Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
I remember hearing tidbits before the start of Brookyn Nine-Nine’s third season that there was going to be a plot about a serial killer, and I remember wondering how in the hell they were going to pull that one off in a comedy. Sure, the role of comedy is often to give audiences the chance to laugh at things that often make them uncomfortable or sad, and great comedy can be a catharsis for injustice, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always erred to light, hardly confrontational side of things, so, a plot about a serial killer was never what I was going to expect.
What it provides is easily the funniest and best episode of the season so far, and a combination of some of the strongest pairings on the show.
The show first makes sure to reiterate just how terrible of a person the Vulture is as he forces the team to forgo any interesting or substantial cases in favor of the misdemeanor ones he personally gives out. Jake, the compulsive workaholic, is not so keen on following these orders and instead, hides away a case that could possibly be linking to the Oolong Slayer, a serial killer who hasn’t been heard from in five years. Wanting desperately to work on a real case and having to go over the Vulture’s head to do it, he goes to Holt who is more than willing to join up with Jake in solving the case, especially after being reprimanded by Wuntch for his posters in last week’s episode.
Sometimes I forget just how great it is to see Jake and Holt working together for something they both believe in and it’s often provided some of the best episodes of the show and funniest bits. While it’s entertaining to see Jake be obnoxious and Holt be exasperated by him, or Holt act robotic and have Jake try to interpret his emotions, it’s much more fun to see the two coming together, both eager about doing their job and having a fantastic time in the action. From the initial planning stage as they hide in a bathroom stall, to the two of them plus Gina drinking 20 year old port in Holt’s living room to celebrate or the two’s fake fight scene in order to let Gina steal information off of a computer, it’s great to see the three in a scene together. It’s also a reminder of just how similar Gina and Jake are, which is never explicitly stated, but is sneaked in with the two always being enthusiastic about the others ideas.
Rosa and Santiago get saddled with a frustrating task (and a sexist leaning one as well) as the Vulture orders them to plan his birthday party. Rosa and Santiago are also a duo that always work well together, especially when they have a common enemy and it’s great watching Amy struggle with her want to obey her captain as well as her want to punch him in the nose for his increasingly offensive comments. Amy’s hard work eventually pays off when she and Rosa discover that the Vulture has a band.
Terry Crews seems to keep on being stuck with the physical comedy portion of the series, and this week has his storyline with Boyle focus on his new addiction on a snack the latter brings in, which makes him put on some weight. The storyline is essentially used for the sole purpose of putting Crews in a fat suit, but also opens up the idea of how stressed out he is, with both work duties and a third child on the way. Out of all the storylines I would have liked to see more of Boyle and Terry together so that the end revelation didn’t feel so tacked on.
The secondary storylines are relatively slight and for good reason as the main storyline would have been strong enough to support the entire episode, even if it’s not hard to understand why the writers would want to make sure they’re servicing all of their actors on a weekly basis. Holt and Jake are found out by their supervisors and both are suspended for going behind their backs which is enough to deter Holt at first but obviously, Jake isn’t so willing to sit back and watch someone else finish the case. Although initially depressed about it all, he has a realization while out with Gina, which prompts one of my favorite exchanges this show has ever done when he get’s up to leave and she asks him isn’t he forgetting something. Andy Samberg plays Jake’s awkwardness expertly as he shuffles up to Gina, kisses her on the head, and then runs back out, totally misunderstanding her meaning, which was to pay his bill. Her following “who raised you” comment is also perfect.
Jake works out that their suspect works at a mannequin factory (suitably disturbing) and tries to enlist Holt who turns it down, saying that his dream was to run the Nine-Nine and he no longer has that. Jake persists and finds the man at the factory and is tracking him down when the man in question holds him at gunpoint. Of course, we know that Jake isn’t actually about to be shot (what a different show that would need to be) and Holt showing up to save him is as rewarding as this show gets. The following discussion they have outside is also the show demonstrating how well the series balances being funny as well as terrifically heartfelt. Jake is telling Holt how excited he is to have solved this case and Holt tells him to take the sole credit, saying he’s happy that he’s gotten his dream, but that Holt’s life now consists of daily desk drivel with Wuntch as his keeper.
Cut to what might be Jake’s most selfless act he’s ever had on the show, and as equally as rewarding as Holt’s saving the day moment, when he goes to the chief detective and tells him how easily he solved his case, and how he can either let him take the credit or spread around the fact that he was able to do it while being suspended. He’s using blackmail and it works, because Jake’s one request is to reinstate Holt as the Nine-Nine’s captain.
Maybe it’s an easy fix to the problem, maybe the show could have dragged it out longer, but Holt’s “I guess someone had my back” is enough of a justification. These characters have changed a lot since the shows start, maybe Jake the most, as he gives up a moment of glory to give someone he respects his chance at returning to what he loved to do.
Some other bits since this episode was hilarious start to finish:
“Good morning” “For whom?”
“Women love planning parties, it’s in the Bible.”
“Yours is an idiot and mine is a forked tongue, lizard witch.”
“That’s what globes are for!”
“I don’t even know what port is!”
“I’m feeling objectified by your male gaze.”