Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Halloween II” and “The Mole” are both brazenly funny

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2, Episode 4, “Halloween 2”
Written by Prentice Penny
Directed by Eric Appel
Airs Sundays at 8:30pm ET on FOX

“Halloween II” has the tough job of having to live up to the standards of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first season classic, “Halloween,” which featured an audacious bet, where Jake bargained a week of overtime to get the captain to do a pile of paperwork for him (and he won). This time around, Peralta ups the stakes and offers to do five weeks of unpaid overtime if he can’t steal Holt’s watch by midnight. But If he fails, Jake has to work a whopping five weeks of overtime with no pay. After a quick analysis, Captain Holt shakes on it. Sequels are rarely better than its predecessor and rarely does a sequel meet the expectations of devoted fans. “Halloween II” isn’t as strong as the original, but it is still well plotted and brazenly funny.

Diaz The Dagger. Terry The Hammer. Santiago The Hall Monitor, Boyle, The Deuce (Deuce. It’s like ace but twice as cool) and Hitchcock and Scully, all meet Jake and conceive a master plan to successfully remove Holt’s watch without him noticing, and replace it with a fake. Diaz dazzles us with her somersault, Scully sings opera, Boyle drops a deuce, and Peralta keeps his crazy eyes locked in on the situation, observing every move as a criminal-for hire “Fingers,” slips the watch from Holt’s wrist.

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Before Jake can celebrate his victory, he gets a note from his accomplice indicating he has double crossed Jakes and still has the captain’s watch which he is holding for ransom. With just a few hours to spare before the clock strikes midnight, Jake must figure out a way to retrieve the watch, and prove to Holt how he once again upped the captain. What follows is a series of rookie mistakes made by Jake, who loses his shoes to a criminal, has his car towed, has his badge and wallet stolen, and watches his car get destroyed at a junkyard. These scenes linger just long enough on the distracting giant teddy bears and the costumed passengers in the the party bus, to clue us in that there is something more to these masked men and women running. In the episode’s climactic scene, clever flashbacks narrated by Ct. Holt are used to relate exposition while keeping the jokes coming. Andre Braugher relishes every single line of dialogue turning phrases as banal as “word cloud” into clever punchlines while filling Jake in on how he managed to out-clever Peralta at his own game. Andre Braugher is funny in almost every situation in this series, and moments like these elevates “Halloween II” to a level that almost reaches the heights of the original.

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Jake and Holt’s counter-hustle consumes most of the running time, but there is still room for an amusing Terry/Gina subplot. Terry is by far the most sensitive character, while Gina rarely seems bothered by anyone or anything – but here she reveals to Terry a vulnerability that we’ve never seen before. The subplot is fine as Chelsea Peretti is on point with her comedic analogies but not enough time is devoted to the pair.

Coming on the heels of “The Jimmy Jab Games”, “Halloween II” is the second episode in a row in which the Nine-Nine crew put aside actual police work in favor of hijinks and shenanigans. Even more, this is the first episode of the season without a lesson to take away. Al that said, this is still a solid outing in a season that’s been clicking very well so far.

– Ricky D

Other thoughts:

Watching the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Halloween specials, immediately after the revered “Treehouse of Horror” episodes of The Simpsons, makes a fine double-bill.

Terry: “You’re being super irresponsible. You have a baditude. That’s a bad attitude.

Peralta: ”Captain Raymond Holt, you are an amazing police captain slash genius. But be warned, I started planning next year’s heist just this minute.“ Holt: “Good. Then you’re only three months behind.”

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2, Episode 5, “The Mole”
Written by Laura McCreary
Directed by Victor Nelli Jr.
Airs Sundays at 8:30pm ET on FOX

Internal Affairs has sent Lieutenant Andrew Miller (Veep’s Dan Bakkedahl) down to investigate a potential mole in the precinct. Meanwhile Terry and Diaz go undercover in a silent nightclub after failing to take down some drug dealers and get Giggle Pig off the streets. Finally Boyle and Gina continue their secret affair, only are eventually caught in the act. All the while, Deputy Chief Wuntch stands by mocking Holt and his precinct’s shortcomings. The B plot revolving around a silent rave is short, clever and surprisingly touching. Listening to Terry worry about his twin daughters turning to a life of crime instead of them becoming the first twin presidents of the United States reminds viewers why we love Terry Crews so much. He’s kind, adorable, funny and all around, a good person. And listening to Rosa’s response reinforces what I’ve said in the past: Despite rarely showing any emotion, she is the most sensitive and emotionally mature character on the show. The title story not only keeps Holt’s feud with Wuntch going strong, but provides an opportunity for the captain and Peralta to spend some quality time working together, both in and out of Holt’s pajamas, with his initials stitched on them. (The ‘J’ stands for Jacob). Jake loves playing detective, and it is both amazing and amusing to watch him pulling an all-nighter with his boss. And can we just take a minute to appreciate Holt’s depressed Shakespearean monologue at the bar. With Holt’s entire “And you ask, ‘Is everything okay?’” monologue, they should just give him the Emmy again.With the award winning actor at the helm, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is always a treat to watch. “I have a flare for the dramatic,” Holt says at the end of “The Mole.” And, thank God for that.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine packs in so many jokes in so little time, it’s always worth watching over and over again. More importantly, the show is able to successfully develop all of it’s main characters and expand on their relationships despite juggling so many. There’s a lot to laugh about here – from Terry’s headphone check in the silent disco to Jake’s final “whaaaaaaaa?” “The Mole” is a rare episode of television that hits all of its beats perfectly. More importantly “The Mole” reminds us of just how good the show can be when it shines the spotlight on the supporting players, and not just Andy Samberg. With as talented of a comedic cast and crew that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has at its disposal, I just can’t see it doing any wrong.

– Ricky D

 

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Other thoughts:

Jake: “You know how I’m kind of a sexy bad boy who rides motorcycles into work and is always breaking the rules in the name of justice?”

No needs for an awards show.

Boyle: “I’ll handle [Jake], you take care of Amy.”
Gina: “But how to make it look like an accident?”
Boyle: “I’m not saying murder, just talk to her like a normal person.”
Gina: “Right, even better. Get her to tell me all of her little secrets. Then if she tries anything, we can destroy her.”

Jake: “Who else is hooking up that we don’t know about? Rosa and Terry? Holt and Scully? You and Hitchcock?”
Amy: “Whoa whoa whoa. Why’d I get Hitchcock?”
Jake: “Cause you’re the girl version of him.”

“The Mole” takes a step back from the relationship “drama” of the earlier episodes.

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