Over the course of what we’ve seen of Brooklyn Nine-Nine so far, the relationships have played a major part in the success of the show, particularly the pairing and grouping of these individuals who wouldn’t ordinarily seem compatible. There’s Rosa and Amy, who grew closer over the first season, and Gina who still taunts Amy endlessly. Rosa and Boyle were about as far apart on the personality spectrum as one could get, and yet their friendship turned out to be sweet rather than weird. Similarly, Boyle and Gina have turned into wonderful comedic foils for one another, putting each other’s oddities on display. We’ve had Terry and Jake discussing whether or not they’re work friends or real friends; Rosa and Jake’s ongoing sturdy friendship; and Jake and Holt’s development from the first episode, where they couldn’t tolerate one another, to last night’s episode, where Jake is surprisingly the voice of reason to Holt’s shenanigans.
One of the few pairings that has never been tested is Boyle and Jake, and typically that was due to Boyle’s hero worshiping of Jake, something we realize isn’t as blind as he plays it to be. However, this week they’re stuck in a stakeout for a week together, convinced they won’t get sick of one another’s habits while being forced into such close proximity, and decide to do the full stakeout time rather than asking for a reprieve.
Of course, as predicted by just about everyone at the precinct, this ends poorly with the two beginning to suffer cabin fever only two days in. To try and curb their growing annoyance with one another, they decide to create a “No No” list, compiling aspects about each another that they can’t indulge in while on their stakeout. This includes things such as no Die Hard references, no rhyming, no pull-ups and finally, no speaking at all together. By the end of the stakeout, which they’ve blown, they are no longer on friendly terms and it’s not until the ending tag portion of the episode when they resolve their issues – while getting to be badass cops, as well. Which, might I add, is a welcome choice, because as funny as this show is and as absurd as it was for their cover to be blown by a basketball crashing through their hideout window, it’s beyond satisfying to see them being competent at their jobs while being comedic throughout.
The smaller side plots were also strong. Amy and Gina are insulted by Terry, who’s created a picture book for his daughters and has used familiar faces for his drawings, including Amy and Gina. Amy’s character is a pushover and Gina’s is mean and the two both try and subvert his opinions of them. He ends up telling them to knock it off because the book is utter nonsense, nothing to be taken seriously.
Rosa gets the thinnest storyline, but it pays off for some of the biggest laughs. Captain Holt’s nephew is in town (played by Nick Cannon) and Rosa and he hook up much to both Rosa and Holt’s discomfort. Both don’t deal with human emotions, so watching the two have to dance around the issue was fantastic and would have benefitted from more time to explore the dynamic. Stephanie Beatriz is really being allowed to stretch her comedy muscles this season beyond office badass, and she and Andre Braugher put together is a pairing the show should work with more often.
Before ending this review, I must make mention of the episode’s brilliant opening, which almost made the rest of the episode suffer from not being able to live up to it. Holt, Jake and Rosa are all receiving commendations for the Giggle Pig task force, and Holt has spent all night thinking of a good zing to toss at his nemesis, Wuntch, while she’s passing out the medals. “Wuntch time is over” is the line he’s chosen, and Jake tries to convince him to be the bigger man and turn the other cheek.
Words don’t live up to the moment, but Holt gets to have it both ways and Braugher is a gift to television.