Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The New Captain,” (3.1) – Season Premiere

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September 27th, 2015, 8:30 PM, FOX

LAST SEASON: Amy and Jake’s will-they-or-won’t-they stalemate was broken by a hot-and-heavy kiss in the evidence locker after a mission where they played an engaged couple. Meanwhile, Holt’s effort to rid the department of Wuntch’s influence resulted in his being moved to the force’s PR department. Gina resigned with him, and they both departed just as the new captain arrived in the precinct’s elevator.

…Well, those doors do open – and reveal Bill Hader’s Chief Seth Dozerman, who immediately has a heart attack in the process of giving his new squad a pep talk. He takes his eventual diagnosis – a condition that makes him vulnerable to anger – as a sign to change his laid-back behavior, assigning the entire team “Dozerpads” filled with scheduled, locked tasks that malfunctions and cause more problems than they’re worth and cracking down on the team’s tendency to socialize during work hours. Meanwhile, Gina and Holt arrive at their new post in the public relations department and are stuck dealing with the “impossible”, in Wuntch’s opinion, task of marshalling the infighting naming the squad’s pigeon mascot. It’s a problem that’s supposed to break Holt’s spirit and he nearly quits when Wuntch puts him in the mascot’s costume before Gina lets him know they’re in this together. And Amy and Jake, dealing with the aftermath of their kiss, go out on a date and fail to keep things nice and light by instantly sleeping together, though they persist in lying to a pushy Charles and the rest of the squad that they’re romantically involved. While the devastated Boyle tries to nudge them together, Amy and Jake’s secret sexual entanglement leads directly to a loss of life, and a guilty Amy realizes that they’ve been so sex-blinded that it’s affecting their careers and she breaks up with Jake. But leave it to Boyle to get the two talking again.

I can hear you out there screaming, Jake/Amy shippers (may I call you Jamys?). The eventual act of bringing them together and into a relationship has actually managed to give Brooklyn Nine-Nine an extra stroke of emotional tenderness and depth, and the writers do a deft job in making the romance feel sensible to a degree; they don’t shrug off the difficulty of melding professional and personal lives together. Each changes the other’s point of view, and it’s noteworthy that Jake’s spontaneity has so effected Amy that they’re actually close to having sex in the evidence locker by the middle of the episode. This could be tricky, and I admit I miss goal-oriented Amy and hope this doesn’t change her personality too much – but I don’t want them to break up. In fact, if they don’t get married in that evidence locker in a season or two I’ll be disappointed.

Holt and Gina’s plot continues apace, and it includes an absolutely perfect sequence where Holt and Wuntch argue about what to name the pigeon that shows off the breadth and depth of Andre Braugher and Kyra Sedgwick’s gifts; their acting wouldn’t be out of place on a serious procedural, which makes their confrontation all the more hilarious. I’ve had a lot of problems with the one-note broadness of Wuntch’s existence but sometimes Sedgwick runs hard with the material she’s been given and the result is sensational.

On the downside, Bill Hader’s character is similarly one-note and not very funny, but he won’t be sticking around. One is thankful that he’s dispatched with surprising ease, but you mourn the opportunity for more.

But these little dips in quality shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what’s generally a masterful episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine.

  • The episode opens with a rare recap of the previous season’s major plot twist.

  • Low points in Charles’ life: Is lied to about the status of Jake and Amy’s relationship. Also: can tell when Jake has sex because he’s ‘glowing’.
  • ”I thought you’d still be crushed under that house in munchkinland!’”
  • Apparently Scully takes 100 plus minute dumps.
  • ”Gina Linetti, the human form of the 100 emoji.”
  • “I now understand why nothing gets done in this precinct – the detectives are too busy frenching with each other!”
  • Bill Hader, of course, worked with Andy Samberg on Saturday Night Live, where they filmed several viral videos.
  • “Light and breezy is how you describe a linen pants suit, not a relationship you care about!”
  • Gina’s fragrance line would be called “Gina in a Bottle”.
  • ”Let’s blow some tiny minds!”
  • Next Week: Another shift in personnel puts a kink in Jake and Amy’s relationship, Terry is invited in to help Holt with a publicity matter, and Gina and Rosa try to dissuade Charles from dating another officer in “The Funeral.”
9.7 MASTERFUL

The Nine-Nine comes roaring back with this funny and refreshing episode.

  • MASTERFUL 9.7
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About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of Firefox.org, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.