Did The Rookie leave you screaming at your TV?
By the conclusion of The Rookie Season 2 Episode 20, most fans were either screaming for Nolan, at Nolan, or both.
For me, it was both.
At the close of this season finale, it was more of a horrifying silent scream because that was a lot of cash and evidence hidden inside that wall -- too much for Nolan to hide or get rid of before the police arrived.
But before that, I was swearing at Nolan for being so predictably foolish.
John Nolan is a great guy. He’s nice, he’s kind, he’s generally intelligent, and he always has the best intentions.
Ben told Nolan during The Rookie Season 1 that he had a pathological need to fix things, and his hero complex is what took him down here.
Nolan wanted to give Nick the chance to turn himself in, and maybe more than that, he wanted to hear Nick's story.
John wanted to confront his friend, but when one of the most brutal serial killers in history tells you that someone is smart and ruthless, you need to listen!
Armstrong is much smarter than you John, twice as ruthless. Hell, he caught me. So if this is the last time I see you, you will live on in my fantasies.Rosalind
Whether you like Rosalind Dyer or you hate her, you have to admit that she’s usually right. She knew that Nolan would be back to see her eventually, and she warned Nolan that Nick was merciless, something John just doesn't have in him.
I’m not sure if Nolan was being gullible or arrogant believing he could take Nick in on his own, or that Nick would come in at all, but going into Armstrong’s house without any backup was simply stupid.
Nick could have made a deal to testify and gone into Witness Protection. He doesn’t have any family that would be impacted by that decision, but that’s not what he chose.
Kudos to Harold Perrineau, who plays Det. Nick Armstrong because he made me feel Nick’s horrible desperation as the walls closed in. Also, I have to give credit to the writers because reshowing the previous events from different points of view was both insightful and entertaining.
When Nick told Erin to run, did he really believe that the Dariens would allow that to happen?
Having worked with the Armenian mob for years, Nick couldn’t possibly be that naive, or perhaps it was wishful thinking because he hoped he’d be able to get out too. As Reuben told Nick, once you’re in, there is no out.
Nick: No, I won’t. I’ve done a lot of bad things for you but I ain’t doing that.
Reuben Darien: Yes you will, my friend, because when you sell me your soul you don’t get to choose how I use it.
Realistically, Armstrong had to know that, but it’s the lies we tell ourselves that do the most damage.
When Erin told Nick not to screw her over, I couldn't help but let out a sickening chuckle.
Expecting another dirty cop not to double-cross you is almost laughable. I think it falls under that "no honor among thieves" rule.
Armstrong didn't want to kill Erin, but when the opportunity presented itself, he took the shot.
Nolan knew that, and he believed that, yet he walked into that living room to face Nick alone anyway.
Nolan said he didn't bring Harper because he didn't want her to risk her career. He didn't go to Internal Affairs or Sgt. Grey because he didn't want to ruin Armstrong if he were wrong, and he wanted to give his friend the chance to do the right thing.
But by this point, Nolan knew Armstrong was dirty, so was his decision to go in alone, selfless, cocky, or incredibly short-sighted?
Or maybe it goes back to John Nolan always wanting to believe the best in people, even when they've shown him their worst because it seemed Nolan believed that Nick was going to turn himself in.
The reality was that Nick Armstrong was acting like an injured, cornered animal. He wasn't going down without a fight, and he would have taken Nolan down and mentally wrote it off as collateral damage the same way he did Officer Cole.
Because what Reuben told him was true, killing a fellow cop the second time around was easier than the first.
Nick: What’s the truth?
Nolan: You’re a coward. You weren’t there for Rebecca because you were too weak to watch her suffer so you blamed the job. The same way you blame your debts for becoming a criminal and a murderer. It doesn’t matter that you fell down. Everybody falls down. What matters is what comes next. Do you make it right or do you just make it worse?
Nick: You know your problem, John? You think you’re better than people.
Nolan: No, just you.
Nolan was right. Nick had other choices about how to handle his medical debt. He could have sold his house. He could have declared bankruptcy. Instead, he sold his soul to the mob and betrayed his badge and his oath to the LAPD.
When they first met, Armstrong told Nolan that if you couldn't be faithful to a woman, you couldn't be faithful to a badge or an oath. It turns out Armstrong had first-hand knowledge on this subject.
We don't know if Nick ever cheated on his wife, but he wasn't there for her when she was sick and dying. In that way, he betrayed her, and he betrayed the LAPD.
Then he betrayed Nolan's loyalty and friendship by setting him up.
As soon as Nick saw Nolan's truck leaving his house, I suspected that's the way he was going to go. He'd already killed one cop, and that made every other contemptible decision all the easier to accept.
Did Nick tell Nolan about the evidence he planted in his house because he had a moment of regret about setting up his friend, or was it only a distraction in the hopes that once John left, he could somehow still get-away?
Despite the game of cat and mouse that Nick and Nolan played throughout this installment, that wasn't the only storyline worth discussing.
Nolan getting pushed to tell Grace he loved her in front of Rosalind Dyer and then getting dumped was humiliating. Still, I was proud of Nolan for telling Grace how he felt.
I don't dislike Grace for the decision she made, even though I think it's the wrong one. As Nolan said, he once made the same choice concerning his marriage and family.
That said, I hope she realizes the mistake she's made sooner rather than later. Grace and John have wonderful chemistry, and I enjoy them as a couple more than anyone else Nolan has been paired with since the start of the show.
And then there's Tim and Rachel.
Tim has come a long way.
It wasn't all that long ago that Tim would have balked at opening up this much to Lucy about his romantic relationship, and there was something very sweet about him and Lucy admitting that they were both going to miss Rachel.
Deciding to give a long-distance relationship a try was a huge leap of faith for Tim. Do I think it will work out? Probably not, but his willingness to take this chance highlights how much he's grown emotionally.
Whether you loved the cliffhanger or hated it, it left us with lots of questions. Personally, I thought the ending was clever, heart-pounding, and it left me wanting more!
- Will Grace change her mind? Did John’s “I love you” make any difference?
- Did Harper tell Grey their theory about Armstrong off-screen before Serj made his confession about Nolan?
- Will anyone find it suspicious that Serj told the LAPD who his other mole was without getting some sort of a deal for it?
- Why don’t cops have alarm systems in their homes?
So if you were in Nolan’s place, what would you do? Give your side of the story and hope for the best? Make a run for it? Set the evidence and house on fire and hope it all burns before they can put it out?
How would you rate The Rookie Season 2 Finale?
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C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.