Sunday, November 22, 2015

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake Cares for Sharon as She Goes Into Labor at a Chaotic Precinct in 'Ava'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 3.08 "Ava"

Terry leaves Jake in charge of entertaining his pregnant wife, Sharon, while he and Rosa head to Rikers to question a killer. But when Sharon's water breaks sooner than expected, crisis ensues at the precinct. Due to an internet outage, Amy and Charles must process all the paperwork by hand to avoid the bullpen from overflowing with perps. Holt is forced to confront his ex-boyfriend (Nick Offerman).

It's time for Sharon to have her baby. That allows Brooklyn Nine-Nine the opportunity to bring true chaos to the precinct. It's a story where everything that could possibly go wrong does. Jake is left in charge of looking after Sharon when Terry has to leave the precinct with Rosa for a little bit. Of course, that's the time when she goes into labor. Neither one of them wants to go to the hospital because of their horrible experience when Cagney and Lacey were born. So that means Jake is stuck with a woman in labor at the precinct. The story does leave open one huge practical concern. If Terry and Sharon didn't want to go to a hospital, where were they planning on having this baby? And why didn't Jake just take Sharon there and not just leave her at the precinct for the majority of the labor? If they left the precinct, it wouldn't have been as chaotic as the episode wanted the story to be. So one has to get over that concern in order to really enjoy this episode. But the ways in which this day keep getting more chaotic and complicated are very amusing and funny that they can cover up those practical concerns.

Jake can be very childish. And yet, he takes his job of keeping Sharon calm during this labor very seriously. He wants to continue to prove to Terry that he is capable of taking care of another individual. Jake does his very best to keep Sharon comfortable. He listens to what Terry has to say about keeping Holt away from Sharon. At first, it seems like Jake has all of this under control. But then, her water breaks and forces Jake to make some very serious decisions. He has to tell Holt to stay away. He has to break the news to Terry and Sharon that their birthing plan has fallen apart. He has to keep the chaos of the office away from Sharon so she isn't too stressed. Of course, none of that really goes according to plan. Sharon really isn't calm at all. She's in labor! The precinct isn't where she wants her baby being born. All she really wants is Terry - who is struggling to get back to her because of sluggish traffic. Jake has to provide as much comfort as he can give to Sharon. But that means he also has to be the voice of reason in this situation.

Jake can't control the precinct filling up with criminals because the Internet is down and all the detectives have to do the paperwork by hand. But he can make sure that Sharon is taken care of. He doesn't know how to deliver a baby. All of his attempts to make her comfortable fail miserably. Holt's office and the briefing room aren't places where a pregnant woman should be. Everyone tells Sharon that she needs to get to the hospital. But she and Terry continue to refuse because of that prior experience. And yet, Jake needs to be the one to make sure that this delivery happens as smoothly as possible. That means he has to place Sharon's needs above his own. He rises to the occasion too. He gets a doctor to look at Sharon and then convinces her to go to the hospital after the doctor advises so. He's the one who actually makes this experience much better than the last one. Terry is furious that Jake didn't listen to his order not to take Sharon to the hospital. But at the end of the day, the newborn baby is all that really matters. Terry's new daughter emerges in this world perfectly. That's because of Jake. He has proven himself to be a great godfather.

This entire episode is about the chaos surrounding this labor for Sharon. So plots are only introduced if they can make that main story more complicated. The Internet being down at work is an amusing story for the show. All of the detectives are used to using the computers in order to make this part of the job more efficient. When the bullpen starts overflowing with criminals, they have a real situation on their hands. No one is able to process all of the paperwork because there is just too much of it. It's a story that just means there are more people in the precinct than usual. Jake is able to hoard them to his advantage when it comes to keeping Holt away from Sharon initially. But it's also a situation that leads to a fire starting in the break room when the rest of the detectives trying using multiple fax machines. Sure, it happens entirely because Hitchcock and Scully plugged all the machines in the same outlet. But it still created a situation that lead to a fire, an alarm blaring and the sprinklers going off. That's amusingly frustrating for Jake. And yet, this story has a rather abrupt ending. The detectives are able to use the old pneumatic tubes to get the paperwork handled. But they are able to do that much more effectively than they had been portrayed onscreen. At the precinct, they are scrambling to get this work done. And then, they suddenly show at the hospital very calm and collected saying that everything has been handled and is now back to normal. That moment wasn't earned even though it was nice that the whole precinct was at the hospital in support of Terry and Sharon.

And lastly, the doctor that Jake has examine Sharon is Holt's ex-boyfriend, Frederick. Jake only does that because he is the only OB/GYN that he knows about. Holt mentions him in passing and Jake needs to control the situation. But Holt and Frederick didn't end things well and there is still tension between the two. It's great to watch Andre Braugher and Nick Offerman face off with each other. It's over something incredibly silly. Frederick believes Holt threw away his beloved wooden duck. He wants an apology before he'll do anything for Jake. Holt did do something to the duck. He actually pushed the duck off a bridge. It's much worse than Frederick ever thought. But Holt had to swallow his pride in order to actually do something good for Sharon. Jake made him do that. In that moment, Jake was the responsible one. He didn't care about any of the personal details. He just wanted Holt to do what he had to do in order to get Frederick to help Sharon during this arduous labor. That is a fun role reversal. And yet, it didn't lead to a whole lot of Nick Offerman in this episode. Hopefully, he can come back again because his dynamic with Holt could be interesting to see play out now that they have resolved these issues.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Ava" was written by Matt O'Brien and directed by Tristram Shapeero.
  • That cold open with Charles walking into the precinct as Tommy Gobbler was slightly weird. It had a fun and twisted ending though with Charles needing to give some deeply tragic news to a family with a missing grandmother.
  • This is another great episode for Holt's reactions. He takes it incredibly personal when Jake tells him Sharon doesn't want him anywhere near her. Never has the act of chewing a piece of gum been so funny before.
  • Gina thinks the miracle of birth is very nasty and just wrong. She has to deal with those fears though because Jake needs her help. Of course, this experience traumatizes her as well - especially when she looks at the birthing plan.
  • It's kinda funny that Terry now has three daughters. Plus, they are all big babies.
  • Amy: "Charles, you're going too fast. You're gonna cramp." Charles: "I've been cramping for the last 20 minutes." Amy: "I'm so attracted to you right now."
  • Holt: "Sharon is gone. Gina... is also gone."
  • Jake: "Hello Sarge, everything is under control. As you know, her water broke, she's had a couple of contractions. And Sharon? How are you doing vaginally?"