Except for all the alcohol intake, Jake’s bachelor party and Amy’s bachelorette party in the appropriately titled “Bachelor/ette Party” aren’t exactly wild and crazy experiences. They’re certainly not The Hangover—as Brooklyn Nine-Nine did that back in season four’s “Cop-Con”—but instead just a chill appreciation of… Well, the friends we made along the way. Seriously. As Rosa regularly reminds Amy during this episode, her bridesmaids have got her back. And of course they do—that’s the Brooklyn Nine-Nine way. Just like Boyle has Jake’s back, even if the scavenger hunt bachelor party doesn’t quite look that way at first.
But to be perfectly honest, the one character who really has Jake’s back—and really, the backs of all of us who watch and love this show—is none other than Captain Raymond Holt. Or perhaps I should say “Raymond in a Kangol hat.”
From moment one, “Bachelor/ette Party” is an all-time classic Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode, solely based on the introduction of a version of Holt that will probably only exist in just this context. Yes, it’s a very good episode otherwise, as well as another one of those episodes that really shows what this show is all about, outside of the precinct. But Holt letting loose for Jake’s bachelor party and acting like “one of the boys” is a joy that exists on another plane of existence. Actually, to say Holt’s “acting” like one of the boys is somewhat of a disservice to the character, because he’s not just playing cool or casual here; there’s never a moment where he second guesses his choice in behavior, he’s just doing his version of going with the flow. It also helps that there’s a lot of booze to help him stay the course. It instantly means a lot that Holt doesn’t question or even judge the behavior he knows Jake would want for his bachelor party, he just gives him this beautiful gift. He’s still kind a robot (even though he swears he’s “a human male”), but now he’s a robot programmed to make “6-9” (nice?) jokes and get to “talking about how we lost our v-cards.” And to absolutely space out at the most inconvenient times, like a drunk bastardization of the typical Holt pause.
While Holt is the highlight of the episode—providing another Emmy-caliber performance—he is not the only highlight of the episode. Every character is driven by either the bachelor or bachelorette party, but they’re all coming at it from different perspectives. Terry’s perspective is that of both hunger and a genuine desire not to squander the one night of the year Sharon allows him to get stupid drunk. (And because Boyle lives in a magical world where Terry yelling at him the way he does doesn’t scare him, Terry only gets angrier until the guys decided to bail on the scavenger hunt.) Gina’s is that of wanting to give Amy at least one day without her barbs but finding it difficult because Amy is still Amy. (Thankfully, Amy’s best friend Kylie is there. Sorry, Kylie.) Like Boyle with Jake, Rosa’s perspective also comes from wanting Amy to have a party she can enjoy and remember forever—but she doesn’t provide fanny packs of loose granola or ever try to deprive anyone of booze. And Hitchcock and Scully’s perspectives come from apparently just now learning about Empire.
Jake and Amy, of course, just want to have good bachelor/ette parties with their closest friends. But in Amy’s case, that becomes difficult once she finds a way to lose Never Have I Ever and ends up having to stop her one night stand/ex-boyfriend (they dated for three months) from ruining her wedding. Enter Constantine Kane (Workaholics’ Blake Anderson, who caused me to do a double take because he did not look like this), a romantic comedy leading man and rock superstar only in his mind. Upon seeing his “solo gig” live, I only had two notes:
- Kylie should’ve known something was up when Amy told her she loved his wedding band.
- How terrible was Kylie’s wedding that this guy was the lead singer of her wedding band?
Constantine’s existence basically puts the bachelorette party up against an absolute idiot (and a vindictive one, at that), and while that proves tougher than expected (since he has a momager), it does allow Amy to have one bit of excitement and danger in her personal life before getting married. In fact, after the world’s worst game of Never Have I Ever, it looks like the bachelorette plot is going to be all about Amy dealing with the fact that she hasn’t really “lived.” Instead, it focuses more on the concept of a cringe, terrible dating decision, which is more than enough proof that Amy certainly has lived. Just in her very specific Amy way.
“Surprise! Welcome to the party, pal!”
For such a fun episode, “Bachelor/ette Party” still finds a way to momentarily pack quite the emotional punch for the audience. Specifically during Boyle and Jake’s conversation about the bachelor party and Jake’s impending nuptials: “Of course things are gonna change. I’m getting married! I mean, didn’t you make me less of a priority when you and Genevieve got together?” The pause that happens before Boyle finally says “Yes.” says it all—even if his drunk friend can’t see it—and Joe Lo Truglio sells the moment hard. It’s truly a small moment in this episode and one that they quickly move on from, but you’ve got to feel for Boyle there. The Jake/Boyle friendship in Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always been a lot of hero worship on Boyle’s end. He even calls Jake his “idol” in this episode. But the friendship’s also always worked best when the show highlights the balance these two give either other and the truth that Boyle is in fact Jake’s best friend. (The Doug Judy episodes really test that truth though.) Boyle will always be more invested in their best friendship than Jake is, but that’s just the kind of person Boyle is. After all, he’d been planning this bachelor party for 10 years, even though Jake has only known Amy for eight.
