Rizzoli & Isles “Dangerous Curve Ahead” Review (Season 7 Episode 2)

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On the second of two episodes serving as the premiere of the seventh and final season of “Rizzoli & Isles,” we got a more traditional episode, as Frankie (Jordan Bridges) caught his first case as a primary lead detective on the Fatal Accident Investigation Team, involving a student who might have been murdered by a jealous ex-boyfriend who messed with her car, causing her to wreck it. (For a look at the first episode, click here.)

A precursory investigation seemed to indicate that no alcohol or drugs were involved, which indeed proved to be the case. The girl’s parents, however, are convinced that her ex was the culprit, citing that he was an ex-con with a nasty background who had threatened their daughter- and who just so happened to be a mechanic.

A look at the car shows no evidence anyone messed with it, but it’s so damaged in the wreck that it’s hard to say definitively. Further, his “record” only amounts to a drunk and disorderly charge and hardly makes him out to be the hardened criminal the girl’s parents said he was. A talk with the guy doesn’t exactly prove otherwise, as he seems genuinely taken aback by the news.

He directs Frankie towards her best friend, and mentions that the parents were both micro-managers that pushed his ex way too hard, and that it might have had something to do with that. Said friend confirms as much, saying that she was failing several classes and in danger of flunking out of school altogether, and that her parents did indeed push her pretty hard- but not as hard as she pushed herself.

Isles takes a look at the extensive notes the girl was making in her notebooks and thinks that she might have been plotting her own death, pointing out that the figures in one of them match the trajectory of her car as it would go through the guard rail and off the cliff, greatly ensuring her death one way or another.

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Another look at the scene of the crime proves it, as there are reflectors planted on the guard rails with the girl’s fingerprints on them, and they aren’t the kind of reflectors normally used there, which means it had to be her that put them there. Frankie is inclined to blame the parents, but after talking to his mother, he opts to downplay it to them personally, instead telling them it was a mere accident rather than a planned suicide.

Meanwhile, as all of this is going on, the hunt for Alice continued, with the team catching a break when the person in charge of Alice’s money was found. After tailing him to a run-down building, a SWAT team is assembled to confront him, with the thinking being that Alice may be hiding out there.

However, when the man spots the camera they used to take a look inside the room, a shoot-out ensues and he is killed instantly before he can be questioned, so, aside from snagging a bunch of Alice’s money, the bust is, well, kind of a bust.

Fortunately, a connection is made between the money man and a deli that one of his relatives owned and this time, the raid proves fruitful, as they not only find Alice there, but a rifle alongside her that was likely used in the wedding shooting. Rizzoli finally confronts her, saying that her reasons for coming after her are stupid, which is true. (“You know what I remember about you?” says Rizzoli to Alice, “Nothing.”)

Alice tries to get into Rizzoli’s head, asking her if she’s really accomplished anything and if all she goes through is worth it. She also points out that if she goes to jail, her business will only continue, as it did the last time she was in jail, so even if Rizzoli successfully makes the charges against her stick, it will be a minor win at best.

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Her lawyer arrives and Alice ceases talking, and to make matters worse, the rifle found beside her is not a match to the one Nina was shot with. In court, she pleads innocence, and even implies that Rizzoli is all but stalking her and obsessed with making her out to be something she’s not.

Sure enough, with the lack of evidence against her, the case is dismissed, as not only is there nothing tying her to the shooting, but to Maura’s kidnapping or the shooting of the State Trooper, either. What’s more, the street kids give a different story from Rizzoli’s account of what happened in the sewers, claiming that the teen that she shot was acting on his own, not at Alice’s behest, making Rizzoli look like she has an axe to grind against Alice.

Alice and her lawyer take it one step forward by bashing Rizzoli on TV to the press, much as Rizzoli herself did to Alice previously. Bowed but not beaten, Rizzoli decides to look into the State Trooper’s death again for something they might have missed the first time, as the car Alice used is still MIA.

After taking a closer look at a map of the area, Rizzoli notices a dead-end road with something at the end of it, which proves to be a rock quarry. (The local cops wouldn’t have thought to look there before?) Sure enough, the local cops find the car there, and it’s brought in to be given the once over by Maura and company. Luckily, they find several partial fingerprints and some DNA, all of which match to Alice.

This is enough to take a second stab at Alice, so another team is assembled and descends upon the deli, which Alice has stupidly gone back to. (If she’d had any sense, she would have left town while the getting was good, but I guess she felt invincible at that point.) Alice sees them coming and runs upstairs, holding a kid working there hostage.

