Calling Rookie Blue 6×2, “Perfect Family” has high levels of irony – even before seeing the episode! Last week’s ABC premiere of Rookie Blue had a whole lotta shaking going on…shaking, quaking, crying…. The “family” of Division 15 officers are all involved in some difficult personal situations, and things are far from perfect for anyone. This Rookie Blue 6×2 recap and review will go through the episode’s journey as it proves the old adage, “nobody’s perfect” to be quite accurate.
This contains spoilers for Rookie Blue 6×2, “Perfect Family”
The phrase, “progress not perfection” is a phrase that is associated with the 12-step recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous, (www.everything2.com) and it’s an idea that really frames what’s going on in, “Perfect Family.”
The opening scene takes place the morning after where the premiere ended. It’s a high energy, awkward and hilarious beginning, but beneath the humor is a real sense of confusion and sadness. Officers Gail Peck (Charlotte Sullivan) and Chris Diaz (Travis Milne) have just driven up to Division 15 for work. Chris sees Inspector John Jarvis (Oliver Becker) arrive behind him – and his wife Jamie (Cindy Sampson) is driving! He stops Gail from getting out the car – which annoys her. Then she notices the inspector and his wife.
Gail: Damn, his wife is really hot. How the hell did that guy get such a hot wife.
Chris: She’s into cops.
Gail: How do you know that? Diaz, how do you know that?
Gail is furious – because her friend (who’s also an ex-boyfriend) has put himself in major jeopardy. Making things worse, Jarvis comes over and asks Diaz to take a look at his wife’s car!
What creates the underlying sadness in this scene is that even though Diaz has stopped using the chemical drugs and is genuinely trying to get better, he is still caught up in an addictive cycle. I like the touch of Jamie being a recovering cocaine addict and not just a bored housewife. It makes the circumstances more realistic.
The connection between promiscuity and risky sexual behavior with drugs like cocaine and crystal meth has in recent times become more known in drug rehab centers, but it wasn’t always (www.promises.com). Often stopping the drugs just fuels this sexual behavior. The Sandra Bullock film 28 Days touched on this issue: there the famous baseball player in rehab for cocaine addiction is constantly seen in sexually compromising positions -which is against the rules. He becomes friends with Sandra Bullock’s character, but one evening he ends up kissing her. It doesn’t go anywhere, and he apologizes. He explains that while he doesn’t understand why, somehow sex and drugs are like the same thing. The joke line is, “So, what, you were trying to snort me?” “Maybe,” he replies.
Rookie Blue is building on the same premise as 28 Days. Diaz has be clean from drugs, but he’s still not sober. He’s still not dealing with the pain of his past relationship with Denise, and the devastating reveal that the son he’d come to love isn’t actually his. Although I can see that the entanglement with Jarvis’s wife is adding yet another layer of complications to the overall story of Rookie Blue and Division 15, I’m hoping that at some point we will get to see Diaz truly face what is eating away at him. For now, we will get to see how his current predicament leads into more unwanted dishonesty. His fear and insecurity about what’s going on is shown when the new officer Juliet Ward (Erin Kurpluk) – whom we now know is spying on 15 Division as part of some kind of undercover operation – tries to get friendly with Chris.
Ward: It’s Diaz, right?
Diaz: Why? What have you heard?
Once inside 15 Division the focus switches to officer Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) and detective Sam Swarek (Ben Bass). Here the energy is flipped: overtly sad with an underlying humor. Sam is trying to get Andy to talk to him and has brought her a fancy cup of coffee. Andy is dodging all of his attempts to give her the coffee and avoiding his eyes. She’s also bringing up the rapist that’s still out there, and her comments show that today she’s still feeling responsible for him being out there because of not following orders the previous night.
Andy can’t completely ignore him though. She takes the coffee from Sam, but tells him she’s changed the way she takes it – it needs more milk. This doesn’t work out too well because in the police kitchen area intelligence analyst Marlo Cruz (Rachael Ancheril) has just finished the last of it.
