This Brooklyn Nine-Nine review contains spoilers.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 7
After diverting from the regular formula and delivering a season-best episode with “Trying” last week, Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets back to its traditional structure tonight, but didn’t lose any momentum in the quality department. “Ding Dong” is a near-perfect episode of the show, with a familiar A/B-plot structure that not only plays with the show’s rich six-season-plus history, but also advances the overarching plot of the season. It’s funny, emotional, and utilizes the main cast in a way that allows everyone to shine. After a few middling episodes, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 has found its groove.
The episode begins with a bombshell: Madeline Wuntch has died. Holt’s natural instinct is to not believe the news; he points out that his other nemesis the Disco Strangler tried faking his death in a similar way. However, it takes a quick trip to the coroner to reveal that this isn’t a trick, the wicked witch is dead. It’s a bummer that moving forward, the series won’t be able to use their best antagonist in Kyra Sedgwick, but thankfully Sedgwick appears one last time in pre-recorded messages so the audience can properly say goodbye.
Those pre-recorded videos quickly change Holt’s bagel-tossing elation into a crisis; she reveals that she’s recommended Holt to organize and host her NYPD memorial service, banking on the fact that he’ll say something awful about her in front of all of his superiors and jeopardize his reinstatement as captain. This was a brilliant way to go about fast-tracking Holt’s reinstatement, because the show was realistically not going to keep him out of his natural authority figure role for too much longer, but they needed an obstacle to create some tension. It’s far more interesting that Holt just serving his time.
After ripping off some classic Wuntch-inspired burns, with Rosa getting in her fair share as well, Holt finally composes himself enough to speak at the memorial service, but then a man claiming to be Wuntch’s true nemesis arrives and throws Holt for a loop. Any savvy Brooklyn Nine-Nine fan likely figured that the guy was a plant intended to have that exact effect, but the show wisely deploys a triple-cross revealing that Holt staged a fake memorial and hired actors because he knew to expect something dishonest from Wuntch. It’s a classic BK99 twist on a twist, and it leads to Holt finally registering Wuntch’s death and having an honest moment of mourning. At the real memorial service, he ends up delivering a beautiful speech that just reinforces how talented Andre Baugher is as an actor and how lucky we are that he spends his time goofing off on this show.
Meanwhile in the B-plot, Jake scores tickets to a popular children’s movie premiere and has three extra tickets, which causes Terry and Boyle to fight over who he’ll take so they can impress their respective kids. Not only does this utilize a main attribute shared by Terry and Boyle, they’re nuts about being Dads, but it gives Jake a father-centric storyline in the midst of the season’s “Jake and Amy trying for a baby” arc. Naturally, the fight over ticket gets way out of hand, leading to an actual fight, and it causes Jake to decide that neither of the men will get to take their kids to the premiere; Jake will take them all himself. In another clearly telegraphed, but nonetheless enjoyable twist, Terry and Boyle are relieved that they don’t have to attend the movie and laugh at Jake for not knowing what he signed up for. It would be funny if next week’s episode revolved around Jake chaperoning kids for the day.
The only area where the episode sort of dropped the ball, besides a poorly-timed Ebola reference, was with the ending, where it’s revealed that Jake and Amy are finally pregnant. It feels like it cheapens last week’s episode a bit, with the moment coming too soon. Had we waited just a few more episodes, it would have landed with a bigger splash. Also, the reveal came too close to the credits, with not enough time for us to watch Jake and Amy really relish in and realize the gravity of the moment. Still, the stinger with Boyle being woken from his sleep knowing that they finally conceived was pretty funny.
With a just a minor hiccup at the end, “Ding Dong” was everything you could want out of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Maybe it didn’t play with the format like last week’s episode, but not every outing needs to reinvent the wheel, so long as it stays true to the characters we love with silly and heartfelt stories.