Welcome to the big leagues, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As the selection to follow the post-Super Bowl New Girl, Brooklyn Nine-Nine arguably has more to gain from its plum spot. That show already has its loyal fanbase. New eyeballs are never a bad thing, but New Girl’s premise is established, its brand already set. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still a blank slate for most of these potential viewers. The Super Bowl could be a boon for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. So how did it fare in its post-post-Bowl spot? Pretty well!
The episode zeroes in on two pairs—Peralta and Santiago team up, while Holt and Terry lift their share of the episode—splitting the plots into those that served viewers who have been with the show since the beginning, in addition to one that would be universally acceptable to both rookies and vets of the show. This set-up largely subjugated the rest of the cast to more supporting roles, yet did a fine job of giving each character a shot on screen to establish themselves to a new audience. Boyle’s abhorrence of the toaster will be funnier to those who stuck with him as he described his penchant for pizza with a good mouth feel, but it’s quickly established for those don’t know Boyle.
The Peralta-Santiago plotline served the veterans. Dean Winters returns briefly as the Vulture, a member of the major case squad who swoops in and steals cases. Santiago has a job interview in major cases, so Peralta ostensibly makes it his goal to remind Santiago why she likes working the beat to begin with, masking his true affection for his partner that is slowly expanding into more romantic territory as the season wears on. The first half of the season seemed to focus on the growing relationship between Holt and Peralta and the evolution of the Nine-Nine into a solid team. The latter half has focused its energies on Peralta and Santiago's deepening bonds, going full-force in “The Bet,” leaving Holt to try other things. That's not necessarily a negative thing, as evidenced by Andre Braugher's work with Terry Crew in this episode, but I’m still not sold on a Peralta-Santiago relationship.
What’s odd is I like the chemistry between Melissa Fumero and Andy Samberg. Despite being the wound-up one of the two, Fumero is a calming presence against Samberg’s frenetic immaturity. She makes him palatable in a way that fleshing out his single mother-backstory has not been able to, so I’m not entirely closed off to the idea of a relationship between the two. But in the grand traditions of the will-they-or-won’t-they—Luke and Lorelei, Nick and Jess, countless others—the audience needs to yearn for their union, and I’m not close to that point yet.
To keep Peralta and Santiago’s warm-and-fuzzy hunt for the jewel thief alive for those who may not be familiar with the ongoing Peralta-Santiago flirtation, “Operation: Broken Feather” enlists the help of guest stars Adam Sandler (doing a favor for buddy Samberg?) and former Washington Redskins great Joe Theisman, whose career famously ended when he suffered a compound fracture on Monday Night Football (hence the broken leg joke, for the football uninitiated). Did they need to be there to advance the plot? Like most guest stars, they did not, seen more as fancy accoutrement than an actual functioning part of the episode. Sandler did Sandler right (“I’m a serious person. I’m writing a movie right now about the Russian revolution.” “Oh, really, who does Kevin James play in it?” “Ha, it’s a serious movie. Trotsky.”), while Theisman served to bridge a gap between tonight’s main event (that would be the Super Bowl, and not this excellent Terry Crews ad) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s offering.
While the Santiago-Peralta part was largely grounded, that meant Terry and Holt could get a little nutty with their statistical analysis of how to make their precinct more efficient: remove the toaster from Boyle’s sightlines, position Mt. Diaz (“Yes. Humorous.”) in the most effective way, distract Gina from Boyle’s lost and found treasures (“Oh god, we’re doomed. Boyle looks like a lesbian”). I love the Holt-Terry relationship, if only because each character could fall into parody, but they’re strong enough alone and together as a team to make things work without falling off a ridiculous cliff. “I’m flying high, Sergeant, and I’m never coming down,” Holt intones to an careful Terry, worried that Holt will go too overboard with his statistical improvements. This plot was worth it for the journey, with a letdown of an ending: Gina’s slow-clap discovery of their ruses. Yet, the ending paraded the defining character traits of each of those at the hands of Holt’s meddling ways, establishing these people for the rookies who will hopefully tune in again on Tuesday. “Operation: Broken Feather” was a solid way of saying, “Y’all come back now, y’hear?”
- Thank you to Alasdair for filling in last week!
- Fumero’s facial expressions regularly kill it, but I think my favorite might be her reaction to Holt walking in on her trying on his hat.
- Guys, on Tuesday we get to meet Holt’s better half!