It’s not easy adjusting to change. More often than not, people in this world attach themselves to a subject, belief or hobby that peaks their interests to the point of it becoming an essential part of their lifestyles. So, it is when outside forces storm in and disrupt the stability of said lifestyle that one begins to panic, or search for meaning.
Only three seasons in, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine is seeking to adjust to the same winds of change. The series spent all of last week searching for a way to accommodate the drastic updates in chain of command, with Dozerman (briefly) taking over the precinct as the new captain, and Holt’s move to PR. Such factors seem poised to impact the complexion of the Nine-Nine for the rest of the series, let alone this season, so I’m personally curious to see if the show is prepared to maintain the status quo while reigning in the laughs. Thankfully, “The Funeral” continued to get us all settled into all the changes by keeping the main conflicts of last week’s premiere as the main focus.
I mentioned how outside forces could disrupt one’s daily routine, and by that I was directly referring to Dean Winter’s return as The Vulture/new Captain. Like Dozerman, his very presence is a severance to the usually collective, low-key feel the Nine-Nine has been known for. Remember: this is a guy who turned quite a few office dynamics on its head when he first appeared back in Season one, and was absolutely no stranger to affecting Jake’s work ethic and success. There’s an immense sense of danger to how he carries himself, and how his actions spill over to the rest of the precinct. All of which is why, unlike Dozerman, he’s a much better foil to Jake and the guys, and a much more intriguing Captain.
“The Funeral” does everything in its power to reinforce such, in many different ways. From staring at Rosa while eating fruit, to practicing crane kicks with Boyle, The Vulture’s exploits yield off-putting results for the gang, and hilarious results for the rest of us. It also doesn’t hurt that his douche-ery is way more grounded than Dozerman’s boisterous fare. Him being wise of Jake’s scheme to befriend him (“I’ll bet you don’t even like nip slips!”) was awesome, and his stone-cold belittling with Holt over how he used to run the precinct hit all the right emotional chords without feeling too offbeat. Winter’s casual delivery here allows his lines to be natural comedic or callous, which keeps the kinetic flow of each scene intact – a key piece that was missing in Bill Hader’s guest appearance last week. In addition, by being so nonchalant, his performance sells both the danger of Jake and Amy’s relationship when he threatens to demote Peralta to beat cop work, and the realization that Holt probably didn’t leave the impression on the Nine-Nine that he thought he did. The best villains are the ones we could actually root for, and The Vulture continues to be the kind of guy you’d love to hate.
And what an impact he’s already had on Jake, Amy, and Holt. Although the former coupling once again weighed the possibility of their relationship being able to last, this week generally exhibited their willingness to remain hopeful. Their plan to get a recording of The Vulture demanding their breakup actually featured some smart scheming, and highlighted Jake’s detective instincts (like when he basically analyzed one of Dozerman’s picture frames at the funeral.) Above all else, however, it implied an insistence to thwart a potential change. Despite The Vulture eventually demoting him (which got overturned by some quick thinking on Holt’s part,) Jake made it very clear that he’s still not able to give up on what he’s beginning to have with Amy through an endearing toast to Dozerman at the bar. He’s genuinely smitten by her, and isn’t even afraid to allow his job stand in the way of that (which, in a way, is a tiny bit out of character.) It’s remarkably admirable writing because Brooklyn Nine-Nine is developing their relationship by immediately pinning it under harsh adversity, while using that adversity as a springboard for Jake to showcase his talents as a cop and mature as a consenting adult.
It’s quite sad seeing Holt wallow in disappointment after The Vulture basically chewed him up and spat him out, but his turnaround was yet another rock solid reaction to how the precinct dynamic has shifted recently. The Nine-Nine is like a second family to him, so it felt right having him be the one to step up and pull the necessary strings that saved Jake from demotion. On top of that, I couldn’t have been happier seeing him and Gina interact with the squad again. Terry opening up to Holt about how much he misses him was one of the funniest moments of the night (drunk Terry can never fail!) Also, it eventually led to the realization that regardless of where he is now, these guys still need Holt around. Gina’s presence played more of a part on Boyle’s latest “funeral” fling with a police lieutenant, and despite being mostly a comedic distraction that B-story reminded us of how well Gina, Boyle and Rosa rub off each other (bonus points to the show for tying it in with the still apparent aftermath of Boyle’s failed wedding with Vivian.)
Despite being another hilarious half-hour, perhaps the funniest thing about “The Funeral” is that it barely payed any mind to Dozerman’s actual funeral. Even if you count Jake’s encounter with his wife (seriously, how many prostitutes did this Dozerman guy sleep with??) this week was all about the precinct working around changes. Jake and Amy are officially a thing – big shoes that the show seems confident in handling. Holt’s learned to accept his current fate at the PR department, while possibly being a sort of life-line for the gang in the future. And The Vulture is just amazing.
There were a ton of great lines from this week’s episode, but here are some of the best:
- “He found out I speak Spanish and made me fire my housekeeper. She was Polish.”
- “Pillow talk alert! Set the scene. Spooning or face-to-face?”
- “If everything goes according to plan, we should be beer pong doubles partners by the end of the week.”
- “Yeah, I read the file. She’s a mom. Not interested.”
- “Hey, G-Spot!”
- “We were seated next to each other two funerals ago. And there was hard eye contact all through ‘Danny Boy.'”
- “He let me choose the music on the way over here, which leads me to believe that he’s given up on life.”
- I’ll meet you, alright. M-E-A-T.”
- “Look, the alcohol has rendered me a simpleton.”
- “Blow my bag.”
- “Yeah, because you connect with them emotionally, something we did not do, because I’m a higher level of being, like Her from the movie Her.”
+The Vulture strikes again (as the new captain)
+Jake keeping the hope alive with Amy
+Holt pulling Jake out of a demotion