Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
While not as strong as the previous two episodes, “Boyle’s Hunch” is a very funny episode of television and a great showcase for Joe Lo Truglio, who demonstrates why this character’s drastic change from the early days of season one has been such a welcome one. The rest of the episode takes us through our typical A, B and C storylines with varying degrees of success.
My biggest gripe with Parks and Recreation was that for such a nice show and for one that loved its characters, they sure treated the kind-hearted if buffoonish Gerry like shit. Where Brooklyn Nine-Nine exceeds is that even though Scully and Hitchcock are often the butt of the joke, they’re never painted to be anything more than annoying and smug. So, Rosa deciding to go after them after they’ve ate her rocky road ice cream is more fun than if they’d simply been two sad sacks. The problem is that the storyline is so inherently thin that it really needs to be funny to succeed, and it falls flat compared to the other two storylines. While the idea of Rosa getting increasingly furious over ice cream is funny within itself, none of the jokes land with much impact. The funniest bit is some physical comedy when Terry has to physically haul her away from attacking Scully and Hitchcock. This and the cold open with the tarantula were the two aspects of the episode that made it lesser overall.
Captain Holt is doing his best with his new position in PR and is actively trying to repair the image of the police in the eyes of the public, acknowledging a recent growth of distrust. His way of doing this is by enlisting Amy’s help to shoot promotional posters to spread throughout the city, painting them as society’s protectors as they are supposed to be. Gina is vehemently against this, believing that it will only bring forth more vitriol for the department. Amy and Holt, two characters who are two prideful to readily admit defeat, go along with it anyway and find that Gina was right. The posters are immediately littered with graffiti and their website is flooded with nasty and hateful comments about the precinct. However, Amy points out, there are also quite a few logical and angry voices being heard from the crowd about gun control, racial profiling and stop and frisk and it’s one of the few times the show has actually ventured into political territory and it works wonders here. In a sense it’s a bit of wish fulfillment as we see Holt saying that he made a mistake and that in order to change the public’s views, the police force needs to admit their mistakes as well and learn how to grow from it. It also shows the series casting the force in a favorable light, never willing to take an easy jab at an officer simply for the timeliness of it. It’s a smart narrative choice and makes sense with Holt’s character, one who has faced his own judgement and prejudice in the past.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t trying to be an intelligent commentary on the state of distrust between members of the public and law enforcement, but it has the ability to do so at times like these.
It’s also worth noting that the combination of Amy, Holt and Gina is always a strong one.
Storyline A: Boyle looks for love
In a slight carryover from last week’s episode, “Boyle’s Hunch” finds Boyle in a depressed state of mind, believing that he’s going to die alone. This lasts only as long as when Genevieve (Mary Lynn Rajskub) shows up at the court house, and the two hit it off immediately after bonding over the fact that they both have three dogs and both sleep on the floor to accommodate them on their beds. Both have a manic energy to them, but the excitement is gone soon when he and Jake realize she was at the court house because she’s been charged with ten years in prison after stealing her own paintings to get the insurance money.
Boyle, while blinded by love a little, also trusts his gut that she’s innocent, and he and Jake spend the episode trying to prove this, leading to her ex-boyfriend’s gallery. He however has an alibi of having spent a month in a cage as “performance art” so it’s looking more and more like Genevieve is guilty. My favorite part of this sequence however is Jake’s “art gallery” look which essentially is just wearing a scarf and glasses. His brief contemplation with becoming an artist after is also a good laugh especially when Jake spent most of the episode being the straight man to Boyle’s lunacy.
Despite the set back, Jake isn’t ready to quit and spends the night looking for clues before realizing that it was the ex’s assistant who did it, trying to frame Genevieve out of jealousy. It’s a quick turnaround, but if it means seeing more of Rajskub and Truglio working together, it’s at least for a good cause.
Some other bits:
“I’m drowning my sorrows in octopus balls.”
“I ooze swagger.”
“What’s step two?” “Tell their widows they were thieves.”