We’re back! The Rookie returns after a week, with a somewhat calmer episode than last week, but that deals with the big racial problem in the United States, police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as tackling this social reality from various sensitivities.
Here we go!
What happened to Armstrong in the previous episode forces the police force to do damage control. They must regain the trust of the community, so they all come to the aid of a complicated neighborhood, where they have never trusted the police. That is the starting point of this episode that is formed as a criticism and social denunciation.
That visit to a complicated neighborhood shows us various situations. From the police who want to help, to those who know how to do it, the position of the community and the racist policemen who are part of the big racial problem that the US has had for too long.
Nolan (and West, but we’ll talk about him a bit later) is on the side of cops who want to help but doesn’t know how. He really tries, but it seems like everything he tries makes it worse or shows more ignorance than anything else. Because he is ignorant of what these communities, mostly Black, need.
It is something that the community leader, who makes sure everything is safe, since the police do not, makes him see. Because they don’t trust them and it’s all the fault of the police force. They live in a community where calling the police only means that people from the Black community will be arrested or harmed or killed, often without questions.
The police have never been there except to make things worse … or to pretend they care about them when, for them, they are just a stereotype, a target, nothing more.
Nolan has fought throughout the episode to change that perception of the police when the real fight is within the police to change things. But he tries … and he has good intentions. So Harper takes pity on him, because she knows what really happens in those communities, she has been there … and now she is on the other side. It is hard for her, so she helps him: he must not believe that he knows what the community needs, he must hear what they need. So he does it … and she stands next to him and that really works.
Well, that … and a word from Harper to the community leader regarding Nolan. Because sometimes those cops who really try and want to listen and educate themselves pay for cops who should be out of force without any contemplation.
In the end, the community leader gives in and collaborates with Nolan and he really listens to him to really help the community and not do like the rest of the police, so as not to be like them.
Harper, for her part, she’s been there, in those communities. She was born there, raised there, and now she’s on the other side … and it’s hard for her. Because she is aware of the systematic racism that the body she works is built on, how quick some police officers are to arrest, injure or kill people from the Black community simply because they have a different skin color. And it hurts her and wants to change it … but she understands the community leader perfectly, because she would do the same.
The truth is that the police do not help in those neighborhoods, they do not help in those communities, they just walk by and go there just to teach newbies the stereotype they have of them, of drug dealers, of criminals, of the worst of society … but nobody cares to listen to them and to help them. Harper knows it because she herself has had to suffer that racism throughout her career, she knows it because she fights so that her daughter does not have to suffer it – by the way, I love that they show her in the facet of mother.
So she has this knowledge of the two sides of this problem, it is hard and contradictory for her but it gives her a perspective that must be heard more than ever.
By the way, I noticed a pretty big connection between Harper and Nolan … will it turn into something else?
Speaking of cops who should be out of the force, we’ve seen Brandon Routh as a member of the team and West’s supervisor for the first time. And we really, really wanted to like his character because he’s Brandon Routh and we adore him above all else but … no.
There is an intrinsic racism in Doug’s attitude. Every time he talks to a family, that little respect with which he treats them, those prejudices that he has, that attitude of jumping before asking … we don’t like it at all. At first, he seemed like a very nice guy, almost adorable, but he had something in his eyes that … didn’t quite fit us.
And when we have seen him speak to the people in the community that he had supposedly gone to help and protect, we have found out why. He is a racist. Doug may disguise him as experience, as wisdom, but he is still the same disgusting racist as always, full of prejudices and with a square mind that does not look any further.
All that, how could it be otherwise, collides with West, who feels uncomfortable and almost … attacked by his own supervisor. And the worst thing for him is that he can’t help it. Up the chain of command, he’s down … and he’ll still be there for a few more days. So he is a bitter pill that he must digest anyway. And he dislikes doing it. He hates feeling so helpless and frustrated and not being able to stand up to the racist Doug. And we feel the same as West.
Which is why we have been quite annoyed by Bradford’s advice on this. We loved seeing a scene like this between him and West but we just … we revolt before the harsh and unfair reality. Bradford has advised him to just learn from the good things about Doug and ignore the rest. Let him ignore his racism.
It is bad advice. And that is precisely what bothers us. We are talking about racism, we must not find middle ground here. You have to take a side, a position.
On the one hand, we understand this advice because, as we have discussed, West still has a few days left until his graduation and he should get there without getting into trouble, but on the other hand, this is part of the problem. Closing your eyes, not providing solutions, is part of the problem. Bradford and cops like him are part of the problem as are racist cops like Doug.
And we like that this show has dared to tackle the problem of racism, police reform and Black Lives Matter movement from all points of view. From the victims, the activists who fight to make their community better and safer, to the police who try to help and those who are racist or with their attitudes are part of the problem.
We have the whole range of positions on this matter and that is brave and quite difficult to show so clearly. So raw, so real. Congratulations to the producers, writers, crew, actors, and creators of the show. Really, congratulations. Because we have this feeling of anguish in our mouth at the end of the episode, this lump in our throat, this bitter taste that mixes with the sweet taste of hope for the future and we think that is just what they wanted us to feel. Because it’s just how this problem feels right now.
In another vein, López began her work as a detective and this plot has not disappointed. They have taken the same brave direction as in the previous episode and we see Lopez fight to be perfect in every way, even in her clothes. In fact, she was right because the first thing her boss did when she arrived was send her to change, bring coffee and food, and almost pressure her to close a case and not follow her instincts.
She has had to prove herself from second one. And she would have been much worse if they had known that she was pregnant. It’s horrible, but that’s the way it is. Why do women always have to prove that we deserve to be there? We shouldn’t … but it happens and this show is beginning to denounce it, as well as to denounce the low parity in the police. All grains of sand count.
In the end, López has solved the case simply by being herself, following her instincts, as she has always done and has passed the test that her boss had set her … she is starting to earn respect and a place in the team. We hope to continue watching López’s adventures and cases as a detective because they are really interesting and a note, for now, a little more relaxed in the episode.
And as a last note, we love Lucy even more now. We believe that the new pseudo-friendship relationship with that girl can have a promising future and give us very good times.
And here ends our The Rookie review. We will be back next week with a new one!