"Before and After" cemented my disdain for Assistant Chief Taylor and provided new insight into the turmoil Major Crimes (the department, not the show) is facing after the departure of Brenda Leigh Johnson.
It hadn't been clear until Sharon pointed out to Taylor that part of the problem within her department was due to the matching ranks within. She and Provenza share a rank, if not seniority, although at this point I'm not even clear on that issue. Sharon asserted that it would most likely be cleared up if she were promoted to the Commander rank she had been promised, but Taylor reminded her there was a freeze on all positions.
You had to love her comeback: Aapparently not Assistant Chiefs."
It was what happened during that conversation - the condescending, pejorative and misogynistic attitude Taylor used with Sharon - that really ruffled my feathers. He had the nerve to talk to her about being pleased she was even given the chance, considering she was past the recommended age of retirement.
Does someone really expect me to believe he is not past that recommended age? He also suggested that her ability run the department would be based upon how she handled the squabbling.
Taylor has nothing to do with the squabbling? What is his job? If I recall, under the same situation, Pope would have been involved already, ensuring there were not further issues about who was in command. Instead, Taylor had about 32 white boards in his office upon which he was scribbling. Very helpful indeed.
All of that said, I now have Sharon Raydor's back. If I were to (jump ahead a bit) and judge by the last scene, I think Provenza will fall into line with me soon enough, as well.
For everyone who was concerned last week that the writing was tired or lazy, I hope your fears have been assuaged. Provenza was on fire and the new gal, Sykes, was pretty spot on, as well. She's a welcome addition to the team and I like how she provides a bit of exasperating enthusiasm for a bunch of otherwise road weary veterans. She's going to keep them on their toes, much like Rusty will keep Sharon on hers.
Speaking of Rusty, I'm still behind the idea of him and Sharon in this mother/son situation. They both have balls of steel and marshmallow insides, making them quite perfect for each other. It was really touching that Sharon had already looked into getting Rusty into the same school her sons attended. Granted, he thought it was to get rid of him, but it was the exact opposite. She already felt so much for him that she wanted for him what she had given her sons. We only saw the barest glimpse of that emotional side on The Closer, and bringing it out here will make the show her own.
The showdown between Sharon and Provenza at the end was classic. What a great bet. Provenza, you keep your job here until you find one that you feel will treat you fairly.
In this world, the poor guy will be working with Major Crimes until his dying breath! At least we hope so, because if we lost the heart of a show we loved, we didn't lose the foundation. The supporting cast from The Closer has really stepped up to the plate. In two episodes they've made it an ensemble instead of a starring vehicle. If it continues, it will be toward certain success.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.