Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
In some ways, “The Funeral” works better than last week’s premiere episode “New Captain”. Where the premiere had to overcome the necessary hurdles of expository catch ups, this week we’re allowed to see the characters at their goofiest, as the team is brought back together for Captain Dozerman’s funeral. The episode moved at a brisk pace, introducing three different plots, all of which had satisfactory conclusions.
Here’s what made it such a good episode:
- The stakes for Jake and Amy’s relationship status seemed real due to how well we know the characters. The Vulture aims for their weak spots, which is their careers. Telling Jake that if he doesn’t break up with Amy he’ll demote him is a realistic way that Jake and Amy’s confidence would be rattled. They both are workaholics who have worked hard to get to the places they are in their careers. Jake takes the more optimistic spin, saying he’ll work back up to his place while Amy is feeling more realistic. However, we know that Jake was never going to be demoted. Jake persists in getting the Vulture to relent his childish hold on their relationship, even if it means having an argument with a bagpipe player at the funeral, giving a poorly timed speech in front of the crowd to win Amy’s confidence in their relationships survival, and in the end, managing to sway a down on his luck Holt into stepping up and playing to the Vultures ego to help his two former detectives.
- I wasn’t a huge fan of Boyle’s character in the premier, believing that he had been stationed as little more than a Amy and Jake fanboy who was essentially an audience insert, someone who wanted them to be together and little else. This week he gets his own storyline and Joe Lo Truglio was in rare form, each line pitch perfect. He’s been enjoying a tryst with Archie Panjabi’s Lieutenant Knox at other funerals, excited over the purely sexual nature of it, opposed to his usually getting overly attached and intense. However, Gina and Rosa poke and pry, telling him it’s unlike him to not want to get to know her, so much so that it gets into his head. When he finally tries to get to know Knox it ends disastrous for him. Him storming into the ongoing funeral shouting “she’s a vegan” at Gina and Rosa is my favorite line reading Truglio has ever given. It’s the right amount of disgust and anger that the self-identified “foodie” would have over this subject. More of this Boyle, less of premiere Boyle. There’s a hard distinction between the two that makes the difference in whether or not the character is funny and relying heavily on his specific quirks is how to make the character work.
- Putting Terry and Captain Holt together is always a smart move. It’s even better when you let Terry Crews play drunk. Holt is miserable, having visited the 99 for the first time since his departure. He had expected to be greeted with enthusiasm but instead his visit along with Gina’s goes over the heads of his former team. Hurt by this development, he decides to go and drink at a bar across from the ceremony and Terry, intending to break him out of his funk, joins him. Agreeing to a drink is a mistake however since his tolerance has been lowered since he hasn’t drunk in a while and is soon dancing through the bar and making sloppy speeches about yogurt.
The episode works so well with all of the above storylines because it’s tightly plotted, containing the characters to the same space for the entirety of the episode. Even when they’re off having their own storylines (whether it’s Jake trying to get on the Vulture’s good graces or Boyle’s romancing of Knox) it all comes together for the larger story. It’s a strong, very funny episode that is in full swing after shaking off the dust in the premiere.