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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - HalloVeen - Roundtable Review


Hello everyone. We have a special Roundtable for you this week, as Bradley and I opened the floor for anyone to participate in the review! The article was co-written by Laura (LS), Bradley (BA), Justyna (JK), Milo (MJ), Antonia (AE), and Emmaline (EH).


1. INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE

LS: This episode was a masterpiece. It’s as plain and simple as that. There’s no better way to describe it. Everything fit together so well, each plot weaved together like clockwork, as most Halloween outings on this show do. But this one is on another level. Thank you, Dan Goor and Mike Schur.

BA: This was a terrific episode. I did, as I noted last week, have fears of repetitiveness but those were quelled pretty quickly. Even aside from the gravitas of the final five minutes, the annual caper was both close enough to previous years that it felt in keeping with them, but also different and wild enough that every moment was not only hilarious but clever. There's little doubt that this was the best episode of season five so far, and they'll probably have to go some distance to topping it for the remainder of the year.

JK: I absolutely loved it. It was definitely one of my favorite episodes of the show. It was hilarious and heartwarming. Also wonderfully written and acted. While some may have been worried that this year the episode would just feel repetitive, I trust this cast & crew to deliver each week and they haven't failed me yet. I really enjoyed the fact that this show doesn't only depend on the laughs, but it also gives ALL its characters a chance to show how smart and great they can be. The entire episode left me with the most positive of energies and a big smile across the face. Pretty much all the reasons why this is the best comedy on TV right now.

MJ: Wow. That was awesome. A new contender for my favourite episode of the entire series, and it really knocked it out of the park. From the brilliant cold open to Jake's proposal, everything was done so well.

AE: I’d been hoping for the “everyone for themselves” angle since season three, and I was absolutely ecstatic when the press releases gave me exactly what I asked for. When it came time for the episode to air, it did not disappoint. The episode was non-stop fun, from start to proposal. The proposal caught me completely off guard and I loved it. Every part of that moment was pitch-perfect. I really could not have asked for a more fitting proposal.

EH: Loved it! I think it's one of the strongest episodes they've ever had, and it was very rewarding for long-time fans. Every character had at least one great line and it was hilarious all the way through.

2. HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU THAT JAKE PROPOSED?

LS: I was both surprised and not surprised, simultaneously. Some people I follow on Twitter had theories that this heist would be the proposal, so it was always in the back of my mind, but I certainly did not expect it to happen in the way that it did. Compare this feeling I have now to last year’s episode, when the winner was spoiled in the promo...yeah. It doesn’t compare at all. Anyway, it really felt like the right time.

BA: Nothing about it was particularly shocking, aside from perhaps the initial surprise of it actually happening. Given the fears towards the end of last season that the show might not even get this fifth outing, I'm preparing myself for the end to come in seven months time. As such, I'm expecting Brooklyn to put things in motion that will satiate viewers come what may. Jake's proposal is the first step of that. We had to get to this point eventually, not only because breaking them up would likely lead to an untenable character pairing, but because their relationship had rather quickly developed into a very strong aspect of the series. It is rarely the focus at this stage, but keeps the characters ticking and has allowed both to grow well.

JK: Even though I expected the proposal to happen this season I never stopped to consider it may take place so soon. It made for such a beautiful ending and the surprise made it even better in my eyes. Both actors brought their A game and Andy Samberg's heartfelt look and honest performance made the proposal feel just right. Also, it's so fitting that Boyle joined them seconds later and fainted. He was rooting for them for so long. If you ask me, both Jake and Amy won this heist.

MJ: Jake's proposal was great. And I was pretty surprised, I thought if they were going to do a marriage proposal they would save it for either the final episode of the season or the winter break at the least. But it makes sense I guess using the Halloween specials to do it.

