Tuesday, September 27, 2016

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake and Holt Get Arrested While Amy Struggles with a New Captain in 'Coral Palms Pt. 2'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 4.02 "Coral Palms Pt. 2"

After Jimmy "The Butcher" Figgis sees Jake and Holt's viral video, the two begin plotting their attack. However, when caught red-handed, they are forced to experience the other side of the interrogation table. Back at the precinct, a questionable new captain (Ken Marino) takes over.

The season premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended with Jake and Holt determined to catch Jimmy "The Butcher" Figgis themselves. They want to get back to the Nine-Nine and their lives in New York as quickly as possible. Marshal Haas has been very entertaining. It's clear that she craves the aliases of Greg and Larry as a form of friendship. The opening scene of "Coral Palms Pt. 2" is pretty hilarious. Jake and Holt don't know if Haas has caught on to their plan to lure Figgis to Florida. Instead, she cares more about what they think she should do about her romantic feelings for someone other than her husband. It's a pretty great bait-and-switch with an epic payoff. Andy Samberg, Andre Braugher and Maya Rudolph play the scene well for the greatest comedic effect. It signals that Jake and Holt won't have to worry about Haas getting in the way of their big plan. But that is hardly the biggest issue they have to deal with in Florida.

Jake and Holt aren't detectives in Florida. They have to protect their new identities. They can't do anything that will alert the marshals to their plan. A dangerous mob boss is coming straight for them. Holt knows that Figgis saw the video because he got a call at the Fun Zone asking about them. So, it's only a matter of time before Figgis shows up to kill them. So, Jake and Holt don't have a whole lot of time to set a trap. They have the element of surprise as their advantage. But they don't have the tools to apprehend Figgis. They have no legal authority to arrest a criminal. Nor do they have the guns to make Figgis surrender. It's pretty funny watching Jake and Holt covertly hatch their plan. It involves the two trying to speak in a regular manner that wouldn't alert any suspicion for anyone who may be listening. It's great when it leads to Holt saying Jake needs to turn on the bubbles in the hot tub. It's a little awkward when Jake says they can urinate in the hot tub with no problems though. That moment doesn't completely work but it still sets up a wonderful main story for this episode.

Because of his cover identity, Holt is able to get the funds so that he and Jake can arm themselves. It's just so great seeing Holt so out of his comfort zone having to pretend to be a heterosexual man. It's an amazing detail of his life in Florida. It's somewhat troubling to see just how easily they can purchase guns though. That's a very sensitive topic in the world right now. Jake and Holt are able to go into the store and buy a bunch of guns and a bucket of bullets just because they pay the guy a little extra. They don't have to undergo a background check. It's very easy for them to bribe the guy too. That's good because Jake wasn't at all comfortable with that exchange. The guy offers a wink in saying that the system is down. It's clear he's willing to bend the rules and does it quite regularly. That's horrifying. It's not a very important exchange in this episode though. It's not an issue the show is interested in tackling even though it is very much pro-gun in the form of law enforcement using them for protection. But it's clear this episode is trying to blur the lines of whether or not Jake and Holt are still the heroes of their story.

All it takes is Holt missing a stop sign for this plan to go awry. The local sheriff is played by Parks and Recreation alum Jim O'Heir. Just like Jerry, this sheriff is pretty incompetent as well. But his flaws are deeply rooted in institutionalized sexism and homophobia. It again paints a horrible picture of this small Florida town. The show is purposefully making this place so bad as a way to complicate Jake and Holt's lives and want them to get back to New York as soon as possible. But it does make for one entertaining plot as Jake and Holt have to answer why they have so many guns and bullets in their vehicle. They didn't even try to hide them. They were just sitting in the backseat for anyone to see. That was a silly move on their part. But it puts them in lockup when they should be setting the trap for Figgis. They are dealing with a small town government that is wiled up by their first female officer when they should be focusing on the dangerous man coming for them. The sheriff conducts his interviews in the style of The Newlywed Game. He locks the two of them up because they seemingly win the game which is impossible for anyone to do according to him.

So, the episode essentially becomes a jail break with Jake and Holt needing to find a way to get out of this mess. They are willing to risk their covers by informing the sheriff about being in witness protection. But then, it's revealed that Figgis has already gotten to Marshal Haas. How he was able to do so is unclear. It means that Jake and Holt really are alone in this fight. Figgis is smarter than they were expecting and he's already in town. Jake and Holt have done nothing to plan for his arrival. Plus, they are sitting ducks in a jail cell. They have to rally the troops to break free. At first, their fellow detainees seem unimpressive. But Jake and Holt are quickly able to use their fake eyes and understanding of the guards to get out of this mess. It's another really simple but hilarious sequence. It's not surprising at all that this sheriff is entertained by a fight instead of trying to break it up. Jake has the right idea in what will finally open the cell. It's a really awkward moment where Jake and Holt kiss. It's weird and unexpected but also completely delightful and smart on Jake's part. They succeed in escaping. But now, they are fugitives from the law as well as running from Figgis. So they are isolated even more and may need to finally call in reinforcements.

The season premiere was special because it only focused on Jake and Holt in Florida. There were no updates on what was happening with everyone else in New York. Six months have passed. Things could have changed. It was unclear if the rest of the precinct would be seen at all during this mini arc to get Jake and Holt out of witness protection. And now, it's clear that they will be an important part of that story. They've changed a little bit. Charles has now adopted a 4-year-old son named Nikolaj. But more importantly, they've gotten a new captain. It's weird that it has taken six months for them to get a captain to run the precinct. Were they just doing it by themselves for all this time? That seems weird. It clearly happens so that they can have their own subplot in this episode where the new captain - C.J. (Ken Marino) - is willing to give them anything they want. Amy doesn't like that and it eventually leads to the precinct telling him he can't lead that way. Of course, that makes things problematic when Jake and Holt call needing help and C.J. is unwilling to let the squad go for the weekend. It's yet another complication in a story that should be reaching its climatic beats very soon.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Coral Palms, Pt. 2" was written by Tricia McAlpin and directed by Trent O'Donnell.
  • The things that C.J. gets for the precinct include an assistant for Gina, walls to go around Rosa's desk, an exercise desk for Boyle and a frozen yogurt fridge for Terry. All are very specific and really funny jokes.
  • Gina's new assistant doesn't do a whole lot of actual work. She largely pops up just so Gina doesn't have to move. She also has her write down all the jokes she has about Amy so that she doesn't forget them the moment after inspiration strikes.
  • Amy is given permission by the marshal's office to write a one-page letter to send to Jake to tell him about everything that has happened in New York while he's been away. It mostly serves as way to inform the audience of how some things have changed but mostly things are the same.
  • Sometimes when the show uses too many guest stars in an episode it can really bog the story down. And yet, Maya Rudolph, Ken Marino and Jim O'Heir all fit perfectly into the story. They were all used just the right amount.
  • That power walking group may be the only thing Holt misses about life in Florida. Hopefully, he pays his friend back for the money she gives him because he "got a woman pregnant because of his uncontrollable ways."
  • The other guys in the jail cell help Jake and Holt escape. And yet, Jake and Holt are the only ones to get out. They leave the rest of the group behind so that they can share the story of what happened here throughout the community. 
  • So, Marshal Haas totally slept with that younger guy, right? Perhaps that's the way Figgis was able to find her and keep her from helping Jake and Holt. Hopefully, that doesn't mean she's dead though. She's a lot of fun.