Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2, Episode 4, “Halloween II”
October 19th, 2014, 8:30 PM, FOX
Halloween brings its usual assortment of pranks, silliness and costumed tomfoolery to Brooklyn. Jake continues his yearly tradition of challenging Captain Holt to a friendly wager, and this time he bets that he can steal his boss’ watch by midnight. It’s a proposition that turns dangerous when Jake hires a notorious neighborhood pickpocket named Fingers to help him and the rest of their team on their overcomplicated heist plot….and when it succeeds, Fingers keeps the watch for himself and disappears, sending Jake and Charles on a cross-city journey to retrieve it and locate Fingers before the midnight hour rolls around. Meanwhile, Gina deals poorly with being kicked out of Floorgasm, which causes Terry to confront her about her misplaced priorities and lackadaisical attitude. Though she continues to abuse his easygoing nature, using work time to rehearse for the troupe and refusing to help him out with his plan to pass out candy-filled pumpkin totes to trick or treating children, he offers to dance with her to encourage her community college aspirations at the “Halloween Boootacular”, where Floorgasm is also set to perform; they eventually enlist Rosa and Amy as witnesses to their costumed gavotte. And Charles continues his tradition of dressing in elaborate Halloween costumes, this time letting his colleagues vote on his costume.
“Halloween II” rises on the crest of actor charisma and chemistry. Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg’s smooth, touching, father-and-son chemistry was the best part of season one in a lot of respects, and this tradition’s continued on through this season – and “Halloween II” is the show’s first chance to showcase it this year. The amazing casting propels writing that’s funny in a natural way even when the show works with sitcomish ingredients. The show wouldn’t work nearly as well without Braugher’s stentorian tones giving Holt’s robotic, ordered personality extra life and resonance, while Samberg’s sarcastic, slightly geeky yet edgy projection of Jake makes you believe he’s competent enough to be one of the 99’s best cops while being goofy enough to be so severely misled by his constant need to trust people he needs or likes – an echo of his lousy childhood.
The not-so-secret treasure buried in the episode’s goldmine of good ideas is Chelsea Peretti’s laconic take on Gina. If Archer’s Cheryl Tunt and Parks and Recreation’s April Luddgate could have a baby, the result would be lazy, pleasure-seeking, lusty, but talented Gina. Terry Crewes’ work as the easygoing, sweet-natured but tough when he needs to be Terry Jeffords makes an interesting counterbalance to Gina’s sarcastic spirit; I actually wanted a lot more of the subplot than we ended up with, and with Gina being Gina I expected her to be exposed as a liar and was sort of relieved that she wasn’t in this episode, and that the Floorgasm situation pans out in an unexpected way.
That isn’t, of course, to say that the writing isn’t as clever as it always is; it’s strong, funny, humane and is worth coming back to week after week.
”Halloween II” brings both belly laughter and awws to the forefront, and is just goofy enough to provide a happily frightful evening of entertainment
- Terms of the Bet: if Jake manages to steal the watch by midnight, Holt will do his paperwork, and if Holt wins Jake will do “five-druple” overtime for Holt.
- New lows in Charles’ life: he knows that Ms. Pacman’s nipple is brown.
- Cover names undertaken by the gang during Jake’s heist: The Dagger (Rosa), The Hammer (Terry), The Hall Monitor (Amy), and The Duce (Charles). Scully and Hitchcock retain their names so they’ll be less confused.
- Floorgasm first appeared in season one’s “Full Boyle”.
- Next Week: The 99 takes the week off to accommodate a World Series game. New episodes should resume when the series ceases!
Cleverly plotted, consistently funny and packed with actor chemistry that improves upon the entire writing, “Halloween II” is worth a look. It’s not quite the funniest episode of the season but still a worthwhile entry to the show’s canon