Once again it’s an episode with a lesson, but this lesson has a bit more of a twist. Instead of Holt teaching Jake, like the first run of episodes, Jake teaches Holt a lesson that he taught to Jake earlier on in the season: You’ve got work together as a team. Of course in getting to this point was some forced bonding time (curtsey of handcuffs), and a little Wii Tennis (“It’s intuitive.”) We also learned that young Holt was a lot more like Jake, and that’s why he completely changed everything about himself - so it makes sense why he might be taking an interest in Jake’s future and development. This episode’s take on the “lesson-learning” that has appeared throughout the season so far was a good example of the show settling in a bit. While at the start Holt taught Jake a very similar lesson in a very similar way (often something about working together), the later episodes in this first half have had fun and new ways of lesson-learning. And not all of them had an explicit lesson at the focal point either; the Thanksgiving episode was a fun departure as most of the precinct were all in one big story.
This episode had a lot of elements that consistently appear in the series; Jake behaves in a childish and yet amazingly competent way, Amy tries her best to suck up to the Captain somehow, Gina messes with someone’s head (Boyle, it’s always Boyle), Boyle pines after Rosa, Rosa rebuffs Boyle but they share a nice moment, Terry has insecurities about field work because of his family, and Scully & Hitchcock are not doing anything right or important. A little departure in this episode was for Holt, who for the second episode in a row got to break out of his grouchy turtle shell, both “emoting” with Jake, and then having a bit of fun doing some fancy dance moves in the hospital.
Overall it feels like the show is starting to get into its groove a little more. The characters are being employed in a nice balance, as they figure out how much Gina is too much Gina, and start to utilize Jake within the great ensemble a little more. The jokes are funny, sometimes smart, sometimes goofy, often a mix. B99 didn’t have a lot of course-correcting from the start, as can often be found with new series, which is probably due in large part to the experience of showrunners Mike Schur and Dan Goor, coming from showrunner and writer/producer backgrounds on Parks and Recreation - for the most part the season has been very consistent in tone and feel, impressive for a little freshman comedy.
Now over to all of the three B99 fans out there. How are you liking the show so far? Do you think they’re hitting their groove? Too much Andy Sandberg? Not enough crime-solving? Do you want to subscribe to Boyle’s pizza-ranking email? And most importantly, do you prefer for Holt’s codename to be Cold Mountain or Stone Eagle?
Let me know your thoughts on the first half of the season!
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