As it nears the end of its second season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has everything we love about it down to a science. This episode hits just about every note that we would expect from this show and which has made us laugh before: Jake being way too passionate about a case, Jake and Boyle on a trip together, Holt being awkward and blunt, Amy being stressed out…it all feels like something we’ve seen before, but it still works just as well as it ever has.
Jake, Boyle and Terry
The main plot of the episode revolves around yet another case where Jake gets way too involved. This time it’s because he gets seriously hurt during the opening scene, but refuses to take time away to recover. He keeps trying to work on the case despite being seriously injured and despite Terry’s instance that he stays home, going as far as to plan a fake trip to Atlantic City with Charles so they can go on a stake out.
A whole lot of other episodes have this same basic arc of Jake refusing to give up on a case, and so at first this seems kind of repetitive. But the episode ends with some interesting character progression as Jake tells us a story about the last time he took time off during a case: he went on vacation and while he was gone, his perp came back and people got hurt. If he had been there, he could have stopped it.
This is a major piece of information about Jake that informs a lot of his behavior not only in this episode, but throughout the entire series. He’s a guy who’s pretty obsessive over cases once he gets involved with them, but that’s not just because he likes his job and wants to be the best he can be; it’s also because he’s afraid of letting anyone get hurt again. It helps recolor a lot of what we see not just as Jake being a stubborn idiot, but as Jake being stubborn because he is putting the safety of others above his own.
Jake ends the episode, though, with some acknowledgement that he can balance work and life outside of work, taking two more vacation days than he even needed. Jake will probably still be just as obsessed in next week’s episode, but hopefully this week is some indication that he’s growing as a character.
Holt, Rosa, Gina and Amy
The rest of the characters sort of come together in one big storyline here where Holt invites Rosa and Marcus over for dinner. He does this only because Kevin is making him, because Holt hates having to talk personal with people. Rosa feels the same way, and so they decide to invite Gina and Amy specifically because they know Amy will stress out, Gina will be weird, and that will allow them to not have to have an actual conversation. They refer to them as “intimacy buffers.”
I do feel like this storyline kind of resets some Holt progression from a few episodes ago where, after all going on vacation together, Holt was able to integrate himself into the group more and have a relationship with them outside of work. Here, he appears to be learning the exact same lesson with Rosa. You could argue that really what’s happening here is that Rosa and Holt don’t want to share theirfamilies with each other, but still it feels like Holt is a character who appears to be occasionally getting some interesting progression, only to be reset later on for the purposes of comedy.
In terms of pure laughs, though, it’s a funny storyline, playing off of Holt’s bluntness and sometimes hilarious inability to have an interesting conversation. It also ends in kind of a sweet place for Holt and Rosa, even if the revelation they come to is a bit repetitive. Marcus is still doing absolutely nothing, though, to the point where I have no idea what the point of getting Nick Cannon for this role was.
-One of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s frequently used gags is contrasting what would happen in a movie versus what would happen in real life, and that works pretty well in this opening where Jake tries to have the movie moment of running along the cars, only to fall into one.
-“What’d the doctor say?” “Welcome, we haven’t seen you in 11 years!”
-When Rosa tells Holt he should say he’s sick, Holt says that no one would ever believe that.
-Boyle can’t say no to a good nickname, in this case “Atlantic City Detectives Club.”
-“Something stinks…and it’s definitely the food you brought.”
-“So Marcus, what orchids can you name?”
-Rosa says she has two sisters, which Holt thinks was way too personal.
-The storyline of Rosa thinking she’s pregnant only she’s not is pretty cliche. I know it was just to have something for Holt to help her with, but come on. How many times have we seen this?
-“It’s your friend Charles Boyle, from work!”
-We get a great flashback where Terry once hired Jake as a clown, only for him to have an important realization about a case while blowing up a balloon.
-“Oh, I see, you heard me. You were just taken by surprise.”
-All his bleeding was internal. That’s where the blood is supposed to be.