Shades of Blue season 3 episode 1 presented a challenge from Harlee Santos from the get-go: How does she move forward after all that she’s done? Can she reconcile the past with Stahl and realize that she doesn’t need a revenge killing in order to move forward? These were questions that defined her and yet, these are also questions that defined Wozniak in this episode.
For most of the hour, what we saw with Woz was a deliberate attempt on his part to do everything within his power in order to get revenge on Quince. He was so willing to get what he wanted that he staged an exchange in which to have it happen, one that Harlee, who was luckily still alive following her near-death experience, had to be shady in order to pull off. She even got called out for her dishonesty on her way to do it, which seemed to be the spark in her mind that made one thing clear: How far is she really willing to go for justice? Does she want to be a bad cop anymore? She decided against taking part, which seems to put her and Woz at odds now.
Harlee’s philosophy here seems to be clear: If she can move forward rather than staying fixated on Stahl, Woz can do the same … we’re just not altogether sure that he’s willing to or thinks that this is the right move. Alas, sometimes your past history will catch up to you regardless of whether or not you are interested in trying to turn over a new leaf. That seems to be what Shades of Blue was trying to explain via the devastating end to tonight’s episode, which featured Harlee discovering James’ body and realizing that the one stable part of her life is now gone. She needs to find a way to accumulate a new sources of inner strength and we’ve got a good feeling that this is not going to be an altogether easy thing for her to do. Also, she has to now prepare to go back to the dark side — we think that new leaf was probably set on fire after seeing James’ body.
Let’s backtrack for a minute here, as the opening of the episode brought you Harlee in court testifying as to some of the actions of the NYPD. We do think that this is Harlee trying to be the best version of herself, someone who can fight for justice without all of the roadblocks. That’s the ideal version of herself, the one she wants to be. We know that this is where she is in the future, so part of the mystery now is connecting point A to point B.
As a whole, Shades of Blue season 3 episode 1 delivered an installment that was everything that we hoped that it could possibly be, in between exciting, dramatic, intense, and devastating. Those closing minutes with Jennifer Lopez were heartbreaking, but also probably necessary to put Harlee in the position that she needed to be to push things further.
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