I was at my parents’ house last weekend (for a rip-roaring 4th of July barbecue consisting of just the three of us isolated folks), so I missed “Flight Risk”; that case is a little weird (I can never quite figure out the timeline of the cousin lovin’), but I love the start of the long arc of Julio finally being made to deal with his anger that so easily turns violent.
It continues in “Personal Day”, the second case in row in which Sharon has to yell at Julio to settle down when her usual knock it off look and calming hand isn’t enough. Tonight I finally took proper notice of the fact Andy also waves him off and later physically restrains him; in exploring Julio’s anger issue this season, we also see the professional growth in Andy’s own form of hotheadedness.
It’s a good Julio episode overall, especially his relationship with Ana’s brothers, I like the combination of him being the cop who (seemingly) put away their teenage sister's killer and the cop who's interrogating them on suspicion of murder, because he wants to solve this murder, too, no matter how he felt about the victim. It makes his eventual, posthumous realization Dante was indeed innocent particularly moving.
As I said last time, I wish they’d followed up on Julio's reopening the homicide cases of Mrs. Gomez’s two sons (just something like a line in a later episode indicating he’d solved one of them). He’s great with her, even when he still thinks Dante had killed Ana; so much of his life and career is rooted in hating gangs, but he understands how she feels as a Latinx ignored by the police (I love her having no time for Sharon’s platitudes), and – presumably because his own gangsta brother is in prison while their mom makes excuses – that she loved and mourns her sons even though they’d got caught up in the life and been crappy people.
Dante’s story is poignant (while atypical, attributing to incarceration a rehabilitation element that simply has not existed, especially for people of color); confessing to a murder he didn’t commit actually wound up being the thing that saved his life – he survived prison for a span of time in which all his homies wound up dead or three strikes and locked up for life (as Amy said, 17 years is a century in gangland), and actually thrived, getting an education and coming out better than he came in. He was really trying; he wanted his grandma to die with the peace that he not only was never a murderer, he was also no longer the aimless criminal he used to be. Him taking care of her and going out in search of someone willing to hire a felon with no experience makes his murder by that coward Cesar all the more awful.
Hector Zamora’s trajectory is another simplistic but moving commentary on the hardship, futility, and inevitability of gang life. When Hector says “What a wasted life” upon learning of Dante’s death and laments that "the only real friend I ever had" saving him from a third strike lasted a whole seven months, it gets me.
It’s also a good Provenza and Sharon episode; their connection via Rusty is always nice. I like his “For what you’re about to hear, I apologize” when she’s about to get blindsided with the news of Sharon Beck’s return, and I love his I’m screwed reaction to her “thanks” for his “help” in this situation.
Rusty’s awkwardness during the meeting of the two Sharons is spot on. As is Sharon Raydor’s fundamental attitude about all this; she has grave doubts about Sharon Beck’s willingness to get serious about her recovery, and thus a very real fear of Rusty being devastated again when he’s just stabilizing, but she truly wants her to succeed for Rusty's sake. That this desire is even more keen because her other kids have been on this same roller coaster makes it quite powerful.
I like her assuring Rusty (after her wonderful “Ah [I knew it]” reaction to eliciting that rehab was court ordered) that how his mom got there isn’t as important as what she does with it. I also like their conversations about what role Rusty can/should play in his mom’s recovery, including that Sharon doesn’t explicitly draw comparisons to her/her kids' experiences with Jack – in this early, emotionally-fraught stage for Rusty, she can just be the voice of reason and support without shifting any focus by getting into how that comes from experience. (Although, I would have quite liked hearing a few stories over time about Sharon’s logistical struggles as a single parent trying to balance the emotional amalgamation of addiction is a disease, I want you kids to have a relationship with your father, and I am so blindingly angry at that asshole for perpetually choosing a bottle and then a card table over us; eternally fuck James Duff’s utter failure at properly developing his main character).
I especially enjoy, “Do you know what enabling means?”/ “Oh, yeah” and “There has got to be something in all of this for you, too.”/“There is.” Sharon and Rusty are so lovely together.
Lastly, it never fails to impress me how good, physically, the casting of Ever Carradine as Rusty’s mom is; the similar nose and eyes really work as mother and son.
On a lighter note, I think this episode contains Sharon’s only Andrea-induced eye roll; it’s not about Andrea, just the circumstances, but I enjoy any and all of Sharon’s eye rolls. I also adore this snark from Andrea to Provenza: When he protests the liquor store robbery footage doesn’t prove anything by saying, “A shadowy figure that’s 5’10” could be anyone, me,” she responds, “If you were 5’10.”