Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “Charges and Specs” Review
"Eyes closed, head first, can't lose"
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
For Andy Samberg’s first lead in a TV series, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” does an amazing job of showcasing not only his comedic strengths, but his pairing ability with several other able comedians and actors too. From Terry Crews and Andre Braugher, to Chelsea Peretti and Joe Lo Truglio, this show is packed full of talent and is absolutely worth your attention.
The season finale of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” covers a lot of ground very quickly, splitting into two main stories and a third sub-story. The main storyline follows Peralta as he continues to chase down a hunch. Despite direct orders to drop the case, he pursues a local civil servant, Lucas Wint, played by “Anchorman” and “Key and Peele” alum, Ian Roberts.
“Charges and Specs” does a great job with showcasing Jake’s “dog with a bone” complex that’s present throughout Season 1, and continues that in the finale. The second Jake got a scent that something was amiss, he went further than anyone else just to prove he was right, and as per usual, he was. An interesting thing the show does is present the ways his relationships with Santiago and Captain Holt are challenged throughout this process early in the episode. Holt calls Jake into his office for a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Podolski (played again by the great James Michael Connor), where Jake is specifically told by both men to drop the case.
Some of the greatest parts in the finale were all Braugher. His robotic emotionless charm could have gotten stale as the series progressed, and I am often surprised with how strong the delivery of that character is time after time. There is a scene where Jake, Santiago and Holt try to get a warrant from a Judge in order for Peralta to pursue the case, and after Jake finds no wiggle room with the judge, Captain Holt steps up and tells Jake he’ll charm her.
“I’m Captain Raymond Holt…Whatsup…”
As surprisingly funny as the line delivery was from Braugher, it was the look of sheer bliss/amazement/euphoria on Samberg’s face that sold that scene for me, and I honestly couldn’t stop laughing after that moment. It was only added to in the following scene when Jake calls Holt “Captain Sexvibes.” The one liners and amazing character moments like that are reason enough for you to give “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” a shot.
The sub-storyline is all about Boyle and how the Nine-Nine is trying to help him recover. The waters have been anything but calm for Boyle, and his bride-to-be brought that issue to a head early on, resulting in her deciding to call off the wedding and move to Michigan without him.
Lo Truglio has been a goldmine of physical comedy this entire season, but it is the way the writers of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” execute the playoffs that make this series so strong. Boyle’s story begins with him in all clad black from his pants to his trench coat, because he has “fully given into the darkness.” Their friend just had a marriage broken up, and normal people would be sensitive to that fact, but not with the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” cast who swings back with great banter.
Boyle: “…The wedding’s off, and this is what I’m like now. My life is a pit”
Gina (Peretti) “…Did you already have a Matrix getup for some reason?”
Boyle: “…I bought this with the money I was going to spend on our honeymoon…”
From there, the show takes off with the crew spearheaded by Rosa Diaz. She kicks off the healing by telling Boyle there is something she does anytime she… feels, which of course is burning everything. Sgt. Jeffords has one of the more interesting techniques to get through a breakup. After we are given a quick flashback to a trip to Japan where he only learned heartbreak, his technique is revealed to be simply breaking tons of dishes. When neither one of those techniques work for Boyle, they both fall on one of the classics: getting their buddy wasted. Surprisingly enough, we are treated at the very end of the episode to someone elses idea of how to help Boyle overcome…
The third storyline is a result of Peralta’s refusal to drop the case, and see’s Peralta not only brought up on administration charges, but later resulted in him being fired by the NYPD. This may be a sub-plot, but it’s also where the most meat of the story is. Throughout the story, Jake is being defiant, working against his orders to drop a case he knows needs to be investigated. Santiago and Holt both decide to not only trust him, but to help him on his journey. At the episode’s climax, once Jake obtained the evidence needed to prove his case was legit and remain on the force, Holt asks Jake to trust him and to do or say nothing during the trial.
From there, we figure out what the end game is for this season, as well as the jump-off point for the next. Jake is being sent undercover by the FBI in order to investigate a prominent crime family. Which explains the intro where Jake is getting hammered in a bar to buy everyone drinks, and why Holt wanted Jake to trust him and do nothing. Jake is more than excited to risk all and go undercover, and his send off from the Nine-Nine precinct was perfect.
Before he left, Jake had a quick moment with Santiago and delivered one of the more emotional foreshadowed statements of the episode. Acknowledging that his assignment was a very serious and albeit dangerous one, but one he was excited to have. Then telling Santiago, “I kind of wish something could happen between us…romantic styles.” It was one of the moments that was real, perfect, but also true to how Jake would have delivered it.
The finale of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” ended with a surprisingly strong cliffhanger of an ending. This interests me in seeing where the series takes Jake in the future. The main storyline of this episode did a great job of showing how dedicated Jake is to his hunches. It was nice to see how far along his relationships with not only Santiago, but Captain Holt have come as their bonds of trust were challenged and put on display in true Nine-Nine form. The subplot with Boyle’s failed marriage and the lengths that his friends went to try to help him was strong and well executed. This stands out as one of the best episodes of the series, emphasizing that they have really found their footing and have figured out exactly how each element of the Nine-Nine show works.
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