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S02.E07: Rules of Engagement 2013.07.22

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Raydor comes to blows with her husband when she asks him to represent a witness in what initially appears to be a gang related shooting.

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I like this one as an example of how well the squad works as a team.  I loved the squad on The Closer, but even more on this show, where their individual strengths are really allowed to shine.  Julio’s gang expertise – both as a cop and as someone who grew up in a gang-dominated neighborhood – is particularly on display as he’s the one to say from jump that this isn’t a gang killing, but they all brainstorm together well as the case progresses.  There are so many moments they sort of fly by and I’d have to watch again and pause to identify all of them, but the net effect is that this is one of the best group efforts at solving a case.

Julio gets one of the best individual moments, though, putting the rude little twit that is Emma Rios in her place, concluding with:  "And stop talking to me like I'm your waiter."  Amy is also great, riling Browning up to lay the groundwork.  She consistently has no shits to give for abusive men, and expresses it in wonderfully sarcastic ways.

I also like this one for its continued insight into Sharon via Jack.  And circling right back – after establishing why she’d have fallen in love with (and married and procreated with) him back in the day, so as to not make her look like she was foolish to have ever joined her life with him – to showing us why she is long since through with being married to him other than on paper.  That scene when she comes home to his stuff cleared out and a note waiting for her is great; she's been down this road before, she knew it was coming, and that exhale as she sees the note and then decides to rip it up without reading it is so telling.

Given the show's love for exploring Rusty's feelings, it's a bit surprising they didn't at all get into his reaction to Jack leaving.  Rusty, despite Sharon's warning not to get attached, took to Jack in a way that's surprising given his experiences when the other Sharon introduced a man into their lives, and we're given no idea what happened when he came home from his purposely disastrous dinner at Kris' house to discover Jack had cleared out.

Moving from general observations to specifics:

I am amused by Jack and Rusty conspiring to get Rusty out of dinner at Kris' house, and especially by Sharon barely interrupting her griping on the phone to ascertain that Rusty is faking illness.  When he first says he doesn’t feel well, her immediate reaction is as Compassionate Mom, feeling his forehead, stroking his hair, and squeezing his shoulder in apology when she has to interrupt her fussing to deal with the call.  But she’s onto him in a quick minute, and when he tries to pick up where he left off, she’s This Is My Third Rodeo Mom, correctly deducing he’s trying to get out of the dinner and shutting him down.  "We all ate the same thing for dinner, you're fine.  Get your stuff, I don't want to be late."

I also like how Provenza makes Rusty realize how shitty it would be to not show up at Kris’ house.  “You ever have anyone in your life you really cared about just not show up, and leave you hanging?”

When Jack knows he’s going to split again, and has the opportunity for a parting shot at Rusty, he doesn’t take it – Rusty once again picks up on the “you know who you are” groove Jack is laying down, but when questioned Jack once again backs off.  Not because Sharon is there, or because he wants to leverage it with her.  He just genuinely, in the midst of his assholeness, reverts back to talking about Rusty as a foster child/witness. 

My favorite moment of this episode is one of my favorites of the series.  Background: Sharon, needing Speedy represented on his parole violation charges so she can get him to talk as a witness in the shooting, but out of timely luck with the available public defenders and court-appointed attorneys, has easily persuaded Jack to take the job.  During the interrogation between Sharon, Emma, Speedy, and Jack, it becomes clear to Rios that Sharon and Jack know each other personally (and had breakfast together).  Beloved scene:  Out in the murder room, Rios says, "I have to ask - are you sleeping with this man?"  Sharon responds, "Of course not.  He's my husband."  And then goes on to try to explain their relationship.  But that line cracks me the hell up.   

I like including Julio’s response to Amy wondering why so many kids are walking to school that early – they’re not heading to class, they’re heading to breakfast; school is where half of the neighborhood’s kids eat.

The tallying of coincidences in the “How Stupid Do You Think I Am?” game is fun, kicked off with Sanchez sarcastically describing Morro Bay as a popular weekend destination for gang members and their families, and with Sharon – on the phone the whole time - handing Taylor a pen, with which he actually keeps track on a piece of paper, as they work their way through what they know about Browning.

While Sharon is still one of the show’s – and my – heroes, I love when Jack makes clear that despite his issues, he is still a good lawyer and isn't going to roll over to do her a favor.  “That’s a tragedy I’m being paid not to care about.”

I like the subtle nod and instruction we can’t hear from Sharon to Julio as they head towards Speedy after Jack inadvertently loses the game.  “You are the one who takes this relationship for granted Jack, as you’re about to see” is even better.

That’s an obviously fake tattoo on Speedy’s right arm.  The left isn’t as bad, but the right is blatant.

On that note, I'm heading out for the night - despite the opening sequence and what happened to the previous fiancee, this episode wound up being something of a palate cleanser after the extreme heaviness of the previous episode.

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On 7/8/2017 at 7:01 PM, Bastet said:

I like including Julio’s response to Amy wondering why so many kids are walking to school that early – they’re not heading to class, they’re heading to breakfast; school is where half of the neighborhood’s kids eat.

 

It leads me to believe the Detective Skyes did not grow up in Los Angeles, or at best didn't go to a LAUSD school since most of the district has under the free meals program for a long time. While the rest of the squad would have been patrol officers 20 or more years ago and maybe one of them should have worried about the large presence of kids around. It seems  worse for her as the rookie in a plot dump as it makes it seem like she was never a patrol officer, not even her probationary year

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