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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.03 - The Slump - Review

The one where Jake is in a slump. The star hot-shot detective of the Nine-Nine cannot solve a case and it’s getting him down. Some even say he’s cursed - though that might have more to do with the bird poop in his hair, wrecking Terry’s princess doll house, and the urinal that explodes in his face. Detective Jake Peralta is the goofy one in the precinct; telling jokes, doing pranks, using voices because he’s “a storyteller,” but he could get away with all that because of his exceptional police work. Without his talent, Jake’s just a goofy inCOPetent (incompetent + cop, regular wordsmith over here) like Hitchcock and Scully, though even Hitchcock solves a case. Holt, playing the sage mentor as usual, helps Jake to get over his slump by clearing his head with boring paperwork (very similarly to the pilot), while messing with him with a “lucky” rabbit’s foot.

It would be nice to see Jake mix it up with some of the other detectives in the Nine-Nine in future episodes, and bring them more into the A story. While Jake and Holt have a nice relationship, after all, they’re homies now, it would help break up the standard formula of the first three episodes and explore the other inter-precinct relationships a little further. Like perhaps Jake actually works with his partner Amy in an episode, instead of just in competition with her.

Speaking of Amy, in this episode she tries to reach out to “at-risk” kids about joining the Junior Police Program. Her unintentionally racist tactics don’t work, and instead inspire a room full of teens to start chanting, “Black people CAN sell drugs!” After all, we do have a black president. Rosa’s tough “street” talk only inspires the kids to laugh, and even remix her words instantaneously on a phone, like kids do these days. Gina finally gets through to the kids, after riling them up before, and tells them to find a passion. At which point she starts doing some sort of interpretive dance to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. While the dance has little positive impact, Gina’s speech that “Cops make 50,000 dollars a year, you never have to stop at a red light, and you get to carry a gun,” is much more effective. Although Amy doesn’t get the praise she clearly lives for from Holt, Gina gets promoted to his personal assistant, albeit without any raise - “Constantly getting Holt’s approval is the worst.” This story was pretty small compared to Jake’s, but it did give the show a chance to further develop their three female characters, and show how awful they all are with teens.

Over in the C story, Terry can’t put together a princess castle. Luckily Charles steps in to help, and rebuilds the broken one as a princess police station. Complete with a real(ly LOUD) siren, which will certainly make Terry’s home life very pleasant. While it’s amusing to see Terry, a big tough man, constantly battling with domesticity, it’d be nice to see the show mix it up a little and maybe put him on a case one week. There are a lot of fun and funny character bits that are amusing to watch, but three episodes in, B99 is in danger of recycling the same general set-up for each character in each episode.

While Brooklyn Nine-Nine is clearly Jake’s show, this episode gave a chance to flesh out some more of the ensemble at the precinct. In particular, two of the inCOPetents, Hitchcock and Scully - and while they may be dumb, they clearly have the coolest names in the precinct. Scully is apparently computer-illiterate and enjoys sharing his gross medical problems openly with his co-workers, while Hitchcock is willing to trade cases for an unsolvable murder with no paperwork. It’s good to know those two are out there protecting the people of fictional Brooklyn. Although the two may be pretty bad detectives, it’s nice to see the world of the Nine-Nine adding to the bench. Hopefully the Schur and Goor will take a page from Parks and Recreation and fill the world with a colorful cast of crazy characters.

The stories for the first three episodes have been light and fun, the jokes land more often than not, the flashbacks, while quick and a little hectic, are amusing, but there’s still a problem with the show - it feels so quick. Obviously a 30-minute show only has actually 22 minutes (at the most) of material, but B99 in particular seems to fly by. Perhaps it’s because they are balancing so many characters at once, or perhaps it’s because FOX used some tricky programming magic, but the show doesn’t really feel like a full episode. So for next week, here’s hoping that they’ve found a way to take up every second of the roughly 1320 that they have.

Bits from the Police Scanner :
- The Captain SMILED. So that answers the question of whether he’s a robot. …Unless robots can smile too…back to square one.
- Charles’ many attempts to establish a clubhouse - one of which was the morgue.
- “You’re like smart and articulate” “So are YOU! Why am I offended by that?” (Rosa/Amy)
- Best cop movie as decided by the Nine-Nine? Hitchcock getting beaten up and mugged by hookers.
- Holt’s surprising knowledge of car racing.
- Charles “frisks” an old lady’s butt to get her ID. Speaking of which…
- Ethel Beavers showed up at the Nine-Nine! Or really Ethel Musterberg. But Parks fans know it was really just good old Ethel from the 4th floor.

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