Interrogation time. The perp's name is Kevin, and he's got a criminal record full of B&E's. Because of this, he's not interested in talking to Sam and Traci at first. Then he claims he, too, is a victim of an unidentified third party, before demanding a lawyer. This doesn't look good for Kevin. Yet Andy approaches Sam and Traci outside the interrogation room, and tells them that she doubts Kevin is their shooter. Could there be someone else out there? Everyone is skeptical until Andy searches the aforementioned dumpster and finds a disposable cell phone. One of the calls traces back to Kevin's former cellmate, Timothy. Kevin won't give him up, so Oliver conveniently suggests that Sam and Andy pay a visit to Timothy themselves.
Traci reads over Timothy's rap sheet in front of Kevin and his lawyer, which is enough for Kevin to admit to her that Timothy phoned him asking for a favor. When Sam and Andy get to their destination, he kicks in the door only for them to find the place abandoned, and a shirt left behind covered in dye. They start turning things upside down, and Andy finds personal information on the wounded bank manager. Traci isn't surprised by this information, as she tells Sam (and us) that the bank manager's wife was previously Timothy's girlfriend. By the time Nick gets this information, Timothy's shown up at the hospital and abducts the wife at gunpoint. It's really not a great day for the cops at 15 Division.
Dov and Chris happen to be crossing paths with Timothy's escape van, and together with Sam and Andy, they try to box him in. Timothy's response is to open fire on all of them, and he's got a huge advantage because he has a much bigger gun, aside from having a hostage. Lots of randomly sprayed bullets later, Sam and Andy bicker while taking their turns trying to talk down the suspect. Andy's awkward attempt somehow manages to convince Timothy to free the bank manager's wife (or maybe it's just that he's finally realized she doesn't love him anymore), and with help from Chris, they're able to take their shooter into custody.
When the dust clears, Chris explains to Dov the events of the day are exactly why he's leaving town, Gail matter-of-factly tells Nick never to get shot, and Sam and Andy run into each other again. "Am I going to get shot at?" he says when she asks him for a ride to Frank and Noelle's engagement party. Clearly, they haven't lost their banter. In the truck, she asks what happened with them, and they both blame each other for the breakup. "You broke my heart," she says, to which he responds, "Well, you got me back." She wants to know why he moved on with Cruz. That catches him by surprise, but he does tell Andy, "She's not you." Take that as you will, McSwarek shippers!
At the party, Nick suddenly asks Gail to move in with him, which pleases her. Andy isn't pleased to see Sam and Cruz together. And a random, slightly too peppy girl hits on Dov at the bar. She introduces herself as Chloe, and fans will know she's the other new regular this season. Could they find a better place to hook up than the bathroom of the bar, though? On the street, Oliver encourages Andy not to give up on Sam, which is exactly what we all want to hear.
"Homecoming" definitely cements the point that things are vastly different in season four of Rookie Blue, though at times it seems like it's trying a bit too hard to remind us of that, whether it's Sam conveniently walking into Andy in the locker room or Cruz just happening to be nearby when Traci and Andy are talking about her. While little notes like that feel just a tad bit contrived, for the most part, it's an entertaining episode that shows these cops still have a long way to go before they're going to feel comfortable again. We see Nick and Andy both make some fairly boneheaded mistakes, and those slip-ups cost them.
Now that we're two episodes in, it's interesting to see more of Sam the detective as opposed to Sam the patrol cop. He's got different priorities now and therefore he's doing things differently. It's good that he and Andy have a conversation about the end of their romantic relationship - getting it out of the way early and not having the show drag out their awkwardness too far. It obviously isn't going to be the last dialogue they have, but the important thing is it satisfies the fans' need to address that issue, and that it's also very well done. Where other shows might have someone cry or throw a temper tantrum, they both behave like adults. One of the great things about the personal plots on Rookie Blue is that they never feel inauthentic or overdramatic.
A shoutout is also due to Matt Gordon, because Oliver doesn't get enough love. Yes, most of what he's used for is comic relief. Yet this episode shows how Oliver also provides a foil for Sam, as well as for Andy. He's got more layers to him than just being "the funny one," and it's great to see that again. The question is not if Andy will take his advice, but when she's going to.
The fourth season of Rookie Blue seems like it's clearing the decks after three strong cycles, and setting up these characters moving into the next phase of their lives. It could be a great year where they move past old plots and habits, and move into new ones. So far, the show is on the right track.
Be sure to also check out my interviews with Rookie Blue stars Missy Peregrym and Ben Bass.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.