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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Bad Beat - Roundtable Review

8 Nov 2017

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Laura Markus: And we’re back, after having two weeks of being off the air. How does it feel to have the show back? And what did you think of this outing?

Bradley Adams: I think, like most shows I love, I didn't quite realise how empty it's been without it for a couple of weeks until it came back. And once again, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is showcasing that the summer break - and the prison storyline that kicked off the season - has done little to deter it from striving for those highs of season four. It probably isn't quite there just yet, but it's close.

Laura: I’d argue that this season is already well on track to become the best of them all, even with just five episodes having been aired so far. I think the last three, especially, are some of the strongest the show has ever seen.

Take that cold open, for example. So much purity being displayed in a short manner of time. That’s definitely one of my favourites of all time.

Bradley: Agreed. Once we got past that double premiere, it's been really strong. The cold open was nice, and I enjoyed - as always - Boyle's giddy reaction to being asked to be Jake's B.M., but it probably isn't in my elite of hilarious opens. From there, though, nonstop excellence.

Laura: Hilarious, perhaps not, but touching and something that made me overwhelming happy? Yeah, it’s gotta be up there.

I’ve long waited for a Holt-centric A-plot like this one, and this episode did not disappoint. Even if there were two other sub-plots, both of which being excellent in their own rights, they still found the time to give Holt the spotlight he so immensely deserved. And my, oh my, did Andre Braugher deliver.

Bradley: I'd ask where his Emmy is for this episode, but I know the answer to that question. It's hard to fathom quite how anyone can find it so easily to blend comedy and drama together, not just in one scene but in one line of dialogue, yet Braugher achieves this with so little difficulty it's a wonder that he doesn't sigh after every line for him not being challenged. It is absurd. The plot itself was smart and appropriately deep for the subject material, and although it was obvious from the get-go exactly how that plot would play out, I never found myself frustrated by the predictability. It was simply too funny and too well written.

Laura: I agree wholeheartedly with just about everything you said. The writers of this show are masters at blending these two tones, but when it comes to Holt specifically, they have never faltered even for a second. And, I mean, when you have someone like Andre at the helm, you need to be on your a-game at all times.

I loved the plot of this one for him. I loved what it said about addiction and how real it felt. Especially the scene where Jake and Terry threaten to call Kevin and tell him about Holt has done. It’s so painful how Holt reacts, even more painful by how his addiction is too strong that he goes back on promising to stop gambling. That must be how it’s like for married couples where one of them is an addict. Sometimes you just can’t help it. And I’ll never get that scene out of my head. Now my eyes are leaking for some inexplicable reason.

Bradley: Understandable. That scene was a particular highlight. It's impressive how much command of gravity writer Carol Kolb (in her third credit, after "The Fugitive (1)" and "The Bank "Job") had here. We'd seen in the past that Holt loved to gamble - I often remember his "Go Razmatazz" scene - so it's nice to see that fully explored here. The show has never been afraid to grow him, in particular, as a character, and this is only the latest example.

Laura: Exactly. Carol gets a ton of praise from me for this one.

Even if it felt a bit predictable and included a signature Fast Ending, everything was still as it should be. The last scene with Holt in the ambulance (a scene that must never be recreated, I must add) was particularly poignant as well. I loved Terry’s saying, “Of course, sir. We’d do anything for you.” It just felt so genuine and (I hate to repeat myself, but) pure. I think the dynamic between Holt, Terry, and Jake is really strong and these are all characters who have been through huge emotional beats as of late so it worked wonders to have them team up. None of it actually feels like actors acting, rather just friends actually caring about one another and looking out for each other.

Bradley: Is it fair to say that an A plot involving those three is the strongest partnership of any character grouping? You're right - everything just feels natural between the three of them. It speaks plenty to the quality of their character development over the years and how well the three performers interact with one another. They all bring something different to the table, too, which makes for plenty of entertainment.

Laura: I think it’s fair. Even if Rosa-Scully-Hitchcock doing the Buttlympics was a tour de force for the three of them. And can I just say whoever put the sappy music when they all decided to finally stand up for the first time deserves an Emmy? Yeah, I’m gonna say it. That plot was adorable, if nothing else. Even if I wish Rosa had more to do as of late.

Bradley: I can't say I ever thought that a comedy plot surrounding three people sitting could be quite so good, and yet "Bad Beat" delivered. Of course, it would be nice for Rosa to have something more to do, but there's only so much story to be told in one half-hour and the Holt plot took up plenty of time. I did expect that to become the C plot, but Amy and Boyle's truck business ended up falling into that category more, and I was very grateful for that. The chair crew didn't need too much, but what we had was terrific.

Laura: concur. And I found a lot to appreciate in the Murder Truck story as well. It was sleek how that one echoed the gambling as both Holt and Boyle/Amy were losing their money and growing very frustrated as a result. It pulled a lot of nice acting from everyone. And Boyle and Amy is a nice dynamic we don’t see enough of.

An aside: I’m calling them the Chair Crew for now on.

Bradley: That's a nice way of looking at it that I hadn't considered. Boyle and Amy certainly don't get enough to do together, and that's a shame, because they do work well together - everyone does. There were some really nice moments in there that showcased both characters' most prominent traits: Amy's notetaking (even in an investors meeting where she's the only one) and realistic thinking; Boyle's enthusiasm for an idea no matter how many issues it might have.

Laura: Yep. All felt right in this episode, everything was where it should be and everyone was doing what we are accustomed to seeing them do. And that’s not a bad thing by any means. It was more comfort food Brooklyn - and the show is all the better for having episodes like this.

Other things I enjoyed: Holt wearing glasses, another classic Holt flashback, Holt saying, “Yabba…dabba…….DOO.“, the “Any poopers?” bit, the glorious return of “HOT DAMN!” and Holt making Jake and Terry say it, Holt firing Terry and Jake for refusing to dangle him off of a building, Rosa simply saying, “You miss a chair?“, learning about Holt’s tell, and pretty much everything in between.

And look, Holt is no stranger to being in serious danger, or have we all forgotten about Bob Annderson. The fact that he so easily slipped back into his addiction is a serious issue, and is even worse if you factor in what I said earlier about him continuing to gamble even when they they said they would let Kevin in on it. This shows that he’s not always the big and strong man we take him for. He has so many more layers than any of us can fathom.

Man, I love this show.

Bradley: Is "Yabba... dabba... DOO" going to be this year's "BONE"? I feel like it will be, because that was masterful - only made more so by him saying it normally just seconds later.

There were so many great moments. Terry's food stories - he ate uncooked rice at a movie theatre? - were wonderful too. I think we've seen plenty of times that Holt is no invulnerable giant, and he can be felled. It's much better that way, and I'm constantly impressed by just how well the show has crafted his character to achieve that.

Laura: I’m definitely okay with Yabba Dabba DOO getting as much acclaim as BONE did.

Any other final thoughts? I’m very excited to see “The Venue”, as well as the Thanksgiving episode, the 99th, and really just the rest of the season. As well, Marc Evan Jackson is going to come back at some point! My prayer circle worked! Dreams do come true!

Bradley: I'm with you on all of those things, even if you're more excited than I am. Just keep up the good work Brooklyn. I have little doubt that it will.