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The Season 2 Finale of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles “Burning Down the House” 

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT

The Season 2 finale of Rizzoli & Isles was a really good episode because there was the right amount of balance, action and drama. There was stuff going on with Rizzoli and her love life. There was monumental stuff going on with Isles and her family. The ending was great. More than that burned down building was left in shambles. There’s no way Rizzoli and Isles are going to be major besties when the hit series returns next summer. Yup, the show made damn sure we’re all going to experience a painful hiatus waiting for the events of “Burning Down the House” to be resolved. Wow. Jane and Maura are not in a good place at all. As you can tell, I’m still in a little bit of shock. Some things to discuss: The Return of Agent Dean

  • Billy Burke‘s presence on this show always makes me smile. I like Special Agent Gabriel Dean for Rizzoli. I like that they are both characters that take their job seriously but I love even more how Dean makes Jane rethink her priorities. Oh, she’ll never live anything less than a ‘work is my life’ existence. But he finally got through to her a little bit. Maybe she doesn’t have to be afraid to let him in on more than a casual basis; especially if they have the proper boundaries. It was great that she gave him fair warning that there was someone else in her life. It was even better when he told her he didn’t care. He was willing to fight for her. That was very romantic and sweet. And she dressed up like an actual girl for him, dress, heels and all. That’s big in Rizzoli’s world.
  • Having said all that, was Agent Dean shot in that burned down factory? What was he doing there? He must have been tracking Paddy Doyle, Maura’s mobster of a biological father. It definitely seems like Gabriel might be in a world of hurt when the show resumes next summer in more ways than one. I would hate for Jane to lose this chance at something good in her life. But I’ll talk more about that later.

Maura and Her Family History

Photo Credit: Doug Hyun/TNT
  • My major complaint about Season 1 was that Maura wasn’t properly incorporated, even though her last name was in the title. Although there were certainly exceptions, it was all Rizzoli all the time. In Season 2, this concern of mine was mostly dealt with in a positive way. After the finale, I finally can shove this concern to the side and forget about it.
  • I’m very glad Maura’s mom made a return appearance. Jacqueline Bisset‘s first episode earlier this season definitely established a troubled mother-daughter relationship. While Jane did her best to help mend fences between the two, I didn’t feel like Maura and her mom had that deep conversation that tackled their issues at all. That was rectified in “Burning Down the House.” There was even resolution. Unfortunately, shortly after this satisfying conversation, her mom was run over by a car. The fact Constance pushed Maura out of the way and saved her daughter’s life was very telling. She loves her daughter like a mom should. A mom would die for her kid. Thankfully, that didn’t quite happen in this episode.
  • Then there’s her biological dad. Bringing Doyle back into play was great. He wanted to be there for Maura and, of course, she was resistant. He offered to tell her who her biological mother was, but she wasn’t ready to hear it. Then there was that scene in the hospital where the Irish mobster let his daughter know that he was always there for her. He showed her pictures of various events in her life. So even though she never knew it, he was there for all of them. The wall Isles had up where Doyle was concerned started to crumble at that very moment.

Our Moment of Goodness: Jane and Maura’s Relationship Goes Up in Smoke

The case-of-the-week — the suspected arson — was sad for a couple of reasons. A good man died when it didn’t have to happen. And a firefighter turned arsonist to prove that the city needed to hold on to all the firefighters. That no one should have to lose their job. He definitely went about things the wrong way. The intention was good; the execution was tragic. There’s no way he could keep covering things up by getting rid of anyone who got close. Couldn’t he see that?

The final confrontation at the burned down factory was equally as tragic. Isles used herself as bait to lure the culprit out of hiding. After all, he was the one that tried to run her down but struck her mom instead. Jane and Frost were there to make sure they nabbed him. However, things went south when Paddy Doyle showed up and made a tense situation much, much worse. I guess Doyle felt he needed to protect his daughter. Gabriel showed up because he was tracking Doyle even though he told Jane he wouldn’t do anything until she said he could. Shots were fired and in the end, Doyle shot the arsonist. Dean shot Doyle. Doyle shot Dean (I think). And then Jane provided another blow that would send Maura’s dad over the railing. I’m not sure that Jane needed to take that last shot. Doyle had already been hit. I’m not sure where he was pointing his gun. Maybe he figured that it was better to die than recover from a gunshot wound and go to jail. I don’t know.

