Chenford has risen!
It's been a long path toward Tim and Lucy finding their way to one another, and it couldn't have ended on a better note for both The Rookie Season 5 Episode 8 and The Rookie Season 5 Episode 9 that this relationship between the pairing has taken such a significant yet natural step.
While there were many things about the winter finale worth discussing, the official green light for Chenford is likely all anyone will be thinking and talking about until The Rookie's return.
It was a solid finale with a few exciting moments, particularly concerning some of the cases, but overall, it ended things on a happy note for everyone. It's refreshing when that happens. Fans can go into a hiatus flying high with satisfaction and eager to see their favorite characters when they return without some nerve-wracking cliffhanger.
The season has delivered with expediting what's been a virtual slow burn between Lucy and Tim, and now the two of them have cleared their respective paths and get to embark on the next stage of their relationship together.
How does it feel to win, Chenford Fanatics? Who knew it would feel this good?
We've seen this very open and honest form of communication between the two as what little walls they had up with each other crumbled before our eyes, and they couldn't even put up enough fight as to why they weren't pursuing each other.
Bradford: Do you love him?
Chen: I mean we haven't even been dating that long. It's not...
Bradford: He loves you.
Chen: I know. I know, and I feel like I should love him back. He's great, he's just not...
It left them in this unusual phase of each of them being cognizant of the attraction they had for one another and the feelings with no pretenses, where all they had to do was take this one final leap together.
But with their respective relationships still active and whatever reservations they may have had about ruining the dynamic they already had, there was this awkwardness as they were in this limbo of clearly loving each other but not able to move forward yet.
But there was also an air of inevitability between them this season. It wasn't a matter of if they'd eventually start dating but when that moment would come.
Interestingly, they both let their relationships with their partners die out in a natural course, which presumably meant to make up for the dicey moments they shared that danced along the lines of infidelity.
To be perfectly frank, Lucy and Tim were already emotionally entangled with each other before they even embarked on the physical aspect of testing the waters during the undercover mission.
But with a beloved ship with two lovable characters, even at their most flawed, it needed to happen the right way so we'd still feel good rooting for them.
They played it close. Even without them going through with having sex with each other -- something that would've started their relationship off not only as cheaters but undercut and cheapened genuine love and beauty of their bond by boxing it into physical and sexual attraction -- some moments could've gone left and ruined the path toward official Chenford.
Tim's relationship with Ashley was an odd, dull one where the little we saw of them only proved how incompatible they were, and she merely served as a placeholder and plot device.
But things with Chris were a bit more complicated than that. We spent a bit more time with him and saw more of his relationship with Lucy. He wasn't particularly unlikeable, and in the end, you did feel bad for him a bit more.
He's also someone you can imagine returning or having a hard time letting things go. Compared to Ashley, you can see where Chris would feel as if he got blindsided.
He was bleeding out on the couch when Chenford was about to have sex. He's the guy who thought he was moving in with Lucy when she rather abruptly broke up with him. And he's probably the person who will figure out that Lucy stayed with him out of some twisted form of guilt.
While I wasn't necessarily a fan of Chris, the character deserved better. Even during the finale, he had some questionable moments where it was almost designed for us to dislike and write him off when he hadn't previously been quite as insufferable.
Lucy, you deserve someone who is worth the effort.Bradford [to Chen]
His whole plot with the house hunting and how he disregarded Lucy's feelings after a day when a woman blew up, as he pressured her into looking for places, felt out of character, offputting, and surreal.
And the breakup was brutal, not only because of Lucy using Tim's advice about the playbook to cut ties with him, but because Chris didn't seem to take it well at all, and given Lucy's history, it's enough to make you worry a bit.
Nevertheless, it was long overdue for Lucy to cut Chris loose, and it's only a pity that she didn't do it sooner. I hate dragging and leading him on this long when she had such complicated feelings for Tim and even had the space to reflect poorly on her.
In those ways, the path to Chenford this season had its touchy moments, but make no mistake, finally getting to where we are now is satisfying. The Chenford moments were the best of the finale.
Through this bond, we've seen a more evolved Tim, and his character has only opened up and peeled back more layers because of the magic of Lucy in his life. We've seen the more vulnerable sides to him, the romantic ones, and Eric Winter does pining and sexy leading man so well.
We've seen Bradford smile more than ever, and the idea that we'll only get more of this happy, loving, more fulfilled Tim now that he's dating Lucy only makes a person happier.
And it's through Lucy's relationship with Tim that we see how much she's grown as a character. She's this more confident, assured, sexy woman. They've brought out the best in one another and different sides to each other, and they're not only compatible, but the timing for this feels right for them.
Yes, things were a bit messy, definitely tropey, and occasionally contrived to get us to this moment, but it was also well-earned that we got here.
I loved that Tim called Lucy out because she wasn't happy with Chris, yet you knew it wasn't specifically about them. Lucy was settling, and he loved her enough, even as a friend, not to want to see that.
And Lucy was honest about her fears. She and Tim have something special, and there is a reasonable worry that going any further with their relationship could jeopardize the one they already have.
From both ends, they'd finally reached a point where they could acknowledge how they'd become each other's person, and no one wanted to risk what that meant if things didn't pan out. But they took the leap of faith anyway.
