Rizzoli & Isles Season 5 Review “Goodbye”

Rizzoli & Isles Season 5 Episode 2 Goodbye (4)

On the latest episode of “Rizzoli & Isles,” we finally got to give a beloved cast member and character the send-off he so richly deserved, in the aptly-titled “Goodbye.” As we all know by now, actor Lee Thompson Young, aka Detective Barry Frost, was lost to us when he sadly took his own life late last year.

Understandably, the show took a breather, not sure how to proceed in light of this abrupt news, which came while the show was still shooting its fourth season. Ultimately, the rest of the season was finished and aired, but the character’s fate was left hanging in the air for the time being, as the writers decided how to handle it best.

Last week, we finally got our acknowledgment, when it was revealed that Frost had died in a car wreck in the last episode. Suitably, this episode served largely as a eulogy to not only the character, but the actor as well, as all concerned gathered to give him the send-off he so richly deserved. Was it a bit contrived? Sure- how could it not be?

When one of your main actors leaves so unpredictably, as a show-runner, you have no choice but to figure a way to contend with that, and in a way that’s faithful and properly reverent to the person who is no longer with us. I felt that, under those circumstances, this was a good as it possibly could be, and more importantly, it dealt with the situation in relatable, honest terms.

Basically, by adopting the death-by-car-wreck scenario, the show itself was allowed to approximate the actual circumstances of Young’s untimely death without actually adhering to the reality of the situation, which probably would have seemed crass and exploitive. Obviously, car wrecks happen all the time, and they are sudden and unexpected, so having Frost die this way lent itself well to the framework of the show, where, as tends to be the case in an incident like that, the stages of grief came in waves and in their own time, as each of the main characters dealt with it in their own respective ways.

Appropriately enough, it was Jane that was the last to crumble, at first her typical business-as-usual self, until a posthumous postcard that arrived after Frost’s funeral caught her off-guard and she fell to pieces. Of course, that’s death in a nutshell, isn’t it? It hits you when you least expect it, and if you’re a survivor of that death, the same applies tenfold, especially if the person concerned was relatively youthful, as was the case with the true-to-his-name Young.

As such, I thought the show nailed it, from the stunned disbelief as Frost’s team attempted to valiantly pick up the pieces in his wake; to the stinging reminders of his passing, like the ever-hovering presence of Frost’s beloved action figure on his desk. Jane’s eulogy was also spot-on, celebrating the good times over the bad and highlighting Young’s boisterous laugh over his sad demise, as it should be. Needless to say, the eulogy could have just as easily been written for Young himself, not just the character, and as such, served as a valid reminder of his life, not his untimely death.

Of course, also as it should be, the main case was secondary to the Frost plotline, and revolved around a woman with amnesia who came into the precinct armed and covered in blood, unable to remember what had happened, and what, if anything, she had done. In the end, the answer was relatively straight-forward, as the woman (Jenn Proske, of “Graceland”) turned out to be a preschool teacher with a ne’er-do-well ex-husband that got in too deep with a drug dealer and paid the price for it.

Her ex was executed right in front of her eyes, and after a struggle, she was able to get the gun from the drug dealer and chase him off, but subsequently lost her memory briefly as she struggled to process what had happened. Obviously, this was meant to directly reflect the team’s own struggle to process the information that Frost was no longer with them, and as such, it was an effective enough entry into that side of the story which served its purpose well enough.

So, all in all, it was about the best one could hope for, under the unfortunate circumstances. I thought the show did a beautiful job and made the best of the situation as it possibly could have. Young, and his character Frost, will certainly be missed, and the show may never quite fill that void, but it did an admirable job contending with it in the most commendable way it could.

What did you think of the latest “Rizzoli & Isles”? Did you think they did a good job commemorating Frost, and by extension, Young? What did you think of how they handled his death? How about the main case? Do you think they will add a new character in Frost’s wake? Let me know what you thought of the episode down below, and feel free to do some eulogizing of your own as well.