This Brooklyn Nine-Nine review contains spoilers.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episodes 1 & 2
Before NBC benevolently saved Brooklyn Nine-Nine from cancelation, a new season of the beloved workplace comedy seemed improbable; after the successful return, the hilarious Season 6, a new season seemed inevitable. Sure enough, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back for Season 7 on NBC, which seems like it should have been the home of the Dan Goor and Michael Schur series all along. Season 7 will supposedly consist of 13 episodes, but that was the original order of the sixth season as well, before the network ordered five additional installments, so who knows?
If that order sticks, NBC wastes no time burning two, unrelated episodes on the premiere date with “Manhunter” and “Captain.” Fortunately, these are two solid half-hours, but still, if the network insists on airing an hour of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, why not try to execute a longer story? The series has played with light serialization in the past, like Jake’s prison arc, so why not tackle something a bit more narratively ambitious? (Though it’s likely the show’s writers had no idea that they’d have an hour to work with for the premiere.)
Things pick up almost exactly where we left them at the end of last season, with Holt serving as a beat cop once Wuntch discovered that he didn’t spend the mandatory time in uniform before being promoted to detective. Our main cast are called into action when there’s an assassination attempt on a NYC councilman, which keeps everyone mostly together working on the same crime scene. Episodes always work well when they feature what you could call B and C-plots, but all of the action takes place at a central location, with the main cast of characters coming in and out of each other’s stories. It leaves more opportunity for fun character work when all of our characters are dealing with the same predicament.
While Jake leads the manhunt, Officer Holt and his partner Officer Fogle (Vanessa Bayer) are assigned to monitor the perimeter, but Holt can’t help but try to intercede. Holt increasingly steps on Jake’s toes, dragging Fogle along for the ride. Due to Jake’s respect for Holt and his well-noted Daddy issues, he can’t order Holt the way that he’s supposed to and Peralta grows increasingly resentful the more that Holt steals his thunder. Peralta tries to send Holt on a wild goose chase, but he ends up identifying a second suspect. Unfortunately, the suspect gets the drop on Holt and Fogle and Peralta and the rest of the Nine-Nine have to make the save.
Bayer is an excellent guest star and hopefully we’ll see more of her as long as Holt is working the beat. Fogle is almost like if you crossed Jake and Amy, then made the opposite of that person; she’s unambitious, afraid of danger, and would prefer to do as little work as possible. She also continually reveals incredibly sad, yet hilarious details about her backstory. Even if you find yourself annoyed with Fogle, you can laugh when Rosa roasts her and implies that no one actually cares about her. It’s the funniest moment of the episode, beside maybe Hitchcock and Scully being brought in as hot dog experts or Boyle’s remix of Hall and Oates’s “Maneater.”
What I DIDN’T find funny was Santiago being ruthless and rude to a police dog. No Good Boy deserves to be treated like that, but I guess it’s understandable considering Amy believes she may be unexpectedly pregnant. Rosa steps up and tries to help Amy through the crisis, but the pair’s behavior causes Terry, who’s leading the operation, to feel insecure. Honestly, Terry repeatedly asking Amy and Rosa why they’re acting weird, then suspecting they must be talking behind his back, grows repetitive and tiresome after a while. The pregnancy storyline thankfully ends on a sweet note though; Amy is pregnant, but when she tells Jake about the day and her feelings about it, the pair decide that they want to start trying for a kid. It’s a sweet moment, and it looks like the writer’s will be making good use of actress Melissa Fumero’s second pregnancy.
Anyway, “Captain Kim” follows with a story that will feel familiar to fans of the show in multiple ways. Once again the Nine-Nine anxiously sits in the conference room awaiting their new Captain. Historically, this never goes well, and yet in walks Captain Julie Kim (Nicole Bilderback), a smart, conscientious leader who makes it clear that she’s only serving until Captain Holt’s uniform duty ends. Captain Kim tries to get to know each member of the precinct and kindly invites the crew to a party at her home. All good, right? Well, not according to Jake and Holt.
As we’ve also seen many times before, Jake has a seemingly irrational distrust of Captain Kim, and like many of BK99’s best episodes, Holt is on Jake’s side and behaving perhaps worse than Jake. While everyone mingles at the party with guests (and in Hitchcock and Scully’s case, chairs) that seem handpicked to dazzle them, Jake and Holt, wearing his “sneakers,” begin searching Kim’s home to find evidence she’s working for Wuntch. However, unlike the way this type of episode usually goes, it’s revealed that Jake’s hunch is wrong. In his search for evidence, he ends up ruining the party by allowing Kim’s dog to get loose, and Kim is easily able to prove that the only reason she asked to join the Nine-Nine was because of her admiration for Captain Holt. Peralta’s slip up causes Kim to immediately resign, leaving the fate of the Nine-Nine up to unfamiliar hands yet again.
“Captain Kim” works for the same reason “Manhunt” did; it keeps the main cast together at the same party. While Jake and Holt are digging for dirt, Charles mingles while finding confidence by wearing Rosa’s jacket, and Terry tries not to look callous while dealing with a waiter he put away, while also trying to impress the dean of a prestigious school that he wants his daughters to attend. It sounds like a lot, but they’re short and sweet little plots. The Charles material is definitely the funnier stuff; Boyle calling Peralta a bitch was a specific highlight.
Season 7 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine starts off strong, utilizing many of the show’s strengths while subverting some expectations and taking advantage of Holt’s reassignment (for the time being). The series will move to its regularly scheduled, once-a-week slot next week, and we’ll see how Holt’s story, and Amy’s potential pregnancy, develop.
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.