The season premiere of Rizzoli & Isles picked up right where last season’s cliffhanger left off, something that was very welcomed by the fans. After Jane shot Maura’s biological father, and mob boss, Paddy Doyle, the tension grows high between the two best friends. It was nice to see that the writers decided to have some major consequences to the actions of their characters even if it resulted in a feud between the show’s two leading ladies. One of the weaknesses this show has suffered from is having something happen, and then sweeping it under the rug, or tying it up nicely with a bow within one episode. So, I was more than happy to see that, even though, in the end of the episode we saw Jane and Maura being courtlier with each other, there is still a ways to go before they get even close to where they were before.
While the beginning of the episode started off with exchanges that were filled with venom and rage, as the episode wore on the fights became more comical. Jane and Maura’s biggest catfight was one of the funniest scenes of the series and it made their fighting much easier to watch. This episode definitely proved that the chemistry Sasha Alexander and Angie Harmon have with each other translates even into their characters’ feuding.
There was a good balance in the storyline, seeing as it was neither a Maura-centric, nor a Jane-centric episode, but an episode that deals extensively with the two of them together, and separately. Maura tries to deal with Jane’s betrayal and starts to uncover more about her background. And Jane deals with an Internal Affairs Investigation, and being accused of being a dirty cop. Both leading ladies were brilliant as usual, but to me, Sasha Alexander really shined through in this episode, acting through a large range of emotions.
One of the most entertaining scenes of the episode was a flashback to Jane helping Maura get ready before the undercover operation that led to the untimely shooting that tore them apart. Maura was so thrilled to go undercover for her first time and there was a lot of quick wit and cute moments that demonstrated her excitement. It was a nice break in the tension of the episode and only helped raise Maura’s ever growing cute-factor.
Another flashback that aided to lessen the tension was when Jane was recalling her and Maura’s first meeting. Jane was undercover as a hooker and couldn’t pay for her coffee shop order, so Maura steps in, clad in gloves as to not acquire any diseases from the hooker, and hands her money. It was very comical and I hope to see more of how their friendship progressed in future episodes.
The final scene in the episode was the one where Alexander’s acting chops really struck me. Maura’s biological father, Paddy Doyle, knew that if his father found out he’d fathered a child, she would be killed. So when Maura was born, he protected her and told her biological mother that she’d died. And he gave Maura to his art teacher, Constance Isles (Jacqueline Bisset). The last scene has Jane bringing Maura to the grave of “Baby Maura Doyle”, and Alexander nailed it with guttural sobs and intense emotion. She is one of those actors that bring me to tears when they’re distraught, with their complete raw emotion. Jane and her mother Angela had visited the grave as well, earlier in the episode. I think both visits are extremely powerful, because of what the grave represents. These characters stare at the headstone of Baby Maura Doyle and think of the person they now know. The person that Angela sees as a daughter to her, that Jane, regardless of their fighting, sees as her best friend in the whole world, and Maura sees as a fate that could’ve been hers. Maura would’ve died had it not been for Paddy giving her away, and everything they know would be so incredibly different.
A recurring theme in the show is the friendship of Maura and Jane. They do everything together, even when it is not necessary (something that is even poked fun at in the fan-created Rizzoli & Isles drinking game). So naturally, when Jane got demoted and reassigned to a different department, Maura resigned. And right when Jane announces that she’s been brought back to homicide, Maura tells Jane that she’ll be returning to her previous position as Chief Medical Examiner.
A character that was really prominent in this episode was Angela Rizzoli. Normally being an extremely underused character, it was refreshing to see her have so much screen time and such a pivotal role in this week’s plot. Lorraine Bracco was fantastic and it was so touching to see her relationship with both Jane and Maura. She is comforting them both throughout, and you can see how much their brawl is hurting her. One of the most heart-warming scenes was when Angela tells Maura “You’re like my daughter too”. Seeing how Maura has become so welcomed into their family, and is finally receiving the kind of love she has never gotten, brought me to tears. Maura is her daughter too, and nothing could change that. The Jane and Angela relationship was worth a mention too. It was so adorable to see Angela wanting to console her daughter so badly while Jane tried to shy away from any lovey-dovey emotion. But of course, as the hour grew on, Jane started to accept that her mother would not back off and embraced her loving motherly advances. It was nice to see Jane being sweet with her mother in contrast to her usual brash behaviour towards her.
As a whole this was definitely the strongest episode of the series. It had the perfect mix of genres, and a change in director was a huge advancement in the show’s cinematography. This premiere episode gave the network their strongest ever Tuesday premiere for a scripted series, along with three worldwide trends on Twitter.
Catch an all-new Rizzoli & Isles next Tuesday at 9/8c on TNT.