Blue Bloods is in the enviable position most scripted shows in TV land dream of, drawing a consistent 11 million-plus share of viewers every Friday night, making it the top drama for its full three years, a cast clearly comfortable with one another, and very little drama off-script. The series also has a fourth season sewn up ahead, so more than something is working for the Reagan clan on Friday nights, and part of that formula is giving faithful viewers a finale to be proud of, and they more than delivered with this week’s “This Way Out.”
With the Santana rule still reigning in the Bitterman Projects, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) decides to follow his mother’s adage and “make our own fun” with partner, Maria (Marisa Ramirez) trying to dig up his own sources for who ordered Vinny’s takedown. He goes to the Lordes’ haunt, where a “lawyer” for Santana takes on his phone to record the “police brutality” of the proceedings. Meanwhile, Police Commissioner, Frank (Tom Selleck) and Mayor Poole (David Ramsey) and firing words at one another, as the mayor insists Frank be part of a town hall meeting to ease tensions in the midst of turmoil. Frank relates, “You want to reach hearts, I want to grab them by the short and curly’s” regarding recent events. At the forum, unrest is an understatement, as the Commissioner isn’t granted any quarter with the audience, who mock his comparisons of finding a cat in a tree with no description to go on. As the mayor tries to assuage the situation, declaring himself “a child of the Projects,” a pointed gun puts an end to the night, taking Poole down, paralyzed. It so happens that the shooter is Hector Santiago, who used to be babysat by deceased officer Cruz (Sebastian Sozzi) known to him as “skinny Vinny.” As the family gathers to wait and pray as more information trickles in, Danny puts itself back on the streets, and doesn’t grant any toilet privileges to his interrogation subject, who declares that no matter the distance from Bitterman, freedom is never possible among the disaster of daily life under gang rule, where fear is always in charge. Frank waits to see Carter Poole before his surgery, and the mayor charges him to “earn cooperation” from the neighborhood people, insisting “just do it” when Frank says he’ll try. The performances of these two fine actors, personifying strength and unspoken camaraderie and respect, are particularly rewarding surprises of the episode.
In the wake of the crises, Grace Newhouse (Joanna Gleason) assumes acting duty as Mayor, and presses Frank for “shock and awe” police responses, while he counters with “evidence and corroboration,” not willing to sacrifice standings of his office for the new mayor’s golden PR moment. Jamie (Will Estes) makes a visit to Hector’s mother, to offer support as much as seek information, but she’s had enough of police, grieving that her son “has been broken all his life,” and Hector’s father escorts the young officer Reagan and Sgt. Renzulli (Nicholas Turturro) to the elevators, tipping them off about his son’s soothing use of radio. Santana (Kamar De Los Reyes) plays more “arrogant than stupid” flaunting crimes in front of everyone’s faces. Jamie observes Hector “roughed up” at the station following interrogation, and goes with Erin (Bridget Moynahan) to report what he witnessed to the Commissioner. Frank insists this operation by the police be so clean that they “write the book” on proper process. Hector repeats that he thought his gun was a toy, but it is not until Jamie gently coaxes and listens to his radio reciting that he describes Orlando to a tee, breaking the case open at last.
Danny and Maria get “eyes on Santana” or his vehicle, but instead, find his lady, Nona, now turning uncooperative, and demanding a warrant. Maria delivers the paperwork, and Danny soon finds high-dollar dope in a door panel. He warns that a free country won’t exist for long for Santana, as Nona (Ana Nogiera) goes into custody for safety. Danny discovers that Nona has been shot in jail and is about to go to surgery in the hospital. The trail quickly reveals that Santana ordered her “taken care of,” and the trauma is enough to push her into telling the truth. Danny pledges his all to “give her life” in every way possible. Frank visits the recovering Mayor, seeking his support in “orchestrating a full sweep” of The Bitterman Projects, with the assurance the operation is “clean” with no hint of misstep. The two often clashing cohorts shake on the deal, and Santana is soon handcuffed and escorted to a police cruiser in his leopard underwear. The neighbors look on, shaking hands with officers themselves.
The traditional Blue Bloods family dinner takes a pleasant turn, as Linda proposes a family seashore getaway, with no shoptalk allowed. One by one, each Reagan falls in, family values restored once more.