This week on Orange is the New Black – I mean Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 – Jane went undercover at a women’s prison in pursuit of a murderer, and it was pretty hot.
Let’s take a step back for a second and note that Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 was a banner episode for several reasons. As well as being the show’s 100th episode, it was directed by lead actress Angie Harmon. Additionally, it featured a special guest appearance by Sharon Gless of Cagney & Lacey, whom Angie Harmon described in a recent interview as having “paved this street that I walk on.” Read on for our recap of Rizzoli & Isles 7×08, “2M7258-100.”
Fairies & bikers
We open with Jane alternately reading the first chapter of Maura’s book and realizing how much of a workaholic she is thanks to a slew of photos featuring Maura and other members of the Rizzoli family having fun while Jane was busy working cases. She remedies the dearth of Rizzles photos by taking a selfie of herself and Maura just as Maura answers a call to a crime scene, so it’s safe to say we’re off to a good start.
The crime of the week is a double homicide: Two bikers were gunned down at a repair shop, either by someone they knew and trusted or who was simply light-footed enough to sneak up on them.
Korsak: “You thinking a fairy?”
Jane: “They are the natural enemy of the biker.”
Maura: “I’m not so sure I believe in your Tinkerbell theory, Detective.”
Jane: “Too small to carry the gun?”
Maura: “No, there’s just no pixie dust on our crime scene.”
I love when Maura’s got jokes. However, things quickly turn serious in Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 when Jane uncovers a hidden armory behind a fake wall, and a witness reports seeing a woman flee the scene around the time of the murders.
Suspects & Starbucks
Back at headquarters, results come back on the DNA found in the lipstick traces recovered at the scene. Like the two victims, Kelly (the woman behind the lipstick) is affiliated with the Lords of Thunder biker gang – but is she the shooter or just a witness?
Either way, Kelly isn’t interested in talking, which means she’s headed to the county lockup. What’s more, she almost takes out Frankie with a trash can lid when he and Nina try to apprehend her, and given that Nina’s fiancé died on the job, it’s understandable she would be a little shaken up. Later, she tells Frankie she felt she lost control during the takedown, and says she doesn’t think they should work together in the field anymore. Frankie thinks she’s overreacting, which is his first mistake. His second mistake? Admitting he thinks that.
Meanwhile, Maura’s able to pull a single partial print from all those guns found at the repair shop. It won’t hold up in court, but it gives them a promising lead in the form of Endrit, an Albanian-American gangster with a long rap sheet. He’s a dangerous guy, but when he comes in for questioning, Jane’s not intimidated.
Endrit: “Are you implying that I’m part of some kind of criminal enterprise?”
Jane: “No, no, we’re SAYING that. We’re saying that you killed these two men because they made you angry or… they cut in line in front of you at Starbucks.”
I will miss many things about Jane Rizzoli when this series ends in just a few short weeks, but her sarcasm is definitely on my top-five list.
Tattoos & tough veneers
Although Endrit is what Jane calls “a jackass of epic proportions,” she doesn’t think he committed the murders. This leads the team to look back at Kelly – especially after Korsak gets a call from the Suffolk County Jail that reveals she’s already trying to hire a hitman mere hours after being incarcerated. Jane theorizes that Kelly’s desperation suggests she’s the witness, not the killer, and she’s trying to kill the real perpetrator before he gets to her first. Obviously Kelly’s too scared to talk to the police, but she might talk to a fellow inmate, which is exactly who Jane plans to be…
Cut to Jane and Maura in Jane’s kitchen. One sleeve of Jane’s tank top has slid off her shoulder, and Maura is caressing her bare skin with… a paintbrush. Weird fetish? Nope, just Maura using semi-permanent ink to provide a “tough veneer” in the form of a fake tattoo that will hopefully boost Jane’s intimidation factor in prison. That said, as Maura acknowledges, her natural veneer is pretty tough already – and maybe even her under-veneer, too. “Don’t talk about my under-veneer,” Jane says huskily with a smirk on her face.
However, things quickly go from sexy to serious in Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 once Mama Rizzoli shows up and Jane breaks the news about going undercover. Needless to say, Angela doesn’t take it well. We’ve seen her worry about her daughter’s line of work since the pilot episode, but Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 takes things to a new level.
Before Jane goes undercover, she picks a safe word to signal she needs to be extracted from the operation. She decides against recycling the safe word she uses with Maura in the bedroom and instead goes with “walrus,” explaining it was the name of a cat she had as a child. (“I thought you hated cats,” Korsak protests. “Walrus is why,” Jane counters.) Incidentally, if you were wondering about the title of Rizzoli & Isles 7×08, executive producer Jan Nash tweeted that it’s Jane’s inmate ID number (as well as the episode’s production number, which explains the 100).
Inside the prison, Jane encounters Sharon Gless’ character in the cafeteria, and uses the woman’s chattiness to put herself on Kelly’s radar. When questioned about what she did to get herself incarcerated, she says, “They say I killed somebody, and maybe I did or maybe I didn’t, but I’m willing to kill you and stay here if it’ll shut you up.” …Y’all, I’m gonna need a minute.
Next, Jane proceeds to almost get into a prison yard fight, and although it’s a risky strategy, it works out well for her, as she earns Kelly’s appreciation.
