The Rookie “Exposed” Review: Valentine’s Day Troubles

Tim Bradford in The Rookie "Exposed"

The Rookie “Exposed” Spoilers Ahead

The Rookie Season 5, Episode 16, “Exposed,” could have been far more riveting if it merely stuck to one overarching story throughout the narrative while threading all the couples together. Instead, it meanders through one too many plot points, attempting to combine them in a way that has me wanting to skip forward. 

If there’s one episode that could have been the prime opportunity to put all our favorites front and center to solidify their bonds while simultaneously sticking to the procedural formula, The Rookie’s “Exposed” is it. And this isn’t to say that it’s a bad episode per se, but the undercover case with Noah ensured it was off to a great start, except the addition of the CDC and Ebola exposure pushed it off the ledge. These characters are already going through a lot, and there’s no need to make it more difficult for them.

The Rookie “Exposed” | Bring on Chenford Angst and Hope

Chenford in The Rookie "Exposed"

Backing you up. Three words to describe the essence of Tim and Lucy’s relationship in an episode that put them through the test. The Rookie “Exposed” does plenty with the two of them in casual moments, allowing their first argument to showcase why they’re suitable for one another and how they’ll continue to grow from this moment onward. That’s what works throughout.

I’ve said it once and will say it again: She’s sunshine personified while he’s Oscar the Grouch. Lucy’s kind and warm, but Tim’s prickly edges hide his vulnerability from the rest of the world. In every relationship we’ve seen the two of them throughout the show’s five-season run, parts of themselves have been concealed at the expense of only allowing their partners to see the best of them. But relationships are messy—they’re ugly at times, and if someone’s worst cannot come forward for their best to be more valued, then the relationship isn’t built on a steady foundation. Lucy and Tim have seen each other’s best and worst—the insecurities, complexities, and even the darker corners that they hide from the rest of the world. In embarking on a relationship, it’s only natural for them to ease into their new partnership slowly because they’re allowing the other to see all the parts of them that they normally shy away from.

Chenford first Valentine's Day

Thereby, to honor both characters and allow them chances to be their authentic selves in the relationship without having to fabricate anything, it’s only fair that the series continues to show us every little detail in their relationship. It’s why they’re endgame and why it makes for some of the best moments. And despite Tim’s rough edges, when it comes to Lucy, his walls are almost down these days as he lets himself lean toward her side of the bed when they’re sleeping or jump to her aid when she needs it. Of course, Tim was going to be upset after the events of “Daddy Cop,” and the best thing The Rookie “Exposed” does is how it handles the situation organically. They get to talk. Is it his male ego a bit? Of course, and these fundamental flaws make Tim a significantly more well-rounded character because it gives him places to evolve from.

And evolve is precisely what he does when he delicately places the necklace around her neck because he wordlessly shows her that he’s got her—through and through. An argument isn’t going to change the detail that he’s in this for the long run. But more than anything, it’s moments like this that prelude if (likely when) they go undercover again, how it’ll challenge them as a couple. Will they survive all that they face in those grueling situations? It’s how they learned to lean into their love in the first place, so I don’t doubt it for a second, but still, it’s relatively obvious that the show will continue placing obstacles in their path. And with each one, Tim and Lucy will come out adoring and trusting each other more. Here we have concrete proof of the fact that backing you up is a perpetual promise that’ll follow them like a protective streetlight in the darkest nights.

Further Thoughts

  • Sometimes it’s very hard to believe that Elijah Stone is Dale Jakes from Graceland or Toby from She’s the Man. That gift was anything but a gift.
  • That said, I need some more moments with Angela and Wesley stat.
  • I loved everything we got with Nyla and James this week.
  • Seriously though, this could’ve been such a great ensemble episode with everyone sharing bonkers stories while accidentally exposing that they were all in on the plan. Why can’t we have nice things?
  • I’ve always had the biggest TV crush on Kyle Schmid since Alley Cats Strike, so it’s always so nice to see him in other roles. It’d be riveting if Noah came back in the show. I’m intrigued with the character thus far.
  • It’s actually unfair how Chenford look at each other.

Now streaming on Hulu: What are your thoughts on The Rookie’s “Exposed?” Let us know in the comments below.


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