AE: I had an inkling that it would be happening soon, but I wasn’t sure that it was so soon. I’m active in the Brooklyn Nine Nine’s Tumblr fandom, and I know a few people were firm believers that the proposal was happening during halloween. However, the general consensus was that it was happening during the 99th. I am so glad the show surprised me with this beautiful twist. Every second of the proposal was so perfect for Jake and Amy. I bet if you just showed someone who had never seen the show the proposal, they would agree that Jake and Amy set the bar for romance in today’s TV climate.

EH: I did not see it coming anytime soon, if ever... He just doesn't seem like a big commitment guy. But when Amy walked into the storage room and Jake was right behind her, I shouted, "He's going to propose!" Don't know where it came from, but it felt like the perfect way to do it and I'm glad the writers took the plunge!

3. HOW MIGHT THE PROPOSAL IMPACT THE SEASON?

LS: We know that Amy’s parents and Jake’s parents will be back for the Thanksgiving episode (also the 99th), so that should be interesting. I can see the wedding being the season finale. I am very interested to see how the planning goes.

BA: Not hugely. I expect towards the end of the season there will be a wedding episode, but in the weeks to come, things will probably be business as usual, as they have the past two years of their relationship. There's little need for it to permeate majorly beyond that; the odd subplot here and there about planning their wedding will do nicely.

JK: It feels like a very natural progression and growth for both Jake and Amy. We've come so far. I've been re-watching the first half of season one lately and seeing this kind of character development is nothing short of awesome. Also, since the weddings are known to be a perfect occasion to celebrate people and love, I truly hope this engagement will give the show an opportunity to finally bring back some old and very much missed faces.

MJ: I really hope they don't use it to force some relationship drama between Jake and Amy, who are probably my favourite TV couple at the moment (I don't normally watch TV shows for shipping purposes). Shows like Parks and Recreation have proven when the lead characters marry there's still room to develop going forward and given this is already a huge step forward in their own development, I'm really interested to see what the after effects are particularly with their dynamic going forward.

AE: One of the beautiful things about this show’s handling of the Jake/Amy relationship is that every moment for the pair seems natural. Nothing seems manufactured for cheap drama. I expect it will be the same going forward. I’m really excited to see user-organized Amy try to plan a wedding. I’m sure their engagement will cause a lot of fun shenanigans, and I am here for all of it!

EH: It opens up the floodgates for obsessive planner and control freak Amy to go insane planning the wedding, which will be hilarious. Other than that, I don't know that it'll really alter anything overall on the show. (Unless the writers choose to go darker and one/both of them is threatened or injured in the field, and it forces the couple to consider what it means to be in a dangerous profession while getting married and maybe one day having kids.)

4. BASED ON THE OTHER HALLOWEEN EPISODES, WHERE DOES THIS ONE RANK OVERALL?

LS: This is the best one. End of story.

BA: "HalloVeen" is the best. It probably just about pips the previous four in humour and in its intelligence, but the meaningful twist of the proposal pushes it over the edge.

JK: I can never put these episodes in any sort of order. I enjoyed them all very much, but this one will probably end up being my favorite. Not only was it absolutely hilarious and unexpected, it also featured such a significant change for characters and story that it's impossible not to highlight it. Also, it really does feel like these characters keep growing on me every year so they're simply the best as they are now.

MJ: It's probably my favourite Halloween special, but there have been some fantastic ones in the past. This show is just so consistent at times it's hard to put them in order - it's the rare show where the bad episodes are few and far between.

AE: This may be just the recency effect (or the romantic in me), but I felt like this one put them all to shame. Every detective really got to show their chops. All of the maneuvering was freaking gold. "HalloVeen" was a great episode in general, but the proposal just propelled it to another level.

EH: Every year they raise the bar. I love that they've completely given up on staying realistic for these episodes, it's funnier the more absurd it gets. I am very frustrated that THEY NEVER FOUND THE BELT/CUMMERBUND THOUGH! Maybe we'll revisit that in the future... Or next Halloween. (Cross your fingers for renewal!)

