Tuesday, October 4, 2016

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - The Squad Arrives in Florida to Help Jake and Holt in 'Coral Palms, Pt. 3'

FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 4.03 "Coral Palms, Pt. 3"

The team makes a road trip to Florida to try to help Jake and Holt take down Figgis. With an unforeseen injury and yet another interruption by Sheriff Reynolds, the plan doesn't follow through quite like they all had hoped. In the midst of the chaos, Jake and Amy share an awkward reunion.

The Figgis story is the most serialized Brooklyn Nine-Nine has ever been. It's a story that started last season with the introduction of Adrian Pimento. And now, the infamous mobster makes his debut - with Eric Roberts playing him - in the episode that wraps everything up. It's a story that hasn't always worked. Pimento was a hit or miss character while some plot details felt forced. And yet, it has produced three solid episodes to open the fourth season. "Coral Palms, Pt. 3" is perhaps the funniest episode of the season to date. It suffers a little bit because it's trying to do one too many things. But almost every single scene is filled with strong comedic situations and jokes that really propel the story forward in interesting ways. Yes, there's the responsibility to finish this story and get everyone back to New York. But the show sure does have a lot of fun bringing all of its characters to Florida for one final stand against Figgis.

Things were certainly tense leading into this episode because Jake and Holt were fugitives from law enforcement and being hunted down by Figgis. Meanwhile, the Nine-Nine wanted to help but were trapped in New York by their new captain, CJ. Of course, the threat that the precinct wouldn't be able to travel to Florida to help Jake and Holt isn't all that important. The squad just violates their captain's orders. They don't take it too seriously. Holt is their captain. He and Jake need their help. So, they are going to go no matter what the consequences may be. And the squad does face consequences. They are successful in helping Jake and Holt take down Figgis. That means both of them can return home and get back to their lives in New York. But the squad returns to the precinct and forced to work the night shift. That could be an interesting and amusing twist for the next episode. Plus, it makes it clear that helping Jake and Holt in this situation could be damaging to all of their careers. They still do it though because they need to protect their friends.

Jake and Holt's lives in Florida are only getting worse as well. Their pictures have been spread throughout the community. The local news is broadcasting their story to the rest of the world. It's an amusing sequence that starts the episode. It's a simple scene of a news show with Jake and Holt being the top story. They are the breaking news and then the next segment is about a puppy who takes orders at a drive-thru window. It also makes it clear that Sheriff Reynolds will continue to be an important character in this story. He will complicate things for Jake and Holt because of his inability to change with the times. He's still flummoxed over Jake and Holt kissing. It just doesn't make sense to him. Local police really aren't a big focus in this episode. But their presence is notable as well. It's because Jake and Holt have to run before being recognized that Holt gets impaled by a pipe. It's a fantastic sequence where Jake freaks out over some minor scratches on his leg while Holt is calm despite a pipe sticking out of him. It's even better and more hilarious when Holt has to take the pipe out and stitch himself up while also comforting Jake who's freaking out over the whole thing. It's a nice role reversal of the doctor needing to keep a patient calm under less-than-ideal circumstances. It shows that Jake can still be very immature. But it's still an effective joke nevertheless.

Plus, this episode features the big reunion between Jake, Holt and the rest of the squad. This is such a terrific ensemble that works off of each other so well. Whenever the entire cast is in the same room, the sparks just fly. So, it's great to see everyone together again in Florida. Yes, there are very specific dynamics playing out amongst the group - Jake and Amy's awkwardness after reuniting, Gina caring for an injured Holt and Boyle judging Terry's parenting decisions. But everyone is still working towards the collective goal of stopping Figgis. The small details really add up to something fantastic to watch. Jake and Amy's relationship was always going to be a big story once they were reunited. They've spent six months apart not knowing if the other person has changed at all. The love is still there. Their feelings haven't changed at all. But it definitely takes them a minute to get in sync again. Jake keeps saying the wrong thing and ruining the moment whenever things try to turn towards the intimate again. Of course, it's also just really funny when Boyle is overly invested in their first kiss in six months. That ruins the moment so much when they first see each other - well that and Amy punching Jake in the throat. Again, there are just some really solid physical jokes in this episode.

