This Brooklyn Nine-Nine review contains spoilers.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 8
I don’t know about everyone else, but after being holed up in my house practicing social distancing during this coronavirus outbreak, it sure feels good to spend time with some friends. Even if those friends are fictional television characters on an NBC sitcom.
A new episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a consistently funny feel-good show, would have felt like an oasis during this uncertain situation no matter what, but it especially helps that this was our yearly check-in with Doug Judy. I know everyone’s mileage may vary with the Pontiac Bandit, but I find Andy Samberg and Craig Robinson’s goofy chemistry to be infectious. Whether randomly breaking out into New Edition songs, indulging each other’s O-Town references, or just generally bringing out each other’s nerdiest impulses, Jake and Doug are the most natural friends on the series outside of Hitchcock and Scully, and I don’t know if you’d call that co-dependent nightmare “natural.”
That weird compatibility is exactly why Jake is so hurt when he discovers while interrogating a perp that Judy is getting married and that he wasn’t invited. Jake slips into a tough interrogator persona just trying to get information about the size of the venue. When he finally connects with Judy to get the lowdown on why he wasn’t invited, Doug says that he’s worried about Jake mingling with his criminal friends. To make it up to him, Doug invites Jake to the bachelor party and creates an alias to keep his friends from getting suspicious. Thanks to Mark Cuban, whom Judy met while pitching his silent “Smush” blanket on Shark Tank, the group jets down to Miami for a wild weekend.
In typical Brooklyn Nine-Nine fashion, the episode executes three twists in the A-storyline, saving the third and final reveal in the very last act to end things on a satisfying note. It’s definitely a formula we’ve seen executed countless times through seven seasons, but that’s only because it works. Jake is quickly revealed as a cop by a returning Trudy Judy (who seems to exist solely so Jake can say her name) which is an issue because Doug’s other friends on the trip carried out a secret diamond heist.
Jake helps the crew execute a reverse heist to return the diamonds, which essentially makes this a micro mash-up of a Judy episode and a Halloween Heist, but once the group is in the clear, the police arrive to arrest Judy’s friends. It’s revealed Jake called the cops during the heist, of course utilizing Doug’s silent blanket at one point, and the Judys shame Jake for being a typical cop.
But the third twist is that Doug elaborately staged the entire trip, knowing his friends couldn’t resist stealing the diamonds and counting on Jake to do the right things and call the cops. It turns out Judy’s future wife is a federal judge, and he wanted to find a way to keep his low-life friends from the wedding. Seems to be a pretty cruel way to cut people out of your life, but so be it! Doug reveals that he wanted Jake as his best man all along, and all is well. Cue the MC Skat Cat!
The B and C-plots aren’t anything special, unfortunately. Terry and Rosa attempt to replace a meaningful business card that was on Holt’s desk and thrown away by Terry while he was temporarily captain. It’s all meant to drive home Holt’s obsessive-compulsive tendencies and attention to detail, but it’s mostly light weight stuff until Holt reveals the meaning of the business card. Turns out it belonged to the first victim that Holt couldn’t help, and he used it as a reminder to never fail another victim again. Andre Braugher is good enough to add gravitas to a sub-plot as thin as this. At least Rosa and Terry resolve the problem in a heartfelt way, and there’s a couple more bonding moments between Rosa and Holt, who have really made a great pair this season.
The C-plot is completely forgettable, with our remaining characters trying to decide what the new vending machine in their break room will be. This is a classic example of there just not being enough screen time to make this even remotely worth our time, and I think everyone would agree that the minutes would have been better spent watching Jake and Doug goof off some more, or to flesh out the B-plot further.
It doesn’t matter. Not even some half-baked side plots could keep me from feeling a bit sunnier during this episode, and what more are sitcoms supposed to do? They’re supposed to feel comfortable, they’re supposed to feel like hangout sessions with familiar friends. Doug Judy and Jake’s silly pop culture references made me forget for a minute that I haven’t left my house since Monday. That’s a successful episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine in my book.