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Rizzoli confronts her, telling her to drop the gun, but no such luck. Alice locks the door behind her, and has Rizzoli make her back-up back off. Rizzoli says they can talk this out and lowers her gun, but Alice isn’t in the mood for talking anymore and draws on Rizzoli, who handily shoots her dead. Before she goes, Alice says it doesn’t matter as this will smear Rizzoli’s reputation, so she still “wins.” Not sure how that would be, but okay.

We end with another trip to church, as Rizzoli tells the priest that the confession she made previously won’t be necessary after all, as she did nothing wrong in the end. Still, she did kill someone- granted, someone who wreaked havoc in her life and the lives of others- but I think we should count on there being at least some fallout, if only of the emotional variety.

Furthermore, Isles is obviously still suffering from the after-effects of the attack, as she’s clearly forgetting key things and is experiencing memory loss, big-time, which I’m sure we’ll continue to see more of moving forward. One good thing did come out of it, though, as Frankie and Nina bonded that much more and are now an item. (So long Nicole, we hardly knew ye!)

That said, this was only a so-so episode, and a bit of a letdown after all the build-up. I mean, Alice was set up to be this great criminal mastermind, and by all indications, she was, and yet, the only thing that got her caught in the end was, I guess, hubris?

And her end-game was kind of stupid, as there was nothing about that shooting that was ever going to make Rizzoli look bad. Now if she’d faked having the gun and Rizzoli shot her anyway, then she might have had something, but that wasn’t what happened. It was obviously a clean shoot, to the point that Rizzoli didn’t even feel that bad about it in the end, save her return visit to the church, which was understandable. Nor should she, IMHO.

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As ever, though, the saving grace here was the show’s sense of humor, from the opening salvo as Isles assessed Rizzoli’s new digs (“The professor’s taste is a little dark and masculine, but it kind of suits you.”) to her joking around about her malady by saying “Whose house is this?” That was also cute when Rizzoli turned the tables on her by suggesting she’d been there an hour already!

Granted, it might seem insensitive to some to poke fun at what was clearly no laughing matter, but I also thought it was a very human way to deal with it, much like cracking “gallows” humor-style jokes at a particularly grisly crime scene helps cops cope with what is before them.

That said, I would like to see more dealing with Maura’s reaction to her predicament, as someone in her line of work losing her memory is a pretty big deal. Granted, they did have those scenes where Kent showed considerable concern about it, but even that was played for laughs somewhat. (Rizzoli: “Do you always stare at [Maura] like that, because that’s kind of creepy.” Kent: “I could stare at you instead, if you like.”)

Also, Angela breaking up with her boyfriend just because his daughter came to the bar to complain about her daughter being exposed to the danger of his being involved with a cop’s mother was a bit flimsy of an excuse for that. I certainly hope that the show plans to circle back around to that by having Ron come after Angela and tell her she’s being silly, because she totally is.

He knew what he was getting into, even if what happened was unexpected. Besides, what happened was a total fluke, and it’s not as if he’s dating an actual cop, just a relative of one, which is hardly the same thing. Hell, even Kiki handled that better and it was her own wedding it happened at- not to mention her name is freaking Kiki. Man up, Ron, and make it happen.

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So, yeah, overall, the two-episode premiere was a bit of a mixed bag, but there was enough to enjoy here to make it worthwhile, even if there were enough lapses in logic to make one wonder if Isles wrote it, post-subdural hematoma. (See? I can make jokes, too!)

As such, I’m glad they will be forgoing the whole long-term “Big Bad” thing for the rest of the series, as they wouldn’t have time to do it justice anyway, and the payoff for this one was kind of meh. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the overall plot-line, and the way they weaved it in and out of a significant chunk of last season and the beginning of this one, but the ending was just kind of weak, and the character was underwritten when we finally met her face-to-face.

Mind you, I’m not bashing Annabeth Gish, who I like just fine. They just didn’t give her much to work with in the end. She really needed a big showboating scene at some point, but we never really got one, and as a result the character was oddly muted in the end. Hopefully, with all that behind us, we can concentrate on giving all the characters we care about a solid ending over this last season. Hopefully.

What did you think of the two episodes? Were you satisfied with the Alice story-line overall, or a bit disappointed with it as well? Or like me, did you like the set-up but the ending, not so much? Are you satisfied with the way they’ve dealt with the fallout from the wedding shooting so far? What would you like to see happen in the final season? Sound off down below, and see you next week!