Doyle kept uttering “hope.” I wonder if that’s supposed to be the first name of Maura’s biological mother? But did you see the way Maura reacted when Jane came to help her out with her dad? Jane offered Maura her jacket:

“Don’t touch him. No I mean it! Don’t you dare touch him!”

Maura had just started to think of her dad as a human being instead of some unfeeling mobster. She finally realized that he loved her. The stakes have been raised. There’s no way Jane and Maura can come out of this with the same relationship they’ve always had. I like the way the show shook things up royally in this Season 2 finale. And that’s why the end had to be our Moment of Goodness. I think it’s actually my favorite moment of the entire series so far.

Questions for when Rizzoli & Isles returns: [Major Speculation/Possible Spoilerage for Season 3. Enter at your own risk]

  • Does Paddy die? I just read an excellent TVGuide.com interview Joyce Eng conducted with R&I Executive Producer Janet Tamaro where she sort of leaves it up in the air. So far it’s touch and go. I love, love, love the character of Paddy Doyle and his turbulent relationship with his biological daughter. But I think it means more if he dies. I kind of want to see Jane and Maura struggle for a bit before reuniting as friends. And if he dies, it’ll make it that much tougher.
  • What’s Jane and Maura’s relationship going to be like when the show returns? I hope time doesn’t jump forward a bunch of months and then all of a sudden they’re ready to make up. I want to see these two work their way back to each other. The TV Guide article touches on this as well. But I’m not going to give away anything here.
  • What’s going to be the situation between Jane and Gabriel? Will Rizzoli be able to trust him again knowing he went after Doyle after she asked him not to? Jane’s pretty big on loyalty and keeping your word.
  • Will Maura try to figure out what “HOPE” means? I want Maura to explore her past so I definitely hope she’ll try to find out why he uttered that word. If Paddy’s alive at the beginning of the season (and even longer) then she should be able to get even more out of him.

Random Thoughts

  • The finale didn’t waste much time. Right off the bat — bam — there was Agent Dean. And just a couple short minutes later Maura’s mom showed up. Loved that.
  • I love the theme song for Rizzoli & Isles.
  • I really enjoyed Frost this season. We did start to learn a little bit about this character. I hope in Season 3 we find out even more about this character and that he gets to do some juicier stuff as a young detective.
  • I loved Angie Harmon‘s reaction as Jane after hearing her best friend yell and scream for her to get away. Sasha Alexander did an excellent job playing that emotion as well. Maura is so often robotic in her words and movement so to hear the hurt on that kind of level was epic. And Jane’s shock-and-awe reaction was appropriate. Just so well done.
  • Does anyone know the last song that was playing as the episode ended?
  • I have to say I’m really liking the fact that Jane’s mom has that job at the precinct. Love that the writers found a great way to incorporate Mrs. Rizzoli into the action. I wasn’t as wild about the way they did it in the first season but I’m completely on board now.
  • I particularly liked the banter between Jane and Maura at the beginning of the episode. Jane gets as sarcastic as she can and it’s like that sarcasm never touches or has an affect on Maura. Sometimes Maura reminds me of that robot girl from that old TV show Small Wonder. Or Data from Star Trek: TNG. It’s like sarcasm does not compute with Maura.
  • The last few episodes had a lot about Korsak and some about Frost so I’m totally cool that this finale was all Jane and Maura.

Rizzoli & Isles returns with Season 3 Tuesday June 5 on TNT.

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1 Comment

  1. Axel

    The song at the end of the episode has been recycled from an earlier episode in season 1. Only know the title “I’m still here”. Seems to be an in-house production and has been recycled by numerous Youtubers, but, I think it hasn’t been released as a full-length single (yet). Been looking for it myself for quite some time now.

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