That was some way for Regina to spend her birthday.
East New York Season 1 Episode 5 began with her getting a creepy phone call from a prisoner she helped put away for life, and that was just for openers.
Regina took the phone call in stride -- she'd probably had many such weird calls from Jacobs -- and went ahead and celebrated her birthday as if nothing had happened, only to spend the rest of the hour trying to track the guy down after he escaped.
Jacobs seemed obsessed with Regina; it was a surprising but refreshing twist that his plan wasn't to kill her or otherwise seek revenge on her for locking him up in the first place.
Throughout the first half of the episode, it was hard to tell whether Regina was being naive or whether she knew him well enough to know she wasn't his target, no matter what the evidence said.
He seemed like a stalker between that phone call and the clippings he'd saved of articles about Regina's career. No wonder Suarez wanted to pull Regina off the case and get her protection.
Detective? You sure Jacobs isn't in East New York for you?Morales
Even if everyone else had been right, Regina was better off being out and about. Jacobs seemed to be able to kill anyone he wanted, including the US Marshals guarding Ava, so sitting back and letting the security detail handle things probably wouldn't have been a great idea.
Jacobs' almost supernatural ability to get away with murder was the one thing that required suspension of disbelief.
It's difficult to imagine that prison security was so lax that a prisoner wouldn't be checked for contraband on the way to the hospital, especially if he wasn't in any immediate physical danger, never mind kill US Marshals who were on guard duty.
His escape story was compelling enough to overlook those things, though.
East New York did a great job of making Jacobs into a three-dimensional villain.
In too many shows, drug dealers and murderers are depicted as purely evil people, but Jacobs was also a modern-day Robin Hood who helped protect vulnerable community members and a father who wanted to spend time with his son.
In some ways, he was more akin to a mob boss, helping protect people and gain loyalty. Still, it made him a more well-rounded character than most such villains.
It also made it nearly impossible to find him after he kidnapped Drew. Regina felt guilty about failing to keep the boy safe after all these years; if Ava hadn't confessed to nearly having run away with Jacobs, the cops might never have caught up with him and Drew.
That kid must have been so confused. His father finally came back into his life and acted like a decent guy, but he got arrested after nearly killing Drew's mother.
Suarez: You collared him for a second time. City's gonna wanna give you a medal.
Regina: I don't feel like I did anything worth it this time.
Suarez: You did what you could. Now it's up to Ava to raise Drew to be a proper young man.
Suarez was right that it was up to Ava now to raise Drew properly, but Regina will probably always live with the guilt and fear that she didn't do the right thing when she convinced Ava to let her get Drew's statement after he witnessed Jacobs attacking someone.
Ava wanted a better life for herself and Drew, but she was unable to resist Jacobs' claims to be a changed man, plus it sounded like Drew's stepfather was also abusive.
None of that was anything Regina could control, but she blamed herself when Drew was kidnapped, and it may be a long time before she's able to fully believe what Suarez was telling her about none of this being her fault.
Most of the hour was spent chasing Jacobs, so it was slightly anticlimactic when he surrendered without much of a fight. He seemed determined to hold onto Drew, even using him as a shield, but as soon as the boy begged him to stop, he did.
With ten minutes to go in the hour, I was expecting another twist, but instead, Drew was returned to his mother, and Suarez gave Regina a pep talk. I loved what Suarez said, but the ending of the search for Jacobs could have been a little more exciting.
Meanwhile, Brandy had yet another run-in with her neighbors at the projects.
Girl: Oh look, here comes the cop.
Brandy: I am not a cop right now. I am a tenant and I am asking you nicely to turn down your music.
She allowed a bunch of kids to push her buttons, so she lost her temper and wrote them all up.
I could see both sides of this after her neighbor told her to move out. On the one hand, there is a lot of tension between these people and cops, especially white cops. And it sucks to feel like your neighbor is watching you and might arrest you for something stupid that doesn't deserve jail time.
On the other hand, the kids were misbehaving in ways that were both illegal and unneighborly, and when Brandy tried to approach them as a fellow tenant, they doubled down on their behavior to see what she would do.
This wasn't a case where she was harassing people who were minding their own business, and if the kids were that loud and obnoxious, there had to be other tenants who had had run-ins with them.
Brandy's solution allowed her to talk a big talk in front of the neighbor who hated her about how these people deserve dignity, but will it make a difference? That woman might think it's all for show, especially after Brandy found that stash of guns in the elevator shaft.
Regina got her birthday cake in the end after enduring Yenko's complaining about his sandwich, which seemed so petty in light of everything else going on.
Yenko is more or less comic relief, but there was a missing child, an escaped convict on the run who was on a killing spree, and other high-stakes things going on. This time, he was more annoying than funny.
What do you think, East New York fanatics? Were Yenko's antics annoying or amusing? What should Brandy do about what she found in the elevator shaft? And did anyone else think the ending of the Jacobs chase was a little rushed?
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East New York airs on CBS on Sundays at 9 PM EST / PST.