After a spectacular premiere, sometimes the second episode of a new show doesn’t exactly live up to the standards set by the pilot.
Blue Bloods is not one of those shows.
The second episode of the family-centric crime drama kicked off with a robbery on a subway train, one which was filmed for posterity and posted on the Internet. Led by a gang hotshot nicknamed “Handsome,” the passengers on the subway were forced at gunpoint to surrender their wallets and purses, then subjected to some rough handling from his “crew.” As the camera zoomed away, down through the remaining subway cars, gunshots rang out, and the screen went black.
Not a bad way to introduce the case of the week, and when our first glance at the Reagan family was a peek by a peek in at the Reagan men attempting to assemble a new toy for Danny’s son’s birthday, once again, the juxtaposition between this family’s chosen profession and their domestic existence was clear and beautifully presented. As Jamie (Estes) showed up and was sucked into helping brother Danny (Wahlberg) put together the toy, the cellphones of both Danny and Frank (Selleck) went off, calling their attention to the robbery that has just transpired. The scene ends with Henry (Cariou) sitting at the kitchen table by himself, staring in disbelief that he’s just been abandoned by his son and his grandsons, a delightful moment of humor against the undeniably heavy tone set by the robbery.
This episode was also the first glance at the series’ opening credits, which are simply done in (appropriately) hues of blue, and are accompanied by a rock-tinged theme. They’re a great fit stylistically, and do a good job of representing both sides of the core characters – scenes of them in action in their respective jobs are mixed in with scenes of them in the domestic setting.
Even though there were parts of the episode as far as the case that were bordering on cliché – the revelation that one of the boys involved in the robbery had been shot and killed, and the attempted shanking of the “Subway Samaritan” as he was being transported to another location, for instance – they were executed in such a way that the usual insult of nearly-cliché material wasn’t present.
As fast-paced and as engaging as the case was, it was once again the dynamics among the family that drove this episode. Moynahan was allowed to demonstrate a little bit of fragility in her Erin, while still maintaining her brassy, in-your-face persona. Her scenes with Frank and Danny were especially notable: the emotion displayed with Frank was gorgeous, and the tension between the siblings (especially in the moment when Danny asked her about possibly influencing a case) was extremely real. But it was Cariou’s Grandpa Henry who was quite the scene stealer. His dry humor and his ability to use his voice to illustrate a twinkle in his eye set him as possibly the most charming character in the cast, which is saying something when the cast as a whole is so talented.
There were only a few drawbacks as far as plot and cast in this episode, and one was Andrea Roth’s presence as reporter – and new girlfriend of Frank – Kelly Davidson. There was something extremely grating about her presence on the screen, whether she was making life awkward during a bargaining session over whether or not she would air a video sent to her by Handsome, or telling Frank that she really didn’t see why they had to change who they were. Part of me is uncertain that the secret girlfriend angle is even needed to create drama, but I’ll give it time to grow on me.
The second problem was the last-minute addressing of the Blue Templar storyline, planted at the end of the premiere. Jamie’s choice of whether or not to step into the role his deceased brother Joe filled with the FBI, whether or not to take on the responsibility of becoming a spy and relaying information on the secret society within the Department, was relegated to a two-minute scene at the end of the episode, one which really didn’t seem sufficient. Filled with trite dialogue – mostly on the part of the female FBI agent – this plotline is one that will have to be handled carefully so as not to cross into the land of shark-jumping.
Overall, however, the second taste of the show is just as compelling as the first, and the slow unfolding of important plot points and character relationships is something that should definitely have viewers coming back next week.