So far, it feels as though something is missing, and Major Crimes Season 2 Episode 13 didn't provide the spark that I was looking for.
I can't quite place my finger on it, but the magic that was established during Major Crimes Season 1 and disappeared with the introduction of DDA Rios at the beginning of Major Crimes Season 2, hasn't been reestablished.
It's not that the stories or characters are badly written, but the thread that used to tie the two together seamlessly is missing. There isn't a commonality that makes me care about the team as they crack the case, which was a lot more prevalent not only on The Closer, but in season one, when there was still discourse between Provenza and Raydor.
Now that the team doesn't have a lot of personal discourse, they're less interesting. We're left with marginal cases and "moments."
There were quite a few good moments in "Jailbait." Here are some that stood out for me, and these are the little things that I miss on a more consistent basis:
- Dr. Morales left the L.A. County Morgue's annual Christmas party to do a preliminary autopsy for major crimes, but he was tipsy so he would have to do all the tests again the next day, and they shouldn't expect his regular genius. He's always been a great character, and his exploration in Major Crimes is much appreciated.
- When Flynn asked Sanchez if he happened to know Deputy Diaz, and Sanchez got all comically uppity because of course Flynn would think he knew all the L.A. Latinos. Then when Sanchez reached Flynn's desk he realized he did know the guy, and he was married to his sister's best friend from high school.
- When DDA Hobbs sat on the side of Provenza's desk and he wanted her to stop, so he scrunched up his face and slyly put a set of wind-up chattering teeth on the spot where her behind had just been. Classic Provenza move!
Those are really small in the overall scheme of the series, but are the special touches that set the series apart from every other procedural on the air. Without the interaction between the characters on a larger level, we're stuck with leftovers. Something dramatic needs to happen. The Rusty storyline isn't filling the void.
I think the hope was that Rusty's turn as a witness would be the emotional connection that would pull everyone together. Instead of a big bad like Phillip Stroh; Brenda Leigh vs. Pope; Priority Homicide forced to work with the FBI; the constant threat of restructure because of Brenda Leigh's renegade ways; Brenda Leigh vs. Sharon Raydor; Raydor vs. Provenza and the many other internal conflicts that we've encountered during the run of the two series, Rusty as a witness in the Stroh case was supposed provide that underlying tension. It's not.
That's not to say Rusty's plight and Sharon's reaction to it isn't compelling. What it's explaining to the viewing audience about victim's rights and witness testimony is worth the story in its own right. But it's dragging on too long and not providing enough for the incredibly talented cast to work with on a weekly basis.
The discussions between Sharon and Rusty and Dr. Joe and Rusty about therapy were enlightening. Sharon's take on mental illness and emotional damage as both being reasons to necessitate therapy were helpful to Rusty's cause. Dr. Joe's caring description of Rusty's past situation finally shed some light for Rusty as to why he might be more confused than he even realizes.
Dr. Joe: I'm not sure that you that you understand, in taking care of yourself the way you did, you were subjected to a form of physical abuse that, legally, we would call rape.
Rusty: Rape? No. I was never raped. I charged people for what I did. I solicited. I chose to do that.
Dr. Joe: And did you also choose to be left behind when your mother left L.A. with her boyfriend? Did you choose to live on the streets when you were 15 years old? And if you didn't choose those things, would you describe taking care of yourself under those conditions as something you deserved?
That fit both Rusty's plight and the case of the evening, so it all fell together, but still not enough to make it a stellar episode.
The ability is there, however. We've all witnessed it before. The introduction of the right tension could once again propel Major Crimes to greatness. Share your thoughts in the comments.
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.