In the outside world, Mama Rizzoli is fretting about her daughter’s well-being. “Am I always going to be this scared?” a tearful Angela asks Maura. Maura reassures her as best she can, and it’s only right that the two women who love Jane most in the world are seeking comfort in each other’s company right now.
Trouble in Rizziday-se
In the process of trying to tie Endrit to the biker homicides, Maura, Korsak, and Kent uncover a series of what can only be described as “theatrical murders.” Thus far, Endrit’s managed to stay out of jail, but his luck may run out as Maura and the team work to link him to a string of deaths via chemical traces found on his shoes.
Back to the Rizziday drama. Despite her best efforts to avoid him, Nina runs into Frankie, who has a theory about why she’s so freaked out.
“You protected me just like you wish you could have protected Marcus. You were just doing your job, and maybe in the midst of it, you realized that you can really feel again after a long time of being too scared to do that. You didn’t shoot anyone. I didn’t die. So don’t pull away, OK?”
“Spit it out, sweetheart”
Meanwhile, Jane calls Maura from jail after trading blows with another inmate, and Maura updates her on the case. It’s not great news: Although Endrit and his crew can be tied to a number of open cases, there isn’t yet evidence to tie them to the biker murders. Jane, speaking in code in case anyone overhears her, asks, “What about my girl?” Maura assumes she’s asking about Kelly, but lezbehonest, she could just as easily be asking about Maura herself. Maura tells her to be careful, but the call is cut off before she can finish her sentence (i.e. say “I love you”).
Later, Kelly approaches Jane and asks if she’s looking for work. Jane’s entire undercover endeavor has been leading up to this moment, but she plays it cool, feigning disinterest by pretending to read a book. She eventually tells Kelly to “Spit it out, sweetheart,” and finally gets a name for her trouble: Lords of Thunder member Jeff “Snake” Morgan.
Can we take a sidebar for a second? Angie Harmon was born to play Jailbird Jane. I’m going to need her written into Orange is the New Black, stat. She’s already presented an award to Uzo Aduba – it’s not that much of a leap.
A light bulb moment
OK, back to Rizzoli & Isles 7×08. Armed with the information she needs, Jane gives the guard her code word. Cut to her and Maura embracing tightly.
When Jane reveals that her mom is refusing to take her calls now that she’s back on the outside, Maura fusses over her bruises and explains, “It’s hard to worry about our loved ones when we always want to protect them.” Who else gets the feeling she’s speaking from the heart as well as on Angela’s behalf?
As Maura’s words sink in, you can practically see the light bulb turn on above Jane’s head. Kelly didn’t order the hit on Snake to protect herself, but someone else: her half-sister Marley, who was seen fleeing from the crime scene. With the help of a phone trace, Jane and the team track down Marley in the nick of time, just as Snake is closing in. Angie Harmon’s dog Daisy appears in the scene for no real reason, but I take no issue with this because she’s cute. (She also has a Twitter, @MissDaisyHarmon, because of course she does.)
Now that Marley’s safe, Kelly is much more willing to cooperate with the police. She strikes a deal with the DA that will help put some key members of the biker gang in jail while also giving herself and her sister a new start. Her heartfelt thanks is enough to melt even Jane’s tough veneer, and toward the end of Rizzoli & Isles 7×08, we see the detective fight back tears.
Passing the torch
Back at the precinct, Korsak offers a succinct summation of the BPD’s recent victories. “We put together enough to arrest Endrit and three of his associates, Snake is being processed, several Lords of Thunder were picked up for gun trafficking. All in all, a pretty fine day for the good guys.”
There’s one thing left off the list, though – and she’s about to come walking through the door in the form of Sharon Gless. (Her character doesn’t have a name as far as I can tell, so I’m just going to call her Sharon.) Turns out Jane spoke to the DA and got some of the charges against Sharon dropped, meaning her six-month sentence was reduced and she’s now free. There’s a really wonderful moment when the two women shake hands, as if Gless/Cagney is passing the torch to Harmon/Rizzoli.
As Rizzoli & Isles 7×08 ticks down, Jane’s next stop is the Robber. Angela’s not quite ready to put their conversation behind her, but also not ready to talk about it, either. She does give Jane a beer, though, so there’s that.
The final couple of minutes of the episode are dedicated to Rizzles time – as, in my biased opinion, they should be. Jane is processing her mom’s behavior while simultaneously having an existential crisis, and there’s no one better to listen than her girlfriend.
“Why does it feel like everything is changing? I mean, you’re writing books, Frankie’s in a serious relationship, Korsak’s married – he’s about to retire. Shouldn’t I be changing?”
Maura points out that five years ago, Jane would have responded to her mom’s concern by being defensive, whereas now, she merely told her mom she loved her. After sharing this pearl of wisdom, Maura points out that it’s late and heads for the door. No sleepover tonight, I guess.
In the final seconds of Rizzoli & Isles 7×08, Jane takes out a business card and dials a number. Agent Davies from last week’s episode is on the other end of the line, and I’m immediately pissed off because I really don’t want to see Maura or Jane being set up with some random guy with just a few precious episodes left. However, Jane’s not calling with romantic intentions – rather, the agent offered her an instructor job at Quantico, and she’s calling to find out more about it…