And with that, we have the potential for a The Rookie spinoff!
"Simone" was the first installment of a two-episode event that has The Rookie Season 4 Episode 19 serving as a backdoor pilot for the Niecy Nash-Betts led FBI spinoff. And it certainly kicked things off with a bang.
We spent much of the hour getting to know Simone Clark. So, how do you feel about her? Would you tune in to a series devoted to her obstacles as a near-50-year-old FBI trainee with an alternative style?
As a backdoor pilot, they balanced things well. We spent a significant amount of time with Simone and got to know her rather well, and because of the "all hands on deck" approach to the case, nearly all the other characters were involved.
As a result, it didn't feel as if this newcomer dominated everything and shoved the characters with whom we're most familiar to the side, but she also got to shine.
Oh my God, did we accidentally move in together?Nolan
Simone even had the chance to interact with more than just Fillion's Nolan, even though it was blatant how they paired the two and used him as the bridge and character to pass the symbolic torch.
Nash-Betts and Fillion had serviceable chemistry. She did a lot of the heavy lifting selling us on this character, rounding her out as much as possible despite everything else happening.
The hour itself felt like it lasted a long time because of how much they crammed into it at once.
Simone is a spitfire with a heart of gold who doesn't know how to be anything other than herself. Her motivations for getting into the FBI were based on personal connections and experiences.
She grew up with a prodigious musician father who got wrongfully convicted of a crime and spent years in prison. She looked up to the FBI for solving the case that led to his release.
And something like that influenced her deeply and prompted her to want to make a difference. Despite her activist, anti-law enforcement father's feelings about the matter, Simone believes the best way to make a difference and change the system is to fight from within it.
It tells a lot about Simone's character and gumption in such a short period. It also presents a timely conundrum that addresses some of the conflicts she'd face as a Black woman of this time pursuing a controversial field.
We learn that Simone is service-based, compassionate, and genuine in wanting to make a difference. Her previous job as a guidance counselor influenced her, too.
Simone: Daddy, A good agent can do more positive change with one case than most people do in a lifetime. Mr. Clark: What's that? Quote for the yearbook? Come on, Give me a real reason why you do this.
Simone: Because we make up less than one percent. Black Women make up less than one percent of the FBI. Speeches at rallies can only do so much. If we want real justice, we got to be on the inside.
And it proved to be beneficial to her throughout the hour as her natural read on people, maternal instincts, and compassionate human abilities gave her an edge that rivaled the skillset of experienced behavioral analysts and profilers.
A terrorist attack plot was the best and most predictable way to bring these two worlds together. Although, some of the events from there were incredibly contrived.
The team finding Zeke's prints and somehow surmising that his former guidance counselor, who happens to be in the FBI academy, would be instrumental in catching him, was as far-fetched as it gets,
And to prove their point, they literally flew Simone from Quantico to LA in a chopper only to dismiss her after she dared to give her input during the meeting.
Inquiring minds still want to know why they called her there in the first place. And they spent the rest of the hour overdoing the discouragement and dismissive nature of the Feds when it came to Simone.
The disrespect they displayed when it was apparent that she was valuable in some ways was immature, unprofessional, and absurd.
If stopping a terrorist attack was their priority, then it was downright silly that they even took the time to grind Simone down at every turn or ship her back to the Academy.
Nolan seeing something in Simone and seeking her help was on-brand for him, and her ability to track Zeke down and get him to talk cracked open the case and gave them a lead on the real terrorist.
It was good to see Chicago Fire's Yuriy Sardarov again, even though he's playing a mysterious Russian terrorist who may have some sort of ties to the CIA.
He's perfectly sinister and mysterious here as the man with the scar. He's a slippery guy, and he keeps evading them at every turn.
He exploited Zeke, and if it weren't for the fact that he got away, he would've ended up dead at the hands of the terrorist. Of course, his life is potentially ruined, and he could be in prison for the rest of his life because he built and gave the man detonators.
And even though he got what he needed from the guy at the army base, he still killed the man's husband. The terrorist is ruthless that way!
As a side note, we're reminded of the neverending list of things that Bailey does. Did anyone else roll their eyes and scoff in disbelief when she was at the base dressed in fatigues clearing the room with her army cohorts and searching for the terrorist as if she was G.I. freaking Jane?
The Bailey thing remains ridiculous! What doesn't she do? She's the freaking Barbie of the series with a zillion jobs and titles, a Ken doll boyfriend, and his dream house.
But back to the case. No matter what they do and how many feds and cops they have on this case, the terrorist remains steps ahead of them no matter what.
Simone has been their best asset, whether they want to acknowledge it or not.
Her skill level and how great she is sometimes would come at the expense of other characters and mainly made the FBI appear incompetent at times.
And some of the stuff was predictable.
Harper and Angela working together was a nice treat as the two women have great chemistry and are always entertaining. The Meadows call was a classic case that they played up for amusement.
But it was apparent from the get-go that Meadows' case was more serious and beyond a delusional man who thought he saw an alien. And it was blatantly apparent that his situation would converge with the primary terrorist plot.
Nolan: If you're not a rush to get back to Quantico, how would you like to ride with me the rest of my shift and find our suspect?
Simone: I'd love to.
They told us more than enough when they stated that he was a professor of urban planning and his traffic information was the only thing the alien stole from him.
It was reasonable to conclude that someone blowing up the place Nolan and Chen checked out and narrowly escaped with their lives was about either testing things out or knocking out the grid to do something bigger.
It was surprising that it took Harper and Angela, two of the show's best long to put some things together or consider that the Meadows incident may have been connected to all hands on deck terrorist situation.
And both women have familiarity with delusional and mentally ill individuals, so it probably shouldn't have required Simone, the former guidance counselor, to get through to him.
Simone didn't even have to do too much work before Meadows shared that the alien took another form of a white guy with a scar and Russian accent.
Why wouldn't that have come up much sooner, you know?
But Simone needed that moment to finally convince her boss to let her join the task force.
And it was necessary to hit home the point that regardless of Casey's jaded, glum advice about changing everything, she is to be part of a boy's club, Simone would do no such thing.
Casey: Let me tell you what I wish somebody told me when I was a blue flamer trying to prove myself. The FBI isn't a safe space for women's empowerment. It's a boy's club. Now you still have a chance to make it. All you have to do is fit in by hide who you really are.
Simone: Honey, there's no hiding this.
Now that she's officially in the fold, we can see more of what she's capable of as they pursue the terrorist and hopefully stop the five different bombs that may go off in Los Angeles.
I imagine that will mean more of her speeding in pursuit of suspects and falling back on her experience as a guidance counselor. While nothing to sniff at, that field has been treated like a supernatural skill set to connect to people along the way.
Simone can use her alternative style to prove her colleagues wrong and expand their minds about what she has to offer.
Niecy Nash-Betts does well, and she puts in the work to make Simone a compelling character. We still need more time with her to see if it's something that works.
It's characters like her boss Matt and Casey who fall short and come across as lackluster and unappealing. Matt's interactions with Grey were the few times he was interesting, but it wasn't by much.
And Casey felt too similar to the drab, undercover FBI agent with no personality on Good Girls.
They built up some momentum with this first half, so we'll have to see if they maintain it with the second.
Over to you, Rookie Fanatics!
What's your first impression of Simone? Would you be interested in the spinoff? Sound off below.
You can watch The Rookie online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.