{{href}} 6 months ago

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Recap: O Captain! My Captain!

Rolling Stone — Alan Sepinwall

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back for a new season, on a new network. I reviewed the start of Season Six here, and I have thoughts on the premiere, “The Honeymoon,” coming up just as soon as I give a hoot…

Season Five ended on the cliffhanger about Holt‘s shot at becoming the next NYPD commish. It’s not quite false stakes, in that I imagine this creative team could have found a way to revamp the show so that everyone is still working under Commissioner Holt. But it would have required too much effort for too little reward, especially since the current configuration works so well, while previous arcs that temporarily changed the status quo have been hit-or-miss. So it was a relief to have Holt lose out on the job to John Kelly (which I guess means we’re done with Allison Tolman?). Not only does it mean we get to stay in the precinct full-time, but it provides a fascinating new direction for Holt himself. Since we met him, he has been laser-focused on the goal of becoming commissioner one day. It’s still not impossible that it could happen before the end of the series, but for now it appears he took his shot and missed. This is a huge letdown, and his difficulty dealing with failure pays immediate dividends with his morose retreat to the same island resort where Jake and Amy go on their honeymoon. Andre Braugher has a blast playing this self-loathing, sarcastic, but still unmistakably formal and robotic version of the character. And even though our newlyweds(*) shake him out of his funk, the story clearly isn’t over, as the concluding scene establishes that, as Holt puts it, “The Nine-Nine is at war with the NYPD.” That’s a variation on stories the show has done before (particularly Holt vs. Wuntch), but it feels like a fresh take because Holt is no longer politicking to get the top job. Instead, he’s actively fighting the retrograde policies of the mediocre old white guy who beat him for it.

(*) Though I’m mainly focusing on Holt here, this was a great start to the Peralta/Santiago marriage. It included a rare instance of Amy not being happy to be in Captain Holt’s presence, plus a great payoff to years of jokes about Jake’s Die Hard and Amy’s library obsessions, respectively, with her dressing up as Holly Gennaro (always referred to using her full name by McClane-loving Jake) and him eventually cosplaying as Melville Dewey.

The subplots were, as is often the case in three-plot episodes for this show, a mixed bag. Terry struggling to get into Holt’s computer got the short end of the running time stick, so pretty much all we got was Terry Crews yelling. Which he does well, but still. Charles trying to talk Gina into bringing their parents back together was more interesting, particularly with Gina trying to do her stepbrother/ex-lover a solid after her mom cheated on his dad. Not that we’ve seen either Stephen Root or Sandra Bernhard since the wedding back in Season Two, but their split will help the show make a cleaner break from Gina when Chelsea Peretti leaves in a few weeks, since she’ll no longer be related to any of the Boyles. (UPDATE: Nevermind. I forgot that her baby’s father is a Boyle cousin, because he’s so darned handsome. Regardless, she’s now only distantly related to Charles, rather than immediate stepfamily.)

A very promising start to the new era, mainly by being a lot like the old one. What did everybody else think?