Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ checks back on Terry and the rest of the squad

A review of tonight’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine coming up just as soon as someone beats The Newlywed Game

After last week’s episode focused entirely on Jake and Holt’s time in Florida exile, part 2 of “Coral Palms” catches us up with the rest of the squad. The other detectives from the Nine-Nine have been through their own changes, like Boyle adopting a four-year-old son from Latvia named Nikolaj, but the biggest change by far was the arrival of Ken Marino (a The State reunion with Joe Lo Truglio!) as the latest interim captain, Jason Stenley. On the one hand, Stenley’s incompetence in such a high-level job stretches even this show’s boundaries of credibility, to the point where Boyle has to point out how little sense Stenley’s promotion makes. On the other, Stenley’s purpose in the episode is mainly to to get Santiago fighting with the rest of the squad over their acceptance of all of the perks Stenley kept giving them – the best of these: Gina getting her own assistant, whose main job function seemed to be making fun of Amy – and the interpersonal dynamics rang true, even if the perks themselves (like Rosa’s cubicle) became increasingly ludicrous.

The Florida scenes were more of a mixed bag. Holt talking about women’s heavy breasts remains a wonderful running gag, and Jake and Holt having to mount a prison break using the very modest talents of their cellmates was funny, but the redneck sheriff (played by Garry Gerich himself, Jim O’Heir) fell in an odd limbo region between real person and outright caricature, and most of that material failed to land.

Mostly, though, it was a situation similar to the Pimento arc from the end of last year, where the plottier Brooklyn gets, the more it invites the audience to start questioning whether the plot makes sense. As with the Stenley stuff – which turns out to be an excuse to keep the squad from flying down to the rescue – we’re in an area that would work better if the show was content to just be a live-action cartoon, when instead it always tries to keep at least a pinkie toe in reality. When I start questioning why Holt and Jake (or Terry and Amy, for that matter) wouldn’t insist on calling the U.S. Marshals office once it’s clear that their handler has been kidnapped by Figgis, or any of a number of other alternate plans, it gets in the way of me appreciating that one of their cellmates is great not only at smoking meth, but snorting it, too.

What did everybody else think? What are you hoping to see in next week’s third chapter of this story?