A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as they finally get the Annie Lennox tape out of the cassette player after 12 years…
Last week’s episode featured a trio of stories with funny moments that didn’t quite have room to breathe (though Holt and Diaz getting in touch with their emotions was brilliant even in miniature). “The Mattress,” on the other hand, had some stories that were less successful individually, but boosted a pair of them by tying them together at the end.
Because “Brooklyn” likes to rotate Jake’s partner every week, it’s been a while since the show has really addressed the issue of Jake and Amy dating while working together. It came up to an extent in the Halloween episode, but “The Mattress” was the first episode really about it since the Vulture left. Unfortunately, the story of their argument about Jake’s eponymous mattress felt undercooked and oddly generic, despite the many obvious differences between the duo that the show has mined laughs from in the past. But the story was saved by its late intersection with the Boyle/Holt story, which was itself feeling awfully thin (if still amusing thanks to Andre Braugher’s genius) until we got the full explanation of why Holt cares so much about Gertie. It didn’t make the previous stuff seem funnier in hindsight, but it made it all feel more substantial. At its very best, “Brooklyn” can hit some complicated emotional territory on top of being a great joke machine, and having Holt find parallels between Jake and Amy’s current argument and one of his worst fights with Kevin was a satisfying touch.
I’m not sure how or if the episode could have tried linking the Terry/Rosa subplot with the other two, but it was out on an island and fairly rushed. That said, the most interesting thing about it was also on the slightly more dramatic end, as Rosa’s frustration over her Little Brother’s shoplifting was by far the most demonstratively angry Stephanie Beatriz has ever been allowed to play that character. Usually, Diaz’s rage is largely deadpan and played for laughs, but you could tell she was genuinely upset that this kid she cared about had disappointed her. Because the “Brooklyn” writers have been even more committed to Diaz staying her lane than Holt (whose deviations from robot-dom have become pretty frequent), a moment like that stands out.
Some nice little jokes scattered throughout – Boyle singing the “Charles in Charge” theme, Holt being annoyed that Santiago solved the puzzle before he could (and suggesting Peralta’s ignorance of Will Shortz should be a relationship deal-breaker) – but could have been stronger.
What did everybody else think?