Brooklyn 99 brought out its A-Game for its first holiday episode: battling Santas, death threats, safehouses, and the quest for the perfect Christmas card photo.
Let’s be honest… Brooklyn 99 brings out its A-Game every week. If you aren’t on board with the 99, you still have plenty of time to join the party. Andy Samberg’s Tuesday night gem isn’t going anywhere. The show makes great use of its actors, and their abilities. With every show about cops being drama-driven over the past few years, this one stands out. It’s a well-oiled comedy machine. The writing is sharp and swift. Andy Samberg is hilarious, but never over the top. The supporting cast defined who their characters are and how they react to situations right from the first episode, and are used at exactly the right times. Not bad for a show that’s only halfway through their first season. FOX must be taking notice too, as it has Brooklyn 99 paired with New Girl for the coveted post-Superbowl time slot.
This week, Peralta (Samberg) and Boyle (Superbad’s Joe LoTruglio) have to stop a fight that’s broken out between two Santas. Santa has been on this corner for 6 years, and now this other Santa suddenly shows up (Really! Who cares about Canine Diabetes?) Peralta tries to frisk one of the Santas, when both Santas go on the attack. Boyle offers advice behind a garbage can shouting, “Hit him in his fat cherry cheeks!” Peralta realizes that one of the Santas has a knife, and Boyle swiftly kicks Santa in the groin, proudly shouting, “That’s right! I just kicked Santa in the testicles!” as a horrified group of children watch from the sidewalk. Merry Christmas boys and girls?
Meanwhile, Santiago (Melissa Fumero) is busily wrapping one of the six gifts she has purchased for Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) that represent the six lessons he has taught her, when the man himself makes the announcement that he wants no gifts from his detectives. Repeat: Under no circumstances does he want a present.
Holt calls Peralta into his office, where he informs him that due to a recent increase in death threats against him, he will need Peralta to be his security detail. Captain Holt isn’t worried. Captains receive death threats all the time. Peralta happily accepts the task, and is overjoyed to know that he is completely in charge of Holt’s every move.
Boyle, has been in love with Officer Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) since the show’s first episode. She has tried to let him down gently, sometimes actually saying, “I’m not into you.” He seemingly has taken the hint, and decides that this Christmas, he is going to take a Singles Cruise.
Santiago calls a meeting with the group to discuss the dilemma of Captain Holt’s presents, seeing as how he doesn’t want any of the presents they (she) bought him. She decides the group needs to don Santa hats and take a group line up photo, and is convinced that Holt will love it. The team isn’t into the idea. Terry (Terry Crews, who in my opinion should just be handed an Emmy for screaming words at just the right moments) has his psych evaluation that will decide whether or not he is ready to be back on the streets, and finally removed from desk duty. Boyle’s flight is in eight hours… he needs to be at the airport soon, so he can’t take the picture. If they’re out, so is everyone else. Luckily for Santiago, Gina (played by regular scene stealer, Chelsea Peretti) is a pro at taking “Elfie Selfies” so she can photoshop a group picture together.
Peralta is taking every measure to “protect” Holt, and that basically means sitting behind him in his office, watching every move he makes. When Holt says he needs to use the bathroom, Peralta springs to action. He will do everything he can to ensure that the Captain makes his way to the bathroom without any threat to his life.
Terry is ready for his psych evaluation, and feeling confident. If all goes well today, he can finally get back into the field. He’s not going to fixate on his fears anymore. When the psychologist tells him that for today, she wants to fixate on those fears, Terry grabs the pillow on the couch next to him, and holds it tight to his chest. The psychologist asks Terry what would happen to his family if he were to die in the line of duty. Amid stuffing and feathers flying through the air, Terry replies, “I popped your pillow.”
Captain Holt gets into his car, ready to sneak off and work from home. Peralta, of course, stops him. Holt confesses that the reason he chose Peralta for the assignment of his security detail was because he doesn’t believe the threat is real, and he assumed that Peralta would have no problem breaking the rules and getting his work done. Peralta is not breaking the rules, or protocol. If Holt wants to get out of there, Peralta has a place in mind. His mom’s house, which is nearby. It becomes obvious to Holt as soon as they get there that this is not a mom’s apartment… this is a safe house. Peralta orders Holt to stay in the house. When Holt tries to leave, Peralta handcuffs himself to his Captain, and tosses the key down an air vent, to show that he is going to take this assignment seriously. Holt pulls out his cellphone to text his husband (have I mentioned yet that the Captain is gay?) and let him know that he won’t be home for dinner.
Operation Perfect Christmas Card is going well, until Santiago realizes that there are no photos of Diaz smiling. Santiago and Gina begin the task of trying to find a way to make Diaz smile, and sneak a photo. First attempt: tickling. Fail.
