There are three plots going on this week on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and they all have a common theme: friendship. Cute, right? Obviously putting it that way is simplifying the storyline as a whole, but it sets up the barebones premise for the episode. Jake feels the need to validate his friendship with Terry outside of a work setting, Amy is showing her loyalty to Captain Holt when the commissioner comes to evaluate them, and Rosa offers Boyle an act of kindness by agreeing to accompany him to his ex-wife’s engagement party.
Each storyline offers up a lot of laughs and interesting character dynamics, and I found myself laughing more often than not as this week’s installment progressed. The comedy comes naturally to the writers and performers and the confidence in this show is outstanding. A joke can be funny on paper and not land when performed or an actor can be naturally hilarious and still fall flat on delivery. With Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the show has managed to play to the strengths of the actors without forcing them into one-trick pony statuses.
For instance, Terry Crews is hilarious and can make the most absurd storylines funny because of how his character is depicted, mixed with his stature. No matter what, the storyline where Jake proves his friendship by driving Terry to his vasectomy was going to be riddled with jokes, but it’s made all the better when you then take this super-powered-looking man and get him doped up on medication and have him clinging to Jake in his high stupor. It’s even funnier when he’s confessing to Jake while high that he doesn’t actually want a vasectomy, and then crushes him under his weight while he sleeps as Jake tries to escape. One of the best moments comes from some visual and physical humor as Jake does anything he can to put a stop to Terry getting the procedure done, and ends up holding on desperately to his ankle as Terry continues walking as if there were nothing wrong.
Of course, at the end Terry admits to Jake that what he said while medicated was true, and he and his wife are going to wait before making any drastic decisions. Then he tells Jake that he’s a good friend.
Boyle has maybe the least interesting storyline, but it’s still an example of how the writers have learned what works and what doesn’t work with their characters. Boyle’s crush on Rosa was one of the least interesting parts of season one, so to see them treading so close to similar territory was worrisome, but they quickly turn the notion on its head and show Boyle just needing some friendly back-up. Rosa tells him at the end – while in some vibrant attire – that she’s going to go to the party with him, hang on his arm, laugh at his jokes, etc., all so he’ll feel better. It’s a nice way to show Rosa’s growth as well, showing that she isn’t just a fantastic badass who needs no explanation of why she is who she is but also a friend willing to help.
Captain Holt got the biggest and longest laughs out of me tonight as he meets a familiar face from his past. He tells Amy that he’ll be requiring her to stand by his side all while the evaluation is going on due to her teacher’s pet tendencies. However, when the commissioner arrives, it’s not who he expected and is instead Deputy Chief Madeline Wuntch, played by Kyra Sedgwick. They have a tumultuous past – Holt believes she held back his career for being gay and “refusing to bed her.” She believes that he embarrassed her in front of Derek Jeter. For what we never learn, but he does go to her to admit defeat, which allows the station to receive a passing grade so that Holt can still stay on board. Watching Andre Braugher play a petty, hateful version of Holt was something we haven’t seen fully yet, and watching him spit vitriol at Sedgwick made for some of the best moments of the episode. Also, any time we get retro Holt is golden.
It’s another strong episode to jumpstart season two, and gives its characters their due, each actor getting a moment that made me laugh. Spreading the wealth to all of the players is often a difficulty shows must confront, but it seems to be that with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the real problem must be restricting themselves from giving the actors more and more to do. Effortlessly one of the most watchable casts on television right now, and with a writing team that understands the talent they have, I can’t see season two faltering any time soon.
What did everyone else think of this week’s episode?