TV Review: Brooklyn Nine Nine (3×15) ”The 9-8″

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Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.

It’s amazing the small but significant improvement Brooklyn Nine-Nine can make when it merges it’s B and C storylines. With the 22 minute running time the show is constantly battling itself for story possibilities and some weeks it succeeds while others feel rather thin and this week was a strong example of the former. Splitting the episode into only two storylines opposed to the typical three is the greatest choice the episode made, giving it a more cohesive, streamlined storyline.

Keeping the second storyline contained to the 9-9 precinct was the other smartest move, with the characters forced to share space with the 9-8 after there precinct becomes inhabitable. This means a number of things with Terry, Rosa, Holt and Amy all forced to share their space with an obnoxious group. I don’t know who had it worse as Terry deals with someone who takes his belongings without asking, Amy deals with a man who unnecessarily has a service dog, triggering her allergies, Rosa with a woman who likes to chat and Holt a Captain who locks him out of his own office. The first three deal with this by creating their own little office space outdoors, away from the indoor mayhem, while Holt tries to make the best of it all, refusing to succumb to more childish behavior.

Charles and Jake believe at first that they’ll get to bypass the madness while they’re on a stakeout, only for their plans to change when Jake’s first partner, Stevie (guest star Damon Wayans Jr.) turns up. He tells them that he’s had experience on the person they’re trying to catch and can help out, much to Boyle’s chagrin.

It cannot be emphasized enough just how well Andy Samberg and Damon Wayans Jr.’s comedic temperaments gel together. So well in fact that I’m surprised this is the first time that they’ve worked together. Despite their over the top antics at the start of the episode as we learn more about their old partnership, the Beatsie Boy days, Jake’s antics are soon usurped by Boyle’s frantic jealousy over the old friendship. Due to Stevie, not only do they first forget to bring Boyle along but then they also botch the first arrest and have to find out another means of bringing the man in. When they get the warrant to search the mans apartment for drugs, Stevie is the one who finds two bags of them in the dishwasher, despite Boyle having already checked.

After a couple of episodes where Samberg’s Jake has been at his most cartoonish it was a welcome change of pace to ground hum in a straight man role opposing Boyle. his absolute confusion at Boyle’s jealousy charged antics at the start of the episode is hilarious, even if Boyle’s consistent pestering and whining grew tiresome by the end of the episode. Regardless, it’s nice seeing Samberg once again get to play Jake as settled and in control of his more playful attributes-which are still in full swing, exemplified by his pure joy at getting to add a zinger when arresting a criminal.

If anything the storyline got to be a nice reminder that these characters are good at what they do, something that doesn’t always come easily to work place comedies. While Jake may have been momentarily blinded by his friends return and charm, Boyle see’s through Stevie’s charade. Jake, despite not wanting to, also quickly believes Boyle when he tells Jake that Stevie planted the drugs at the crime scene. We can see on his face the moment he registers that Boyle’s right as well as the disappointment that soon follows. These characters are prone to silliness and exaggerated antics but they’re never made out to be anything less than intelligent, especially in regards to their careers.

Jake confronts Stevie about this which leads to a physical altercation in the middle of the precinct, spurring the rest of the two teams into a full out brawl before Holt breaks it up. While berating his team he tells them how disappointing he is, despite us learning that he’s the reason a pipe burst, coincidentally being the reason the 9-8 had to leave.

It’s a very funny episode of television and one where it felt like I was laughing from the minute it began to it’s ending scene where despite his arrest, Stevie joins in with Boyle and Jake’s sing-a-long. This is aided greatly by the shows decision to split the stories in half, allowing for the pacing to feel more spread out and equally distributed, rather than rushed by the ending. If the show could adopt this model more often, it would be better than it already is on a weekly basis, which is already a high bar.

Also, how do we bring back Wayan’s back? Can he be like Craig Robinson now and appear once per season?

9/10

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.