Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 11 Review [’Valloweaster’]

***Spoilers Ahead*** 

Joe Lo Truglio (left), Melissa Fumero (right). Photo Credit: NBC

Even though the series has not been able to air in October since its fifth season, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Halloween heists remain a staple for the police sitcom. Right alongside the seasonal Pontiac Bandit adventures, Brooklyn carves out one show per year to crown the ultimate human/genius in a heist packed to the brim with goofy slapstick humor and vicious verbal exchanges. While season six's telecast took place during Cinco De Mayo, 'Valloweaster' veers into a different direction. Instead of choosing just one holiday, the episode fits in three different segments taking place in Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Easter. While this does hurt the pacing of the episode, the writers admirably shift gears and keep things fresh with this new concept.

This year's tournament beings in Halloween 2019 with three different detective pairs competing against each other for three infinity stones (Jake & Holt vs Boyle & Amy vs. Rosa & Scully). Handcuffed to their partners, each team frantically tries to retrieve the plastic gems from Bill's pocket in their frivolous attempt to become the winner. Right off the bat, we are met with a familiar rhythm commonly composed for these annual capers. The groups that initially get along slowly devolve into a dysfunctional duo and many confusing distractions arise that hinder everyone from being able to capture the gems. The curveball is thrown when Cheddar swallows the gems and the event is postponed until Valentine's Day. Once Scully swallows the gems in that section of the episode, the series returns to present day and the rest of the heist takes place in Easter.

Although Rosa's win felt vindicating after she got stuck with the least competent cop, the installment as a whole lacked the chaotic vibe that past ones crafted so perfectly. Because the heist kept getting delayed, the flow of 'Valloweaster' was continuously interrupted by the tedious running gag of a scenery shift. Had this outing focused solely on the Easter theme, there would have been more room to focus on the hilarious betrayals and set-ups instead of cutting the contest short two times and resetting. Even then, the writers deserve credit for setting out to make refreshing changes to their standard formula. Outside of that negative aspect, one clear highlight to come out of 'Valloweaster' is the mean-spirited humor that consistently appears during these annual broadcasts.

While Brooklyn Nine-Nine frequently showcases that the members of the core squad have each other's backs, the Halloween episodes give the series a chance to have the gang jokingly spew outlandish insults and tear each other down through elaborate schemes. Between Amy hiring a fake therapist for Jake and Holt installing a surveillance system to spy on Jake & Amy, the sociopath-like tendencies of the cast members shine through in a somewhat unsettling but thoroughly entertaining fashion. The reason Brooklyn can make these otherwise disheartening scenes amusing is that the writers ensure that Jake, Holt, and the rest hold a special bond in regular installments. Because of this, the characters can be caricatures for one day a year and it can still pack a punch in the comedy department without altering their actual personalities. 

Due to the incoherent pacing and fairly basic framework, 'Valloweaster' ends up in the bottom-tier of Brooklyn Halloween outings. Nonetheless, even a weak heist episode supplies enough laughs to rival a regular installment. While far from perfect, it was certainly a blast to witness the detectives dress up in silly costumes and pull off calculated sneak-attacks on one other. One can only hope the series continue to hold onto this sacred tradition, making sure every remaining member of the precinct receives a chance to hold the title of amazing human/genius. 

Stray Thoughts
  • Since Gina's gone, I see no reason why they can't change from "Amazing Human/Genius" back to "Amazing Detective/Genius.
  • Rosa mentioned Arlo towards the end of the episode, a dog she adopted in season 3's "9 Days" where Jake and Holt were forced into quarantine. Feels like a fitting callback given the current climate. 
  • It's rare to see how other cops feel about the core group. Unsurprisingly, they are tired of their shenanigans. 
  • Hitchcock should win next year's heist given he didn't even get to participate this year.
  • If Holt is still not captain in April 2020 than when did the past three episodes take place? 

Grade: B

What did you think of 'Valloweaster'?

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