TNT’s official synopsis for Rizzoli & Isles 7×03 reads, “The team works on behalf of the dead – and the undead – after a murder occurs at a zombie convention.” So, you know, just a typical crime of the week. Read on for our recap of Rizzoli & Isles 7×03.
You can’t kill a zombie
Rizzoli & Isles 7×03 kicks off with a boy witnessing a zombie murder from his bedroom window in the dead (get it?) of night. I’ll say that again: He witnesses a zombie murder. Of course, when his mom takes a look, everything seems normal, because that’s just the way this stuff works.
Speaking of seeming normal, Maura hasn’t had any recent symptoms related to the brain injury she sustained at the beginning of the season 7 premiere. However, she’s brushing up on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders anyway, much to Jane’s confusion.
Jane: “You don’t have a mental disorder.”
Maura: “I have a condition that can affect the way I think. It doesn’t hurt to educate myself on current treatments.”
Jane: “Of mental disorders that you don’t have. You told me that you were feeling better, that you had no symptoms.”
Maura: “Yeah, but that can change at any moment, and there’s nothing I can do about it. And I don’t excel at doing nothing.”
You and me both, Maura. And Jane too, for that matter.
So remember how Chazz Palminteri played Jane’s dad in a few season 1 episodes before Frank Sr. ran off with a younger woman, never to be seen again? (OK, twice to be seen again in Rizzoli & Isles 3×02 and 4×14.) We’ve learned some not-so-awesome things about the Rizzolis’ not-so-awesome marriage over the ensuing seasons, and in Rizzoli & Isles 7×03, Angela reveals one more: She never earned her high school diploma because her ex-husband “thought it was a waste of [her] time.” Now she’s determined to change that by getting her GED. Who better to help her than study buddy Max, a hydroponic marijuana-grower with a convertible? Maura’s amused, Jane’s horrified, and I’m dancing the weekly jig to the opening sequence.
The magic of Christmas
Over at the crime scene, the zombie murder seems a lot more real in the cold light of day, although, as Jane points out, “You can’t kill a zombie; they’re already dead.” Some of victim Kendall’s injuries are fake – “This laceration on his cheek is a work of art!” Maura exclaims admiringly – but others aren’t, including the fatal head wound. Meanwhile, Frankie interviews the boy who saw Kendall and his murderer fighting in the street the previous night, and actor Jordan Bridges gets the golden opportunity to deliver the line, “Was there anything unique about the second zombie?” His father Beau must be so proud.
Turns out the victim wasn’t a real zombie (I know, I’m disappointed too), merely an attendee of the annual Boston ZombieCon. Over at the convention center, Frankie’s acting like this is the coolest case he’s ever caught, Jane’s covering up how creeped out she is by feigning scorn and disinterest, and Korsak stays true to his aesthetic by commenting on the leashes and collars on sale for undead pets, as featured in this tweet from R&I co-producer Eve Watterson.
Speaking of Eve, she composes half of the undead couple at the zombie wedding briefly featured in Rizzoli & Isles 7×03, alongside executive producer Jan Nash’s assistant Sam Lembeck. Oh, and there’s even an undead Santa!
Korsak: “Hey, did you see the zombie Santa Claus?”
Jane: “Santa is not a zombie.”
Korsak: “Well, he never seems to age.”
Jane: “That’s because he’s filled with the magic of Christmas, Korsak.”
The jury’s still out on Santa, but we know one thing for sure: Our murdered zombie was also a pickpocket. Korsak found four wallets at the crime scene, and the security guard at ZombieCon reveals convention-goers had reported thefts. Kendall’s running an ingenious scam, when you think about it: ZombieCon attendees wear costumes and use “zombie names,” both of which obscure their (and his) true identities.
Down in Autopsy, Maura thinks the smeared makeup on Kendall’s fingertips could contain a clue, while Kent presents a theory unrelated to the case. He thinks Maura may have a Chiari malformation and has helpfully left some reading material on her desk. Is it me, or is it massively weird and invasive to secondhand-diagnose someone like Kent does to Maura in Rizzoli & Isles 7×03? Maybe I’m just reacting this way because pretty much everything Kent does is served with a side of weird and invasive.
Polynomials in the bath
Over at the Robber, Angela admits that high school math has got the best of her. “When am I going to need to do polynomial equations?” she asks Jane, echoing just about everyone who ever took high school math ever. Luckily, Jane happens to be dating the Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth, who likes to do polynomials in the bath to unwind. (Actually, Jane says Maura “probably” likes to do polynomials in the bath to unwind, but we all know she’s witnessed this firsthand. Also, could “doing polynomials” be a euphemism? …I digress.)
Angela takes Jane’s advice and drops by Maura’s office, where the M.E. gushes about the elegance of numbers and the beauty of this thing. (Don’t look at me; I’m just a writer). Despite Maura’s best efforts, Angela ultimately decides to drop out of her study group. There’s just one problem, though: Her decision had a chain reaction, and now Max is dropping out too. Korsak points out that the only way to get him not to quit is for Angela not to quit either, and an inspired Mama Rizzoli arranges a meeting with Max to set up a new study group.
