Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘Christmas’

Senior Television Writer
12.03.13 21 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I take an elfie selfie…

“Christmas” was a role reversal from the formula “Brooklyn” was leaning on too much earlier in the season: because he’s subject to death threats, Captain Holt is the one acting irrationally and refusing to listen to good advice from Peralta. The problem is that the episode didn’t go far enough with the switcheroo. Even in this circumstance, Jake is the annoying one, and the one providing most of the jokes (effective or not), while Holt is still the one getting frustrated by his subordinate. I’m not saying the series needed to pull a “Freaky Friday” and have the two leads trade personalities altogether, but if ever a circumstance called for Andre Braugher to be the funny one (which he has demonstrated, here and elsewhere, he can be) and Andy Samberg to be the straight man, this was it. Instead, it’s the old and mostly unsuccessful dynamic, spiced up with a sitcom cliche (enemies handcuffed together) so familiar that “Duck Dynasty” used it for a plot earlier this year. The idea that the younger Holt was very much like Jake is an interesting one (and I enjoy every flashback to Braugher in the afro wig), but I wish we could see that version of Holt escape at times – as he did for one incredible moment when Holt reluctantly continued the pop-and-lock – and for Jake to not have to be on every minute of every day.

So I spent a lot of the A-story feeling the same way I did with some of those earlier episodes: wishing we would quickly get back to the other supporting characters. And that stuff was fun, whether Terry struggling with his fears in front of the shrink, Santiago scheming to get Diaz to smile or Boyle worrying about his flight, and then getting to play hero in an amazing and yet embarrassing way.

Holt pop-and-locking in and of itself made this one a must-see, but I think the episode could have been a lot more.

What did everybody else think?

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