Back at the Safe House, Peralta declares that this Safe House follows his rules, so no ties allowed. He then declares that a hungry Safe House is an unsafe Safe House, and crams a sandwich in his mouth. A fun Safe House, is a safe Safe House, so they play a game of tennis on the Wii. Holt wins, and Peralta decides he needs another sandwich. And finally, a Safe House watching “Safe House” is a Safe “Safe” House “House.” When a knock at the door interrupts their safe house-ing, Peralta discovers that Holt did not, in fact, text his husband, but Boyle, to come and rescue him from the Safe House. Boyle just needs to uncuff the Captain and take him back to his old precinct. Peralta puts the puzzle together right away: Holt didn’t want to go home to work in peace. He wants to go to his old precinct, because the threat is real, and he wants to investigate it himself. Holt orders Boyle to uncuff him. Peralta orders Boyle not to uncuff him. Boyle, being too scared to disobey either of them, handcuffs himself to Holt’s free arm, and tosses the key down that same air vent. Who wants to watch “Safe House?”
Terry is not doing well on his psych evaluation. During word association, every word he is given leads him back to the words, “Gun” “Death” and “Die.” The psychologist casually begins to move the “Approved” stamp further away from his paperwork.
Holt, Peralta, and Boyle are doing their best detective work trying to figure out who is sending Holt death threats. After they realize it is a series of threats with pool puns, they settle on Haims, The Freestyle Killer, a man Holt arrested for taking out an entire relay swim team in the eighties. He catches the criminals with the coolest names. After a failed pop-and-lock attempt, Boyle and Peralta insist on catching Haims together, much to Holt’s dismay.
Second attempt to make Diaz smile: winning a mail contest. Failure number two, due in part to Gina and Santiago both showing up to read her the winning letter at the same time. Now Diaz is on to them. She flashes a smile at them, and tells them that they messed up. Unfortunately, since they both read the letter, no one has a camera to capture the moment.
Holt tells Peralta and Boyle the story of why Haims wants to kill him. When he was a young detective, Holt was a jerk. He taunted Haims to the point that Haims told him he would kill him as soon as he got out of jail. Holt doesn’t want anyone to get hurt on account of a mistake he made as a brash young detective. Peralta reminds Holt that he’s still making the mistakes of a brash young detective now by not working with the team. Holt tells Peralta he is right, and agrees to go back to the 99 to work with the team and find Haims. Using everything at their disposal, and Secret Mission coffee, they get a location on Haims at the railroad yard, and suit up.
The team splits up at the rail yards. Peralta suggests to Holt that when this is all over, they take a train trip together, “just for fun.” Santiago, Diaz, and Boyle are together, and Diaz apologizes to Boyle that he’s missed his flight. It’s okay. Boyle has a back-up flight in four hours. Peralta lures Haims out by calling his cellphone. Haims pulls out a gun, ready to shoot Holt. He’s thought about Holt’s taunting every day he was in jail. Just as he is about to pull the trigger, he is tackled to the ground by Terry, who is shouting, “TERRY’S BACK! TERRY’S BACK!” (I’m serious about that Emmy-caliber shouting.) Holt is relieved, and “emoting,” as Peralta points out, when they get a call on the radio… they need an ambulance. Boyle is down. Turns out that Haims ran into Diaz before he met Holt. He shot at her, and Boyle jumped in front to protect her. And got shot in the butt. Both cheeks.
At the hospital, Santiago asks Terry how he passed his psych exam. Terry tells them that Gina showed up mid-exam to tell Terry that the Captain’s life was in danger, so he stamped the approval onto his paperwork himself, saying, “I’m ready!” even though the psych did not, in fact, think that Terry was ready.
Holt thanks Peralta for his help. Peralta was right. Holt needed a team, and didn’t have to rely on himself and work alone. To properly thank Peralta, he finally pop-and-locks with him, this time without the handcuffs.
In his hospital room, Boyle insists that no one has to stay with him. But Boyle has done the 99 proud, and everyone is impressed, no if, and, or “butts.” Boyle tells them that even though he has missed his flights, there is no where else he’d rather spend Christmas. Diaz says that Boyle is a hero, and so is his butt. She finally smiles. And Santiago gets her picture. Christmas card complete.
This episode was a great showing of everything Brooklyn 99 does well, great comedy, and a lot of character depth. While occasionally, the characters are cartoons, they all have heart. They can pull off those, “Awww” moments just as well as the “Laugh Out Loud” ones, and easily switch between the two. If you haven’t given the show a shot yet, use the winter hiatus to put it on your DVR, catch up on Hulu, and get down with Brooklyn 99.
Best “LOL” Moments:
Santiago: “You look happy. Let me guess… your egg sandwich fell on the floor and they gave it to you for free?”
Peralta: “No. Can you do you that? Why doesn’t everyone just drop their sandwiches on the floor?”
Santiago: “I was trying to insult you.”
Peralta: “And instead you gave me an amazing life hack!”
Terry: “My psych evaluation is today. They’re gonna decide if I’m ready to make it back on the streets.”
Gina: “Why do you care what they think? Psychologists are just people who weren’t smart enough to be psychics.”
Peralta: “Now, for your safety, if you could, open up your internet browser, and search the words ‘pigs’ and ‘jet skis’ and that’s an order.”
Terry: “Kitten. Cute. Calm. False sense of security. Gun. Die.”
Peralta: “I see what you’re doing. Tooshy.”
Holt: “It’s touche.”
Peralta: “I’m in charge here, and I say it’s Tooshy.”