S4 Rookie Finale Lands Nolan in Ancient Gunfight

The following contains spoilers for The Rookie, Season 4, Episode 22, “Day in the Hole,” which airs Sunday, May 15 on ABC.

Season 4 Finals of Beginner has Officer Nathan Fillion John Nolan assigned to special duties in the border town of Frontera, filling the local sheriff and supervising rookie deputy Gabrielle Navah (Stephanie Arcila). Sounds like a setting for a modern western or an action movie? Because that’s the smart payoff viewers get from Nolan’s story in the episode, “A Day in the Hole.”

Dropped into another week from Los Angeles, as punishment for violating the union president, Nolan decides to make the most of it with friends and family vacations. He brings his girlfriend Bailey (Jenna Dewan) and invites Ellroy Basso, played by Alan Tudyk, and Nell Forester (Sara Rue) to come too. Nolan’s half-brother Pete (Pete Davidson) and Pete’s girlfriend, Chastity (Meg DeLacy), arrive later in an airflow trailer and everyone ends up at a deserted local motel. The classic outline that governs the rest of the storyline.

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Since Frontera is running so slowly, it looks like Nolan will have nothing but local bar fights to worry about; the town is so small that the police station shares the premises with a local restaurant. While on patrol, Navah wants to know all about Nolan’s interesting case, which she tries to play down, but Navah is eager to cooperate with Los Angeles police officers. Of course, that languid speed and enthusiasm didn’t last long, not when they pulled over for speeding violations and found a driver who didn’t have a driver’s license or vehicle registration. Nolan saw the gun, and the man was arrested, but not before Navah was reprimanded for getting out of position and in the line of possible fire.

Back at the restaurant/station, the suspect, “John Smith,” is booked, but a check of records can’t be done until morning due to limited access to the database. Nolan leaves Navah to watch the suspect overnight, returning to the motel to relax and bond. In the morning Nolan and Ellroy return to the station, where they find the suspect wanted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Cue cinematic climactic music, because things are going wild.

A stranger walks into a restaurant with a duffel bag filled with money and demands the release of the prisoner, his boss. The scenario shifts to the incorruptible Nolan who doesn’t have it, despite the veiled and overt threat. Nolan makes his stand, but Ellroy humorously suggests they take the money and let the suspect go; she even grabbed the bag when the goons took it, vowing to come back.

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The situation then devolves into a promising Western-style free fight and stalemate, pitting heavily armed criminals against Nolan, Navah and Ellroy. The bad guys puzzled restaurants with gunfire, hit glassware and coffee pots, and made one delicious-looking cake perform a graceful somersault in the air. More satire, one-liners, and banter also fly, as Nolan and his pals battle the odds in a comedic clash complete with a life-saving close call and Ellroy defeats one of the thugs with tai chi.

Meanwhile, at the motel, Bailey confronts not one, but two bad guys in a fight scene that would feel right at home in any action movie — all while Pete is sleeping in his trailer, and right before Chastity and Nell head out of shopping. . As a result, backup eventually arrives in the form of federal authorities, and the explanation cuts to scenes of all the bad guys being packed into the tiny cell that serves the police station.

The Rookie has been renewed for a fifth season, which is likely to premiere this Fall.

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