Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 2, Episode 10, “The Pontiac Bandit Returns”
December 7th, 2014, 8:30 PM, FOX
We have a Christmas episode, and a very special guest - the Pontiac Bandit’s back! When Rosa and Jake collar him after a very merry chase scene on the streets of Brooklyn it seems that his number might be up. But Mr. Doug Judy has the name of a top Giggle Pig source, which means he’s trying to work a plea deal, even though Jake bitterly opposes the notion. Rosa and Jake set him up in a hotel room, and Jake soon finds himself succumbing to Judy’s charm as they try to arrange for a sting. Meanwhile, Amy tries to show off her crafty side while making Holt a Christmas present, creating a homemade photo album that covers the entirety of his career – which accidentally reveals that one of Holt’s biggest cases, the Brooklyn Broiler - may have involved a false arrest and Gina and Boyle fear their parents are in the middle of developing a close romantic relationship. They sneak a peek into the gift Charles’ mom bought Gina’s mother and arrange for a big family gift exchange, hoping to witness their breakup. But it looks as if the twosome might be even more closely bonded than ever.
Every law enforcement-related sitcom must produce a regular, rival perp for the cops to chase, someone who daunts the protagonist by staying just out of reach of the grip of the law and yet staying temptingly within reach. For Jake Peralta, it looks like our recurring bandit should be the Pontiac Bandit, a charming yet irritatingly slippery fellow whom we also met in the previous season. As he did last season, Doug Judy is an entertaining and yet only marginally interesting as the slimy foil who constantly has a plan and is thus constantly one step ahead of Jake. As a character, Judy has his moments, and his irrepressible sense of self is great. Yet in the end he’s another annoying karma Houdini, so content to wallow in luxury that he begins to make more and more demands. His hitting on an uninterested Rosa is no improvement over Charles’ previous flirtation with her.
Speaking of Charles, he and Gina bear the most amusing subplot of the episode. It’s an unimaginably awkward a situation, watching their parents fall in love to their extreme discomfort, but the show doesn’t play it for humiliation porn. Instead indulging in its typical feckless, merry storytelling that it typically does, letting the two characters control their circumstances in their own way, the parents remaining merrily oblivious. Anyone ready to bet that Charles and Gina’s anti-Parent Trap shenanigans will end in a wedding – and with the two of them between the sheets again?
And we get a Amy and Terry plot this week; it’s fun to watch them interact, mostly because Terry has what Amy lusts for – the Captain’s respect. He winces to watch her make all of the mistakes that he would avoid, but doesn’t stop her – apparently out of respect for her earnestness. The way Holt ultimately makes use of his gift and how he generally reacts to the very notion of receiving a gift will leave you laughing.
In short, the subplots save this week’s episode. That isn’t to say that the main plot is bad, it will just vary in its entertainment value depending on how much and how long you’re willing to tolerate a character like Judy.
- Words of Gina’s wisdom: presents are like “old people third base”. Charles thinks that that’s “rubbing butts together.”
- New lows in Charles’ life: actually, it seems as if the major low might be in Gina’s life this week, though it’s all undeniably Charles-related.
- Hitchcock thinks everything can be solved with tape, even deep hand wounds.
- Jake’s cover ID: Dante Thunderstorm. Rosa is the single-named Selena, Judy’s lover-slash-bodyguard.
- Craig Robinson appears again as the Pontiac Bandit.
- Next Week:
Charles and Jake deal poorly with what initially seems like an awesome situation – a close-quarters eight-day stakeout that puts their best friend status to the test. Meanwhile, Rosa develops an interest in Holt’s nephew in “The Stakeout.”
The subplots lift this one just above average, not that there isn’t laughter to be found in the main plot. It’s a YMMV episode.