drama (seeing Maura shun Rizzoli was pretty crushing) but not crippling to the point where it’s inconceivable that they will kiss (not literally!) and make up in the future – which leads to my next point. I am very happy that they didn’t go with the age-old trick of magically fixing all the damage from the previous season’s finale. There was progress in healing their relationship – Maura hearing her father admit that he would have in fact shot Rizzoli ’cause she’s a cop’ will no doubt have done her perspective the world of good – but at the same time things are still not quite as they used to be, and rightly so. I expect a couple more episodes of emotional rawness to come yet. Having Maura take her role as chief medical examiner back was the perfect ‘in-between’ ending indicating progression towards the loveable norm, whilst also leaving much to be told on the titular characters issues.
The case was brilliant as it was linked to the overarching narrative regarding Maura’s father and mother, whilst simultaneously affecting the Rizzoli & Isles dynamic and moving other plot lines forward, not to mention some brilliant character development. IA agents involved in gun smuggling with Irish mobsters? Wow. This episode certainly gave one an idea as to just how high Paddy’s power and corruption goes in Boston, and I can’t wait to see how that plays out going forward. Could some one even closer to home be involved? No, I don’t think so either.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ was how amongst the drama and heartache, the show still managed to keep up it’s brilliant humorous streak – so greatly brought to life once again by a cast of characters with such amazing chemistry. Harmon and Alexander as the central pairing were fantastic as always, playing off each other so well that you believe they are in fact a couple of best friends. Who else couldn’t help but laugh during their ‘cat fight’? Yes, me too. Just don’t let Rizzoli hear you call it that. This authenticity and chemistry makes it all the more powerful during their current fall out – seeing two people who care about each other so much fighting, well…it’s saddening.
Of course, where would an episode of Rizzoli & Isles be without Detective’s Frost (Lee Thompson Young) and Korsak engaging in some hilarious banter?
Frost: “I thought you stopped with the jelly doughnuts?”
Korsak: “Don’t bust my balls.”
Frost: “Keep eating crap like that you wont be able to see your balls.”
Korsak: “I don’t need to see my balls.”
Frost: “20 grams of fat, dude.”
Korsak: “What are you, a girl?”
Yes, that just happened. Lorraine Bracco…I don’t even know what to say. It doesn’t matter who she’s in a scene with, as Angela Rizzoli she steals many a scene.
All these elements come together in a brilliant sequence in Maura’s house, where thing’s go from funny (“that means they grow it in Panda poop, ma.”) to sweet and tender (“You’re like my daughter too.”) in a matter of minutes. Again, I simply cannot stress just how perfectly balanced this episode was. It worked so well.
- I love the mystery surrounding Maura’s biological mother, and can’t wait to meet her later this season.
- The scale of corruption in Boston seems to be a mystery being set up for the long run – and I like it.
- Agent Dean (Billy Burke) is gone (again). I like seeing Rizzoli’s softer side, but feel it would be best spent on someone else.
- I liked the whole ‘reluctant to hug’ similarity between the two women.
- Lt. Cavanaugh (Brian Goodman) has never been a favourite of mine, but he really grew on me in this episode.
- The best thing about Rizzoli’s character is how incredibly driven she is. She showed that in abundance here.
- The flashbacks were brilliantly played. The one depicting Rizzoli and Isles meeting for the first time was particularly well done. The one showing the two of them having fun moments before the sting that sent everything sour; this was a perfect contrast to how things became between them after the shooting. In a way showing just what they could lose if the damage isn’t repaired.
- The IA man shooting the cop and storeowner…that was unflinchingly violent. I like. The way it was shot I mean, not the actual act (obviously).
- Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Pike is often laugh out loud funny. The more we see of him, the better.
- God, I love this show.
To conclude, this was a rather excellent season opener that displayed all of the shows greatest qualities and brought them to new heights with some fantastic acting, writing and subsequently – character development. I can’t wait to see where it all goes next.
Check back next week for my review of 3.02 ‘Dirty Little Secret’ and until then, here’s a new promo for that very episode and the rest of this season’s Rizzoli & Isles.