5. THERE WERE MANY CALLBACKS TO PREVIOUS HALLOWEEN OUTINGS. DID ANY IN PARTICULAR STAND OUT?

LS: A lot stood out to me.
- The “title of your sextape”
- Bill
- Bingpot!
- Cheddar
- The weird diversion aka a mass of people surrounding the bullpen (this time it was Handmaids)
- A Kevin reference (kill me)

This episode basically felt like a best-of compilation of everything good about the Halloween extravaganzas. Everything worked.

BA: "Bingpot" is my favourite, most simply because of how ridiculous it is. That its origins of Jake making a mistake saying words only adds to its genius, and hearing it whenever the show chooses to deploy it is wonderful. Holt using Cheddar to help him win the contest once again was terrific too.

AE: I loved every callback to previous episodes. I loved seeing Bill again, and I loved the revelation that Terry’s act during the previous Halloween was a ruse. The use of Cheddar will never get old, and neither will the trope of someone crawling through the vents.

EH: The Handmaid's Tale women walking around was a callback to all the Royal Babies. That was the biggest one that stood out to me. It was such a recognizable move of Jake's that everyone instantly knew what he was trying to pull.

6. A LOT OF COLD OPENS OVER THE YEARS HAVE BEEN LARGELY INDEPENDENT OF THE EPISODE ITSELF. THAT'S NOT BEEN THE CASE THUS FAR THIS SEASON. HOW ARE YOU FINDING THAT, AND WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS ONE?

LS: I love pretty much every cold open this show has ever done. I am up for anything. This show has pretty much perfected the art of the cold open. They know what they are doing.

BA: I'd quite enjoy seeing them mixed up a little. This one was hysterical and perfectly set the tone for the episode, but one-off opens like "Diane Wiest" or the group speculating why Amy was late to work are absolute gems. That being said, if the show can keep up that level of quality with opens that connect to the episode, by all means, continue.

JK: The cold opens continue to be one of my favorite parts of the episodes. Whether they're connected or not to the rest of the half-hour, it hasn't really impacted how entertaining they can be. This week, seeing everyone so ready to start Halloween made it even more exciting to start the heist. So it worked wonderfully. Also, just the thought of Holt's deep interest in this tradition makes me happy. Of course he's there with Jake and Amy! Makes me wonder what would happen if Gina could join too.

MJ: The Cold Open was one of the funniest moments of the episode, with Jake and Amy trying to out-do each other and then Holt showing up in their bedroom having eaten Jake's pre-made breakfast. And this decision to tie in the cold open to the main storyline really helped in its favour, especially as it set the ground running and quickly allowed the show to waste little time with the set-up.

AE: I always love B99’s cold opens, but this one was one of the best. It displayed each character’s natures and the importance of Halloween perfectly. Since this week’s cold open was so great, I hope B99 will experiment with more connecter cold opens in the future.

EH: I really enjoy it! It feels like a fun sneak preview of what's to come in the episode. Plus, they can still mostly stand alone as a quick, 1-minute comedy bit.

7. FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE EPISODE

LS: Everything Holt said, especially, “You’re just some common bitch!” and “This bitch? Please!“. Amy saying, “Ya boring!” to Jake has to make me believe she watches The Good Place. Or this show takes place in the same world. It's also interesting since Jake also used this verbiage to describe Holt in "The Overmining". Hmmm. Also, Terry’s quote from earlier when everyone kept pulling shirts off, “Everybody stop undressing, we just had harassment training!” As well, in general, the lack of chill Holt had throughout the entire thing. Being petty that no one won the heist and saying that he should’ve fired Terry long ago.

BA: There were plenty to choose from, but watching Jake try and wriggle his way out of the cuffs by investing in Bill's pyramid scheme was my favourite. It was so quintessentially Jake in how, despite it being the absolute worst option for himself, he still went along with it. His simple "Yeah, this seems bad" when told he couldn't have this reviewed by an attorney? Superb.

