Tuesday, February 25, 2014

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake & Gina Team Up & Holt Holds Performance Reviews in 'The Apartment'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 1.18 The Apartment

Jake's crushing debt finally catches up to him, and he is in danger of losing his apartment, unless Gina can find a way to bail him out; Terry and Holt hold performance reviews for the entire precinct; and Rosa and Boyle have a run-in with one of the weekend squad officers (Matt Walsh).

Balancing Jake's childish characteristics with the mature life of a detective has always been a point of contention for the show. Some weeks the show handles Jake really well. He's poised and understands the way the world works in a mature and understanding way. In those episodes, he's also really a true friend to his fellow co-workers. When the show overly plays to his childish antics, the show is all about Jake, Jake, Jake. Unfortunately, that's how I saw a lot of "The Apartment."

Similar to Jake, Gina is a character the show has a lot of fun writing these weird eccentricities for but they haven't quite mastered how to make her a fully realized character. So by putting those two together for a main story has all the makings of a wild and wacky plot. And yes, there is a lot of out-there humor (Jake has six massage chairs & a tub full of mail). That keeps me from seeing the story as a success when it tries to add the human depth later. Jake and Gina grew up together apparently. He got her the job at the precinct and she is willing to buy his apartment for him. It's an interesting switch-up from the norm while also being very derivative of the early episodes (Jake needs the help of his fellow co-workers in order to live in the real world).

As always the subplots of the episode allowed the supporting characters to have a lot of fun - even though they got paired up in some of the more safer pairings. Holt and Terry make a very effective commanding unit - or as this episode declares 'Dad' and 'Proud Mama Hen.' The self performance reviews were fun but also just a way to address Santiago's continued search for Holt's approval. She says she will charge but that also would be a big (if welcome) shift for that character.

Diaz and Boyle have often been paired up with the romantic undertones of him pining after her and her rebuffing his advances. With him now engaged to Vivian, that really changes their dynamic. Here they are having honest-to-goodness fun pranking a weekend officer as friends. And then, having to try to undo what they did after learning how tragic this guy's life is. It was a very welcome change-up and one the show should go back to if they are planning on those two as the endgame.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Apartment" was written by David Quandt and directed by Tucker Gates.
  • That was Veep's Matt Walsh as the weekend officer Boyle and Diaz interact with. Seriously, when was the last time he got to play a happy character?
  • Scully and Hitchcock collectively got 14 arrests in the past year? How?
  • Loved the banker guy just laughing at Jake.
  • The montage of apartment searching was pretty enjoyable however.