Sunday, May 3, 2015

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake & Amy Work with the Best Detective in the NYPD in 'Det. Dave Majors'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 2.21 "Det. Dave Majors"

Jake is excited to work a case with the best detective in the NYPD, Detective Majors (Garret Dillahunt), until Majors shares his intentions to ask Amy out on a date. Meanwhile, Charles and Gina try to convince Terry to stay at the Nine-Nine when he considers accepting an offer to work at a private security firm.

The second season so far has shown that Jake and Amy are both interested in each other romantically. In the season premiere, Jake returned from his undercover work saying that his declaration of love wasn't something he said in the heat of the moment that he didn't mean. Later on in the fall, Amy confirmed her feelings for him as well during their trip upstate for a romantic getaway. Both of them recognizing their feelings for each other and the other knowing how they felt made their romantic tension different than the way things typically play out in this kind of situation. Only outside circumstances are keeping them from dating. When Jake professed his feelings, Amy was dating Teddy. When Amy did the same, Jake was dating Sophia. Neither of them are in those relationships any more. Charles and Gina's parent's wedding showed how their new dynamic is flirtatious but also really fun. The show has done the requisite work showing how these two people would be good for each other in a relationship. They both accept the other's eccentricities while still finding amusement from them. That's a dynamic that really works now because the two of them have that established trust and friendship.

The romantic tension between the two gets turned up when both team up with Detective Dave Majors (Raising Hope and Justified's Garret Dillahunt) to solve a robbery case. Majors is initially presented as the best detective in the NYPD. Both Jake and Amy admire him which make them the only two candidates for this investigation. They both do their best to impress him - with sunglass choreography and a strong notebook flip. But this episode really isn't about the case or Majors skills as a detective. It's about Majors wanting to ask Amy out on a date and how that makes Jake uncomfortable. He and Amy have a good thing going right now. They're both single and know how the other feels about them. But neither has acted on it either. They are content with the dynamic they have now - despite both wanting it to be something more. Majors brings about a change. It's not the best showcase for Dillahunt. Majors has done and seen enough on this job not to be surprised by the details of the crime or happy when he gets medals for a job well done. That makes him an interesting character. A character who has things happen to him because of his greatness not one who makes things happen. That's what makes him an interesting character to bring about this change in the main characters.

Jake wants to believe that he and Amy will have a future together. He's happy giving that choice to her but he's also incapable of making himself known to her as an option. Their declarations of love were a while ago after all. Are both just suppose to wait until the other gets enough courage to act on those feelings? They are both nervous on the subject. Jake wants to ask Amy out but either gets cut off by the case or someone else. Meanwhile, Amy thinks she's doing the sensible thing by making a new rule against dating anyone in the same profession as her because of how things went with Teddy and Majors. She hasn't had much luck and wants to blame the work connection for things not working out. She likes Jake but she too doesn't want to ruin their dynamic simply by entering into a relationship with him. It's a dynamic that only plays well in the end because both of their point-of-views are addressed. This whole thing could just be seen as yet another contrivance designed to keep them apart. That's basically what a no dating co-workers rules always means on TV. Here, it's deeply rooted in the character's personal emotions. Something that Amy needs to say but not something she will strictly stick to. That makes the next stage of their dynamic just as awkward though. Hopefully it won't be long until their feelings actually get addressed in a way that both can explain well.

The Jake-Amy story isn't without its funny moments - Jake's various attempts to get into the Keychain to ruin Majors and Amy's date, the prank that ends with someone seeing a video with a screaming sheep, etc. But the main story is ultimately about the personal feelings between those two characters. That means the other story of the episode gets to have a stronger source of humor. Terry is approached with an offer to join a private security firm that would include a higher salary and the ability to see his family more often. It's a serious offer that Terry is fully considering taking. And yet, the story is largely about Charles, Gina and Holt doing their best to convince Terry to stay at the Nine-Nine - whether it's by pampering him with frozen yogurt or reminding him of all the good he has done in the community. It's an effective strategy that makes sense in both approaches. Charles and Gina want to shower Terry with bribes and good will. They are willing to do all his work for him so he and his wife can go out on a date. That's a nice gesture that totally fits with how Gina and Charles would handle this situation. Holt wants Terry to stay just as much as they do. But he also recognizes that Terry has to get to that reasoning by himself. So, the only thing Holt can do to help with that process is by making him digitize all his old case files. It's a ton of work but it's personal work. Terry himself has to do the task and that's what brings him to his big revelation in the end. Holt is happy to play Terry like a fiddle because it's for a good purpose. Terry belongs in the Nine-Nine. And now, it's looking like he will stay for a long time.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Det. Dave Majors" was written by Gabe Liedman & Lakshmi Sundaram and directed by Michael McDonald.
  • Rosa wearing a pink blouse to work is one of the strangest things to ever be seen. And yet, the rest of the precinct knows better than to mock her for it. In fact, it only revives the old "Mr. Grape" routine for Charles.
  • New things that Terry loves: Walls, lavender and swag (though he had to give the swag back later except for the puffy vest which his body ripped open when he flexed).
  • The threat of Terry leaving is the only thing so far to get Gina to walk away from her phone. Holt thought she was dead because of the two being separated!
  • Of course, Charles would think he's the 10 on Gina's scale of Charles to Terry.
  • Jake, that was clearly suppose to be a sippin' whiskey!
  • Holt putting quotes around "kissing."
  • Gina to Holt: "You're like that wise old owl in those lollipop commercials."