BACKSTROM Finale Recap: 'Rock Bottom' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BACKSTROM Finale Recap: ‘Rock Bottom’

April 30, 2015 by  

Hello BACKSTROM fans! What did you think of this season (and possible series) finale, “Rock Bottom”? We see Backstrom’s health catch up with him as Dr. Deb realizes he hasn’t quit drinking or smoking or (worse in his mind) lying about it. I thought the episode was pretty good, and it was nice to see some payoff from earlier plotlines. There is a lot to discuss, so let’s get to it!


The team gets a call about a young Native American, Jeremy Chase, murdered as part of a drug bust. Jesse Rocha wants in on the case and promises he will tell Backstrom Jeremy’s last words if he lets him in on the case.

Backstrom concedes, but barely. What he’d really love to see happen is Rocha get arrested and away from Amy. Neidermayer examines the victim and realizes that the stab wound he received was deliberate and meant to kill.

Since the case may take place in the county where Backstrom’s father is sheriff, Backstrom wants to bust him as part of the drug operation. He puts several plans in motion to see this through, but most of the people in the town state Blue Backstrom is clean. Backstrom takes vacation time to go to Cooch County, and he takes Valentine and Val’s mother Louise along; she makes him promise not to tell Blue that Val is his son—and they want Backstrom to visit the place where his own mother’s ashes were scattered after her death.

In Cooch county, Backstrom (and others) is convinced Edgar Norwest is responsible for Jeremy’s death. Blue says he doesn’t take action on anything that happens on a reservation, so Backstrom and Val go there themselves. They see Norwest and others with drugs, and Val approaches with a gun. Backstrom intervenes, but they also arrest Norwest. He offers to bribe them to let him go, and then Blue shows up to investigate. He insists that Norwest get a fair hearing in front of the local judge.

Norwest has a lawyer who is used to getting him out of trouble, and when Backstrom bundles the due process of the law up, Norwest goes free. Meanwhile, the rest of the SCU has come to town to help Backstrom on the case. Almond and Gravely see Norwest’s lawyer as he’s leaving town, and his ear is severely injured. Backstrom recognizes this as one of his father’s moves to rid the town of people he doesn’t care for.

Backstrom sends Moto and Rocha to the reservation to find Norwest, and only Moto returns. They figure Rocha has been hurt, and trace his phone location to an abandoned location. Neidermayer recognizes the same wounds found on Jeremy, but this time they are able to save (hopefully), Jesse’s life.

Backstrom figures his father has killed Norwest, and he also confronts him about the truth of his mother’s death. They argue, and come to no agreement. Blue spouts off more displeasure, and then Val shows up and tells him he is also his son.

When the team investigates an abandoned mercury mine, they find Norwest’s body—just like Backstrom figured they would. Against Almond’s advice, Backstrom calls the cops on his father, and Blue is forced to surrender his gun. But he keeps his boots and badge—for those, the cops will need a warrant. We see Backstrom is somewhat unsure of the choices he’s made.


  • It’s always fun to see a cast of characters outside of their normal “habitat” and seeing the SCU outside of the Portland Police Bureau was great. Even putting people in a small room like a hotel room can change the dynamic and make a scene feel fresh.
  • Loved Backstrom’s prayer about wanting Rocha to be guilty, and I loved Almond’s chastisement to stop using God like that, haha. Actually, every scene between Almond and Backstrom continues to be gold.
  • Sarah Chalke has been so incredible on this show. If there is a season 2, I hope Amy is featured more prominently.
  • The scene between Blue, Backstrom, and Valentine was excellent. Every moment!
  • I liked the moment at the end when Backstrom mentioned all of the things that were going well in his life but ultimately pushed him toward rock bottom. More on this later, but the direction in the scene, and the way it interchanged from the lakeside to the group meeting was nice.


  • I’ve been a critic of the Niedermayer/Paquet romance, and this episode wasn’t any different for me. It seems clear it’s sort of forced in the script or direction, and in this episode, Neidermayer basically pats her on the head for finding some piece of evidence, and that was just so unnecessary and…well, I was offended actually. Paquet’s character has the opportunity to be a really good one, and by shoehorning her into ‘love interest for Neidermayer’, it stifles that opportunity a bit—in my opinion. Likewise, I think Neidermayer’s character suffers the most in terms of being forced to fit different scenes. He can be eccentric; that is fine, but the spectrum from that to suave, romantic lead doesn’t always work . The acting is all fine and great; but the true nature of each character needs better defined and less manipulated in each scene, I guess? I’m going to move on!
  • The “I’m you!” declarations at the support meeting at the end of the episode were a little over the top. From the swelling music to the dramatic eye contact of people in the crowd, it felt like the payoff in a Hallmark movie; not completely out of character, but just this shade of cheesy—more like something a writer would think is awesome is a character did that vs. something that would happen in real life.


Well, the character said it himself in the final words of the episode, “So…what now?” I think the show has put itself in a bit of a pickle. It prided itself at the beginning for its dickish ways, but is now seemingly poised to rehabilitate its main character. Of course it’s not all as easy as that, but at this point, does the show’s earlier audience now lose interest? For me, Backstrom’s confessions that his addiction was out of control, that he loves Amy, and that he kind of likes his team was enough of a payoff that I don’t necessarily need to see more—I feel like I’ve gotten the remorse I wanted to see. I also admit that at first, I thought he was joking. I laughed at the end scene when he was crying; after all, he’s manipulated enough people enough times with tales of woe in order to get his own way. By the time I realized he was completely serious, it was a little late for me to feel much sympathy. On second viewing, the remorse seemed more sincere. I was infinitely more moved by the scene by the lake where Backstrom came to terms with his mother’s death and released his gift-bowl into the water in remembrance.

Of course, how any sort of rehabilitation and remorse plays out long-term is what (I imagine) would take place in a season 2. I would watch it, but if the show is not renewed, I feel like I’ve gotten enough closure. Not sure if that is good or bad, haha!

Ultimately, I think the show would benefit from some re-tooling into more of an ensemble piece. This can be difficult when the main character is also the title of the show, but I would like to see a season 2 where the writers can give it a shot. I believe (but correct me if I’m wrong) all of the episodes were filmed before the season aired. I’m not sure how common that is for a TV show, but I imagine it would be nerve-wracking to be unable to make changes mid-way through. A second season would allow the show the ability to make some necessary changes based on the legitimate praise and criticism it has received this year, and it would also provide the show with the ability to develop more of its characters.

Enough from me; what did you think of this episode and the season in general? Would you watch more, or do you feel like the show has come full circle enough? The comments are open; speak your mind!

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2 Responses to “BACKSTROM Finale Recap: ‘Rock Bottom’”

  1. Jocelyn on May 7th, 2015 8:47 pm

    love the show!! Hubby & I won’t miss it!
    Our favorite!! Bring it on as it is!!

  2. Madonna smith on July 24th, 2015 7:07 pm

    More backstrom, more backstrom, it is such a brilliant and funny show it is my most favorite of all shows I always get soooo exited every Thursday for new episode. But I have not heard of any new episodes lately after ‘rock bottom’, it can’t end like that for ever I hope to see more, it’s way too good to end early