Last week’s death of Detective Jerry Barber came as a great surprise – at least to me. I was concerned, as a commenter or two pointed out, that the previews for “Cold Comforts” seemed to indicate that Sam Swarek – and his relationship with McNally – would likely be some of the hardest hit by Barber’s passing. While the death of his best friend was a catalyst to the end of Sam and McNally, it was the reaction of the other members of 15 Division that made this episode of Rookie Blue an outstanding follow-up to “Out of Time.”
Oliver Shaw’s reaction was easily the one I connected with the most. His graveside speech to Nash convinced me of that right away; at some point in the timeline of anyone’s death, it becomes time to return to normal. Those days, when there’s “nothing left to do,” are the hardest. Shaw’s reaction, spending the day at the Black Penny, is the exact indulgence I hope that I would give myself if in his situation. Spending the day next to “Jerry’s seat,” protecting “Jerry’s scotch” was a wonderful way to put off the pain of the day-to-day.
The journey that Gail Peck’s character has taken from the first episode to now has easily been the most substantial of any of the characters. In some ways – in the short-term – she was most affected by Barber’s death. Jerry died in her search, ensuring her rescue at what became the cost of his life. Carrying that guilt, while misplaced, is an incredible burden especially as she and Nash work together every day. Traci forgiving Peck and Peck’s acceptance of that forgiveness was one of the more poignant moments Rookie Blue has ever produced. That emotion manifested again as Peck stepped over and finished Jerry’s speech. The Gail Peck we first met would never do something like that.
Of course Nash’s loss is the most significant, and will probably be the longest and most obvious as the show third season comes to a close. The loss of a loved one like that always will affect her work life, even more so in a situation where the work and personal life are so intertwined. Those, however, are questions for the weeks to come. This episode ended on a wonderful personal note, as Nash and her mates raised a toast to her husband Jerry Barber.
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