Tuesday, January 19, 2016

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake and Holt Get Hilariously Delirious After Contracting the Mumps in '9 Days'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 3.12 "9 Days"

When Captain Holt and Jake accidentally contract the mumps during an investigation, they decide to be quarantined together in the hopes of still solving the case. Rosa tries to help Boyle through a mourning process. Terry is forced to clean up Hitchcock and Scully's mess.

"9 Days" is the dumbest and silliest episode that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has ever produced. It embraces lowbrow humor more than any other episode of the series so far. That quality has always played a part on the show. Jake is constantly a childish character. This episode takes things to a whole new level when both Jake and Holt are quarantined after being diagnosed with the mumps. And yet, the dumb and silly nature of this episode is very effective as well. It takes awhile to get going. This is the first episode in a long time where the opening teaser is actually relevant to the main story and not its own comedic entity. That combined with some truly lackluster and forgettable subplots does weaken the effectiveness of this episode. But when it gets on a roll with Jake and Holt deliriously succumbing to this illness, it's fantastic and hilarious to watch. That's what makes this episode so watchable.

What makes the main story work so well is because it puts Jake and Holt on the same level of ridiculous. They are polar opposite characters in this world. That's what frequently defines their dynamic. The show has done a fantastic job fleshing that relationship out over the years. Jake is able to be taken seriously while Holt has been able to have more fun as well. Here, both of them are completely silly and uproariously funny. Jake has good intentions by re-opening this cold case so that Holt can be less lonely with Kevin away for a little while. The case exposes them to this contagious disease and forces them together and confined - hopefully to solve this case. But the case really isn't the point. Instead, it's so much more amusing to see how this extended stay together causes both of them to loss their minds as they each deal with the various symptoms.

This is an episode that overly enjoys the sight of the growths developing on Jake and Holt's necks. They even give names to them that are fitting for each character. But it's also meaningful to watch as they embrace the other symptoms as well - such as delirium, tiredness, hot and cold flashes, and testicular pain. This is an episode that gets many jokes about the pain coming from both men's testicles. It's a joke that works well in both words (such as the doctor repeatedly bringing this symptom up) and in visual gags (such as Jake putting popsicles down his pants and Holt later revealing he had peas in his). But honestly, nothing was funnier in this episode than Jake falling down and Holt yelling out "Case!" That perfectly explains the true oddity of this episode. So much of it is silly. But that's the entire point. It's not trying to do anything flashy or genre-bending with the subject matter or the episodic structure. It simply wants to tell a dumb story in a really funny way. It still actually solves this case. But it does so in a silly but funny way - with Amy following a really bad recipe left by the missing gangster. This episode really doesn't change the season-long stories but it was satisfying simply by the sheer number of laughs it executed.

Some more thoughts:
  • "9 Days" was written by Justin Noble and directed by Dan Holland.
  • The subplots were pretty silly as well with Charles creating a montage for his dog who liked to hump things, Rosa staging a funeral for the dog, Hitchcock and Scully eating on their hunger strike and Terry actually destroying Holt's office by slamming the door.
  • A lesson is also shoehorned into the Terry and Gina story with Terry learning what it's really like being a captain of a precinct. It's still so interesting to see where this story is going - especially if it has the potential to take Terry away from the Nine-Nine.
  • Rosa is now a dog person as well. That dog will probably never be seen again because she likes to keep her private life private. But she would kill everyone if anything happened to him.
  • Amy is able to interact with Jake and Holt without getting mumps because she is updated with every single vaccination. That's a really lame explanation - though she does have great importance to the story as the one sane person in the room.
  • Gina: "C-. The perfect grade. You passed but you're still hot."
  • Charles: "It's like my dad says. Real men don't cry.... for more than 3 days."
  • Jake: "Amy is Usain Bolt."
  • Rosa: "So I, like, have a dog now?"