This review contains spoilers.
6. 17 Sicko & 6.18 Suicide Squad
In its two-part season finale, Brooklyn Nine-Nine delivers all of its best, most reliable tricks; there’s an internal fight against police corruption, a wealth of returning supporting characters, a twisty plot, and plenty of rapid-fire jokes. Since the season started with a battle between the Nine-Nine and Commissioner Kelly, it was inevitable that the finale would try to add some sort of resolution to this conflict, but in a wise move, it helped set-up a new fight against a far more worthy adversary for next season.
Yes, season seven of Brooklyn Nine-Nine had been confirmed long before Sicko and Suicide Squad aired, meaning that unlike the end of season five on Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t have to shoot a season finale that could also serve as a series finale. That means the show is able to return to its penchant for status quo-disrupting cliffhangers, which in this case finds Holt demoted back to life as a patrolman after new Commissioner Wuntch (the lovably venomous returning Kyra Sedgwick) discovers that Holt didn’t spend the mandatory time in uniform before being promoted to detective.
I wouldn’t worry about Holt being sidelined for too long. Despite the fact that Brooklyn Nine-Nine always telegraphs these game-changers, things always return to normal after a short amount of time. You can be reminded of that by the presence of Caleb the cannibal (Tim Meadows) in this two-parter, who was Jake’s cellmate after he was put in prison at the end of season four. As fun as it is to imagine a full season of stories dealing with Holt being a beat cop and Terry being in charge of the Nine-Nine, that simply isn’t going to happen. However, Wuntch supplanting Kelly as the main antagonist is a great move.
While Sicko is a fun episode, mainly due to the friendly Hannibal Lecter jokes and Terry’s guilt over Broadway Brian, it’s mainly just a device to set up the conflict for Suicide Squad, where Jake decides to recruit Wuntch, the Vulture (Dean Winters), and C.J. Stentley (Ken Marino) to help expose Kelly when he learns that the commissioner’s HotClutes app is really a front for a Dark Knight-esque illegal surveillance operation. While it’s fun to reunite with the cartoonishly dim CJ and toxically masculine Vulture, Wuntch is the main highlight of this suicide squad.
Sedgwick and Andre Braugher have crackling chemistry and their constant insults and verbal sparring get a majority of the laughs in part two. It’s almost to the episode’s detriment; Holt and Wuntch are so magnetic, funny, and dysfunctional that they sort of steamroll over all of the other material, but I guess it’s a good problem to have. The hate between Holt and Wuntch makes you willing to believe that Wuntch would double-cross the group, but since we’ve already done the Jake in prison storyline, I didn’t believe for a second that the squad would go down for their fake kidnapping scheme. Sure enough, Wuncth’s double-cross is revealed as a triple-cross, and John Kelly’s wiretapping is exposed.
The only problem with this plot-heavy episode is that it leaves little time for character moments. Besides Terry’s humorous denial over being transferred to Staten Island, none of our main characters have any meaningful character beats, which is in stark contrast to season five’s finale. Maybe the writers just know they have more time to tell stories, but it would have been nice to revisit Jake and Amy’s pregnancy talks, Rosa’s relationship, or Boyle’s development as a father. While there are plenty of great jokes, like the Vulture being friends with Bill McFarland, a great dig at Reddit, and Rosa referring to Terry as being “quietly self-destructive,” it would have been nice if the main squad had more to do than just back up Jake on his plan.
Still, as I said, this was a fun episode and an incredibly solid season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in general. The season took plenty of risks, tackling important social issues, experimenting with its format, and even infusing new camera angles and expletives while still rewarding fans that have stuck with this show since the beginning. I think it’s one of the best seasons of the show, and I look forward to more. NINE-NIIIINE!!!!
Read Nick’s review of the previous episode, Cinco De Mayo, here.