Sam tells Luke the two suspicious 911 calls have come from the same guy, which appears to be the biggest piece of evidence that they have. That's until Celery causes a scene in the lobby of the precinct, and tells Andy that a guy looking suspiciously like Kevin Ford was lurking outside of Oliver's house in a van. Since Ford's only really in the picture because Marlo went after him in "Deception", Andy and Sam bolt to find Marlo.
Nick shows up at Marlo's house by himself just in case she's there. She isn't, but he tells Andy there's been a break-in. Sam reluctantly tells Andy to tell Nick to report the break-in, which risks exposing everything Marlo's been up to once an investigation begins. The two of them find Marlo at her sister's place, and explain to her what's been happening and who they believe is responsible. She understandably takes this personally, just as Nick stumbles upon her Beautiful Mind-esque wall and Oliver finds Ford (returning guest star Michael Cram, so it's a Flashpoint reunion), who knocks him unconscious on the lawn.
There's a certain understanding which comes with viewing episodes that are lead-ins to other episodes, and it's that you have to judge them just a bit differently because they're not so much meant to stand on their own as your regular installment would be. Especially ones leading up to a season finale, as this is, are often partly preoccupied with setting the table for the biggest possible climax. Yet even taking that into account, there's a lot lacking from "Under Fire."
Firstly, we're treading well-worn territory here. Every police-related series inevitably has an episode where one or more cops are shot or shot at. It's pretty much a given, and because we've seen it so many times, an episode like this has to work even harder to stand out. When you compare this to something like the Homicide: Life on the Street two-parter "Fallen Heroes," for example, there's not the same level of dramatic tension.
The first act does a fair job of causing us worry, but the second and third get bogged down in personal drama. When we're supposed to believe these characters could be in danger at any second, maybe it's not the right day for Steve to quiz Traci about why he can't meet Leo, or for Nick to go somewhere without backup, no matter how urgent the situation. Is there nobody else available in the entire precinct?
And even if you cut the episode some slack under the concept of dramatic license, it telegraphs a lot of its punches. Considering Oliver spends most of the installment pretty happy and talking about the future of his relationship with Celery, he's an obvious target. It's also not surprising Nick is the other person in Ford's immediate vicinity, since we get even more reminders of how happy he is with Andy. On TV, when everything seems to be fine for your characters, that's when they get targets on their backs. That's how it always goes.
The dialogue in the scenes between Dov and Wes couldn't be more on the nose as far as what Wes's arrival means for Dov and Chloe's relationship. And Kevin Ford being the shooter? Considering how many times we've heard his name over the past few weeks, not a surprise either. The biggest shocker is what happens at the end of next week's teaser (which we will not mention for those of you who don't watch the previews).
The one neat thing about this is for Flashpoint fans. Guest stars Cle Bennett and Michael Cram both had regular roles on the show, and true diehards will recall that Ben Bass guest-starred in the season one episode "The Element of Surprise," and that Rookie Blue head honcho Tassie Cameron was also a producer on Flashpoint. None of these people share scenes together in this episode, but it's still fun to know.
Fans just need to cross their fingers, because it's still entirely possible part two will pay off everything that's just been set up, and make it all worthwhile. The season finale airs next Thursday, September 12. In case you missed it, you can click here to see my fresh interview with Rookie Blue star Charlotte Sullivan.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.