Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: The Chamber of Asses

Photo: FOX
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Episode Title
Defense Rests
Editor’s Rating

Since everyone knows that Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago are on a one-way train to Romance Town, it isn’t surprising that we’ve come to the end of Eva Longoria’s B99 guest stint, especially with fewer than ten episodes left in the season to get those two crazy cop kids on track. (Good-bye, Eva, and thank you for playing the most reasonable, if dull, character who has ever existed in this show’s universe.) But even I was surprised that Sophia’s exit was so painful for Jake, who clearly likes her, but had admittedly only been dating her for three months (and was frankly something of a player before she came on the scene). Like Terry, I love love, and it’s a pleasure to see this softer side of Jake, who tries so desperately to make things work with her even after his harebrained scheme to befriend her boss goes really far south with a cocaine arrest. The show doesn’t often do more serious beats, but it’s surprisingly good at getting them right when it does, and both Jake and Sophia’s breakup scene and the final bit with Holt, Peralta, and Terry drinking in the bar are surprisingly poignant.

My only complaint: This episode didn’t make the best use of Chris Parnell. For starters, the reveal of Parnell as Sophia’s boss comes way too late in the proceedings. (I couldn’t even tell it was him in the photos on Jake’s bulletin board, though on a rewatch, the shot of him excitedly gesturing toward the 12 Years a Slave marquee was pretty great.) His plotline doesn’t really get going until the hilarious series of bets (my favorite: measuring Terry in egg rolls) around the halfway mark, and Parnell doesn’t get to do the act he does best — straitlaced professional who is actually completely nuts — until the very end, when he makes a fool of himself in handcuffs at the precinct. (“Who cares about you and your gross life?”)

Also, even in the universe of a sitcom, it seriously strains my credulity that any lawyer, even one dumb enough to do blow at an office party, would consume it openly in a public restroom, especially one where he knows cops are already present. That is what stalls are for, as anyone who’s heard aggressive sniffling next to them in a bar bathroom can attest. In any case, I was sad that the show didn’t find as good a fit for Parnell, who is usually so hilarious, as it did for Craig Robinson and Ed Helms. Maybe he can come back at some point for another shot.

Unsurprised as I was to see Sophia split, I was equally surprised that we’re going to have more of Madeline Wuntch in our lives. Kyra Sedgwick originally signed on for two episodes, but this was her fifth, and with Wuntch not moving to Boston, I can’t imagine we’ll make it to the end of season two without at least one more appearance from her. (They may have to write her off eventually, though: She’s making an HBO show.) The Holt-Wuntch plotline, a dilemma of whether or not to recommend his enemy in order to get rid of her, is a pretty hoary one, so I kind of assumed that they’d skip the equally hoary twist ending and let Holt leave on a high note. Instead, Wuntch is sticking around, having used Holt to get ahead, and the poor captain is stuck with two tickets to see a “chubby Chenoweth knockoff” perform in Wicked four hours away.

And what the hell was going on with that kiss? It clearly shocked and surprised Holt, and I can’t possibly imagine that lip-lock is going to go anywhere with his being so clearly gay. Is it just thrown in to show that Wuntch is completely unhinged? If it’s a justification for the way she treats Holt, why does he (who’s obviously not interested) keep up the game? Revenge is obviously not the only motivator here.  

Happily, one love connection on B99 is going well, as the Boyle Boys manage to win over Gina and secure her mother’s hand; we’re likely going to have a Boyle-Linetti wedding for this year’s season finale. Gina also gets to have her biggest dramatic moment on the show when she expresses her concern for her mom, even if she immediately invalidates it by reminding her co-workers that she didn’t tell them because she doesn’t value them as people. At least they can agree on the person they value most — not Boyle. He’ll have to go pick up his own fresh bottle of cologne from Penn Station.

Other notes:

  • Rosa’s lust for vengeance is great. I absolutely loved her consultation scene with Holt: “Then the children will sing: Wuntch Is Gone.” “What children?” “All the children.”
  • I feel like this is the third or fourth time I’ve heard a joke in a TV show or movie about dudes pausing Trading Places to see Jamie Lee Curtis naked. She apparently ushered quite a few screenwriters into manhood.
  • Enemies of the precinct at the D.A.’s office include, but are not limited to: Brown Hair Guy, Ponytail Lady, Asian Don Cheadle. Even the guy who gives you a mint when you’re on the stand can’t be trusted.
  • The more specific Amy’s teacher’s-pet nerdiness gets, the more hilarious it is to me — she’s the perfect grown-up Organization Kid. This time around, she adores new binder smell and is proud of her status as a notary. “I met the comptroller!”
  • Not enough Scully and Hitchcock in this episode, though they do get a great moment defending their role against the cold open’s ant invasion. “Why is everyone looking at us? We’re the ones who eat up all the crumbs.” “Yeah, we’re the solution.”
  • And the most sophomoric yet hilarious concluding joke in many moons: “You should change her name to ‘butt’ in her AutoCorrect. What’s her last name?” “Perez.” “No, it’s ‘butt.’” Bow down before Andre Braugher, who can make even second-grade humor sing.