Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on a roll right now, following up last week’s hilarious “USPIS” with another winner that actually has some emotional stakes behind it. The show has been far too timid about moving the ball forward on Jake and Amy’s romantic story line, so isolating them in a romantic B&B (vaguely centered around driving a perp down from upstate, though it really only came up at the end) was a perfect way to raise the stakes in what’s got to be one of the slowest-burning will-they-or-won’t-theys in TV history. And it was great to see Peralta do something nice for Amy for a change, even if his extending an upstate B&B invite to Teddy massively backfired. (“You were just trying to do something nice for a friend, and it blew up in your face rather spectacularly.” “Everything I do is spectacular; it’s a curse.”)
If I have any gripe about the upstate foursome, it’s that the show continues not to do much with Eva Longoria’s Sophia, who continues to be a pretty stock “super-cool, supportive girlfriend” with no real quirks of her own. Obviously, she’s set to be consigned to the dustbin after Longoria’s next appearance, but it seems like a little bit of a waste of a game comic actress who’s fit in better with B99’s tough-yet-daffy milieu than some of its other guest-stars. But though she may be a cardboard cutout character-wise, Sophia at least represents a genuine obstacle to Jake and Amy’s inevitable coupling, and you can see why Jake is actually torn between the two. Watching Amy so earnestly but spectacularly whiff her breakup with Teddy (“There’s just no spark between us … that’s vague. You’re boring … that’s too harsh. This is why I wanted to write it down. Can I maybe just have two hours alone with my laptop?”) only adds to her appeal. Amy can sometimes be written as so schoolmarmish that she lacks charm, but the balance was perfectly struck here.
Boyle’s’ foodieism has been a fertile source of comedy for B99, and his teaching-Holt-to-cook subplot was almost as fun as the main action. (Full disclosure: My day job is as a food writer, and I’ve never seen my particular breed of dweeb so thoroughly and terrifically mocked as we are on this show.) Teaming him up with Holt, who apparently is the target audience for Soylent, was such a fresh and delightful pairing that it’s almost surprising we’ve gone this far without the writers having already tried it. And don’t tell me you didn’t tear up a little when Holt busted out that perfect croque monsieur for Kevin at the end. (“He’s a natural chef! Now I know how Salieri felt.”)
Finally, while I don’t think the show has entirely solved its problems with finding a new path for Rosa’s character, it at least gave Stephanie Beatriz’s comic talents a hilarious showcase via her illness. (Beatriz actually has been stellar all season, even when the writing hasn’t lived up to her efforts.) Watching her go completely batty on non-drowsy cold medicine will definitely go down as one of the funniest moments of the season, particularly her exchange with Hitchcock: “There’s no Michael here, good-bye.” “I’m Michael!” “That’s a dumb name, but it’s yours, and you should be proud of it, because you are the greatest detective I have ever known.” “No doy, Diaz, no doy.” Rosa’s tough outer shell has cracked before, but mainly when she’s supporting everyone else in the precinct in their exploits; it’s nice to see her being supported for a change.
In the end, “The Road Trip” doesn’t actually make too much headway with the Jake and Amy romance — they now know that they mutually liked each other at some point, but both continue to be unwilling to take any action beyond joking about it. That said, it’s at least a focused effort at making that part of the plot a priority, and I hope it won’t be the last glance at a more emotion-driven part of B99’s world before the season’s through.
- I will never get sick of TV shows mocking ludicrously cutesy B&Bs. The “Room of 1,000 Dolls” doesn’t break any new ground on that score, but it still made me laugh. “Ahh! PUPPETS!”
- Terry loves kreplach!
- “We’re going to keep things super-unromantic, I’m great at that.” “Yeah, he is!” “Wait, should we have high-fived that?”
- As a home-brewer, I feel obliged to mention that pilsners are actually one of the most challenging beers in the entire brewing repertoire. Teddy may be boring as hell, but I’ll bet he leaves the force and opens an amazing Brooklyn microbrewery someday.
- The cold-open, in which Peralta and Boyle’s undercover work as longshoremen was scotched, was hysterical, particularly Boyle’s vaguely Irish “Twink Tucker” character. “A green tea for me, Twink Tucker!” “Nope, you ruined it.”
- “I made a reservation next Thursday at a well-lit Korean restaurant in midtown. It’s the least romantic place I could think of.” “Scully’s bathroom, but go on.”