And while there’s every reason to believe the scavenger hunt in “Bachelor/ette Party” is Boyle being too into his own fantasy to see what’s going on, it’s eventually revealed just how much he did this with Jake (and his love of the Die Hard franchise, meat, and booze) in mind. The Vitamin C-scored slideshow even includes one of the many pictures Jake took at Nakatomi Plaza. (In addition to the baby photos Boyle got by calling the hospital where Jake was born.) Even though the scavenger hunt is technically Boyle forcing his friends to do more detective work when they’re off the clock, remember: Jake Peralta loves being the best detective in the world so much that this actually makes sense as his bachelor party. Even without the Die Hard incentives.
The bachelorette party—despite the Empire of it all and Amy ending up with a concussion—is pretty grounded compared to the bachelor party. The guys end up in a drunk loop, for crying out loud. (And it’s beautiful.) Both plots are ultimately about the power of friendship, but while the bachelorette party has Gina make bird sounds for stealth purposes, the bachelor party has Holt say “whoop whoop” and “nothing” (which has to be heard to be believed), and… Really, it’s not fair. It’s not fair Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s writers haven’t developed real life cloning technology solely for the purpose of having Holt in multiple storylines when needed. Of course the plot with drunk, casual Holt (and Reginald VelJohnson!) is going to have the advantage, even when Melissa Fumero pulls off quite the hilariously frantic performance after she steals the contract from Constantine (“Doink!”). “Bachelor/ette Party” features that beautiful Brooklyn Nine-Nine dynamic I’ve written about before, where you want more out of the episode—not because it’s lacking but because it’s so entertaining that you want to spend much more than the 20-something minutes with these characters and stories. Preferably with more drunk Holt.
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: “I’m Lucious Lyon, record executive at... Executive Records.” What we all truly need is a collection of webisodes where Hitchcock and Scully act out Empire scenes as Lucious and Cookie Lyon, respectively. Also, I stopped watching Empire awhile ago, but I will always appreciate a “Drip Drop” reference in any context.
- Boyle: “I don’t know anything about it, but why don’t we take this map and this sextant and chart a course to the restaurant?”
Holt: “Title of your sextant tape.”
Jake: “Ah, did not work at all, but I love that you attempted it. Title of your sextant tape!”
- Amy: “In hindsight, we should probably stop making major decisions through bets and competitions.” Please never stop.
- As much as they give Boyle crap for the scavenger hunt—really, it’s mostly Terry—Jake’s face can’t lie when Boyle talks about the secret code in the graffiti being exposed by light. Jake actually finds it kind of cool. Or he’s at least better at pretending about it.
- Jake: “All we have to do is decipher this... list of thousands of random numbers.”
Holt: “Huh, I wonder if one of them is 6-9.”
Jake: “Pretty sure you mean ‘69’, but I’m so hungry I can’t even appreciate horndog Raymond.”
- Jake: “But theoretically, if we were to che—”
Terry: “Got it! I hacked his email. His password’s really easy to guess.”
Jake/Holt: “Dianne Wiest.”
- Which do you prefer: The Bach Boys or The Steak Studs? Actually, I’ll include a third option of The Bach Boys (the version inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach, not the beginning of “bachelor”).
- Boyle: “They’re torturing me like James Bond in Casino Royale: It’s all groin stuff!”
- Amy: “He didn’t read the Terms & Conditions.” Not only is this why Jake needs Amy, this is why Amy needs to be as Amy as she is. She has to read the legal documents her future husband just won’t. Also, Jake needs to start reading legal documents—he almost lost $15,000 on top of the $10,000 he already lost to NutriBoom.
- As nonsensical (and mysterious) as the “24 karat gold” thing is, the slideshow itself is a lovely stroll down memory lane for the Jake/Boyle friendship.
- Reginald VelJohnson: “Oh, you’re the jerk that didn’t show.”
Jake: (whispers) “He knows who I am.”
- Terry telling Reginald VelJohnson that Family Matters is what made him want to be a cop tracks, but Jake is right when he pettily says Terry has “six other reasons” why he became a cop at this point (and Family Matters never came up before).
- Amy: “Woo! I broke a rule!”
- Reginald VelJohnson: (to Jake) “You’ve made an enemy for life. And I’m telling Bruce Willis you suck.”