Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘The Pontiac Bandit Returns’

Senior Television Writer
12.07.14 16 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I realize that my time is worth nothing…

The original Pontiac Bandit episode was a highlight of season 1, and it wasn’t surprising in the least that Schur, Goor and company would want Craig Robinson to come back and goof around some more with Andy Samberg. What makes the Jake/Doug rivalry work so well is how fundamentally good-natured Doug is, and how simpatico these two men are; if they weren’t on opposite sides of the law, it’d be easy to imagine them as best friends. This one also tweaked the Jake/Rosa dynamic from the previous Doug Judy episode by putting it in the context of her Giggle Pig task force. Here, Jake goes along with her desire to put the task force ahead of catching Doug, even as it’s killing him to do so, and the payoff is that marvelous, freaky forced smile Rosa tries on (“How do people do this with their faces?”) to thank her partner and old friend for doing her that solid.

The subplots were both solid as well, offering treats like Boyle and Gina trying to figure out what “old people third base” is (Gina: “Presents.” Boyle: “Rubbing butts together.”), or Amy’s scrapbook project giving us another welcome glimpse of the cocky young Ray Holt. (I particularly liked that when Amy brought up the case to him, Holt immediately switches from his current robot persona to the colorful style of speaking he used back in the day, asking, “What? That dirtbag flamed out ages ago.”)

My only real concern with this episode, and several others this season, is something the producers have no control over: the sitcom format that FOX now uses (as do several other networks) includes an extra act break, and that means that instead of a short tag scene after the last commercial, we get an abbreviated concluding act, which often makes episodes feel like they end very abruptly. It really messes with the momentum of storytelling, especially in the half-hour window, and I wish the networks would cut it out.

What did everybody else think?

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