Thursday, February 6, 2020

REVIEW: 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' - Jake Struggles to Give Holt Direct Orders While Hunting a Dangerous Criminal in 'Manhunter'

NBC's Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Episode 7.01 "Manhunter"

Jake leads a manhunt after an assassination attempt on a city councilor. Holt adjusts to his new position as a uniformed officer.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of NBC's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

"Manhunter" was written by David Phillips and directed by Cortney Carrillo

The power dynamics have shifted at the start of the seventh season. Holt has been demoted to a uniform officer. And now, Jake is the one who finds it difficult to give him orders. This has somewhat been a dynamic the show has explored before. It's not as stark as it was at the start of the series where Holt was the commanding officer of the Nine-Nine while Jake was the perennial goofball. Sure, Jake still has a ton of fun with his various cases. But it's also reasonable for him to be in charge of a manhunt for an attempted assassination and have a conversation with Amy about trying to get pregnant. Those happen in this premiere as well. The core dynamic just may be Holt struggling to let go of the power and command he has so often had. That is what he is accustomed to in the NYPD. He skipped over being a patrol officer altogether. That's why he was demoted in the first place. It was a way to humble him while also providing Madeline Wuntch with a victory over him. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make. But now, he feels trivialized because he has insights on the case. His instincts are still incredibly strong. That isn't his role though. He is suppose to secure the perimeter and control the crowd of potential witnesses. He can take a statement and inform the lead detective of what was said. However, he runs with that information and follows his own clues. That's how he operates as a detective. Those are his instincts. Jake feels bad about having to put Holt in his place as well. He doesn't want to let down the man he has respected for a long time. He loves Holt. He may no longer be his commanding officer. However, that mentality still persists. He knows exactly what Holt is capable of in the field. He can't be mad at him either because he knows he may be better than the position he is in. And yet, patrol officers are important as well. Holt's new partner may be a little too excited about cone duty and protecting her feet from the harsh demands of walking. And yet, she is put in harm's way because of Holt's instincts and isn't quite prepared for that harsh reality. Sure, she comes across as a bunch of inherent contradictions. She appreciates the trivial tasks and being sent somewhere out of the way. But she also wants to track down whomever killed her twin sister. That's why she became a cop. It plays into the idea that every cop needs to have some personal motivation into joining the force. It often includes tragedy. That takes Holt by surprise. He would have remembered a detail like that from her instead of seeing her pedometer app as the most interesting and consistent thing about her. That's how the Nine-Nine comes in for the rescue though. It's very smart that way. Moreover, all of the main characters provide this case with their unique skills. Only Hitchcock and Scully would know where all the hot dog vendors are in the city and who is just pretending to fill that profession in order to avoid detection. Meanwhile, Amy has no time to waste in confronting the criminal. She has to pee in order to figure out if she is pregnant. That is a major concern for her here. There aren't a whole lot of stakes to the B-story with Amy, Rosa and Terry. Rosa is a terrific friend while Terry fears that the squad is saying mean things beyond his back. But it all does lead to that successful final moment where Amy and Rosa take down the criminal. Plus, it produces that conversation between Jake and Amy where they can genuinely admit that they should start trying to get pregnant. She isn't pregnant now. She is disappointed. And that may be all the motivation necessary to take this major step forward in their lives. It was once a contentious decision. But now, it's a solid conversation that ensures these characters will remain in charge of their lives instead of abiding by whatever sitcom tropes that are flung their way. Sure, this happening in the premiere basically guarantees that they will get pregnant at some point this season. But that's a goal that is reasonably set here so that it remains rewarding when it happens soon.