Like within many episodes of “Blue Bloods” this season, February 12’s “The Road to Hell” (Season 6 Episode 14) took its moral lessons and misdeeds right to the Reagan doorstep. In more ways than even the usual sort of story depicted on the drama, this one is really a story of families– personal and spiritual, whole and broken, bonded and dysfunctional. It is also a story that relates the meaning and the method of offering mercy, and how those choices are felt more than learned. Broken lives and the wrongs of the world thrive within and without the church walls, and even snare the Commissioner’s granddaughter.
At the close of Sunday mass, Pop (Len Cariou) and Frank (Tom Selleck) note that mentioned in the typical announcements by Father Quinn (Jack McGee) are words about restoring money that was stolen from the rectory, which neither Reagan knew about. Meanwhile, Nicky (Sami Gayle) and her friends are driving home from a concert, and get pulled over for a broken tail light. She is equally incensed by the humiliation of being publicly pulled from the car, and her vehicle searched, just as her friends, but being who she is, she complies corporately. When 2 ounces of cocaine are found, the young man in company, Kyle Miller (Sea McHale) shrinks sheepishly away. All four go through booking and processing, and despite her mother’s urging, Nicky will not be “a snitch.” Erin (Bridget Moynahan) asks that she be held in a holding cell, not in a comfortable office.
In a very unusual twist for a homicide, Danny and Maria (Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez) catch the case of the murder of Pablo Gonzalez, and every single one of about nine ladies confesses to the killing, so the detectives know that this could be a sticky case to convict, and Erin concurs. Investigation reveals that the suspect in the rectory robbery is Mason Reyes (Jack DiFalco), a very troubled 20-year-old, who has experienced extreme overload in trauma, but caused his share of problems and trauma himself. Father Quinn refuses to prosecute, press charges, or otherwise impose any criminal conviction. Instead, he has posted bail, and intervened on the boy’s behalf numerous times. No matter how Frank pushes that this mercy is “an enabler,” the man of the cloth will not be moved from his conviction. Nicky’s arrest has a political plank to it, because there’s bad blood between the precinct boss in the Bronx and Frank, with Nicky floating between. Garrett (Gregory Jbara) reminds Frank that there is no business he can concoct to take him all the way to the Bronx. Nicky is released on her own recognizance, but gets nothing but “the cold shoulder” and nudging from mom the whole time, with Jamie (Will Estes) pushing the same way.
A break comes in Pablo’s case, when the brother of one of the ladies, Javier (Leo Minaya), is rumored to have laid down the law to Pablo, and tried to take his sister home. That sister, Martina (Raquel Castro) always took her brother’s side growing up, and she is troubled enough about the situation to do herself in. Maria finds is suicide note in a search of her room, and Danny goes to find her, teetering on the edge on the height of the building, somehow praying that she can jump. On a side note, Donnie Wahlberg will need to be prominent in the more physical scenes for a while, with costar, Marisa Ramirez, now expecting. Danny plays the psychological approach, trying to scare her by describing other suicide cases that he has been close to, especially one not ending well for a vet. Martina confesses Pablo’s violence toward her, stealing $40 she had struggled to save, breaking her jaw, and other horrors that make her actions very plausible as self defense. Convincing her to take his hand, and trust him, he pledges to do all he can to keep her away from jail.
While the painful story of Reyes witnessing his mother being murdered by his father comes to light, Erin tries to get her daughter to see the light that a felony conviction does away with her dreams of college and career, but Nicky pleads to work things out in her own way. Frank asks the truth of Sgt. Gormley (Robert Clohessy), inquiring of stories about his granddaughter are going through the ranks. In a talk about confession, in a very touching scene, Eddie (Vanessa Ray) asks Jamie if there is “a three strikes you’re out” rule in confession. He tells her that as long as the heart is being true, confession can always cleanse and set free. Erin warns her dad to stay “a good 500 feet back,” regarding his granddaughter. He is still questioning what mercy comes from forgiving a criminal, but he seems to prod Erin to have that mercy.
A dangerous alert comes through police radio that there’s an active shooter in the church, and Jamie and Eddie rush to the scene. Reyes is pointing his gun at Father Quinn. Worshipers rush out, and Jamie pleads with Mason to give up the gun. There is a struggle between the boy and a priest. Father Quinn is shot, and Jamie has no option but to shoot Mason.
A meeting with the Bronx DA doesn’t go so well, as he is clearly prejudiced against anyone with the Reagan name, and does not even bother to tell Nicky or mother that Kyle Miller has divulged that the drugs were his, making Nicky’s charges be dropped. Nicky’s personal method of coercing truth worked, and she has most of her friendships and life still intact, some lessons learned. Frank visits father Quinn in the hospital, and the man of God is still for granting Mason compassion. This time, there’s no way out of prison, but the priest orders Frank to pray for him. Against Erin’s request, Danny arrests all of Pablo’s ladies, so that Martina’s case could be heard, and leniency permitted.
Naturally, mercy becomes a focus of discussion at the Reagan dinner table, until the question comes of who coached Nicky on getting Kyle to come clean. “Not me,” comes the response from officers around the table, until she confides that a call from Sgt. Gormley was certainly helpful.
This “Blue Bloods” saga of felonies, faith, and forgiveness fades to black for another Friday night.