Rizzoli and Isles is Gayer and Better Than Ever In Season Three Premiere
By Alex Cranz
After last season I was nervous about following this show any further. I mean, as much as I love me some gay subtext and an old dude that looks just like my dad and Lorraine Bracco the show got pretty bad in pretty excruciating ways.
It spent its time either badly pandering to the AfterEllen crew (and there’s nothing wrong with pandering–just bad pandering) or executing some really middle of the road murder investigations.
Maura and Jane’s relationship, the focal point of the show and the reason most people tune in, was frequently thrust aside so Jane could chase after suspects with Frost and roll her eyes when her brothers showed up.
But then that finale popped up and ended on such an astoundingly awesome note that I knew I had to tune in. If only for an episode.
If the rest of this season is as good as the standard set with last week’s premiere then count me in. This was pitch perfect summer cable television. Entertaining, enjoyable, a little ham-fisted at times, and chock full of conflict between the leads.
When things ended last season Jane had just shot Maura’s birth father after he shot her boyfriend. Maura was understandably upset and conflicted and Jane was astounded by the idea that her best friend would be upset with her.
That astonishment pulls through into this episode where Maura is incredibly angry and hurt and Jane, displaying some of her best characterization since the pilot, is pissed that Maura is angry at her.
Yeah they care for each other, but they’re so at odds over what happened and it’s rooted in such fundamental differences of opinion and existing that it makes for some terrifically compelling scenes. The women fight. It might be a little more low brow than the best friend throw down on this Sunday’s Girls but it’s still the kind of mean, can never take back, would only say to someone you love and adore fight that only happens between best friends.
Essentially, by the end of the third act Jane and Maura are broken up. Jane’s been relieved of duty for sleeping with her FBI agent boyfriend and knowing Maura’s dad and Maura’s quit her job because she hates cops forever or something (and in my dream of dreams wants to become the new leader of the Boston mafia and will spend the rest of the season in a cat and mouse game of sexy tension with Jane.).
These two are besties, but when they’re not both of their worlds fall apart.
However by episode’s end Jane has kind of sort of realized she was a MASSIVE wangarang for shooting Maura’s dad and then immediately calling her an idiot. Maura has no time to accept apologies though. She’s just learned her birth mother is a genius and still alive and has spent the last thirty plus years thinking her daughter is dead. DRAMABOMB internet. Dramabomb.
Last season I mentioned that the best BFF fights are the ones that aren’t solved in an episode. You don’t want to drag out the fight because then you get fifth season Grey’s Anatomy but you do want to show that it’s significant (see The Good Wife as an example of a BFF fight written to perfection). Janet Tamaro and company wisely keep Jane and Maura apart. They’ve said some pretty heinous stuff to one another and the trust that’s fundamental to their relationship from the beginning is gone. That the rift wasn’t healed by episode’s end has me feeling much better about the season as a whole.
Too often this show has fallen into a very simple and episodic rhythm that seems quite counter to the excellent relationships built up in the cast. The premiere still tries to cling to those old trappings with a by the books murder investigation, but rather than let it take over and forcibly insert all the delicious character moments it lets the character moments come naturally from the conflation of investigation, emotional exhaustion and absolute frustration of the characters.
If the rest of the season can be as compelling as this first hour than this show could turn into one of the sharpest relationship dramas/murder mysteries on tv.
- Angela was the MVP of the hour. A sounding board for her daughter and Maura both, as well as an incredibly compassionate lady who brings flowers to her daughter’s ex-best friend’s hospitalized parents. Who else wanted to hug her?
- Also she straight up TROLLED the audience by curling up in bed with Jane.
- When Frost and Korsak take a back seat and become supporting characters with a bevy of rude remarks and understanding glances they are at their best. Even if they did talk about Korsak’s testicles.
- Props to Gabriel Dean who was written out effortlessly. Then he tried to write himself back in with flowers and Jane remembered that she’s not THAT girly and showed him the door. Her kiss offs of him felt like they came from some high power that begged Tamaro and company to stop forcing dudes into our heteromance.
- Jane’s prostitute get up. WHAT. Loved hour Maura gloved up before touching her.
- Their fight. The watching of Jersey Shore. The Ed Begley in the background. Bravo.
- TONIGHT: The women are still pissed as hell at one another and trying to sort things out. I’ll be on weepy pins and needles and back tomorrow with a good and proper recap of the affairs.