Doug Judy returns! PB&J reunites.
Doug Judy brings an energy and breeziness to the show in his yearly episodes. I always look forward to Doug Judy and Jake. This year is no exception, though I will admit I felt the tension of the episode lacked this time around.
Part of that was due to the fact that by now it is well established that Doug (we’re on a first name basis now) and Jake are friends. The episode rested a lot of the suspense on whether or not Doug would dupe Jake again, but because he’s done this so many times and always returns it didn’t really matter to me whether or not he betrayed Jake. If Doug turns, he and Jake will still be friends. If Doug doesn’t turn, he and Jake will still be friends. No real stakes, and therefore a lack of tension.
So I was glad that Trudy Judy ended up being the culprit – at least it was different. But I think the episode would have been a little more successful if it had played up the suspense on whether or not Trudy was going to turn on them more than if Doug was going to. I know it was a “twist,” but in this case, I would have sacrificed that twist to create a fuller sense of suspense. It’s not like it was a mind-blowing reveal or anything.
That gripe aside, Jake and Doug’s easy chemistry with each other brings an infectious joy to the screen. I love how they think so similarly but their personalities are still so different. In the end though, Doug and Jake don’t have the same kind of bond as Jake does with the rest of the Nine-Nine, and even though the B story wasn’t directly connected to the A story, thematically this worked for me.
Holt coming back to the bar was obvious from the get-go, but it showed that the Nine-Nine always has each other’s back. There is never a question of betrayal about them, and though this plot could have taken place during any other adventure, it works here because it reminds us that despite being “best friends” with Doug, Jake’s closest friendships will always be with the Nine-Nine.
While the drinking story was not terribly fraught with character revelations, just hanging with the Nine-Nine is fun enough. Boyle’s speech before vomiting was excellent. I love when a director takes advantage of the camera’s ability to affect the tone of a scene in a sitcom like this. Moving the camera in and shooting at that slightly low angle gave the speech the cinematic weight they couldn’t have accomplished with just words, and even though I saw the punch line coming a mile away, due to the sweeping music and camera work it still landed for me.
We also got a small peek behind Rosa’s mind. She presents herself as cold, and frankly, she is, but we have seen time and time again that certain things matter to her, and it was an interesting tidbit that Rosa was the one calling and asking for Holt to come back. Her base line emotions make her the most likely to feel that Holt doesn’t care about them, as Amy and Boyle would never feel this way and Hitchcock and Sculley don’t care.
Asides from the feeling of ownership of the bar, all the Nine-Nine are competitive which helps to fuel their desire to win. I wish we would have been able to see them actually go toe to toe with the fire department instead of just sitting at their own table and drinking separately, but as a B plot, particularly regarding Doug Judy and Jake’s relationship elsewhere, this one did the job.
Yet I can’t help but feel we need an episode with the whole gang working together. Every episode this season has seen the team divided, involved in plots that are (mostly) completely unrelated. Gina’s episode was the closest we’ve gotten to seeing the team together, but since it was so focused on Gina (as it should have been!), it didn’t play as an ensemble episode. I hope we get to see the entire team work together again soon.
The show is still funny, though. On the whole, the jokes were flying left and right tonight. It felt like not thirty seconds could go by without a solid line. Six seasons in I don’t feel the humor has slipped. Moments like the Trudy Judy Booty Duty rhyming come so naturally, and humor builds off previous adventures, like Jake singing karaoke and contacting Judy through his mother, but still remain funny even if, like Jake, you confuse or can’t remember every episode.
As the first episode after the departure of Gina, Brooklyn Nine-Nine felt like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I thought someone might mention her at the bar when they said they only had six people, but the show has to move on. So far so good.
Other Great Thoughts:
- I never thought Judy was dead for a second, but he still got that over on Jake this episode.
- Philly callouts! Cheesesteaks and hoagies. Delicious.
- 1000 push-ups was another nice callback.
- Another small gripe – Holt hating the “Nine-Nine!” toast. I feel like this would have been an appropriate reaction from him in season two, or even if he was in a terrible mood and reverted back to his older ways as he sometimes does, but this far in? He loves these people enough to drink for them, it feels to me he’d have warmed up to the Nine-Nine chant by now.
