Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘The Oolong Slayer’: Task force ex

Senior Television Writer
10.18.15 12 Comments

A review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I feel objectified by your male gaze…

The first time I spoke with Dan Goor and Mike Schur about “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” one of the things we talked about was the fact that the pilot involved a murder investigation, and the question of whether some crimes were too serious to be included in what’s a sincere but very goofy comedy. Schur explained, “We’ve also talked about more serious things and the reality is that in big cities, people do get murdered. I think that will be a little bit of trial and error.”

For the most part, the show’s stuck to robbery and other property crimes, and some weeks barely bothers with crime at all. “The Oolong Slayer,” though, involves a serial killer, and when I heard the premise, I wondered if the show could tonally support that.

Turns out it could do that just fine, in part because it made the extreme seriousness of the crime, and Peralta and Holt’s periodic acknowledgments that they probably shouldn’t be so vocally giddy about catching the guy, into a running gag(*). Team-ups between Jake and the captain are often even more fun than storylines where the two are annoying each other, as they force each man to meet the other in the middle just a bit, making Holt be more expressive and Jake be ever so slightly more cultured. (If still not quite getting it; see, “That’s what globes are for!”) And in a way, Wunch had backed Holt into such a tight corner that the show needed a huge case to get him out. The Oolong Slayer served his purpose and didn’t throw the show out of whack in the process.

(*) It’s this show’s version of “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

The subplots were more of a mixed bag. Having in-shape actors put on fat suits (as opposed to Rob McElhenny actually putting on weight to be Fat Mac) has a very high bar to clear to be worth the bother, and having Terry (who, like Monica and Schmidt, is written as having been fat in his younger years) stress-eat way too many cacao nibs didn’t get there. And getting the Vulture to play his own party didn’t seem enough of a payoff to the Diaz/Santiago subplot, much less as our last glimpse of that character, at least for now.

But the captain’s back where he belongs, Goor and the other writers got good mileage out of Holt’s mortifying temporary assignment (which ended more quickly than I’d expected), and that arc ended in an entertaining way. That’s what’s most important.

That, and acknowledging once again how terrible the Oolong Slayer’s crimes were.

What did everybody else think?

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