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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.04 - M.E. Time - Review

Just a quick disclaimer: I apologize for switching between first names and last names - in a show where characters are sometimes referred to by both, I get conflicted. Who should go by their first? Who by their last? I don’t know.

One of the big jokes of this episode, and the series so far, is that no one can read Captain Holt’s stoic robot face. Rosa thinks he’s upset after he just spent a beautiful weekend in Barbados with his husband, Sergeant Jeffords thinks he’s happy when he’s actually devastated over the loss of photo albums in a fire. And Scully, sharp as a marshmallow, can’t get a read when Holt reams him out for his incompetent paperwork - and doesn’t even know Holt’s gay. Of course, Amy the brownnoser feels she can read him pretty well, and all she wants is for him to lean back in his chair a bit and nod. She spends a great deal of the episode trying to please him, and finally does it by simply filling out paperwork for a case, and reassuring him of the Nine-Nine’s positive numbers for the month. Like she said, they’re basically the same, except that she’s “young, Cuban, single, female and straight.”

When Amy needs a sketch artist but one’s not available, she heads over to Jeffords, who is apparently an amazing artist. So good, according to Scully, that he could probably do caricatures on the boardwalk. After asking him to draw a perp sketch of a purse snatcher, Amy commissions a painting of the Captain to replace the picture he hated. Although Holt hates the idea of hanging an ostentatious oil painting in the precinct even more, he ends up taking the oil painting home for his husband, because he’d like to see such a happy picture. Of course Jeffords tried to make him look serious, but it all worked out.

Today we’ve got a new segment entitled: What did Jake learn this week?
When Jake’s assigned to be Boyle’s secondary on a murder case, Amy points out that he’s the worst secondary, and Jake quickly proves it at the crime scene. After busting out a solid 5 fat jokes and assigning tasks for Boyle, Rosa and himself, Boyle is left with very little command. (Side note: Boyle’s clearly great at talking to victim’s families, as he consoles the large victim’s wife with this gem, “I’m sure the soft drink industry mourns his passing.”) Rosa convinces him to be a better secondary and stop calling all the shots. Unfortunately he’s distracted by the hot M.E. (Mary Elizabeth Ellis), and they go have role-playing dead guy sex. Which is determined not to be hot, and definitely to be weird. When Jake’s fooling around with the M.E. holds up the case, he has to help her with the autopsy to make up for it. As soon as they find cause of death, poisoning, Jake leaves to take the news to his primary, and turns down the M.E.’s invitation of a “post-mortem” - “Nothing personal, I just think that sex is for the living.” Boyle gets the victim’s wife to confess to the murder, and Boyle’s dream threesome (Jake, himself, and Rosa), all go out to drinks together. In conclusion, this week Jake learned to give up control to respect his co-workers…and never to have creepy dead guy sex again.

It was nice to see Jake’s primary interactions, and weekly lesson-learning, come from a new source this episode, and Boyle and Rosa both did a good job in helping him learn from his mistakes.

Overall, a fun episode that does a good job of highlighting more of the ensemble.
Boyle got some good coverage this week, and he’s definitely a more interesting character than at the start, as the past few episodes have shown that while he may be clumsy, he’s also a good cop and a good friend. And of course hopeless in his romantic life, though he does get some quality silent drinking time with the current object of his affections, Rosa. Amy also got some story focus, although she still comes off a little one-note with her constant need for approval - but hey, it’s still just the first run of episodes, it takes a while to get to know people in real life too. It was fun to see partners Amy and Jake spar a little bit in this episode - hopefully they’ll actually get to work together in an upcoming one. The fact that Jake was willing to ruin his own date for the chance to mess with Amy’s showed how committed he is to their playful rivalry.

I’m looking forward to continuing to investigate some of the other characters in the precinct as the show shifts from The Jake Show to the Nine-Nine.

Notably missing from this episode? Everyone’s favorite office administrator/Captain’s personal assistant, and all-around mischief-maker, Gina.

One last thought: Can you really take a weekend vacation from New York to Barbados? Did this distract anyone else? Does Captain Holt have a teleportation device?

Bits from the Police Scanner :
- Jake lying naked in a morgue drawer.
- Boyle listening to, and singing to, “Consider Yourself” (from Oliver) in the cop car.
- M.E. excited by the autopsy and the “Death Bubble,” Jake not so much.
- Jeffords asking questions for his sketch - “ Let’s start with the eyes - were they desperate? Lonely? Did they convey heartache?”
- Boyle’s righteous anger at Jake - “I’m your primary and I asked you to do something. So if it’s okay, I’d like to be upset with you.”

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