Let’s get this out of the way right now: “Greg And Larry” is more like a series of fun moments than it is a complete episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In the episode’s defense, there is a lot to unpack in the course of those 20-plus minutes, and it has to do so in the same amount of time as any other episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, after last week’s stellar “The Bureau,” “Greg And Larry” came into this having an uphill battle to climb. So while it’s not the most epic episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ever, it gets the job done in terms of having each character, well, get the job done. It also helps that the episode has a singular goal: Stop Bob the traitor and get the files needed to take down Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis.
And the episode does both of those things, though, as the end of the episode proves, taking down Figgis isn’t really the easiest thing in the world to do. In fact, “Greg And Larry” doesn’t so much wrap up the big Figgis crime plot officially introduced in “Paranoia” as it makes it an even bigger threat, turning the main target from Adrian Pimento to Jake and Holt. It’s the Brooklyn Nine-Nine way, really: The season finale creates anticipation for the future of the series and the particular game-changer (even if it’s a very short game) cliffhanger.
But before that, “Greg And Larry” gets by on rapid-fire joke after rapid-fire joke, with some nice character beats throughout. If that sounds like a typical Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode, that’s because it absolutely is. While the episode certainly leaves some balls in the air with regards to season four, it also plays it all relatively safe, especially considering the less-than-safe plot. This Figgis plot has been a high stakes operation and major endeavor for Brooklyn Nine-Nine in these past few episodes, but “Greg And Larry” effectively lowers said stakes (under the guise of keeping them up). Part of that is as simple as the Amy and Boyle plot, which is one of those barely-there subplots Brooklyn Nine-Nine is sometimes guilty of. That plot is more a victim of circumstance, as the “so much” love and the 27 Dresses conversations are good for the time that they get, but it’s clearly difficult for the episode to incorporate them as much when they have to fly from Texas to New York and nothing (not even a single snake or actual pregnancy) happens on the plane.
But a major part of why this episode feels more low stakes than it should, given the context and its status as the season finale, is that the episode is much more concerned with being a joke machine to close the season than it is being a big season-ender.
Sure, it’s all worth it for Jake’s one-man impression of both Holt and Bob early on in this chaos (along with Rosa’s annoyed reaction and Scully and Hitchcock’s looks of awe). It’s also worth it all for Rosa reveals about her (amazing) home and her alteregos (“Emily Goldfinch” and “Rosa Diaz”), which will hopefully carry on in season four. There’s also the great moment of Amy saying goodbye to her Texas prison ladies, with whom she’s apparently formed an Orange Is The New Black bond at this point. But at the same time, everything in the hospital from the moment they find Bob and Holt is very, very wacky, considering. And those chase scenes with Figgis’ guys and Terry and Jake? They’re aren’t exciting or anxiety-causing—they’re just ridiculous, whether it’s Terry getting his Grey’s Anatomy on or just the very idea of taking Figgis’ henchmen serious. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is more than allowed to be ridiculous, but at the same time, it doesn’t quite gel with the story that they’ve been telling.
It also doesn’t help that, in this episode—much more than in “The Bureau”—the Bob/Holt relationship comes across as more forced to make everything a joke about their deadpan nature than an honest reaction to anything. With the exception of the end, nothing really matters in this episode. Even Amy and Jake’s “I love you so much,” as much as the episode wants to put more weight on the “so much” part and has them decide to move in together, is essentially an afterthought when it comes to the final moment in Florida. That final moment is basically the first real obstacle in the episode.
But Brooklyn Nine-Nine still does well to remind the audience how smart the Nine-Nine is when they all work together, and that’s exactly what happens when they trick Bob. It’s a lower-scale version of the elaborate Halloween episode plans, but it’s a good one that also gets everyone involved and works with Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s strengths. Obviously, a moment like Holt rapping “Funky Cold Medina” with Jake would be funny regardless of whether or not it makes sense, because it’s Holt rapping “Funky Cold Medina.” But the fact that it’s something he’s absorbed from working with Jake for three years actually serves as a reminder of what Brooklyn Nine-Nine does well outside of just being a fun comedy; it has its characters know each other, even when they don’t want to. It’s a comedy with real heart, to the point where that “heart” results in rapping Tone Loc to criminals who have just been busted.
However, that teamwork is also that low stakes nature of the episode at play. The threat isn’t real there, and like I said, it barely even exists while watching nondescript goons chase Terry and Jake around the hospital. Figgis is supposed to be this threat that sends trained professionals into hiding and the witness protection program, but “Greg And Larry” really doesn’t do much to defend that—nor does it really care, compared to how it treats the comedy aspects of it all.
“Greg And Larry” is a very funny episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Ultimately, there is no such thing as an unfunny episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I cannot stress that enough. But as the season finale and a conclusion to a plot which includes extreme corruption in law enforcement, the episode feels off in comparison to what has been presented in this storyline. And while the storyline itself has been somewhat uneven, there was always hope that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would at least end it with a bang. In a way, the season kind of does end like that… But it’s not because of the rest of the episode’s case work. “Greg And Larry” is a broad end to an otherwise pretty tight arc but also a somewhat fitting end to an uneven—but again, funny—season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. At least the laughs are there.
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: Amy’s Orange Is The New Black experience is the biggest necessity. “Jen, you’re a nazi. We never really clicked.” Netflix, get up on this.
- Jake is so close when he guesses which boring food Holt and Bob could have been talking about, but “potatoes or beans” are not “rice.”
- I want to give the world’s worst nurse an award for being completely unhelpful as Jake and company ask where Holt and Bob went. She really has zero information, and she announces that like a champ.
- Holt: “When I die, please give Kevin my regards.”
Bob: “What should I tell him?”
- Gina, aka “Serena Wiliams,” continues to hold this whole operation down. Somebody please give her a raise.
- Amy: “I’m just so into the movie. You know, really worried about Katherine Heigl and her dressmaking business…”
Boyle: “I’m sorry, dressmaking business?”
Amy: “Her architecture firm? Her cupcake bakery? The magazine she edits?”
- I’ve seen 27 Dresses more than once, and while I remember that Katherine Heigl worked for Ed Burns, even I couldn’t tell you what her actual job was in the movie. But Amy was smart to guess all of those romantic comedy careers, especially magazine editor.
- Bob: “I don’t just like jazz. I’m fond of it.”
Jake: “I don’t know the difference.”
- It’s understandable that Boyle would want to celebrate with his Nine-Nine brethren after such a big case, but shouldn’t he also follow-up with Genevieve about the adoption? No? Alright.
- Will the eventual casting of Figgis be perfect or underwhelming at this point? It appears nothing can take him down, so whoever plays him has big shoes to fill.
- Jake is Larry, and Holt is Greg. Coral Palms, Florida, watch out.