Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7 Episode 12 Review [’Ransom’]

***Spoilers Ahead***

Andy Samberg (left), Andre Braugher (right). Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC

While Brooklyn Nine-Nine's seventh season currently features a fairly solid set of episodes, the element of police work has tragically been absent for a good portion of them. Past seasons regularly displayed the characters racing against the clock to solve cases and putting their lives at risk in perilous confrontations, both cornerstones for the seasoned comedy. This year's batch of installments have mainly pushed that to the side in favor of mildly amusing office shenanigans or cheap retreads of better stories, usually detached from the police precinct backdrop. Because of all this, 'Ransom' largely feels like a return to form for the aging cop sitcom. Not only does it mark the triumphant revival of the case-oriented storyline but it also happens to summon two recurring characters that have not appeared in many moons.

The main storyline centers on the straightforward premise of Holt & Kevin's dog Cheddar being kidnapped and held for ransom. Holt orders Peralta to work on the case with him so they can get their beloved corgi back home. Right off the bat, 'Ransom' injects all the components that have sorely been missing from recent installments back into Brooklyn's bloodstream. This sets the stage for an outing that eloquently balances side-splitting comedic timing with high-adrenaline action sequences. As usual, Andre Braugher knocks it out of the park with his panic-stricken and enraged demeanor that appears throughout. Even though it's usually better to have Holt play the straight-man to counter the goofy energy Peralta brings, 'Ransom' proves that both characters can act out in an eccentric manner while still acknowledging the gravity of the situation. While Holt's behavior does veer into cartoon-like territory, it's perfectly warranted in this scenario as he could potentially never see the pet he has dearly cherished for years.

Although Holt clearly steals the show here, Kevin's character also gets his moment to shine, particularly during the scene where he and Holt train Peralta to impersonate him for the meetup with the kidnapper. With Holt spiraling out of control, Kevin takes on a more subdued role to neutralize the madcap energy showcased during  the outing. It's a perfectly familiar role for Marc Evan Jackson and one that he has flawlessly mastered over the seasons.

Once Peralta is held hostage, the episode transitions from relatively light-hearted to an action-packed thriller. Brooklyn is no stranger to engaging chase scenes and exhilarating cop versus criminal showdowns, but 'Ransom' dials it up a notch. Holt jumping onto a moving car and rising victorious in a genuinely intense fight goes down as one of the most breathtaking sequences the series has ever pulled off. Few Nine-Nine moments have been as satisfying as Holt knocking out the man who captured his dog and dismantling him in spectacular fashion. In all, there's hardly anything to criticize as the storyline is executed gracefully, jam-packed with comical banter and legitimately tense moments. The only real complaint that could be made is that the sheer ingenuity of this A-plot makes most season seven installments seem a lot weaker in comparison. 

Another familiar face returns to Brooklyn in the B-plot as Rosa volunteers to help Amy win an expensive stroller. During Rosa's attempt to win the competition by being the last person to hold onto the stroller, viewers are met with Teddy Wells (Amy's ex-boyfriend), a character that slowly devolved from harmless and well-meaning in the early days of Nine-Nine to pesky and dimwitted after he parted ways with Santiago. Although he does win the stroller and pesters Amy with an awkward marriage proposal, the friendship between Amy and Rosa does most of the heavy-lifting and overshadows Teddy's mediocre guest appearance. Despite not being an especially humorous story, it's still rather pleasant that Rosa has gone from demeaning Amy in past years to now standing by her side and helping her out in times of need.

The C-plot takes a look at the Charles & Terry pairing, fixating on their failed attempt to start a company selling Boyle's bone broth. While the Amy & Rosa storyline delivered a heartwarming moment and mostly put comedy to the side, this plot focuses mainly on cramming in as many jokes as possible. Because of this, the two side stories compliment each other rather nicely. The finest segment this plot has to offer is the amusing running gag of Boyle viewing himself as stronger than Terry. Considering how insecure he has been before, it's satisfying that Boyle can exhibit such confidence here. The story culminates with Terry ruining their meeting with the business executive after he forgets to put salt in the concoction, causing the glasses of bone broth to shatter sporadically. This plotline may follow a familiar pattern but one stark difference is that the usually competent Terry destroyed their chance at success instead of the normally inept and clumsy Boyle, serving as a nice change of pace for the Boyle-Terry dynamic. 

'Ransom' ends up being a stellar edition of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and an easy season best for the sitcom. The episode accomplishes this feat by simply playing to the strengths of the program and ramping up on action and suspense. The fact that the outing concludes with Holt making several references to iconic cop films perfectly captures why 'Ransom' hits all the right notes. Even if it's nice to have the characters stray away from police duty once in a while, case work is part of the show's foundation and a vital reason why it stands out from the pack of work-based ensemble sitcoms. What 'Ransom' ends up illustrating is that Brooklyn had the formula for making phenomenal episodes all season long, the writers just needed to revert back to the basics and refine their traditional format to achieve maximum quality. 

Stray Thoughts
  • The movie that was based on Holt's life is certainly not Rush Hour (unless he is Lee). Jake's Lethal Weapon guess seems pretty spot-on
  • That fumigation/Hitchcock & Scully cold opening was probably one of the best the show has done in a while. Also a very topical scene given the Covid-19 outbreak. 
  • Andre Braugher has been robbed of an Emmy for Brooklyn Nine-Nine for many years. This episode would certainly be a good one to submit to the academy.
  • This is the first season of Brooklyn to run uninterrupted from beginning to end. The season finale airs next week.

Grade: A+

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