Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 8 Review [’The Takeback’]

***Spoilers Ahead***

The Takeback
Pictured: Craig Robinson (center). Photo Credit: NBC

Even for the select few that detest his appearances, no Brooklyn Nine-Nine viewer can deny that Craig Robinson's Doug Judy serves a vital purpose in the framework of the series. The Pontiac Bandit long ago cemented his place as one of the most noteworthy recurring characters and his yearly visits illustrate how immaculately he plays off of the slightly more uptight Peralta. On a more earnest note, the way his character is portrayed helps separate Nine-Nine from the traditional police procedural. Instead of painting Judy as a menacing criminal, the writers always make sure to expose the softer side of his persona. While 'The Takeback' does not move enough away from the standard Pontiac Bandit episode formula to stand out from the past six, it still includes enough twists & turns to shock and delight those familiar with Robinson's hijinks.

The main plot begins with a disgruntled Jake finding out he has not been invited to Judy's wedding. As a result, he reunites with the former criminal and Judy ensures Peralta that he will be able to join in on the fun. One major hindrance in this outing comes with the addition of Judy's sister and felon friends. Since they question Peralta's motives and end up vilifying him, the bubbly chemistry between Judy & Peralta does not emerge quite as often as in past installments. It may have been engaging to watch the group take part in a "reverse heist", but the mere presence of the others led to Robinson and Samberg receiving far less time to gleefully interact with each other. Another genuinely disheartening moment arrives when Peralta decides to have Judy's friends arrested even after promising he would not. It felt largely disingenuous to his character for Jake to completely ruin the bachelor party and lie to his friend after yearning to be invited in the first place. Thankfully, the last-minute revelation that Judy wanted Peralta to apprehend his friends all along wipes out the bad taste Peralta's actions left. Nonetheless, aside from the luxurious hotel setting and comical heist sequence, there's significantly less fun to be had in this outing when stacked up against past Pontiac Bandit installments. 

While overshadowed by the return of Judy, Holt makes his own return to the captain position in the B-story. The conflict surfaces when Terry realizes he threw away a business card that Holt cherishes, resulting in him and Rosa frantically trying to replicate it. While it was inevitable Holt would go back to his traditional position, it's more than a bit peculiar to see Terry back under Holt's command after giving him orders just two episodes earlier. To add on, this storyline felt reminiscent of Brooklyn's earlier days because of how fearful Jeffords was of Holt finding out his possession was discarded. Had this plot been placed in a season three episode, it would have felt right at home. In a sense, it feels regressive that the two would be so anxious about the situation given Holt has been more of a friend than a superior officer in recent years. But, the end result comes with a rather touching moment (plus a hilarious outburst on Terry's part) and it's ultimately pleasant to witness Holt assuming power once more.

The topic of a new vending machine takes the spotlight in the third plot of 'The Takeback' as the foursome of Amy, Hitchcock, Scully, and Boyle debate over which option they find suitable. No serious character development comes out of this but we're met with a comfortably familiar mixture of Hitchcock & Scully's obsession with food, Boyle's love of octopus balls, and Amy's displeased demeanor. Laughs are provided consistently and each character gets a liberal amount of screentime to advertise their comedic strengths.

Given how phenomenal past Pontiac Bandit installments have been, 'The Takeback' feels like a noticeable step-down. Had the episode focused solely on Judy and Peralta, it would have provided more time for the two to shine. Still, it's legitimately difficult to not enjoy every scene featuring Robinson's character. He supplies a great deal of buoyant energy and repeatedly brings the best out of Peralta. While 'The Takeback' does not live up to the lofty heights of many of its predecessors, it's still a genuinely thrilling ride packed with some amusing side-plots and an ending that leaves hope for a future escapade featuring the wedding of Doug Judy.

Stray Thoughts
  • The Mark Cuban cameo was so unexpected. It seems like something NBC probably should have advertised. 
  • There are only five episodes left in the season. One of them HAS to be centered on the Pontiac Bandit's wedding.
  • Even though the dog who played Cheddar died, I'm glad he's still alive on the show. That would have been far too devastating for Holt.
  • On another note, the frequent focus on Rosa & Holt's friendship has been one of the most pleasant developments of season seven. 

Grade: B

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