Brooklyn Nine-Nine: 2.11 “Stakeout” Review

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December 15, 2014 by Rebecca VanAcker

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I think this was a great episode overall. It had lots of great lines, unexpected moments, and some nice character progression as well. The review portion’s going to be a little shorter than usual, as I also want to take some time to talk generally about the first half of the season.

The A-plot this week found Jake and Boyle volunteering for an eight day stakeout, because apparently they never fight. It starts well; Boyle has a stakeout themed alarm for them, Jake brings a mini basketball hoop, etc, but soon annoying habits that can’t be ignored whilst trapped in a tiny room with someone become too much, leading to the creation of a “No No Board”. The list of things that are now off-limits starts small, but soon covers the entire wall. Around day seven, they get so annoyed with each other that they finally stop talking, and when they start again, it instantly becomes a fight, leading Boyle to accidently chuck the basketball through the window, blowing their cover. Holt is furious, and forces the two (who have now declared their friendship over) to hunt the suspect down. They find him, but when he escapes down a fire escape, have to use teamwork to nail him. This, predictably, but rather sweetly, leads to Jake’s declaration that not only are they friends again; they’re brothers. While this storyline wasn’t terribly original, it was fun to see the dynamic duo in a different light, and led to some really funny moments for both characters.

One of the secondary plots had Terry creating a picture book for his kids, using characters that look and act suspiciously like members of the Nine-Nine. Gina and Amy are the most concerned, as they’re painted as a jerk and a push-over, respectively. This causes the two of them to fight the stereotypes; Amy becomes someone who dumps pots of coffee and presses the “elevator close” button, and Gina starts going out of her way to do nice things for people. This role reversal was fun in and of itself, but my favorite part was when Terry told both of them that those are only aspects of their personalities and that there is more to them than that. Oh, and that it’s just a book and they were reading way too much into it.

The other storyline this episode led to some really nice moments for Rosa, as she showed interest in Holt’s visiting nephew (“Bye.”) and ended up going on a date with him. I loved seeing the tiny bit of shyness and uncertainty she showed in regards to a new relationship, and her conversation with Holt at the end was a nice moment for both of them. I’m hoping we’ll see her relationship continue, because I think there’s a lot of humor/character development to be mined from it (that breakfast nook scene was just the tip of the iceberg).

The notable quotables:

“Wuntch time is over! Boom did it! Haha had it both ways! No regrets.” – The Captain, after being “the bigger person”

“She touches my lips, Jake. She’s a her.” – Boyle, on his sleep apnea machine

“Well you did just steal that Danish out of my hand and start eating it. And I let you. And apologized. Classic Cricket move!” – Amy, realizing her and Gina’s similarities with their book characters

“If you hadn’t stopped the elevator you could’ve walked off after your great speech. Now we gotta sit in it.” – Gina, pointing out that Terry’s talk could have been even better

“Detective Rosa Diaz is in my breakfast nook.” – Captain Holt, stating the obvious

O.k., so on to the first half of this season as whole…

Weaknesses first (though honestly, I have few complaints): I don’t think guest actors were used as effectively as they could have been, especially Kyra Sedgwick and Eva Longoria. I think Sedgwick’s character would have been much more interesting if she had been given more of an arc, rather than just ending as an outright antagonist for Holt. Though to be fair, she could still return in the latter half of the season. I think Longoria’s character (which is really a thankless one anyway, since she’s with Jake and Amy isn’t) just hasn’t felt like a constant enough presence for me to care too much about her relationship with Jake. A mention of her in episodes she’s not in would go a long way to make that relationship feel more realistic.  And going along with that, I think the writers have relied a little too much on tropes in the first half of this season, especially the love triangle (or square, as it were). If they’re going to put up obstacles preventing Jake and Amy from getting together, I’d like to see them be a bit more original.

Now for the strengths: As was shown in this episode, I think there has been some really great character development. In addition to Rosa showing her softer underbelly, this season has also given us a more mature Jake, a more aware Santiago, and a Gina who doesn’t mind showing that she cares. What’s more, the writers have done a great job of showing these as subtle developments; things that give the characters more depth rather than completely change who they are. Another one of this season’s strengths has been the new character pairings. In the first season, I think they fell into a bit of a pattern with the same characters getting paired up for storylines, but the first half of this season has done a great job of creating new ones. Nearly every character has had a storyline with every other one on the show this year, and that’s created some wonderful and hilarious moments. This last one may seem obvious, but it’s worth noting; this season has just been really funny so far. The dialogue has been sharp, the physical comedy has been on point, and the varying comedic stylings of each of the actors continue to mesh well. There’s always that worry in comedies that the jokes are going to become repetitive and that the characters are going to become caricatures of themselves, but I’m glad to see that it hasn’t at all happened to Nine-Nine. Overall, a strong season so far. Hoping the trend continues in 2015!

How do you feel about this episode and the season so far? Let me know in the comment section below, and I’ll see you next year!

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