Well, The Rookie is back at it again with its oh-so-controversial mockumentary meets reality show style installment!
To say these installments of the series are an “acquired taste” would be an understatement.
Again, The Rookie gets kudos for all the fun and creative ways they come up with when introducing different styles. They also have a reputation for leaning into the campy.
But “Real Crime” is an episode that you’re either going to love or hate, with very little wiggle room in the middle.
At some point, roughly around the halfway point of the hour, it gets colossally dull, and if you’re like me, you check out of the installment until the ending when they reveal who the murderer is.
And if you’re like me, you groan when you find out that you sat through 40+ minutes of mockumentary storytelling only to learn that that action-packed The Rookie that you adore won’t return for another three weeks.
Why do they opt to send us on long hiatuses with these type of installments? It’s the exact thing that happened with “rue Crime.”
The case was boring because, despite a few halfhearted attempts at “twists” to throw us off, it was apparent who the real killer was roughly ten minutes into the hour. In that sense, we had to sit through a bunch of campy storytelling until Angela (because we all knew it would be Angela, right?) solved two murder cases for the price of one.
Angela solving the case is a frustration all its own, but let’s address the first one.
The season has criminally underused Aaron Thorsen. We’ve joked about it often. The series is called “The Rookie,” As the only character who fits the title, he goes installments upon installments without an appearance or reference.
It’s like we hardly got to know Thorsen most of the season. But they introduced his mother and the angle of him filming a show to rehabilitate his image, but again, we rarely saw any of this content.
It played out like such a C-List storyline for the season that it never felt as if it was building to anything. The moment you got invested in what was happening with Thorsen, he’d fall off the face of the earth again.
I can’t believe this is happening to me again.
Correct me if I’m wrong because it may be a fever dream or misremembering, but didn’t Thorsen say something about wanting to look into Patrick’s murder and find out what happened?
A far more compelling arc would’ve been if Thorsen got into law enforcement because he wanted to solve this case, and he spent his free time looking into his friend’s death, determined to find the real killer. It could’ve been a season-long thing, and he could’ve elicited help and support from other characters, too.
Hell, he could’ve still done the stupid reality show thing as well.
Instead, we got Thorsen hauled into interrogation by his colleagues, questioned about another murder, and then effectively iced out of the investigation where they also figured out who killed Patrick.
Outside of serving as a suspect along with other people in his life, Thorsen wasn’t an active participant in a narrative that should’ve centered him.
Wesley: You’d have to be a psychopath to stab your roommate over dirty dishes.
Angela: I mean, I’ve come close to stabbing him over dirt dishes but that’s different. We’re married.
And unlike True Crime, the tone of this one was more offputting because of the personal connection to the case. The level of camp, silliness, and fun exuded when one of their own was at least briefly suspected of murder for the second time didn’t feel right.
We know how much Patrick’s murder ruined Thorsen’s life. He lost his best friend, got railroaded, and was thrown into prison, and people still viewed him as a murderer despite his innocence.
Patrick’s death shaped everything that Aaron is now, so it almost felt in poor taste for this case to lack any seriousness from most characters.
Aaron’s mother was omitting valuable information about things with Morris and her presence in Paris all those years ago. Lucy and Tim’s slapstick, opposite partners bit was fun for fans of the two interacting but messed up when talking about their colleague.
No amount of acknowledging the ickiness much later made up for it.
It felt like we waited all season for something significant for Thorsen, which was the best they managed. The moment they gave us his background, you knew they’d explore the characters solving his cold case murder to give him some closure. It’s a shame that it had to come in this form, though.
In hindsight, Thorsen and the resolution of Patrick’s murder case deserved the same attention and seriousness as Bailey’s ex-husband storyline.
And speaking of Bailey, it’s becoming cringe-worthy how much these series twist itself into a pretzel to incorporate Bailey. It’s nothing against Jenna Dewan, but Bailey simply does not flow into the storylines as easily as other secondary characters.
Dexter: Aaron, is it true?
Thorsen: Yes, sir. Rowan confessed to murdering Patrick.
Dexter: I’m so sorry I didn’t believe you. Can you ever forgive me?
Thorsen: Of course.
She had no business in this installment at all. She’s not a paramedic, so there was no need for her to sub as one at Thorsen’s place.
And to add to the three dozen other jobs and skillsets she has, apparently, and maybe this was to be a cute reference for Dewan’s great dancing skills, we learned that Bailey was connected to Thorsen’s rap famous dad because she was the equivalent of a “Fly Girl.”
What?! What hasn’t Bailey done? What doesn’t she do?
Worse yet, after the series speeding her and Nolan’s relationship, they’ve come to such a grinding halt that the one thing she was there for in the first place isn’t even interesting.
Imagine if half the time they spent on Bailey screentime, they gave to Thorsen and developing this Patrick murder case arc?
It’s kind of crazy that after no leads, movement, or anything else, in this case, Angela and the others were able to solve it in, like, two days while figuring out who killed Morris. It was shockingly easy for them when they didn’t even try.
Aaron didn’t get to solve it himself, but he got an apology from Patrick’s father, so that’s something, I guess.
Was the Gilles Marini cameo necessary? Not at all. Was it still lovely to see him? Absolutely!
Smitty’s first name is “Quigley,” and he started Q-Anon. You know what? I’ll go for that.
The Flex and Flow song was catchy, and it gave us Lucy rapping. I guess it makes up for how weird it was that they gave us that entire side plot and how icky it was that it felt similar to Tupac’s murder and was played up for fun.
Young Sergeant Grey was adorbs.
Wesley and Angela are so married. And Tim and Lucy feel so married.
Nolan referring to West was one of the few times it felt the right level of seriousness.
Over to you, Rookie Fanatics. What did you think of this one? Are you happy Thorsen’s name got cleared? Hit the comments.
The Rookie returns on April 3 with all-new episodes. Until then, you can watch The Rookie online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.