Alright, before anything else, let’s get out the way that having Marlo suddenly start showing – in what’s less than a 24-hour period – is weird. They didn’t have to jump to that so fast!
While it’s easy to want to cast Marlo as the villain in this Andy, Sam plus Marlo and baby scenario, scenes like the above make it clear Marlo’s no more happy about the situation than Sam and Andy. Knowing that Marlo didn’t plan the situation doesn’t make it any easier to deal with though. Marlo saying she not there to get between Sam and Andy is moot – she already has.
At least detective Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma) is on duty today. Having your best friend around to talk to when things are too much to bear is a lucky thing. Andy pours out all of her feelings and fears to Traci. I like the way the writers address the sexual component of things. There’s not a lot of time between when Sam broke up with Marlo and got together with Andy. Yes, we’re all grown ups, but when your boyfriend’s ex shows up pregnant when you and he just recently gotten together it’s going to paint some uncomfortable pictures in your mind.
I wish I was a fish. You know why because fish fertilize eggs outside of their body. It doesn’t matter who they offspring with because, because they don’t have confusing emotions like, like rage, and, sadness.
Some part of Andy thinks it’s irrational to be upset about something that happened before she and Sam were together, but emotions aren’t meant to be rational.
It’s not just the idea of Sam and Marlo being together and making a baby that is breaking Andy’s heart. She also is feeling inadequate and displaced. The baby is Marlo’s and Sam’s – where is she supposed to fit in – and if there is a place can she be “the bigger person” to pull it off?
Andy: Maybe Sam should be with Marlo.
The look on Traci’s face is a definite no, but there’s no time to get into more discussion. Gail come to tell Traci there’s a family there to file a missing person’s report on their 16-year-old daughter.
The last major storyline set up for this episode (there are a couple of minor ones that pop up within the case) involve officer Ward and officer Nick Collins (Peter Mooney). After a bit of smart-ass flirtation by Nick involving him pretending they haven’t met before, saying she’s missing out on his “fountain of wisdom” and warning her that the radio she’s chosen for the day is “bad luck”, they agree they should keep their distance from each other. That’s when Oliver walks in and tells says Collins and Ward are riding together on patrol for the day.
It doesn’t take long for Traci and Andy (and viewers) to sense that something is off with this family. Routine questioning of the father, Lloyd Hill (David Sutcliffe) reveals that Hayley Hill (Zoé De Grand Maison) – the 16-year-old daughter who’s missing – doesn’t own a cell phone, doesn’t have any friends, and isn’t supposed to be wearing a pink tee-shirt with a unicorn on it….
Throughout the questioning mom Ellen (Janine Theriault) is a nervous wreck while Hayley’s brother Jeremy is stoic and still. He’s the one who mentions that Hayley has no friends and had been wearing the unicorn shirt.
The story is that at 7:30 PM Mom sent Hayley down the block to the gas station’s mini-mart to buy milk and never came home. Dad walked down to go look for her around 9pm and found the gas station closed – with no Hayley. He then went home, got his car, and went looking for her all night – no luck.
Andy and Traci hone in on the gas station being closed so early and call the owner. Sure enough the attendant, 21-year-old Connor Frye (Rohan Mead), had closed the station earlier than normal,he and was a no-show the following morning. A background check reveals he has a criminal record of car-theft and B & E’s, but his juvenile record shows that at 14 he “cohered” an 11-year-old girl into sexual activity. Gail comes in with his instagram account with pictures of Hayley on it. That’s enough to make him the primary suspect.
Oliver ends up sending officers Chloe Price (Priscilla Faia) and Duncan Moore (Matt Murray) to go to Conner’s house. Chloe has never been paired with Duncan before and is unprepared for his unprofessionalism. While Conner’s mother is explaining she’d assumed he’d gone off in his camper since it was missing and she hadn’t seen him come home the night before. Rather than listening, Duncan is taking note of Conner’s seemingly empty tarantula terrarium. As the mother is in the process of telling Chloe that Conner isn’t exactly a good boy, Duncan starts freaking out and slapping at himself – as if he can feel the spider crawling on him. Chloe is not amused.
