Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘Halloween III’: It takes a thief

A quick review of tonight’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as this soda is worse than a fruit forward Riesling…

“Cheers” had “Bar Wars,” “Parks and Recreation” had its annual “Ron and Tammy” variant, and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” has its yearly Halloween battle of wits between Peralta and Holt. In all cases, the spirit of competition forces people to act out of character and/or to be crazier than normal. As a weekly thing, it would get tired, but once a year? It’s an absolute treat.

Ordinarily, for instance, it might have seemed too much for Holt and Terry to have their own secret handshake, but on the one night a year when the captain lets his emotions fully bubble to the surface so he can win the bet with Jake, it works. (See also the fantastic photobomb he did on Jake and the girls after he’d stolen the crown from Jake’s file cabinet.) And the episode somehow discovered the only way to make the usual Andre Braugher Makes Everything Sound Funnier game better: by handing him a sentence like “Because the cleavage cloaks the camera with its curves!,” which has alliteration, words with a K-sound, and old-fashioned sexual references. If that’s not the perfect comedy sentence to ask Braugher to deliver, it’s awfully damn close.

But everyone was on fire this week, whether Boyle’s frustration at being doubly-pranked by the squad’s costumes (and then the lack thereof) in the teaser, Rosa turning ninja to steal the crown the first time, Gina’s response to the roaches in Charles’ pants (“If I die, turn my tweets into a book!”), Jake’s who/whom frustration (“Why does the word who exist if no one’s allowed to say it?”), or the entirety of Santiago’s victory speech, but particularly her bad lip reading of Holt.

Assuming there’s a “Halloween IV” next year, I’ll be curious to see how it’s structured. Jake won the first one, Holt the second, and a frustrated Amy stole victory out from under both of them this year. (Even though we were clearly heading there well before Melissa Fumero put on the fake mustache, the payoff with the fake elevator outage was worth it.) Will we get something more straightforward next time? Was having Amy take the tiebreaker an acknowledgment that the writers think the idea’s run its course?

What did everybody else think?