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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Stakeout - Review

Guess what, guys! The half season is NOT over! Or, well, now it is, but it wasn’t over last week. Whoops!

For those of you who saw my teasers a couple days ago, I mentioned Holt acting decidedly un-Holt-like -- this moment in the cold open was so ridiculous that I almost burst out laughing. Which doesn’t sound like it’s worth very much on the humor reaction scale, but considering I watched the screener at night, on my computer, alone, and with headphones on, getting an audible reaction is a pretty big deal. I’ve mentioned it several times this fall, but B99 is killing it with the cold opens this year. This one tied into the Giggle Pig story from the previous episodes, though it was pretty much standalone from the rest of the episodic half hour. The intense hatred between Holt and Wuntch clearly brings out the more fallible/human side of him, as he seemingly can’t resist hitting her with his “zinger,” and then reveling in the moment, with little to no regard for decorum. These sorts of jokes only really work sporadically, and if the character has been so consistently well-defined as to make any break from the norm obvious on the part of the character, as opposed to lazy writing from the show. Holt’s particular immaturity around Wuntch provides a basis for his behavior, and his “bigger person” moment pre-outburst just highlights the amusing irregularity of his actions. Any moment where Jake doles out sage advice to an irresponsible Holt is going to get an A+ in my book. Everyone has to act like a child once in a while.

(No photos of Jake and Boyle, but they're here, in the bags!)
Los Dos Amigos. The Band of Brothers. Jake and Boyle -- the buddiest two cops there ever were. Except, of course, when they’re stuck together alone for 7 days. As anyone who’s ever spent a concentrated period of time with another human being can attest, anyone can drive you crazy after awhile. You know that saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? Well it does. And close proximity makes one’s flaws seem larger. Much, much larger. Although Jake and Boyle swear they’ll be okay for 8 days alone, it doesn’t take too long for them to realize that little annoyances can build up when you can’t get a break. Their eventual, mutual breakdown blows the operation, and Holt puts them on door duty together to fix what they broke. They really luck out by finding the member of the up-and-coming Ukrainian mafia at the first door, and work together to bring him down. As they reflect over the handcuffed Mafioso, they realize they’re like brothers -- sometimes they’ll annoy each other, but they’ll always have each other’s backs. Jake and Boyle’s friendship has seemed really strong this year, and the tendency of both detectives to stand by one another and support each other in whatever weird situations they find themselves in, has made both characters a lot more palatable. Last year Boyle’s occasional incompetence was frustrating, but this year he’s become more endearingly eccentric and unlucky than stupid. Putting Jake and Boyle together as partners has been a great choice so far -- even if Boyle recites poetry a bit too often for Jake’s liking…

While Jake and Boyle’s story was a real character study, Rosa and Holt’s was just pure humorous humiliation. Sure, not quite The Office levels, but still enough to bask in. Rosa takes a little shine to Holt’s nephew, Marcus (Nick Cannon), which leads a little action in Holt’s guest bedroom, which leads to an awkward morning encounter in the breakfast nook. This scene is hilarious, because everyone is uncomfortable, and no one really does anything about it. Except darling Kevin who offers to make French toast with a bacon smile. Make that veggie bacon and I’ll gladly take you up on that offer Professor Cozner! Their relationship feels very father/daughter as Holt tries to return Rosa’s “brassiere” in a folded paper bag in the precinct. He reassures her he’s talking to her as a friend, she jams the bag into her jacket, and they both agree they should never talk about anything again, as they try their hardest not to blush. This was a perfect side story for the episode, because it turned some of the most unrufflable people in the Nine-Nine into complete bundles of nerves. Guess the mixing of very private personal lives will do that to two tough cops.

Amy and Gina got the short straw this episode as they both realize that there are aspects of their behavior that they dislike, based on their “portrayals” in Sarge’s picture book for his twins. Though, as he sensibly reminds them in a stopped elevator, it’s a nonsense children’s book, and it’s about moose wishes and platypups, not them. The picture book was cute, and it would be nice to see Amy stand up for herself if the occasion calls for it (though she clearly doesn’t understand HOW to do that), and Gina could certainly ease off other people once in a while. But Amy’s timidity hasn’t really seemed like much of an issue this season, and also it’s not super interesting to watch people “find” themselves in a 7 minute TV episode, only to regress by the end (like Gina). Not a bad story, just not particularly engaging.

Aside from the cold open, the whole episode felt very episodic, like one of those half hours that could go anywhere in the season to fill a programming slot. It was a little weird to wrap up the half season on a fairly unconsequential episode, though it was still a funny one, as Jake and Boyle slowly descended into madness. Probably thematically appropriate for all those students in the midst of finals week, or business people trying to get important business things done before taking time off for the holidays. (I don’t know how business works). Not the best episode of the season, but still a fun one!

Alright, Nine-Niners, I’ll see you all next year! For real this time. Now I’m off to go make some holiday caramels.

Stake me out tonight…

About the Author - Kimberly
Kimberly is a big TV nerd - willing to talk any show, any time. Her tastes are various and sundry, but she’s got a soft spot for comedy. She currently writes the SpoilerTV reviews for Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and About a Boy.
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