While I wish Lucy could have had honest discussions with Chris before Tim, which only highlighted the remarkable difference between those relationships, I'm glad that she knew she had to end things with Chris before she could agree to date Tim.
And when he asked her again after it was all done, it was hard not to squeal. I'm relieved that they didn't jump into kissing each other or moving toward sex, and instead, they've settled on a date.
It's a significant step for them to take, sweeter, a much better acknowledgment of how serious they plan to take things, and an overall good sign for Chenford.
Typically, with slow burns that finally boil over with characters who have been best friends, essentially, shows will skip past the dating and courting and catapult them into an instant romantic relationship as if everything leading up to it was a precursor or the dating part.
It bodes well that we've gotten this type of movement, making things official for this pairing while still getting a natural, normal progression. I'm thrilled that we can see them actually date.
It's a healthy start for these two, and we get them pulling the trigger on their relationship while still maintaining some of that slow-burn goodness that made all of this worthwhile.
Chenford was the highlight of the finale, no doubt. But other things made this finale fun.
Thorsen is the gift that keeps on giving. Every time they show Thorsen again, it's a reminder of why he's been a great addition, and the show is all the better now that they know how to utilize him.
His scene with Lucy, helping her figure out how to break up with Chris and channeling him, was hysterical! Now that Thorsen is bogged down by that background story about his wrongful imprisonment, they've gotten the chance to explore other sides to him, and he's pure entertainment.
Nothing like a traumatic event to make you realize that your life is empty.Pam
The single-tear was Oscar-worthy, and the fact that he went to such extremes to help Lucy was quality television.
And his reaction to Lucy breaking up with Chris was funny too. He's so thoroughly invested in everyone's lives, and most of the time, when you put him in scenes like that with other characters, he's the perfect audience stand-in that way.
I don't know who will react better to Lucy and Tim dating, him or Angela.
Speaking of Angela, Thorsen's interest in becoming a detective and his motivations behind it were interesting, and he was the perfect comedic relief shadowing Harper and Angela. You can put Thorsen in a scene with any other character, and it's comedic gold.
I could watch an entire sideshow of him, Angela, and Harper working cases together and screwing with him.
They provided moments of amusement when other aspects of the finale could've felt heavy. The bomb case was intense, especially the first one that killed poor Pam.
It was shocking that they killed her after getting us invested in her well-being quickly, and my heart was broken knowing she never got to call her mother.
It seemed like something that would significantly impact Nolan and Celina, especially since Nolan kept telling her that the bomb wouldn't go off even when it started ticking faster. But oddly enough, beyond that heartwrenching scene where we saw them inform Pam's mother from a frustrating distance, both characters were shockingly unfazed and unaffected by her death and that experience.
The lack of emotional turmoil from that ordeal made me wonder why they bothered to kill the woman off in such a gruesome fashion anyway. It was literally just for the explosive shock value of it all.
Lucy: Did you have something that you were going to ask me?
Tim: I can't remember.
Lucy: Don't make me hurt you.
Tim: Do you want to go out on a date?
Lucy: Yeah, I do.
It showed how well Celina and Nolan work together and the trust they've developed. Celina's such an unusual character that it would be easy to write her off or not give her any due.
But Nolan trusted her judgment when cutting the correct wire, which saved his life. Although, it was probably foolish of him to stick around with the latest victim and end up doing something the bomb squad should have done.
Nolan and Celina spent the entire finale in life-threatening situations and were involved in the action. The most peace they had was when they were joking around at home. And yeah, we may as well consider Nolan's house Celina's home too.
It's cute how he doesn't realize he and Bailey have basically adopted Celina. They're still heavily playing up the family vibes with the trio, and it's entertaining, to say the least.
He and Celina also got their asses handed to them a few times with that robber and the subsequent brawl in the holding center. And Celina had a close call with her job being on the line.
It's taking some time, but Celina is settling into herself as a character, and when they show some restraint with her, she can be interesting to watch.
Interestingly, Nolan and Genny's interactions were among his best of the finale. What does it say that Nolan has more chemistry with Bradford's sister than with Bailey?
Somehow, they've become relatively close. As someone who has never been invested in a single one of Nolan's relationships in the series' tenure, the potential sparks between Nolan and Genny are the most appealing.
Lopez: Did he cry?
Lopez: Did you cry?
Wesley: That's irrelevant.
Sometimes the issues between Nolan and Bailey never feel resolved; their relationship comes across as surface-level and even superficial. The stagnancy of their engagement without any wedding or future plans feels like bad omens for their relationship.
Genny could be the perfect test or wedge to challenge Nolan and Bailey and come between them. Do you think they'd go down the love triangle route here?
The other relationships in this series were solid and entertaining.
Wesley and Angela are always fun to watch, and Wesley, as the fun, pushover dad who spoils his son, was endearing. Wesley and Lopez have their ups and downs, but they're always a solid team and adorable parents.
And Luna and Grey are so fun to watch together. I love seeing Grey's other side through his personal life.
Luna's appearances are always fun, and she's such a great character. I wish they used her more.
She's a total badass too, and her and Grey's dogged pursuit of their daughter, traipsing through New York City and ready to scorch the earth for Dominique, felt like a totally different show but in a good way.
Over to you, Rookie Fanatics. What did you think of this winter finale? Are you excited about Chenford? Do you think we'll see a Nolan, Genny, Bailey love triangle? 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.