JK: I think I could name quite a few but the first thing that came to mind is Holt with "Cheddar". Andre Braugher is just spectacular in moments like these (give this man all the awards!) and he killed me with all the lines' delivery. I could not stop laughing at "You're not Cheddar. You're just some common bitch." and "This bitch? Please." It's impossible not to love Holt's character.

MJ: Pretty much everything that was funny really hit the mark here. I loved The Handmaid's Tale reference. The Cold Open was an all-timer. The flashback with Boyle interrupting Jake and Amy's first meeting was gold. There's too many good moments here just to pick one.

AE: Every single thing Andre Braugher said this episode was hilarious, and the introduction of the heist was gold, but I have to give the crown to Stephanie Beatriz’s delivery of “Oh god, I just called us the tramps. What have I become?!”

EH: I loved the running "interesting take on our relationship" line that Jake said every time Amy threw out a really competitive line or rose to his level of insanity with the heist. It was funny, plus in hindsight it makes sense that he was looking at everything through that lens.

8. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE FROM THE REST OF THE SEASON, ESPECIALLY IF IT ENDS UP BEING THE LAST ONE?

LS: Oh, many, many things. Most of them personal but I need them. I need more Kevin in my life, I don’t care if they have to make a hologram version of Marc Evan Jackson. I need them to have their honest to goodness wedding (and hey, if you want to have Jake/Amy join weddings with them, I am down). I need Rosa to get a girlfriend. I need Gina to get a good storyline. And I guess I also need to relax a bit since this is still the best show on TV for my money, and I really don’t want it to go anywhere. If there is a god above he will give B99 a few more seasons.

BA: Plenty of closure would be ideal. The obvious thing being, of course, the wedding, but throughout the season we need to see developments in the characters' lives that would satisfy us come season's end, should that be where we leave this group. Obviously, I'm hoping we get more from the show, but given how terrible it would have been had last season's cliffhanger been the series finale, a greater deal of care needs to be taken to ensure that doesn't happen.

JK: First of all - NO. I'm definitely in denial about this possibly being the last season of the show. Not ready to say goodbye. I want to see everything. Returning characters, growing relationships, hundreds of jokes left to tell and interactions to explore. And outside of the show, I would love to see some recognition for the amazing team of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They are some of the best comedy actors and crew on TV and I will continue to repeat it as long as someone hasn't heard it yet :-). If you're not watching B99, you're missing out.

MJ: It seems most likely that this season is going to be the last, but at the same time, I really hope it's not. Season 4 was superb and this ensemble is the best broadcast comedy ensemble since Parks and Rec - there's no cast member here who I don't like and the cast have excellent chemistry. If it is the end, I hope we get a Parks and Rec-style finale where we get to see what the characters get up to in the future in the final episode, and I really hope if it is cancelled, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger...

AE: If this is the last season (which I sincerely hope that it is NOT), I’m glad the B99 is going out with a bang. Every episode thus far has been amazing, and I bet every episode to come will be amazing. Before this season ends, I hope to see a Jake and Amy wedding. I also want to see a season finale that doesn’t end with a crisis. I also want to see more flashbacks, and I want to see Rosa get a girlfriend! But mostly, I just want ten more seasons of one of the best shows on TV.

EH: I don't really have any specific hopes for the season, other than it gets renewed! I really find it very funny, and enjoy all of the characters - there's really not a single one I dislike. Hopefully we'll get more of the same. If it does end up being the last season, I'd like to see the Jake/Amy wedding actually happen (maybe with an appearance from the Pontiac Bandit?) just to see how big Jake's inevitable meltdown becomes. It would also be cool to see the other Lonely Island guys onscreen - maybe they could be criminals Jake has to chase down - and a few more surprise SNL cameos.


What did YOU think about "HalloVeen"? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next week with our review for "Bad Beat"!


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