You could practically feel the collective childlike glee of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s entire creative team in the moment that gives its episode this title: Peralta, Boyle, and Holt jumping into a field from a real-life helicopter. This show is typically executed on what appears to be a microbudget, and while the chopper likely did not come cheap (nor did its soundtrack of “Ante Up”), it certainly gave the case at the center of the episode some flavor that was lacking in previous installments. Considering how much Holt hated his sedentary job in NYPD public relations, he still spends the vast majority of his time as the Nine-Nine’s captain riding a desk, which is a shame: Andre Braugher’s acerbic lack of affect plays beautifully with Andy Samberg’s sassy wisecracks and Joe Lo Truglio’s goofball adoration, to the point where you wish Holt could come along on every case. There were so many good moments in this episode based around the trio’s chemistry, from casing the barn (Peralta: “I’ll bet you at least one dove takes flight in slo-mo.” Holt: “I will take that bet, because it’s impossible.”) to Holt’s eventual realization that the case they’re solving is actually pretty cool (including rechristening himself with the amazing code name “Velvet Thunder,” which Andre Braugher clearly took immense pleasure in overenunciating).
Unfortunately, Wuntch time is still not over, and after going unmentioned for eight episodes, Kyra Sedgwick’s Holt-hating antagonist is back in play in the new high-level role she scored through manipulating the captain. (She’s even installed a photo of herself, Kim Jong-il style, looking down on the briefing room.) Wuntch manipulating Holt once again is an inevitability, and Holt knows it, which is why it’s so refreshing to hear him admit towards the episode’s end that Jake is right, and he’s been spending too much time worrying about her next machination instead of having fun. “All I wanted was the chance to do good police work again, and I got it. And then I blew it, thinking about that devil-toad.” The realization is all the more poignant because successfully hunting down both the triple murderer and the $21 million ends up costing Holt the thing he most holds dear: his autonomy. Wuntch wanted the Nine-Nine to succeed all along, because she wants to promote Holt back to his old haunt, public relations — this time as its head. It’s a great conflict to set up for the season finale, and I’m as stoked as Jake was about the chopper that the show is taking on a multi-episode plot that could have real implications for Holt’s future. (I’ll be even more impressed if he ends up unable to fight it, and they have to find a way to get him back to his old job over the course of season three, but that’s about as likely as a slo-mo dove flying through my living room as I write this recap.)
The only bummer about this seriously solid A-plot is that its conclusion felt rushed, in part because the genial but insignificant B-plot, in which the precinct welcomed a troop of middle-schoolers for a tour, took up a lot of time. (As much as I enjoyed the stand-alone cold-open, in which the entire precinct attempted to distract Gina from her phone, it probably should have been cut in favor of giving the busy A-plot more breathing room.) But while the middle-school shenanigans were a bit shambling, and the controversy that could have cost Terry his twins’ preschool admission but didn't was utterly predictable, there were plenty of great character moments sprinkled throughout, with each cop revealing a sliver of who they were as kids: Amy had a key to the teachers’ lounge so she could clean it (“I was voted Most Likely to Befriend a School Administrator”), and Rosa has always been pumped about the gruesome side of life (“They’re 12 years old. I would have killed to have seen a bag of hands at that age.”) But once again, Gina completely walked away with the story line, hysterically manipulating the middle-schoolers like the popular girl she was. If only her skill at squashing the Mackenzie and Kelsey S. beef could be applied to Holt’s new dilemma.
- Rosa’s solution to Terry’s twins’ preschool dilemma: “Why don’t you just get one of them in, and then let them take turns going to school every day?” Terry: “Diaz, that’s crazy! [Long pause.] I asked my wife, and she said no.”
- Boyle’s attempt to seduce Wuntch by giving her “a glimpse of the Quad Cities” was hysterical, especially when he got a cramp after propping his leg up for all of a minute. Hopefully he doesn’t have gout.
- Jake’s planned memoir title: Case Closed, Jake Open. But even he admits that Boyle’s is better: Go Ahead, Jake My Day. He may have trouble writing it, since Boyle can’t seem to capture any good moments on his phone, what with his camera always being in selfie mode.
- Gina’s reaction to being voted Spring Dance Princess: “What am I always telling you guys? I’m royalty.”
- The best way to offend Jake: tell him he’s acting like he’s in a “Ron McClane movie.” “You know it’s John McClane!”