Considering last week’s “Bureau” ended with a genuinely chilling scene of Holt being held at gunpoint, I was hopeful that the season finale would continue along the action-comedy route it established, offering a snappier pace. But given how much plot “Greg and Larry” has to wind down in 22 minutes, it moves like one of B99’s pokier installments, more concerned with delivering jokes than building any real tension. The jokes are great — B99’s problem is rarely that they aren’t — but it’s more a whimper than a bang of a season-ender, aside from the series’ standard last-30-seconds introduction of a game-changing plot line for the next season.
Part of the problem is that “Greg and Larry” is in a corner when it comes to Amy and Charles, who are still undercover in a women’s prison in Texas, when it comes to light that Bob betrayed the precinct. Melissa Fumero remains very pregnant, and that means incorporating her into any action scenes requires a contrived reason for Amy to wear a fake belly. So instead, the episode stalls for time, sticking Amy and Charles on a plane home where she has to continue the pregnancy ruse to keep the sympathy seats she managed to score in first class. They’re a cute duo (especially when they order sundaes and talk about their fears for the rest of the squad), but they suck much-needed time and tension out of the main story.
Most of that central plot is leaden way-finding around a hospital, as Jake, Rosa, Scully, and Hitchcock try to figure out where Bob has taken Holt. Once they find and capture Bob (with a surprise assist from Terry and Gina), then they have to wander around some more in the guise of doctors and nurses to get around Jimmy Figgis’s men. There could have been a lot of tension and action in these scenes, especially since calling for backup is off the table, given Figgis’s moles in the NYPD and FBI. But the episode mostly plays it slow-pitch, taking lots of time to linger on jokes about the realism of Grey’s Anatomy (Terry: “That show is surprisingly accurate.” Jake: “Yeah, the one episode I watched, there was a bomb in the guy’s butt!”) and Hitchcock’s propensity for sticking any unusual substance on the walls straight into his mouth.
Eventually, everyone manages to break free and get into Rosa’s apartment, where it’s revealed that Rosa lives a complete double life — her place looks like it belongs in a home-decor magazine, complete with jars of lemons for a “pop f color” and basil-scented candles. Everyone in the building knows her as Emily Goldfinch, who is apparently chatty and smiles all the time. She also hints that Rosa Diaz may also not be her real name — wonder if we’ll ever hear anything more on that subject?
After some more fooling around with each member of the squad failing to adequately question Bob, the episode finally picks up the pace a bit with a sniper scene that involves some ducking and dodging. But once Holt, Bob, Scully, and Hitchcock are ensconced in a panic room, the rest of the tension quickly drops out — the whole sniper thing is immediately revealed as a ruse, and most of the denouement is spent explaining how the squad pulled it off. While we do get to see Amy and Charles pulling the fake sniper operation off via flashback, most of the other action occurs offscreen, adding to the episode’s already flabby pace.
By minute 19, everything is wrapped up and the squad is celebrating at the bar, where Jake and Amy, in a continuation of television’s most underplayed romance, decide to move in together in the space of about three sentences. I appreciate that the show doesn’t want to throw unnecessary roadblocks in this couple’s path, but it’s still unbelievably timid about foregrounding their romance in an appropriate place like a finale. Presumably, the season-four finale will wrap up with 20 seconds of the most low-key proposal in sitcom history.
Then, the big closing reversal: Although the Nine-Nine’s detective work brought in dozens of members of Figgis’s operation, Figgis himself is still nowhere to be found (which means Pimento can’t come home). Suddenly, Jake receives a voice-modulated phone call from Figgis himself, saying he plans to kill Holt and Jake in retribution for bringing down his operation.
Cut to a month later, in Florida. Holt and Jake are now next-door neighbors, and they’re calling each other Greg and Larry, which means they’re in witness protection. The end. It’s the latest in B99’s series of “And now this, see ya next season!” finales (the previous two were Jake going undercover in the Mob and the introduction of the new mystery captain), and like the others, I’m sure it’ll stick for roughly the run time of the season-four premiere. But for the next five months, we get to imagine plot lines for Jake and Holt’s Golden Girls reboot.
- The interaction between Holt and Dennis Haysbert’s Bob, who’s essentially his deadpan doppelgänger, is still hilarious. “Chocolate is the devil’s carob.” “And carob is Satan’s raisin.”
- One item of business left unaddressed: We don’t get to see the baby Charles and Genevieve have just adopted. (Charles: “What if something happens to Jake and he never meets my baby? I don’t wanna hang out with some stupid baby who’s never met Jake.”)
- Thanks to Amy, I will forever think of hot towels as “boiled rags.”
- If there is one thing that you learn from working with Jake, it is the Funky Cold Medina. The scene with him and Holt rapping it is obviously great, because anything involving Holt interacting with pop culture is inherently great.
- Loved Amy not paying attention to 27 Dresses and then trying to guess which rom-com profession Katherine Heigl is struggling with: “Her dressmaking business? Her architecture firm? Her cupcake bakery? The magazine she edits?”
- Not enough solid Gina burns in this episode, but I did enjoy watching her straitjacketed and pretending she thinks she’s Serena Williams to get out of the hospital. “CALL VENUS!”
- And that’s your third season! Overall, this was the show’s strongest year yet, with the always-sharp jokes matched by some deeper character development. See you in September, when Holt and Peralta will go full Miami Vice.