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Rizzoli & Isles – Recap & Review – Virtual Love

photo: tnt
photo: tnt
Rizzoli & Isles
Virtual Love

Original Air Date: Dec 11, 2012

Kym – Senior Reviewer

Our victim this week starts the show in some sort of “lab” wearing a Tyvek suit and mixing up something. I’m not sure what. He’s interrupted by someone he knows and who he tells to go home and get some rest just before being stabbed with a spear. Who? Why?

Meanwhile, on the rebound from Cavanaugh, Angela is upsetting Rizzoli by flirting with “everything that moves”, including the far too slick Detective Gibson from Auto – also referred to as “Lightening McQueen”.

Back at the murder scene, the victim is actually micro-brewer Greg Jensen, owner of Overlord Ale, and maker of Viking themed beer. His body was discovered by his assistant, Ruby Burke who’s just returned that morning from a marketing trip to Scandinavia. Maura notes the unusual entrance wound and finds a metal rivet in it, while Rizzoli follows a trail of blood droplets to a mill and the remains of the shaft. We saw that it was a spear earlier – but they don’t know that until Maura finds the tip lodged in Jensen’s spine. Once extracted, she notices Viking runes carved on it that syncs with the Viking themed beer and leads them to believe the spear belonged to the victim. The detectives also discover that Overlord Ale lifted it’s logo from a local biker gang – the Ragnarok Riders – and in fact paid the daughter of one of them – Clark “Skullcrusher” West – to pose as the model. “Skullcrusher” sued for copyright infringement and lost, so they’re off to talk to him about it. When they find him, he’s getting ready for a charity run and tries to blow them off, but when faced with answering questions there or downtown, he cooperates, to an extent. He tells them that Jensen “had it coming” but that he was a the children’s hospital the day before and has the pictures to prove it. Meanwhile, Maura has had a contact of hers translate the inscription as “Olaf the Boneless”, which she thinks is a mistake – since the legend is actually “Ivar the Boneless”, a legendary Norse warrior. Oh, and she’s also discovered month old seminal and vaginal fluid in the Tyvek suit and on the spear shaft remains. Eww.

Armed with all of this information and a DNA swab, it’s time to sit down and talk to Jensen’s wife Vanessa. She’s clearly upset and doesn’t seem likely as the killer. She’s suspected her husband was having an affair for a while because he “disappears” for days at a time and she found a second cell phone in his car. She has no problem giving them a sample to rule her out as the donor of the vaginal fluid at the scene and gives them the number for the phone. That phone leads the team to a condo that Jensen had purchased a year ago and a killer gaming rig logged into the account of “Olaf the Boneless” in an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) called “Vikings of the Realm”, which Frost seems pretty knowledgeable about. Korsak doesn’t understand the point of MMOs, and Frost’s difficulty in explaining them is funny. They are hard to explain to those that don’t play. In any case, Jensen has logged a lot of play time and this doesn’t appear to be much of a “love nest”. They do find a bunch of letters written in runes, though, and another note stating that “your whore is next.” While Frost is busy trying to figure out which one of the thousands of people Jensen played in game with that they should talk to, Rizzoli and Maura sit down with an elderly, hearing impaired professor of Nordic history to translate the letters. They’re love letter to “Olaf” from someone named “Gunhilde” and referring to another woman named “Undermater”. Forgive me if I spelled those wrong. This narrows down Frost’s search and they’re able to find “Gunhilde”, an older woman named Kendra Dee. She looks nothing like her avatar and while she and Jensen were having a massive affair within the game, they didn’t really have a relationship at all “in real life”. That leaves “Undermater” who’s made herself very hard to trace, at least until Kendra Dee texts Frost that she’s at a gaming event and about to make contact with “Undermater”. They rush to the comic store, where some serious LARPing is going on (that’s “live action role-playing” for those that don’t know) but aren’t in time since someone has already stabbed her and no one saw a thing. Probably because they’re all dressed like Vikings and carrying weapons. The examination of the body provides the break they need though with analysis of a hair the killer left behind. A hair that shows the killer had recently eaten “fermented minka whale and sheep’s head cheese”. In other words, had recently been to Scandinavia. It turns out the “undermater” translates to underling, or apprentice – like an assistant – like the one that just came back from Scandinavia. Under closer scrutiny, Ruby Burke’s alibi falls apart. She had actually come back standby on an earlier flight. As they’re trying to figure out where to find her, Olaf’s account is logged into, so they head to Jensen’s condo and find her playing out their romance within the game. She seems to be having some major issues with reality and doesn’t seem to even realize he’s dead. I feel a bit sorry for her.

There were some entertaining side stories this week as well. First, as mentioned, Angela starts out by trying to make Cavanaugh jealous – and it’s working – at least until Rizzoli points out that it’s beneath her and that he’s taking it out of the rest of the detectives. Plus, we have the initiation of a mentor program with “Rondo’s Rejects” – a trio of underprivileged teens named Reuben, Dania and Trevor – also known as Dog. They’re very bright – especially Dania, who’s very interested in watching an autopsy for extra credit in her AP Biology class – but also problematic when a false fire alarm is pulled by Dog and Angela’s wallet turns up missing. The wallet, minus $100, turns up later and we find out that Dog pulled the alarm to cover for Dania, who stole the money to pay for a textbook. All is ultimately forgiven and the mentor program is made official. Rondo and the kids also come over to play Monopoly and have dinner with Rizzoli, Maura and Angela. I hope we’ll be seeing more of these kids – especially Dania. She’s a great complement to Maura and should be quite a challenge for her.

This was a fun episode for a nerd/geek like me. I enjoy it when the things I love, in this case detective shows/fiction and gaming, intersect. I’m sure there are many out there that were watching that, like Korsak, didn’t quite get the whole MMO thing or the existence of a purely virtual relationship, but they are very real. I’ve played a few MMOs and they can be addictive like that and sometimes, for someone disturbed like Ruby Burke, the lines between the virtual world and the real world can blur considerably. And as for virtual relationships – well, let’s just say that I have a friend I’ve known for about 20 years now that I’ve never actually met in person. I still consider him to be one of my best friends though, and I wouldn’t turn down the chance to meet him if it were possible. Australia’s a long way away for me though.

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