Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: Big Dumb Work Baby

BROOKLYN 99 Photo: Erica Parise/FOX
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Episode Title
Editor’s Rating

Welcome back! Hope everyone had a nice month. I’m having a sad one because I am incredibly bummed that Rosa isn’t pregnant. That was one hell of a plot carrot for B99 to dangle and then immediately snatch away, all the more so because we’re getting to the end of the show’s second season, and aside from Terry having a third baby and Boyle and Gina’s parents getting hitched, literally nothing has changed for any of the show’s core cast. As much as I love the status quo of the Nine-Nine, it would have been a refreshing change to see something big happen in someone’s life, and Rosa is definitely prime pickings: She’s been softening up lately thanks to her relationship with Marcus, and it would make complete sense that the couple might want to take the relationship to the next level. Plus, can you imagine how hilarious it would be to watch take-no-bullshit Rosa navigate the slings and arrows of being a new mom? Instead, we get a confusing left turn thrown into the plot that’s theoretically supposed to bring Rosa and Holt closer together, but doesn’t end up doing much of anything once it’s out there. I would have enjoyed a scenario that forced the two together to actually buy and/or take the pregnancy test so much more, but instead we just got a weird, “Well, that two-minute conversation we had about it wasn’t so bad…except it was, and we’re still not really friends” denouement. (Though Rosa saying “Stop pointing at it” in reference to her uterus was pretty great.)

Since big leaps are something B99 is showing a pathological fear of at this point (see also: the Jake and Amy relationship), let’s talk about the small, incremental steps the show is taking instead. First up is another stumbling block in Jake’s ongoing growing-up process: getting him to admit to, and battle, his workaholism. It doesn’t necessarily seem fair to single Peralta out for something that seems to afflict the entire precinct (after all, Rosa tried to work through being extremely sick earlier this season), but Jake is certainly first among equals—he was literally trying to work through his suspension just last episode, and he once spent a weekend off trying to solve a cold case. Turns out that issue has a source: he’s still guilty over a long-ago boy’s weekend in which a perp he was hunting down shot two civilians while he was “sipping piña coladas in Philly.” (“Also, I don’t love Philly.”) While Andy Samberg doesn’t quite nail delivering this serious mini-monologue like he did when confronting his deadbeat dad, it’s at least an admission that Peralta might be willing to change, and that’s a start. Even better, he’s showing some genuine care for his friendship with Boyle, making up for their missed trip to “THE RAVENNA!!!” with a taffy crawl and a ghost tour of the boardwalk in “sunny, beachy, only-recently-devastated-by-the-financial-crisis” Atlantic City.

Even more stunning than Jake finally maxing and relaxing, Amy seems to finally have figured out how to loosen up a little—and appears to have made friends with Gina to boot. Her attempts to play it cool while worrying about (and then being devastated by the cancellation of) Holt’s dinner party were refreshing even as posturing, and it was impressive to see her actually let loose by attempting to chug her dinner-party bottle of wine on his front stoop (at least until the lights went out). And there’s certainly no way that the Amy and Gina of a season ago would have gone out for a fun night of drinking that involved dropping $200 on two goofy pairs of sunglasses and an XXL Scarface hoodie that belonged to a bodega owner. Maybe our favorite tiny neurotic is finally finding her groove.

If anything, I’m disappointed that B99, despite offering more and more tantalizing angles into actually seeing the rest of the characters’ lives, seems to suffer from a deeper sense of workaholism than Jake and Amy do. We’ve long since established that this is a workplace sitcom that happens to be a cop show, rather than the other way around, and most of the cases the precinct solves (aside from big arcs like Gigglepig or the Pontiac Bandit) are essentially interchangeable filler around which to base jokes. I’d like to see the show get a little less afraid of showing us stuff outside of work: wouldn’t it have been fun to actually see Jake and Charles let loose in Atlantic City, or watch Gina and Amy stagger through a plastered bar crawl? I get that this show works on a microbudget (and if you didn’t previously think so, the weird, loping backlot car chase in this episode’s cold open should have you convinced), but with another season around the bend, it’s time for B99 to start opening up its world and showing us something more.

Other notes:

  • Interestingly, B99 got a 23-episode order this season (it had 22 last year), so we’re actually getting a bonus episode! The rest of season 2’s run is going straight through from now to the finale on May 17.
  • Scully and Hitchcock had exactly one word between them in the script this week, but still managed to score two of the episode’s biggest laughs: Scully’s nod of complicity at Jake’s assertion that the thumb is “mankind’s least important finger,” and both Scully and Hitchcock getting two inches out of their chairs when Jake toppled evidence boxes, before immediately sitting down when someone else addressed the issue.
  • Jake had some great lines this episode. “All my bleeding was internal. That’s where the blood’s supposed to be!”
  • Dear Apple: Please invent a version of Siri that will read aloud all of my texts in the voice of Ray Holt. “Whatevs. Colon hyphen close parenthesis.”
  • Jake getting stuck outside the bathroom in Atlantic City was a bizarre waste of time (no bathroom has had a window like that in the history of ever), but I did like his attempt to play it off: “Would you believe that my urine stream was so powerful…”
  • Here is a GIF of Gina tossing Amy’s salad out the window. You’re welcome.