This Brooklyn Nine-Nine review contains spoilers.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 6 Episode 1
Look, 2018 was the Worst for several different reasons. Somewhere around the middle of the list, between Disney firing James Gunn based on bad-faith, fake outrage and Logan Paul merely existing, Brooklyn Nine-Nine being canceled by Fox helped make the year feel unnaturally cursed. But proving that not everything is awful all of the time, NBC swooped in at the last minute to save one of TV’s best ensemble comedies.
BK99 probably should have always aired on NBC; coming from Parks and Rec and The Good Place creator Michael Schur and Dan Goor, BK99 was originally developed for NBC as a part of Schur’s overall deal, but the network passed. After announcing that NBC had saved the show, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt expressed regret for passing on the series to begin with. 2018 may have been a year where teens willingly ate laundry detergent, but it also proved that in today’s media landscape, a cancelation isn’t a surefire death knell for your favorite shows. Ying and yang.
Anyway, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back tonight on a new network, and thankfully, that’s all that appears to have changed. Season six premiere “Honeymoon” picks up exactly where season five’s cliffhanger ending left us, and the show feels as deft, warm, and funny as it always has. BK99 was a show that impressed out of the gate with how lived-in its ensemble felt, and sixth seasons in, that strength has only intensified.
Instead of allowing Captain Holt to become the NYPD Commissioner, which in turn would shake up the show’s status quo, the writer’s fake the audience out by teasing Holt receiving the promotion only for it to be quickly revealed that he lost out on the job to a backward-looking colleague. The bait and switch recalls the season 3 premiere “New Captain” where it looked for a brief moment like Bill Hader would be joining the series as the 99’s new captain, but it at least looks like Holt’s grudge against the new commissioner could become an overarching story for the season.
Holt’s bad news comes in tandem with Jake and Amy’s good news. Amy, being the fine-print reading nerd that she is, purchased wedding insurance for her and Peralta’s bomb-scare ruined nuptials and they plan on using the money to have an extra-boujee honeymoon (Jake, not used to being flushed with cash, is acting extra-spicy with money resting in his wallet). They plan to stick only to A.B.C. for the duration of their trip; no, not the Glengarry Glen Ross mantra of “Always be closing,” but their own motto, “Always be coconut-ing.” Unfortunately when they arrive at their resort, they find something unexpectedly waiting for them that threatens to ruin their trip, and I’m not talking about Boyle’s “Lover’s Toolbox.” Sitting in the shade wallowing in his own self-pity is Captain Holt, having an existential crisis now that he’s missed out on his dream job to an old fogey who wants to reimplement stop and frisk.
Similarly to Parks and Rec, Brooklyn Nine-Nine routinely pairs off its characters for different plots so most everyone in the central ensemble has something to do for the episode, and its success with all of the different variations is why the series inspired Change.org petitions when it got cancelled and why it continues to work as a sitcom. One of my favorite pairings is Jake and Holt and it’s always fun when Jake is saddled with the straight-man role so that Holt is freed to be the weird one. Jake and Amy do their best to bring Holt out of his depression, and in doing so inadvertently inspire him to quit working for the NYPD altogether. It’s finally Amy, also working against type, that tears into her idol Holt and makes him realize that just because John Kelly has been chosen as the next commissioner doesn’t mean he should give up on his pursuit of the job. With Holt finally thinking rationally, Jake and Amy are free to make love in their Melvil Dewey and Holly Gennaro cosplays in peace (more on that in a sec…). However, when they return back to work, they discover that Holt’s plan to go over his boss’ head has already backfired, with all of the 99 now forced to work on one floor. It’s not the status quo-changing moment we thought we were getting, but it’s something!
Meanwhile, with Holt out of the office, Terry, or Top Dog Terry, is in charge of the 99 and forced to make a tough call on one of Rosa’s cases. Just like Holt leaning into his character’s oddness, Terry is best utilized when he’s in freak-out mode, so he spends the episode desperately trying to access Holt’s computer, where detailed captain instructions had been saved in case Holt earned the commissioner job. After flailing and failing to access the document, Terry and Rosa learn that Holt’s number one piece of advice for a predecessor is to trust Terry’s opinions, another reminder just how supportive this precinct is of one another. The C-plot consisted of Boyle discovering that Gina’s mom had decided to divorce his dad and that it was Gina that hatched the idea, not to hurt Boyle and his father’s feelings, but to spare them after learning that her mother was cheating. With so much other material, some of this stuff happens so quickly that it barely registers, a risk that BK99 frequently takes with its 22-minute runtime, but when the A-plot is working so well, we can let thinness elsewhere slide.
Despite 2018’s best efforts at being a total junkyard inferno, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back on television screens and is as toit as ever…title of your sex tape! Follow along as we recap this year’s new episodes? Cool, cool, cool…
– Gina has seemed to have mastered Fox News’ strategy. When challenged on giving facts that aren’t true, she replies “It doesn’t have to be [true], it’s commentary.”
– Does NBC have looser content rules for jokes than Fox? I can’t recall BK99 ever making a joke as racy as tonight’s “This B needs a C in her A” gag.
– Are Holt’s unrealistic views part of the reason why he didn’t become commissioner? Apparently, he thinks that there is no more crime in Brooklyn and that people generally love NYC police officers. Jake knows these things to be false.
– Amy dressing up as Bonnie Bedelia’s Holly Gennaro from Die Hard for their honeymoon is so on-brand for this couple. Only out done by Jake arriving in costume as Melvil Dewey, which looks to be surprisingly accurate!
– Holt’s faces while Amy yells at him are priceless.
– Holt’s pineapple slut t-shirt is confounding, but where can we grab one? Asking for a friend…
Nick Harley is a tortured Cleveland sports fan, thinks Douglas Sirk would have made a killer Batman movie, Spider-Man should be a big-budget HBO series, and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson should direct a script written by one another. For more thoughts like these, read Nick’s work here at Den of Geek or follow him on Twitter.