Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Ava,” (3.8) – TV Review

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B99 Ava

November 22nd, 2015, 8:30 PM, FOX

Terry and Rosa head off on a business trip to Riker’s Island to interview a suspect, leaving Jake to look after Sharon, Terry’s very pregnant wife. Tasked with having to keep her apart from Holt (who she gets creeped out by due to his well-meaning bluntness), he enlists a birth-phobic Gina to assist, and the isolation seems to work in the temporary – but all of their plans go awry when Sharon goes into labor sooner than expected. Unable to soothe her, without a doula to help and dealing with hostile citizenry, a minor fire and a malfunctioning sprinkler, Jake is forced to use his best diplomatic skills to help get Sharon safely delivered. Eventually he’s given the task of keeping the Jeffords’ birthing plans on task – or ultimately diverting from it and protecting Sharon’s health. Gina, meanwhile, has to help Sharon through her Lamaze exercises and visualization techniques and overcome her own disgust. As they try to help the birth proceed smoothly, Holt is offended by the fact that Sharon is freaked out by his manners, becomes resentful and refuses to help Jake look after her – and must ultimately make contact with an ex-boyfriend…whom he has to rely on as Terry and Sharon’s emergency doula, though getting the man to do the job involves admitting to something he insists he isn’t guilty of. On the other side of New York, Terry must race with Rosa’s help back to the office but end up waylaid when their subway car is delayed by a birth on another car, ultimately stealing a ride on the back of a motorcycle. And Charles and Amy are otherwise preoccupied by their attempt at processing mountains of paper work by hand during an internet outage but run into trouble when they can’t move through the work fast enough, forcing them to turn to technological luddites Scully and Hitchcock for help.

Unsurprisingly, Brooklyn Nine Nine knows how to give us a childbirth episode that eschews schmaltz in favor of tenderness and friendly cooperation. This episode is a true ensemble piece, and every single main character garners a funny moment. Attention is meted out fairly evenly, so if you get tired of the baby plot here comes Charles, Amy and a burning Fax machine, or Holt and his ex-boyfriend (Deftly portrayed by Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation fame, currently also on this season of Fargo) arguing about the value of a wooden duck that Holt may or may not have disposed of due to its “weak bill”. The story flows beautifully along, never slipping over the line to too goofy by making Jake’s mission to keep Sharon safe feel weighty, and never too serious because that is not how it’s done in the 99.

The episode’s only real weakness is that Rosa doesn’t quite have enough to do, in an episode where even Scully and Hitchcock get to contribute to the plot in a major way. But then again, she has a great moment involving a borrowed motorcycle and is ultimately instrumental in getting Terry where he needs to be.

<”Ava” delivers beautifully on Brooklyn Nine Nine’s continued promise, wonderful on nearly every single level, and comes highly recommended.
The Roundup

  • ”I just clicked a link saying ‘balloon boy grew up hot!’.”

  • Low points in Charles’ life: parades around the office dressed up in a turkey costume just before delivering some tragic news to two people looking for a missing person.
  • “She says he reminds her of those judgmental trees from Lord of the Rings…”
  • ”You look so big – like a mighty truck!”
  • ”Hey Sharon, how are you doing vaginally?”
  • Sharon and Terry are avoiding a hospital birth because they tried to talk her into a c-section – and stabbed Sharon twelve times in the back while trying to give her a spinal.
  • ”Kind of like a vaginal Gandalf!”
  • ”I made the mistake of looking at the birthing plan and now I know what an episiotomy is. I need 90 minutes.”
  • ”And once again, Hitchcock and Scully save the day!”
  • Sharon was first introduced in season one, and her pregnancy became a plot point in season 2.
  • “Don’t let my baby touch the floor!!”
  • ”Think positive thoughts. You’re in a Channing Tatum movie…”
  • ”Cocaine.” – How Scully and Hitchcock says they got things done pre-internet.
  • Frederick and Holt broke up because of Frederick’s cheating – and because Holt may or may not have dumped his decoy duck carving into the trash. But he didn’t. Weak beaks are involved.
  • The baby is 14 pounds, 6 ounces- no spoilers on the sex or name.
  • Next Week: The show is on hiatus until December 6th.
9.7 MASTERFUL

Charming, frantically funny and heartwarming, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Delivers.

  • 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.