Jake and Amy don't know if this confrontation with Figgis will end the way they've planned. They are hoping to get back to their lives in New York. But this is a very serious and dramatic situation they are heading into. It rises the stakes in some pretty severe ways. It's a turn to the dark that the show is capable of doing. Overall, the show derives most of its story out of the comedic circumstances of this job. But it has gone down the path of solving some nasty murders and hunting down a serial killer in the past. So, it's not surprising that this episode builds to a violent confrontation with Figgis that includes Jake being held at gunpoint and Amy needing to make a decision over what to do. Jake knows that Figgis has a plan to get out of Florida unnoticed. He largely drops his vendetta against Holt. That's a little weird. But he's still planning on taking his anger out on Jake. He plans on using him as a hostage. Things don't start that well for Figgis. He walks straight into the trap set by the squad. His goons are taken out while Jake is able to sneak up on him. But Sheriff Reynolds gets Jake to drop his weapon which opens Figgis up to turn the tables again. It's up to Amy to save Jake. She has to do so by shooting him. It's something he asks her to do. He's willing to take that kind of pain even in an episode that highlights just how squeamish he is. Amy shooting Jake to stop Figgis is the thing that finally gets them in sync again. It's weird and twisted but perfectly defines what their relationship is.

Perhaps the most amusing story throughout this episode though is Holt and Gina's antics. Holt wants to catch Figgis just as badly as Jake does. And yet, he's sidelined for a considerable part of the actual takedown because of his injury. He was impaled and can't lead his squad into the trap. Once again, he's relying on these people to rescue him from this dangerous situation. But he's not completely helpless either. In fact, he's there in the end to stop Figgis from escaping in his car once his plan goes awry. It's a fantastic resolution to a really amusing journey to get from the storage locker to the Fun Zone. The storage locker proves to be a solid base of operations for Jake and Holt. It's a location the Nine-Nine knows about but Figgis doesn't. Sure, it's silly that Gina is the one left behind to protect Holt. And yet, it makes sense too. They are always a great comedic pairing. Plus, she wouldn't be needed in the field because she's not a trained officer. She would just get in the way. Of course, she still wants to help. She can't literally carry Holt out of the building. Her body isn't that good. But she's still able to get Holt to the Fun Zone by stealing a dolly and a truck. It's a hilarious sequence when Holt is yelling at Gina to boost his bottom up into the rig. But it's just as rousing to see the truck arrive just in time to pin Figgis down in his car and ensure his capture. So in the end, everyone in the Nine-Nine was responsible for his arrest. They can share this victory together - as well as the consequences that are bound to come.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Coral Palms, Pt. 3" was written by Justin Noble and directed by Payman Benz.
  • The Figgis story started with Pimento. So, it's important that the show remembers that detail. Rosa reads the note Pimento left behind for Figgis about wanting to rip his body apart. But it also opens up a curious question. Will Pimento return now that the threat from Figgis is gone? Rosa still sees him as her fianc√© but he doesn't really need to return because he's not always the best or most interesting character.
  • Marshal Haas was captured by Figgis. And yet, she is completely absent in this episode. She has been important this season. But here, she's largely just an afterthought. Amy has a line telling Jake that she is okay and wasn't hurt at all. But how does that make sense given what we know about Figgis?
  • Boyle becoming a father is really going to define everything he does moving forward, isn't it? That could be a somewhat annoying detail. It's in keeping with his character. This is how he would react in this situation. It's just a joke that works less and less the more it's done.
  • Plus, Boyle judging Terry for not thinking about his children at all times is the one story that doesn't totally work. It puts tension between them that is alleviated once they work together to take down one of Figgis' men. But that's not really an important moment at all.
  • Jake tells Amy that he and Holt kissed. It's a revelation that completely kills the mood and puts even more awkward tension between them. There was no tongue but it's still a curious detail for Jake to share.
  • These three episodes have had so much contempt for Florida. And yet, that running joke about Gina being able to find a gun wherever she goes is pretty fantastic. She really should not have a gun.
  • Eric Roberts was effective casting as Figgis. He has been teased for so long that the actor who finally appeared as him needed to fulfill the image of a notorious and lethal crime boss. Roberts does that so easily despite the lack of overall screen time in this episode.