Review: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ – ‘The Apartment’

A review of last night’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” coming up just as soon as I’ve started the second season of media content…

“The Apartment” tried to pull off a trick the show tried earlier in the season in “Pontiac Bandit,” by giving one of the characters a relationship with Jake that preceded their assignment to this precinct. That time, it was Peralta and Diaz as police academy classmates; here, it’s that Jake and Gina are such close friends dating back to childhood that Jake got her the job as a department aide.

In “Pontiac Bandit,” it worked because it didn’t seem like much of a leap, based on both the age of the characters and the fact that it didn’t contradict anything we already knew about how Peralta and Diaz went along. They were in the academy together, they had a pact, and that pact now creates conflict in this case. Simple set-up, and then it steps out of the way so that jokes can be told.

Here, though, it was too much. We’ve been given zero sign through the previous 17 episodes that these two have a history together, or even like each other, and so all the exposition about the time they spent together in Nana’s apartment felt clunky – the show working too hard all at once on an idea that would have been better off established over time. There were some amusing bits about Jake being an incompetent grown-up, like his claw tub full of mail, and Jake’s irritation that crazy Gina is more grown-up than he is made sense, but overall the A-story fell flat, especially in contrast to so many recent episodes.

The scenes back at the precinct were fun, though, particularly the payoff to Diaz’s rivalry with the weekend detective (played by Matt Walsh from “Veep”), with the prostate cancer news the perfect cherry on that sundae. As Boyle and Diaz had such a good time together trashing the locker – with Stephanie Beatriz being allowed to show more happiness in that one scene than she probably has in the rest of the season combined – I began wondering if we were going for the cliched moment where she’s finally attracted to him now that he’s off the market. Instead, it ended in a more interesting place: acknowledging their past together (and a past the show has done a much better job establishing than the new Jake/Gina backstory) but suggesting that they’re just going to be friends now. I’m happy that the show’s not trying to force every straight male/female combo to pair off (Gina would wind up with… Hitchcock?), and their opposing temperaments make them a good platonic duo. Add in Santiago working herself up into a lather and Holt taking pleasure in mocking both Jake and Terry in the same episode, and you’ve got some strong squadroom action, even if the main story never really clicked.

What did everybody else think?