- Trudy Judy, “I’ll see you at Christmas, sucker!” What a great line. Family is family! Gotta be home for the holidays, even if you’re evading the police. Good on you, Trudy Judy.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – The Crime Scene (6×06)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine has taken a stab (pun intended) at some more serious episodes in its later seasons, most prominently with episodes such as Moo Moo in Season 4 and Game Night and Show Me Going in Season 5. The Crime Scene marks the return of a heavier tone and provides some character reflection that can’t be examined in quite the same way with the lighter tone the series normally shines with.
So it’s time for my final impressions of Jake and Rosa! Firstly, I want to comment on the fact that we have yet another episode that doesn’t feature the entire ensemble working together. Although I voiced a desire to bring the cast together previously, episodes such as this (and The Box) are an exception. It can be extremely beneficial to put two characters under a microscope and allow them to grow. This technique can open up new avenues for interactions with the full cast at a later date, so it can be a very positive detour every now and again (I still want to see the whole ensemble working together soon, though!).
It says a lot about the show’s characters that I went ten minutes into this episode without realizing the rest of the cast was missing. Jake and Rosa’s friendship has been built throughout the seasons wonderfully, and with Rosa depending on Jake to help her come out last year, there is a level of trust between her and Jake that Rosa doesn’t share with other characters.
This level of trust is important because Rosa is such a stone-cold character. We see characters who don’t indulge in their feelings over and over again in media, with many of them being classic badasses. There is a moment in this episode where Rosa directly asks Jake if they can segue way into another topic because she doesn’t want to talk. So often these scenes will be to emphasize a character’s emotional distance or coldness, but here, it is only showing that Rosa doesn’t prefer to deal with her issues by talking them out. We know that if she wanted to talk to someone, she would talk to Jake, which makes this a refreshing reminder that not every badass who doesn’t want to vent is emotionally distant.
This is further proven by Rosa being emotionally available for Jake over and over again in this episode. She pulls Jake off the case by giving it to Major Crimes. She encourages him to stop driving himself mad, and goes with him to explain to the mother that the case has gone cold.
What is intriguing about Jake’s reluctance to inform the mother of the bad news is that the reluctance isn’t just due to the guilt he feels for failing to keep his promise. Jake is absolutely terrible at letting things go. Rosa wasn’t just there to help him let the mother down, but to support Jake’s decision to try to let something go.
Of course, Rosa cracks and ends up back on the case with him. Maybe if Brooklyn Nine-Nine were a grittier show they could have gone all the way with this, but it doesn’t matter; Jake grew by admitting that maybe he had taken his obsession over the case too far. Hopefully this growth stays with him (though I’m sure it won’t be easy to change completely).
Rosa reaches out to her mother at the end of the episode so she doesn’t have to lose any more time with her. It takes a big person to be able to reach out in a situation like this when you feel you haven’t done anything wrong. As Rosa stated, it was her mother’s problem, so why should she reach out? Jake needed Rosa’s help getting over his problem, and maybe Rosa felt her mother might need a little nudge as well.
So far, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has had a successful run of heavy toned episodes. One last thing I want to mention tonight is how well they balanced out the comedy with the drama by characterization. When the delivery man starts hyperventilating at the horror of the crime scene, Jake comments to Rosa that they have become “Weirdly numb” to the horrors of their work. This puts the levity and bad taste of Jake’s “dope hopes” for the murder scene into context within the drama of the episode. There is a reason for the continued casual spin Jake and Rosa put onto this case, which keeps the episode together tonal wise. It is also a good reflection of Jake’s consideration near the conclusion that he and Rosa should become emotionally invested in all their cases.
The truth is, that while becoming emotionally invested may work out sometimes, they simply cannot afford to do this every week. Not only would it be too taxing on them as detectives, but it wouldn’t be Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Here’s to continued detachment from the crimes they investigate – but if the series continues to do more serious episodes well, they will always be a welcome change of pace.
Other Great Thoughts:
- The rest of the cast each had great “cameos” tonight – Hitchcock and Scully’s was my favorite, followed by Amy’s wrath.
- Rosa’s rotating hairstyles were another great visual gag to keep the humor coming, but also served as a nice frame of reference for the passing days.
- I always love being reminded of how good the Nine-Nine is at their jobs.
- Jake promising everyone he’d find the killer didn’t become funny to me until he promised the delivery man for no reason. Great payoff.
