‘NCIS: New Orleans’: Pride & Rita Are a Bright Spot in the Pandemic (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 7, Episode 2 of NCIS: New Orleans, “Something in the Air, Part 2.”]
NOLA continues to try to fight COVID, both with the team’s case on a ship offshore and as Dr. Wade (CCH Pounder) tries to help a grieving woman on land, but there is a bright spot in these hard times: Rita Devereaux (Chelsea Field) arrives in town … for good?!
Planning to ride out the pandemic with boyfriend Special Agent Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula), Rita makes him keep his distance when she first walks in; she was tested before she headed down to New Orleans, but until she gets the results back, she insists on socially distanced hugs (above) and separate bedrooms and refuses to let him change her mind. “Tough break,” Jimmy (Jason Alan Carvell) tells his brother.
But her being in town isn’t going to just be good for her relationship; she finds a new purpose, too. She helps Jimmy expand his reach as he and Pride continue to help get supplies to those affected by the pandemic (especially the ones who have lost their jobs). She contacted supply companies directly and got them things at cost. (And fortunately, her test came back negative, so Pride can kiss her to celebrate.)
“You make yourself indispensable, I won’t let you go back to DC,” Pride says. “Well, what if I didn’t?” Rita asks, urging him, “Don’t freak out.” She resigned from the Department of Justice instead of using vacation time when he invited her to shelter with him. “My career has been pushing paper for the last two years,” she explains. “I felt more useful this morning than I have in months, and I’m not staying I’m going to stay in NOLA forever. That’s a you and me conversation.”
He seems very much on board with the idea, though it’s not until after the case is closed that he’s able to tell her that. “You’ve made the pandemic bearable,” he says. “If you’re open to it, I’d like to make this a permanent situation.” Even after the pandemic is over, “I want you here with me.” As he begins rambling about there being no pressure, she cuts him off: She wants the same thing, too. They’re so sweet together!
But the pandemic isn’t over yet. Gregorio (Vanessa Ferlito) and Carter (Charles Michael Davis) are stuck on a ship with people infected. As the team’s investigation eventually uncovers, someone at Eternal Hope did kill the lieutenant whose suspicious death brought them onboard in the first place: the doctor on the ship, after Cooke discovered that the supplies they had (including N95 masks) were counterfeit. One of the founders (not the one who initially confesses, in hopes of getting things moving along and his people on the ship back on land) chose the cheaper option, not thinking anyone would get hurt.
And Dr. Wade continues to have it the hardest and feel the losses the most. “I’m angry,” she tells Sebastian (Rob Kerkovich) when he tries to get her to take a break because she must be exhausted. But he insists she sit down and let him take care of her. Just as she does, however, she hears shouting in the hallway. A woman is looking for her brother; he died a few days ago at the hospital and no one knows where he is.
That’s how Wade learns about Dr. Jones, an “angel,” a funeral home owner calls him, who took bodies when her crematorium went out. When the coroner tracks him down, he explains that he teaches the mortuary arts. “On the first day of every class, I write dignity on the board because every body deserves dignity,” he explains to Wade. “And the idea of people being left in morgues, hallways, trucks, it’s not right.” And so he’s been helping and keeping records.
Wade brings the woman her brother’s ashes and assures her that the funeral home that cremated him had no ill intent. The woman tells her that without her, she may have never found him. “There’s not much I can control right now,” Wade admits. “I’m glad I was able to help.”
And the two-part premiere ends on a powerful note, with Wade in the morgue surrounded by bodies, singing “Amazing Grace” and an on-screen dedication: “to all those we’ve lost … and everyone who fought to save them.”
NCIS: New Orleans, Sundays, 9/8c, CBS