Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: For the Love of Boyle

Photo: John P. Fleenor/FOX
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Episode Title
Boyle’s Hunch
Editor’s Rating

With Jake and Amy paired off, Rosa still with Marcus (and learning the joys of Moose Tracks ice cream), Holt and Terry happily married, and Gina probably leading her own polyamorous cult for all we know, there’s only one member of the B99 squad who’s single: Boyle, its biggest romantic, who hasn’t had a shot at romance in a season, excepting last episode’s botched and weirdly truncated hookup with Archie Panjabi. (Interestingly, that goes completely unmentioned here.) Thankfully, there is a lid for every pot, and Boyle finds a similarly dog-obsessed foodie right outside of a courtroom. Trouble is, Mary-Lynn Rajskub’s gallery owner Genevieve is there to answer for insurance fraud, and before he gets the chance to ask her out, she’s being led away in cuffs for a ten-year prison sentence. At least she got some final takoyaki in before having to eat prison food.

From there, the episode turns into a thoroughly non-credible but still entertaining plot to exonerate Genevieve, leading Charles and his best bud into the depths of the art world. At a gallery opening, Jake, whose main artistic commentary consists of “Dem knight boobies is crazy!” poses as a full-time barista aspiring to be an artist and part-time barista, while love-drunk Charles can only manage the role of “guy with glasses.” But the owner of a secret storage unit containing the stolen art turns out to be not Genevieve’s douchey ex-boyfriend (played by James Urbaniak, who’s really racking ’em up between this, Review, and Difficult People), but his latex-clad, perma-frowning, and apparently jealous assistant, Devorah.

Watching Boyle go Full Boyle can always be a bit squirm-worthy (telling Genevieve that he wants to cover her body in pâté and then rub it off with a cornichon may be one of the straight-up grossest things I’ve ever heard), but Rajskub has a nice daffy energy that plays well with Joe Lo Truglio’s, and who could deny Boyle a little romantic mojo after his hero Jake finally got his dream girl?

The most interesting plot of the episode, however, was Holt’s plan to freshen up the NYPD’s tarnished image by using Amy as the face of the department in a new poster campaign. Gina, being the self-appointed “voice of the streets,” is down on the idea from the jump, but the pair go ahead anyway, and poor Amy ends up with her face scribbled with Hitler mustaches and graffiti. (“This one says Die Pig, and worst of all, they didn’t put the comma between ‘die’ and ‘pig’!”)

But what’s really interesting is that the show wasn’t afraid to address the more serious reasons why an NYPD poster might get tagged—stop-and-frisk, racial profiling, unlawful arrest. This is still a comedy show, and the episode doesn’t get into nuanced depictions of what those things really mean for everyday citizens, but just by showing a group of cops who genuinely care about these issues, are willing to admit they need to do more to address them, and then take action (even an action as small as giving out Holt’s email address), it’s a quietly revolutionary moment. One of the best things about B99 has always been the thorough and tokenism-free diversity of its cast, and I’m glad that it gave its characters—black and Latina characters, no less—the opportunity, however brief, to address some serious issues in modern policing, and to talk about making progress to correct them. As long as Holt is stuck in the PR office, I hope that the show will take advantage of small opportunities to address these issues further.

Of course, one of the things that makes B99 such an enjoyable watch is that it can address these issues before comfortably shifting back into a goofy and pure-fun C-plot like having Terry and Rosa catch Hitchcock, and Scully stealing Rosa’s Moose Tracks (“a delightful treat for all ages,” as expressed in Stephanie Beatriz’s inimitable deadpan). Thankfully, these crooked cops ultimately pay the price with their lactose intolerance. Romance, serious discussions of issues in policing and bathroom humor, all in five minutes: That’s the Brooklyn Nine-Nine we love.

Other notes:

  • Even dating a potential fraudster is better than Charles’ other option: getting catfished. “My name Yennifer. You give me Social Security number.” “Oh, Yennifer.”
  • Also on the topic of Internet stalking: Way to sneak in a Swimfan reference!
  • Also on the topic of dated references: Though Andy Samberg and Joe Lo Truglio did their very best to sell it, their extended rendition/rewriting of “My Humps” could probably stood to have been cut.
  • “But where did he go to the bathroom?” “Bucket.” “OK, gross, have a good night!”
  • Nice to see Gabe Liedman again as the medical examiner. “Whoever used this spoon? Their body ain’t right.”
  • Adventures in relabeling for TV purposes: if you look closely at the giant bottle of baby powder next to Scully in the final scene with the pizza, it says “Football Powder: For All Your Moist Places.” (With a clip-art picture of a football on it.)
  • I imagine we’ll be seeing Gina Told You So T-shirts on Zazzle in about two hours. “I’m the Nostradamus of your shame.”