After dragging Duncan aside and straightening him out, Chloe continues interviewing the mother. A photo of Conner as a child gives Chloe an idea of where he might of gone. They decide they should call it in…but then they both try doing it at the same time – twice!
Nick and Juliet’s are sent to the location and find Conner sitting in his camper. Aside from finding a police scanner in the camper, they bring him in without incident.
Dov and Marlo
While all that was taking place Marlo and officer Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith) continue their chummy partnership in the intelligence division. They are working on trying to figure out who blew up the evidence room – because the evidence points to it not being the deceased Ted McDonald. Marlo has a box of files containing every criminal who was booked that day – which includes everything those criminals had logged into evidence. They will be trying to find a connection between those items and the bomb. Marlo’s theory is that one of them wanted to plant the bomb and deliberately got themselves arrested so that it would be brought into the evidence room.
Let’s just wrap this part up now, okay? At the end of the day, Dov hasn’t found a single connection to bomb with any of the perps. What he does find is a connection to a man named Chris Clem. This independent contractor has a license to sell explosives, and one one of his suppliers is Frack manufacturing (remember the name – it will come up again this season, trust me.) which links to the type of bomb that blew up the evidence room. The problem with this? Chris Clem is the guy who sells explosives to the entire police department! Even worse, he went missing around the time of the bombing! Marlo looks scared, but Dov is determined.
We need to find Chris Clem.
Diaz and the Inspector
Poor Diaz is worried about the cameras in the parking lot seeing his earlier exchange between him the the inspector’s wife, when Oliver comes over and tells him said inspector wants to see him. Inspector Jarvis is smiling when Diaz walks in to the private office, but his words nearly give Chris a heart attack
No worries, Diaz. All Jarvis knows about you is that you used to work construction before becoming a cop. Jarvis wants Diaz to see if it’s possible to increase his office space by two feet – by stealing two feet of space from the office next door. That office will still be home to a new “liaison” officer, but since that person has no idea how big the office is supposed to be, none would be the wiser, right? Jarvis hands the blue prints over to Chris to look at, asks him to keep this to himself, and says he’ll check back with him later. Up until now, we’ve seen Jarvis has been an annoying kickass making Oliver’s life miserable. We’ve suspected he wasn’t a good guy, but now we know that he’s completely unethical. At least he doesn’t know about Diaz and his wife!
The Hunt for Hayley
Traci and Sam are the ones questioning Conner, whom the mom recognizes as someone who would stare at Hayley whenever they were at the gas station. Over at the campgrounds where Conner and his camper had been found Nick, Juliet, a forensics team and a swarm of others officers – some with hunting dogs – are searching the area. It’s Juliet that finds the unicorn shirt half burnt in a fire pit. After Sam’s scares Conner some the young man says he knows where Hayley is and he’ll take they to her.
There’s a big build up regarding if this girl is dead or alive, but she’s very much alive and not looking to be rescued. When Conner takes Sam and Traci to where Hayley is hiding in the woods she takes off running! Andy tackles her down and brings the sullen girl to Sam. Hayley’s reaction to Sam’s admonishment about her parents worrying about her is pure scorn.
My parents aren’t worried about me. They’re worried about my soul.
At first it looks like the typical rebellious teen and bad boy story, young lovers running away from authority, but Conner pushes Hayley to tell the cops about some of the usual punishments her father inflicts on her. They do sound horrible: feeding her dog poison and making her watch it die, making her sleep in the garage overnight just for asking to go to a movie with a guy, and beating her with a belt if she makes a mistake on her homework. The question is whether or not it’s true. It doesn’t seem like the two are lying, but Sam and Andy still have to talk to the parents.
Those talks doesn’t go well. Both mom and dad show signs of being somewhat wacko.