Meanwhile, a member of the Rizzoli family is dating somebody but keeping it secret for some inexplicable reason. For once, I’m not talking about Jane and Maura, but Frankie and Nina (and their yet-to-be-determined portmanteau). I’ve seen Frina, Frankina, Roliday… I’m mostly Swiss on the whole situation, but Hozzoli gets a firm NO from me. Anyway, Nina doesn’t understand why Frankie refuses to tell anyone they’re an item. Frankie says he doesn’t want his family butting in (i.e. Jane, as Angela already knows), and Nina accepts this as long as he’s “sure about us.” He is, and follows that up with something cutesy about drinking all the chai in Chai-Land. Just then, a pesky break in the case tears them away from being lovey-dovey. At least now Frankie knows how his big sister feels every episode.
Crying, crying for you, Christine
The break in the case comes in the form of a video featuring a girl – Christine – confronting the ZombieCon pickpocket. (Fans of The Walking Dead may recognize actress Emma Bell from her role on the show. She apparently has a character type.) Not only is Christine not one of the people who reported their wallets missing, she claims she didn’t even know her wallet had been stolen until it was left outside her door the following morning… with the victim’s blood on it. She insists she didn’t kill Kendall, but the witness still needs to rule her out, so a lineup is in order. When nobody from the convention will step up to the plate, the BPD turns some of its own into the undead – including Frankie, much to an incredulous Jane’s chagrin.
Unfortunately, it’s all for naught, as the killer isn’t in the lineup after all. That said, we do get some good laughs out of Jane’s prickly interaction with the kid from the Rizzoli & Isles 7×03 opening scene.
Although the lineup was an (un)dead end, another lead soon presents itself. There’s a hit on a credit card belonging to the owner of one of the other stolen wallets, and the store where the card was used had a camera. Jane and Frankie bring in their suspect, who points them in a new direction, claiming he saw a man with a limp follow Kendall out of ZombieCon.
Not your average zombie
So remember how Jane was saying at the beginning of Rizzoli & Isles 7×03 that Maura hasn’t had any symptoms related to her brain injury in a while? Well, Maura confuses a tox report with a trace chemical analysis while talking to Kent. Her lapse causes her to face a terrifying reality: She’s no longer confident she has the sharpest mind in the room. For now, she’s keeping her fears from Jane, choosing instead to carefully relay the results of the trace chemical analysis. She’s also made a significant discovery: The smeared makeup on Kendall’s fingertips wasn’t “normal zombie makeup” (which sounds like an oxymoron to me), but a cosmetic product used on burn victims.
When Jane asks Christine about any burn victims with limps in her life, the gardener at Christine’s apartment building rings a bell. The guy’s been using a fake name, but the manufacturer of the burn makeup provides a shipping address. From there, Nina uncovers his real identity. His name is Jeremy Kendricks, and right now, his cellphone is pinging off the same tower as Christine’s…
On the roof of Christine’s apartment building, Jane apprehends Jeremy, who tells her ZombieCon was the first place he felt he fit in among the elaborately made-up attendees. What’s more, he claims killing Kendall was an accident that occurred while he was simply trying to look out for Christine. Jane, Korsak, and Frankie attempt to literally talk Jeremy off the ledge, but it’s ultimately Christine who coaxes him away from the edge of the building and into handcuffs.
Back at the station, Jane tries to make a serious point about how damaging it can be to call people names like “freak,” and Frankie ruins the moment with a dumb joke about zombies. Younger brothers, am I right? Then Frankie decides to tell Jane about what’s going on with him and Nina, but Nina pulls him aside, explains that the fact he’s willing to tell Jane means more than him actually telling Jane, then almost makes out with him in the elevator but ultimately doesn’t. …Straight people, am I right?
Dr. Maura Isles does not resign
Maura can never keep things from Jane for long, and this Chiari situation is no exception. According to Maura’s research, there’s a surgical procedure that could alleviate her symptoms. However, the surgery may also be ineffective or even cause her condition to worsen. She hands Jane her pre-emptive resignation letter in case the day comes when she’s unable to perform her duties as Chief M.E., explaining, “I don’t want you to have the burden of having to make that call for me down the road.” …They really are married, aren’t they?
Jane and Maura proceed to have a very sweet, heartfelt conversation that kind of makes me sad this season will be the show’s last, despite all the missteps and missed opportunities.
Jane: “Look, Maura, I know this is scary for you. It’s scary for me too, OK? And I will hold onto this [letter] if that’s what you want, but I know I’m not gonna need it.”
Maura: “I just don’t want to let anyone down.”
Jane: “You never have. Everything’s going to be all right. Dr. Maura Isles does not resign.”
Even with everything that’s happened in Rizzoli & Isles 7×03, Maura is somehow able to keep her sense of humor. Kent has managed to improve on the victim’s zombie makeup formula by achieving the correct viscosity of rotten flesh (hey, Maura’s words, not mine), and in the last scene of the episode, Maura models the results at the Robber. However, thanks to Korsak’s enterprising idea of handing out business cards at the convention, there’s an influx of zombies at the bar that night. Maura’s facing some stiff (lol) competition, but ultimately, Jane only has eyes for one member of the undead.