- Franco McCoy earned my respect by the end of this episode.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Four Movements (6×04)
Gina Linetti leaves the Nine-Nine in the only way she knows how – with plenty of splash – but also shows us just how far she has come.
Send off episodes can be difficult. It’s tough to find a proper balance when one character’s story is ending but the rest of the show will live on. It is easy to start treating the send-off as an end to a character, but as an audience, we know this character is just leaving our view and not the world that the character’s live in, which is why it can be difficult to balance just how much weight needs to be placed on the departure.
“Four Movements” does an admirable job balancing Gina’s exit. Gina got to say her goodbyes in her way, but at no point did it feel like her story was over.
In fact, my biggest issue with “Four Movements” is from the previous episode. Gina’s decision to leave the Nine-Nine was quick, which from her character makes a lot of sense, but from a storytelling perspective, I don’t feel like quite enough work was done to move her character into a position to leave the Nine-Nine.
That’s a small gripe, though. “Four Movements” sends Gina off with style and heart, and is a great Gina episode and a great send-off.
Gina’s place in the Nine-Nine was difficult to pin down over the series. At moments she felt more like a side character, jumping in with quick one-liners, and while I never felt she was boring, she often didn’t feel as integral as the rest of the team. She was most successful as a character when she played small but important roles in storylines, such as the beginning of season three when she left the Nine-Nine with Captain Holt. I absolutely think the show can move forward successfully without her (as it did in early season five) but the show will lack that wild card factor that made for some of the most fun moments, such as Gina flame throwing the criminal to justice in “Yippie Kayak.” Personally, Gina was my favorite characters on the show in these wild card moments, and I’m very sad to see her go. At least “Four Movements” gives her a proper goodbye.
What I enjoyed most about tonight’s episode was that it really took its time in each movement. It would have been easy to jump from Boyle to Terry to Rosa and so on with a “Gina Moment,” but the emotional through-line wouldn’t have been possible with such quick moments. Gina and Holt have a lengthy discussion that really highlighted their relationship and showed not just how far Gina has come, but how much Gina has positively influenced Holt. Holt may not be a great trash talker yet, but he’s enjoying it, which is something fun he never would have done without her. Her final moment of questioning his rigidity in regards to planning is a lesson Holt can take to heart.
The other aspect that impressed me was that the episode willingly pushed a few of the characters to the side to allow Gina to more thoroughly connect with the characters she had the most complex and interesting relationships with. Rosa was very much a side player in the Gina Moment to Amy, but rolling her into Amy’s moment was an effective way to highlight Gina and Amy’s relationship more. Gina encouraging Amy to be herself was a stark change from the days Gina was constantly telling Amy to be someone else, and I enjoyed the extra attention placed on that aspect instead of splitting time with Rosa. Rosa sitting quietly behind Gina was the perfect amount of detail for their relationship.
The only true victim here was Boyle. Boyle and Gina definitely had the most bizarre relationship on the show and I was disappointed he wasn’t given as much time as Amy or Holt. As great as Gina and Jake were together, we haven’t seen their relationship unfold in quite the same way as Boyle and Gina’s, and I feel the episode could have cut down a bit on Jake and Gina’s side quest to give the Boyle-Linetti pairing a fuller look.
All in all, though, this was an effective, funny, and appropriate send-off for Gina. She didn’t shed any tears but did admit her love and affection for her friends, and kept surprising them along the way.
Gina was at her best when she played the wild card, coming in unexpectedly. Since I knew this was her last episode, it was hard to be surprised by any of her tactics here. But that didn’t matter. A celebration of the character was achieved, and I know she’ll be back in some way or form when we least expect it.
As Gina would say – Other Great Thoughts:
- Gina finally beat Holt in chess with a gutsy cross the board move.
- I liked seeing Gina’s influence highlighted on the Nine-Nine through Holt and Amy. Another tricky balancing act to pull in send-offs is showing how much the departing character has grown while also proving their effect on the rest of the cast, and “Four Movements” did this well.
- Jake and Gina being rich was hilarious and highlighted their kind of friendship in a way I wish we got to see more often. I do wish Boyle got more time but I am also happy we got to see a fuller form of Jake and Gina. I feel like my opinion on what I prefer here will change depending on the day. I guess I’m no Gina Linetti since I’m second-guessing my thoughts here. I’ll keep trying to be, though.
- The final video taking place at Holt’s desk was a great touch.
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