When Brooklyn Nine-Nine first started, it had a recurring bit about Jake and Amy’s competition to close the most cases. It wasn’t the most sophisticated storyline or even the most mature way for these two ace detectives to behave, but it was something to latch on to in the show’s infancy. While Jake and Amy are extremely close, one of the best aspects of their relationship is their sense of competition and friendly rivalry when it comes to being the better detective. It’s something that strangely gets lost in the shuffle often on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, despite the fact that both are constantly vying to be the best in the 9-9.

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“Det. Dave Majors” brings back that competitive nature, if only for part of an episode, with Jake and Amy competing to get on Detective Dave Majors (the fantastic Garret Dillahunt) of the 9-3’s good side in a joint, baby mask, check cashing robbery case (which is just as weird as it sounds, though less consequential). Jake and Amy say it best when they describe Majors.

Jake: “He’s the best detective in the NYPD. Myself included.”
Amy: “His arrest numbers are STAGGERING. His conviction rate is MAGNIFICENT. He is BLOTTER DYNAMITE. (beat) I mean, I’m cool. I’m just hanging out with you guys.”

So to impress cool cop Majors on the case, Jake and Amy bring their own “cool cop” moves to the dance, with their “sunglass choreography” and “notebook flip,” respectively. Majors is so detached from this “real” world that he doesn’t even notice their buffoonery; these two really are such dorks while he maintains the gruff, tough cop cliche. And it’s adorably hilarious (and hilariously adorable), as Jake and Amy don’t appear to realize that it doesn’t take this much effort to come across as effortless. Last week’s “AC/DC” focused on such a thing specifically in a subplot, with Amy having to work to be “chill Amy.”

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But when it comes to Jake Peralta, his hero worship and attempts at emulation are part of what make him such a fascinating character. Despite his constant claim that he is the “Best. Cop. Ever.” he only feels that way because he models himself after what he believes are the best cops ever from the TV and movies he watches, as well as the cops and feds he sees in real life. To him, Majors is the true “Best. Cop. Ever.” and that’s a guy who treats commendations from the commissioner for a double homicide case as a burden to receive a “dumb medal.”

“Det. Dave Majors” is actually smart to toe the line between Majors being a detached, cool cop and him possibly not taking his job seriously (which, considering how he offhandedly mentions thinking of a past case constantly, doesn’t appear to be the case), and it’s not difficult to see why either Jake or Amy would idolize him. He’s a legit rock cop star. Strangely—though also refreshingly—at no point does anyone point out the blatantly obvious thing about Detective Dave Majors: He’s a massive hipster of the highest sitcom order. The fact that he doesn’t say “over it” at any point in this episode doesn’t change any of that. He frequents an “invite only speakeasy called The Keychain,” with a nightly changing password as well as a nightly name-changing bartender (who knows the perfect drink for you), after all.

All of this hero worship buries the lede of the real reason for Majors’ existence: to call Jake to action on the whole Amy crush thing. When Majors informs Jake that he plans to ask Amy out as soon as the case is over, it a ticking clock on the board for Jake to finally gain the strength to ask Amy out.

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I’m of two minds with the Jake/Amy material stuff in this episode. For the most part, it’s great. Jake’s nerves over asking Amy out and the constant interruptions from outside forces are all funny enough to sustain this plot, as is Amy and Majors’ complete obliviousness to everything Jake is currently thinking.

Amy: “Why doesn’t your mouth work?”
Jake: Why Doesn’t Your Mouth Work? Title of our sex tape!”
Amy: “What?”
Jake: “Your sex tape! What? No!”

However, even with the slightly typical recurring interruptions (which would probably point to the two of them not being meant to be anywhere else), it’s the episode ending that continues Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s somewhat forced approach to what could be an “organic” will they/won’t they story. Amy informs Jake she’s never dating another cop, only to have her linger on Jake right after the fact. and that’s where we’re at with the Jake/Amy storyline now. It’s a self-imposed road block that only exists to draw out a romance between a full grown adult woman and a full grown “adult” man who (given the type of care he gives himself) could probably die any moment now, when those very characterizations themselves could be enough to keep them apart.

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Plus: Amy’s hair tuck is absolutely unnatural, especially the final tuck to show her feelings for Jake. In what is sure to be the only time someone will say this (especially in such a context): Amy Santiago is no Joey Potter.

To make one more point about the storyline, it also includes another one of the terrible things about the Jake/Amy relationship: It makes Rosa a sounding board for Jake’s feelings and nothing else. Luckily, the upside for her role in “Det. Dave Majors” is that she’s integral to the episode’s fantastic cold open, and the pink shirt will live in infamy.

Holt (straight faced): “Look at me. I can’t keep a straight face. I played you like a fiddle.”

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As for the rest of the episode, the dynamic duo of Gina and Boyle strikes again, as they do everything in their power to convince Terry not to leave the 9-9 for a private security firm. That’s everything short of hiring Pam Grier to serve Terry frozen yogurt, which, sadly, Holt won’t allow. It’s a solid subplot, and it’s especially great to watch Gina and Boyle constantly be horrified by Holt’s seemingly cold-hearted responses to the possible loss of Terry. It’s a fun plot is a genuinely fun episode, and hopefully it will provide the rest of the season with the type of forward momentum it needs.

Stray observations:

  • This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: From Charles To Terry: A Rating Game
  • Rosa: “What are you guys laughing at?”
    Jake: “If Boyle was wearing a pink shirt.”
    Rosa: “I get it. That’s hilarious.”
  • The best part of that cold open is that they are literally laughing at a hypothetical situation for most of it. That, and “Mr. Grapes.”
  • Gina: “But what’s his body like on a scale from Charles to Terry?”
    Boyle (to Terry): “Sorry, buddy.”
    Terry: “What?! I’m the 10!”
    Boyle: “Sure you are.”
  • Surely someone in the comments with a more intimate knowledge of the NYPD and/or police world can answer this for me: Is it acceptable for private security firms to be so blatant in their recruiting practices and for cops to be the same when it comes to announcing said recruitment?
  • Gina prefers to have alert system color codes like “code chartreuse,” but Holt is adamant abut a ROY G BIV situation. Personally, I’m a fan of Seth Cohen’s Chrismukkah holiday alert system, which is only colors in the beige family.
  • Rosa: “Show you care. Ruin her night.”
    Jake: “You really have a unique take on love.” Rosa’s shrug and smile at that are pretty amazing.

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