Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 5 Episode 1 Review ’The Big House Pt.1’

***Spoilers Ahead***

The Big House Pt.1

Andy Samberg (Left), Tim Meadows (Right). John P Fleenor/FOX

Since its sophomore year, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has ended each season with a cliffhanger that isolates two members of their ensemble. The stakes are raised high for each finale but the first few episodes never really live up to the suspense and mayhem. For example, last year's 'Coral Palms Pt.3' ended the Figgis arc in a sloppy and anticlimactic fashion. Despite Figgis being billed as threatening and gruesome, he was caught within ten minutes of appearing on-screen and everything mostly returned to status quo. So, as an avid viewer of the series, I know that Jake & Rosa will return to the 9-9 very soon. But, with Brooklyn, it's the journey that makes these mini-arcs worthwhile and enjoyable.

Ultimately, I would have preferred 'The Big House Pt.1' to have solely focused on Jake and Rosa in prison, but the story still works with the rest of the squad in the episode. The A-plot focuses on Jake & Caleb's (Tim Meadows) hilarious mishaps in prison. First and foremost, Tim Meadows steals the show as the cowardly cannibal. The fact that he plays him just as calm as when he was a school teacher (The Goldbergs) or an ex-husband (Son of Zorn) simply adds to the hilarity. Outside of his comedy genius, there are some funny, but tense, moments as Peralta tries to get himself into a gang and has to receive a beating in the process. Even though this is played for laughs, 'The Big House Pt. 1" still adds some subtle commentary about the corrupt prison system. The great part about this is that it's not thrown in your face and it meshes well with the rest of the episode.

While the A-plot is well-done and full of laughs, I can't say the same for the B-plot. This storyline focuses on Rosa asking Holt & Terry to do a bunch of errands for her. It's a major let-down that 'The Big House Pt. 1' does not show a single second with Rosa in prison. Outside of a slight mention, this plot could've been done in a normal precinct setting and nothing would have seemed out of place. I was really looking forward to seeing how Rosa would handle her situation in jail, but the episode completely brushed over that aspect in favor of a tedious subplot. There were some decent jokes, but it wasn't enough to make things interesting. I do hope that the second (final?) episode of this prison arc can fix this error.

In the end, 'The Big House Pt. 1' shines when it focused on Peralta but the Diaz plot doesn't do the episode justice. Regardless, it was a fairly solid season opener. I thoroughly enjoyed the A-plot and admired the subtle political touch that the writers added without making a big deal out of it. I'm very excited to see how this season will play out.

Stray Thoughts

  • Hitchcock was absolutely hilarious in this episode. 
  • Tim Meadows really needs to be a main actor in a sitcom again. 
  • This is one of the rare episodes without Gina in it (I believe 'Old School' is another where she's absent.)
  • The cable bit with Terry & Holt was very relatable. 
  • That cold opening was probably the strangest thing that this show has ever done.

Grade: B+

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