We've only got three more episodes of Rookie Blue this season (don't worry, it's coming back next year!), so it's time to amp up the drama. Most importantly, it's time for us to get to know a character we've sort of overlooked for the last couple of weeks, even if it's as the show is putting the screws to her.
If you were wondering where Marlo was last week, she's been keeping an eye on Kevin Ford, one of the suspects from "You Are Here" (that's Flashpoint alum Michael Cram, looking totally suspicious). He catches her sneaking around his house, at which point they have a huge argument.
Meanwhile, Nick is passed out until Andy tries to kick him out of bed; she asks him what time he got in last night, so clearly they've settled into couplehood rather quickly. The best they can agree on, though, is that they "don't totally hate it." Elsewhere, Diaz is teasing Gail and Dov about their lack of sleep, before he declares that he's happy to be back. We're happy to have you back, Chris. Even if you think Russian cocktails sound like a good idea.
At the morning meeting, we find out that everyone's sleep-deprived because they're working with Sam (who does not care how tired they are) and Traci on a major drug operation. Oliver asks Sam where Marlo is, which makes him call his girlfriend, who doesn't answer her phone as she's in the parking lot of 15 Division going over city records. Andy discovers what Marlo is up to, listens as she sets a new words per minute record, and suggests that she take it easy. But that's not going to happen, because the only thing we know Marlo has to do is finish painting her bedroom, and then we'd literally be watching paint dry.
(Although, she could team up with Diaz - since we know Travis Milne used to co-host a CTV series about houses - and they could have their own home improvement show. It'd be better than This Old House. I sense a spinoff.)
Andy's riding with Oliver today, and they're called to a possible assault...at Kevin Ford's house. Kevin Ford is beaten up on the floor of his living room. This is bad, but also, it's kind of awesome because it means the return of the fantabulous Eric Johnson as Luke Callaghan, now that he's done voicing Sam Fisher in the new video game Splinter Cell: Blacklist. When Luke sends Andy to canvass the neighborhood, she gets a description from one of Ford's neighbors that sounds a lot like Marlo. This prompts her to call Sam and spill the beans.
The two of them go searching for Marlo and find her going all A Beautiful Mind. "What's going on?" Sam asks, and Andy replies, "She's bipolar." When Marlo finds out what's happened to Ford, she insists that she had nothing to do with it, which sends Sam into "must protect the girlfriend" mode. He tells Andy to take her home, but when she asks what he's going to do, he admits, "I don't know." No, Sam, that's not ominous at all.
What he decides to do is visit Ford's house, in hopes of obliterating any traces of Marlo ever having been there. Unfortunately for him, Luke spots him. Things get worse when, in the middle of apologizing to Andy, Marlo admits that she went into Ford's house, seconds before a cut to forensics saying that they've found "perfect" prints on Ford's computer, and they're already on the way for processing. Sam's only idea is to ask Andy to manufacture a reason why Marlo should've been there. On one hand, you have to love him for caring so much about someone; on the other hand, you have to want to slap him for telling Andy to "do it for me," essentially using their relationship to back her into a corner, even if it's with good intentions.
Meanwhile, Traci's in over her head with the major drug operation, so she calls in the adorable Steve (guest star Adam Macdonald) for help. They're shocked when Nick says he's just spotted a major player named Jackson Irving, which makes Steve think they can play this into an even bigger gun sting. She doesn't think the team can handle it, but he ultimately persuades her. If he only had the same luck when it comes to getting her to go out with him.
Against her better judgment, Andy falsifies Marlo's records, just as Luke tells Frank that they've identified Marlo's prints. She cuts it so close that Luke spots her, and he calls after her but she doesn't turn around. (Unintentional burn.) The alteration is enough for Luke to be dissuaded out of questioning Marlo, at least temporarily. And because this episode was getting a little heavy, Oliver leaves a hilarious voicemail for Andy ("miss you, bye, kisses") while he's taking over her canvassing duties.
As the rookies all look worried, Steve and Traci head into an apartment building and greet their major thugs at gunpoint. The pair are quickly apprehended, and when Traci returns to the office, she gets kudos from Sam. Yet when Andy gets back to Ford's neighborhood, she gets a much chillier welcome, with Oliver arresting his apparent attacker, and chastizing her for not being there to help him.
Sam gets the breakdown from Luke: that Marlo definitely didn't attack Ford, but that the guy who did only got suspicious because an unidentified cop went door-to-door asking questions about Ford earlier. When Luke asks if there's something Sam wants to tell him, Sam stays silent.
A lot of other people are having lame days, on that note: we find out that Chris isn't having as easy a time being back as we thought, because he still misses Christian, and a depressed Andy finds Sam tries to justify everything that's happened to her. She unloads on him, saying that she doesn't want to follow his rules. When he thanks her for helping him, she replies, "I didn't do it for you." An emo Sam wakes up Marlo, and they're going to have to have a really long conversation.
But at least Traci finally asks Steve to go and have a drink with her.
"Deception" is an improvement over last week's episode, and important in the fact that it gives center stage to the character of Marlo, which needed to be done. So far, a lot of Marlo's screen time has been about her relationship with Sam, and how that affects Andy - not so much about who Marlo is as an individual. And as such, and given how passionate Rookie Blue fans can be about the Sam/Andy dynamic (which is perfectly understandable; the show built that up for seasons), some people haven't necessarily given Marlo a fair shake. This episode gives us a better glimpse into what makes her tick on her own, and while it may not generate the Marlo Cruz Fan Club, it should at least prove that the character has a place within 15 Division.
Credit for that is due to Rachael Ancheril, who has done a wonderful job this season unfolding Marlo. The character started out pretty cold and we've gradually gotten to see a lot more behind that facade. It can't be easy as an actress to come in playing a character that you know is going to throw a wrench in the show you're joining, so kudos to Rachael for succeeding as she has.
Continuing on an acting note, it's a pleasure as always to see two familiar faces this week. Eric Johnson will always be welcome around this show; ever since he's come back as a recurring guest star, the writers have really taken some leaps and bounds with the Luke character, and that plus him stepping up his game has made us wish he'd return to play on a regular basis again. And Steve Macdonald is likewise really charming now that his guest role has expanded this season, Even though we're still missing Jerry (and Noam Jenkins), there's a part of us that's okay with the idea of Traci moving on with Steve.
This is the last episode before some major stuff starts going down for the end of the season, and it makes for a pretty great lead-in. Now let's see what happens next week.
In case you missed it this morning, don't forget to check out my interview with Rachael Ancheril about tonight's episode and the joys of playing Marlo Cruz.