Unlike most other comedies, Brooklyn Nine-Nine plays out like character-driven entertainment rather often, and at this point in the series that’s not a bad distinction to have. I care a whole lot about the guys who run this precinct, and regardless how over-the-top their antics can get week-to-week, I relate to these people enough to enjoy the ride. “Nine Days” kind of perpetuates this sort of viewer’s satisfaction, and once it got going I found it difficult to want this episode to ever end.
Jake has been such a consistently enlightening presence lately that seemingly anyone he tackles a case with is destined to succumb to his foolishness. This time, he throws Holt into his latest escapade, with his intentions meant to rid his captain of the loneliness strewn from his husband’s brief venture out to Paris. By teaming him up with Holt yet again, said foolishness reaches an all-time high: with goiters, disoriented gatherings of case evidence, and a hilarious physical confrontation involving a whole lot of uncomfortable poking.
Despite how grounded it may seem sometimes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has found solid footing when it threatens to break walls and act ridiculously silly. Much of that occurs here, and it works for a number of reasons. Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher are great together, and the recent softening up of Holt’s demeanor eases us into this more wacky incarnation of the guy independent of Peralta’s usual zaniness. I came in expecting the two to go and solve a case that would invite their dynamic to flourish in a less professional standpoint, and “Nine Days” delivers on that front in spades. I could go on and on over what stood out so well here – whether it was the tongue-in-cheek doctor’s appointment (featuring a pleasant guest appearance from The Office alum Oscar Nuñez), or the time-jumping montage involving way too much cough medicine intake. Oh, and did I mention how hilarious I found Holt naming his goiters “Balthazar” and “Penelope”?
In addition, none of the actual workings of the case is taken very seriously either, yet Samberg and Braugher are so committed to complementing the satire on display the episode remains tonally consistent, while the gags and one-liners lend to the proceedings with predictably humorous results. What I’ll applaud Brooklyn Nine-Nine for here is in its willingness to go for broke in its search for laughs. This brand of comedy doesn’t work if the individuals and material involved aren’t backing up the mindlessness of it all, and that never seems to be an issue here.
Though I will like to point out that Jake and Holt’s argument near the end of the chapter felt a bit contrived, and that Jake referring to how he helped Holt get his old job back was a definite low blow. The whole purpose of Peralta dragging his superior into this case was to reprieve him from boredom and self-wallowing, and I never saw why the episode felt it necessary to associate that with such a grand gesture that happened in the past. Furthermore: he lied to Holt about crucial details relating to the case, anyway. I don’t blame the captain for being upset about that, which made me a little annoyed that he eventually had to apologize for how he took things. Thankfully, this verbal clashing only takes up a small portion of “Nine Days”, and it even wraps up with a touching, post-mumps moment between the two, telling us a viewers that perhaps Holt will start to engage with the crew more lightheartedly in the future.
The Boyle/Diaz C-story was an awesome reminder of how badly Boyle feels for someone (or something) he loves dearly, and the fact that his loss of focus on the job stemmed from the death of his snow boot-humping dog was as funny as it sounded. No one else (in my opinion) could get away with doing absolutely nothing productive while their comrades aim to help them back up, and since Brooklyn Nine-Nine has painted Charles as helplessly lovestruck by a wealth of things in his life I felt it was necessary to have Diaz go totally out of her way to help him grieve with a proper funeral. You know; one that doesn’t have a Michael Bolton ballad playing in the background of the in-memoriam slideshow.
Like the Jake/Holt plot of this week, their story also shines because of how well the show illustrates the fondness in their relationship, even despite how devoid it is of any intimacy. Rosa cares about Boyle enough to go out and buy a replacement dog for him, and even though he rightfully rejects (I mean, come on Rosa, you could’ve at least given him a pooch from the same breed), her brief time taking care of it allows her to see things from Boyle’s perspective. Had Charles not broken his back in the past for the sake of Rosa’s happiness, I’d be hard-pressed to believe that Diaz would have the change of heart she did. But by uniting all these past and present character threads, I feel almost rewarded by Diaz’s uplifting efforts. “Nine Days” assures us that these two understand each other’s pain. Regardless of where it comes from or how hard it affects their daily work ethic, both parties are equally determined to lend a strong helping hand.
Terry faced some pressure preparing for the lieutenant’s exam, although you probably wouldn’t know it until he nearly destroyed his office by the simple slam of the door. This subplot could’ve used more hurdles for Jeffords to jump through than finding a solution for Hitchcock and Sully’s lunch dilemma, and the fact that the episode jumped through time to gloss over how he managed to keep the precinct moving in Holt’s absence wasn’t at all fair to me. This potential promotion is supposed to be a huge deal for Terry, especially since he’s been working to earn it for a good couple of seasons now. Unfortunately, “Nine Days” does little to prove that he’s ready for the bump up the chain of command, and despite a few amusing encounters with Gina I fail to understand why this B-story existed in the first place.
Don’t think I forgot about Amy this week, as she basically played mother hen to the two mumps-stricken chicklets. This was a nice role for Santiago, because it plays on the notion of her yearning for the same kind of leadership position she earned in the S.A.M.S.A.M. program in “Hostage Situation”. You can definitely see her grow here as a character, and I don’t mind the newfound assertiveness that comes with it. One thing I do mind about Amy this week was the baked ziti dish; how could she not tell that was a fabricated recipe? Even for her, that slip up was hard to believe (although Jake and Holt’s reactions upon tasting the ziti and reading the recipe for themselves were laugh-out-loud hysterical).
As usual, I will segue into my conclusion by listing my favorite lines of the episode:
- “Who are you wearing? Porridge?”
- “C- is the perfect grade-you pass, and you’re still hot.”
- “Was he doing reps of linguine?
- “Medical examiner, jackpot. The gym is full of bodies.”
- “We can watch the ten-part Nicholas Nickleby special on PBS. Hear there’s a lot of long, quiet stretches.”
- “You’re the pretty little understudy. And the aging lead? She just fell down the stairs.”
- “Him humping was the only thing that got me through my divorce.”
Despite the presence of a B-story that solely killed time, “Nine Days” was consistently entertaining, and a pure delight from beginning to end. The decision to strike Jake and Holt with the mumps resulted in one of the season’s funniest, most self-aware main plots, while we got a heartwarming Boyle/Diaz pairing on the side. Even though the wackiness of the proceedings will leave this episode under various interpretations from many fans, considering the more grounded approach the series has lived up to, I’ve found little here to criticize – and a whole lot to love.
+ Jake/Holt A-story is comedic gold
+ Amy taking charge
+ Rosa helping Boyle pull through Jason’s (his dog’s) death
– Very little is proven to show Terry’s prepared to be captain
– Jake/Holt argument forced and unnecessary