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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - The Big House (Part 2) - Roundtable Review

6 Oct 2017

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Welcome to another week of our roundtable reviews. We apologize for the lateness, and we will strive to do better for next week.

Laura: So, Bradley, what are your immediate thoughts about this episode overall?

Bradley: I wasn't surprised Jake and Rosa got out of prison and everything's back to normal - based on both the title of the episode/next week's episode and the fact that it always had to - but I felt like it was handled with less finesse and less a sense of impending success than last year's "Coral Palms (3)", which essentially did the same job but in a much better fashion. Oddly, Justin Noble wrote both episodes, which makes his script here somewhat disappointing.

Laura: Thank you for bringing that up because clearly this means the comparison can be made. Maybe this episode needed a third outing to fully flesh everything out, but for my money, anyway, I thought it was alright. There was a lot to like, and a lot of laughs were provided here, but I guess a few things needed a bit more time in the cooker.

Bradley: I don't know whether I needed a third episode or not, because it wasn't necessarily the timing in the larger Brooklyn world that bothered me. I've been racking my brain trying to work out why I felt so underwhelmed by its resolution, and I think I've now got as close as I'll ever get: the episode was too cop drama. Certainly, the basis for the show means it is always going to be in part, but it felt to me too much like the closing act of an episode of a procedural than anything else. The humour throughout was great, but there were times - particularly as the team came closer to figuring it out - where the line between cop comedy and cop drama was too blurry for the episode to work properly.

Laura: Hmmm. Interesting. I would agree with this, but also disagree, so I guess I’m at a standstill. I loved the Seamus bit and I thought it was an intriguing outside source for the Nine-Nine to deal with. And the fact that it was Amy considering it shows how desperate they were getting for answers. The argument can be made then, I suppose, that they should’ve been more focused on solving the case (much like Jake did in this episode) instead of going outside, but then I bring back what I just said. They were getting desperate. Hawkins was too good and they were starting to feel their losses more. So, did the resolution feel too easy? Perhaps. However, having Holt bite that bullet for Amy and everyone else broke me. That’s a really juicy thing for the show to deal with, and certainly this means Seamus has to come back now. And that is an enticing thing to leave on.

Of course, Andre Braugher killed it there. I’m thinking POTM nominee for October.

Bradley: I liked Murphy's introduction (helped by Paul Adelstein), and the way it impacted on Amy, the team, and subsequently Holt is interesting. That Holt would take the hit instead shows both exactly the kind of character he's been from day one and yet I think also shows a change in his mentality; I'm not sure he'd have gone to Murphy in the early days of the show. Perhaps the issue is not that he made solving it too easy, but that Hawkins was made to be too good. It's a symptom of the cleverness of last year's finale, in that it was a great twist to first have her be dirty and then to have Langdon feign until it was too late for Jake and Rosa - but by the time they had to unravel it all and fix things, it was too complex.

Jake's police work in the prison was great to watch. The stuff outside was less so.

Laura: People have suggested that Holt has changed a bit too much for their liking. But, really, if this means that we wouldn’t get to see him masquerading as a straight hustler then how could you ever want to live in this world? The ending scene was really important, I think. All he has ever wanting is a squad to have some baseline camaraderie with, and here he is getting that, but he can’t help but feel crappy about everything. This is definitely the man he has always been; his loyalty was always unwavering but before the Nine-Nine he didn’t feel like he could have anyone to use it on. It’s amazing growth and it pains me deep in my soul.

Yes, let’s discuss some of the highlights of Jake in prison one last time. How about that cold open? I couldn’t help but laugh.

Bradley: You've put that perfectly. This week's cold open was so much better than last week's. Jake almost instantly losing his sanity is funny, and I love him perpetuating the idea that Training Day is based off his life. The highlight, though, was Jake being high on meth.

Laura: Thanks, and oh god, yeah. Sounds odd to say but I could probably watch Andy Samberg pretend to be high on meth for hours on end. The best part about that, for me, is when he thinks he’s inner-monologuing but he’s actually saying everything out loud. I’ve seen that done in so many shows and it never fails to make me laugh.

The mashed potato wall sculpture thingy of Amy made me take a bit of pause. And speaking of pause - I’m wondering what was with the line about “all homophobes are secretly gay”. Jake has always been shown to be a considerably ‘woke’ individual and either this was a silly joke that never meant to be taken seriously or something written out of bad faith and was thus out of character for him. I will go with the former, but it still made me curious.