The writers of Rookie Blue had no idea this episode would air a week after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling which not only gave the right for non-hetrosuexual people to marry, but for them to have and raise children No longer can adoption agencies discriminate against a gay or lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child, and both people will now legally be recognized as that child’s parents. Previously, it was possible that only one of the same-sex pair would be considered a parent. This has caused quite the uproar in conservative circles. The new law is said to be eroding so-called traditional or “family” values – values usually derived from the Christian Bible. So this whole episode about what defines a family, what is the right way to have a family, is a hot topic, one Rookie Blue has a definite opinion on.
For instance, in the video Ellen’s line about submitting to her husband in all things is a quote from the Bible – Ephesians 5:22–24 if you’re interested. (Ephesians also contains the verse that was used to justify slavery.) Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the verse that says what to do if your husband is a sadist.
It doesn’t start out completely condemning the conservative view. Sam gets to hear Lloyd’s thoughts on things, and even chimes in which some valid issues of concern: bad schools, gang problems, teen drug and alcohol use. However, when Sam mentions that the schools are giving out condoms Lloyd loses it.
They should be teaching abstinence! That’s the only way you’re going to stop unwanted pregnancies. I’m sure you know all about that. (…) The breakdown of the family structure leads to criminal behavior. You deal with it every day.
Other comments by Lloyd includes things like, “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free.” It’s harsh, sure, but he just wants to protect his daughter, right?
It’s one thing if a girl’s father makes her wear long dresses that cover everything when she goes to school. It’s strict, and may cause more harm than good, (Hayley’s defiant reaction to this has been to let the boys look up her dresses) but it’s not particularly mean or abusive. It’s a look at the garage Lloyd has made Hayley sleep in, and then hearing that he’s also made her sleep inside a giant freezer, that makes Traci and Andy to decide they need to get the family away from the house before Lloyd gets home.
The Sins of the Father
Traci, Andy have taken the two kids the mom to a hotel where Gail is waiting. She is watching the kids while Traci and Andy take the Mom aside to try and get her to press charges. When Jeremy spills some soda trying to pour some for him and his sister, he’s sent to the kitchen to pour it into a new one for Hayley. While he’s gone Gail and Hayley have a sweet moment where Gail encourages Hayley to be nicer to her brother.
Hayley: You’re kidding, right? My father dotes on him.
Gail: Yeah, but that’s not Jeremy’s fault. I’m just saying that you guys are in this together, so it’s just worth keeping that in mind.
Hayley scowls, but when Jeremy comes back with the soda she does make an effort.
Meanwhile Traci and Andy’s talk with Ellen reveals many signs of a woman who has been, at the very least, psychologically abused. She’s talks of having not had a good night’s sleep in 16 years and is convinced that somehow reporting her husband will end up with him getting the kids and her in a shelter. Terrified, she tells the officers that she wants to go home.
The events that follow are unexpected and shocking. Gail has come in to ask about ordering a pizza while Hayley is taking a bath. In that couple of minutes he’s alone Jeremy calls his father and tells him where the police have taken them!
This isn’t the only twisted event. Juliet and Nick had been charged with bringing Conner back home, and based on his reactions about Hayley had decided to stick around in the patrol car to make sure he doesn’t try to sneak out to go try and “protect” Hayley. Instead they end up having to drag Lloyd Hill off of Conner. He has gone over to Conner’s house, come in the back way and starting beating him up. It’s Conner’s mother who makes the 911 call that alerts them to what’s going on in the house!
The biggest shocker is still to come. Ellen is comforting her son and telling him he did the right thing by calling his father and promising him she’s taking them all home. Hayley is begging her mother not to because her father will kill his (this may or may not be metaphoric). Andy and Traci then start telling Ellen that she can’t take them home. Andy is particularly eloquent.
I know the idea of leaving your husband and raising these kids by yourself is outside of the traditional family that you want. But this is your family and you need to protect them.