Bradley: It's a very common gimmick but when done properly, it can be very funny. The Simpsons did one that I think upon fondly. I'll admit I didn't think too much about that line, certainly not as much as you, but on reflection I'd agree that it's an odd one, and though I don't want to get particularly deep in discussing the wider world view of that line, it is unusual for him to have said it.

Laura: That’s all I wanted to say about that. Now that it’s out there, we can move on.

Boyle dressing up as a very Jewish man went they were ‘undercover’ was…something. Maybe he missed Jake so much that he was trying to feel closer to him. Regardless, he really got into it. Also the jokes about his podcast were great, especially how bad Terry’s appearance on it was. Even Holt got in on it.

Bradley: Boyle doesn't half-ass things, does he? To be fair to him, it wasn't the worst idea, even if it was somewhat pointless. I was particularly tickled by how he thought his podcast would help get Jake out of prison, a) at all, and b) before he gets murdered, while the comments about Terry's guest spot were great too. They reminded me a little of Jake berating him for his alarm clock theory when Amy was late that one time. It was even better that Holt hated it too.

Laura: I will always remember that cold open solely because of the improvised, “HOT DAMN!” from Andre. Life doesn’t get much better than seeing that. I think all of that continued to prove how desperate everyone was, and that desperation manifested itself differently in everyone. As it should’ve.

I already mentioned Holt pretending to be straight, but I have to bring it up again because it was so damn good. God - why did he have to wear Kevin’s rose shearing hat? All that did was make me want an episode of him shearing roses, and nothing else. Based on this scene, it appears Holt doesn’t half-ass things either. He went all in for his alter-ego, a philandering man who gets intoxicated by the thigh gap. It must be amazing to be the person who gets to write that and hear Andre Braugher say it.

Bradley: I think you had concerns about him pretending to be straight last year, and it worked out. They hit on the same sort of notes here, particularly with the "heavy breasts" angle, and it was similarly great, despite a moderate level of suspension of disbelief being needed to accept that the other person in the conversation doesn't see through the lie. I doubt there's a better actor around right now to write lines for than Braugher. He would almost certainly make Apple's terms and conditions sound interesting and/or funny.

Laura: Noice, you remembered that. I can admit when I am in the wrong and I was certainly nervous for no reason there. Which is why when I saw it again here, I was filled with glee. That’s almost certainly my SOTW pick. And funny that you mention that, that’s definitely the case since Andre is also skilled at reading off random sequences of numbers and letters and long lists of things. He could make reading the phone book more compelling than any scene in the most acclaimed drama on TV.

There were other quick things I want to throw out there that I liked. The Will & Grace reference by Boyle. Holt saying, “Don’t ask Hitchcock why he knows that”, followed by, “Don’t ask Hitchcock why he knows that“. And of course, the incredible stunt of Rosa imagining that she broke through the glass and pretty much strangled Hawkins. That was all done by Stephanie herself, and apparently it took three hours to film. It was all worth it, because I really needed that in my life.

Bradley: Hitchcock's Snapchat knowledge and the immediate plea from Holt for no one to ask why was glorious. The second one somehow was even funnier. Rosa strangling Hawkins worked really nicely, surprisingly so given my ambivalence toward the dream cold open last week. I think combining the satisfaction of watching it happen with the hilarious absurdity of it made it so good.

We didn't mention Caleb getting stabbed to protect Jake. That was a nice moment; it's good that their fleeting friendship can be defined by something more than just him being a cannibal - again, the comments about that were terrific - and I enjoyed their goodbye, too.

Laura: Oh Caleb, I think I’m actually gonna miss him. You know, as much as you can miss a cannibal. Him taking the shiv for Jake was sweet, you know, as sweet as a cannibal can do anything. Their goodbye was pretty great.

And I think I’ll miss Romero too. They really lucked out on these actors for prison. Though I do wonder who Rosa got shackled up with.

Oh dear, I have to mention that reunion. When Amy’s kissing Jake and Rosa’s like, “Hello, I’m here too” (paraphrase), some people half expected Amy to kiss her too. Maybe in a better world that would’ve transpired. I’m just happy to have them both back.

Bradley: He was a great cannibal. It's a surprise that we didn't see more of Rosa in prison, actually. I'm not sure why, aside from perhaps time constraints, they didn't do that. A third episode, like last year, probably would have solved that.

It's so great to have the squad back together now. Again, this was always going to happen and it was always going to happen this soon, but it's refreshing all the same.

Laura: Any final thoughts before we bid this review adieu?

Bradley: Just that I'm looking forward to seeing everything back to normal again next week.

Laura: Same here, same here. And on that note, we will say goodbye and see you next time.

What did YOU think of "The Big House (Part Two)"? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next week with the review for "Kicks"!