Traci chimes in on this theme as well, but before Ellen can really answer Hayley falls to the floor and goes into convulsions! Andy’s on the floor next to her in a flash as vomit starts pouring out of the girl’s mouth as she continues seizing. Only Jeremy is calm. It turns out he’d put rat poison in Haley’s soda – the same way he’d seen his father do to their dog when it had been acting up. His logic is simple and chilling.
Zeke was out of control, so dad sent him to a better place. Hayley’s worse, right? She’s ruining our family.
Hayley is sent away in an ambulance with Gail. She’s going to have to have to made to vomit and given activated charcoal every four hours – but she’ll live. Traci turns Jeremy over to a social worker to be evaluated. He still has no idea that he’s done anything wrong.
Ellen is worried about getting her son back. Andy tells Ellen the psychologists will have to decide if he’s a danger to society. Furthermore, if she wants Jeremy back Ellen needs to prove she “can take control and lead” her family.
I know this isn’t the family you pictured. But it’s the one you have.
Ellen is still scared, but she’s resolved to testify against Lloyd – to keep her children safe.
The Wrap Up
That last piece of advice Andy gives to Ellen is the advice Andy realizes she needs to take herself. Really, the whole underlying purpose of this episode is to make Andy and Sam realize that while the situation isn’t perfect, they are more than equipped to handle it. Andy’s interactions with Ellen make her see that rather than being sad about the less-than-ideal situation Marlo’s pregnancy has created she needs to be strong for the sake of the family she wants to have with him. Likewise Sam’s talk with Lloyd made him see he’d be a good father because he knows, through dealing with his own father and people like Lloyd, what makes a bad father.
There are also moments throughout the case where both Traci and Oliver have opportunities to give their best friends useful advice. Traci tells Andy about how great her boyfriend, detective Steve Peck (Adam MacDonald) is with her son son Leo and how important that is for their relationship. Oliver tells Sam that best thing Sam could do for his kid is to “be happy himself.” In other words don’t try to go back to Marlo for the sake of the kid.
Before Sam and Andy get to talk about their day though, there are a couple of other pieces to wrap.
Nick and Juliet have a quiet moment at the end of the day where Juliet admits that while she can’t go out with Nick it doesn’t mean she’s not interested…in what he has to say. Hence the reason she didn’t use the “bad luck” radio.
Chris tells Gail he’s on his way to break up with Jamie when Jarvis pulls him aside to see about expanding his office. Chris tells him it’s not possible because of something in the plans. Jarvis is okay with that. In fact he seems to be in a good mood – despite coming back from a budget meeting. It seems the higher ups wanted to cut the payroll at 15 Division by 15 percent, but Jarvis stood up for them. Chris is surprised, which amuses the Inspector.
It doesn’t sound like me, right? I’m a bottom-line kind of guy. Well, that doesn’t matter so much to me these days. I’ll tell you something Diaz. Lately my wife has been, ah…let’s just say, happy wife, happy life.
Oh, no! Diaz now feels completely stuck. He knows why Jarvis’s wife has been so pleasant. To his way of thinking his actions have kept people from getting fired!
Gail, who heard the entire conversation, tells Chris he’s an idiot. I’m not so sure. If he dumps Jamie and she tells Jarvis chances are Jarvis will retaliate by firing Diaz and anyone he thinks is Diaz’s friend. Of course, if Chris keeps seeing Jamie and Jarvis finds out the exact same thing will happen. Basically, either way is going to lead to trouble.
That trouble isn’t going down in this episode though. “Perfect Family” ends on a perfect note:
Things may not be perfect, but isn’t the best you’ve ever seen of McSwarek? You really can see the progress in their relationship from when they first met. Here they are communicating their fears and wishes honestly and openly, resulting in them being more committed than ever before. It’s done just right, had the show dragged the angst of this out over several episodes or had them go off and sleep with someone else in despair it would has turned into cheap melodrama. (You know there are shows that love that kind of stuff.) This is a mature look at a difficult situation. I’m sure there will be other moments around this issue that are difficult, but there’s no questioning that Sam and Andy are all in for this relationship. It’s perfectly imperfect.