Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 Episodes 5 & 6 Review [PB&J + The Set Up]


***Spoilers Ahead***

Craig Robinson (left), Andy Samberg (right). Photo Credit: NBC


Outside of a scene that never made it into the actual episode, Doug Judy and Charles Boyle have never properly interacted with each other in the first seven seasons. It has always seemed like a missed opportunity to not have the two fighting for Jake's attention since the insecure Boyle clearly feels threatened by anyone who becomes close with Peralta. Though 'PB&J' does finally give us that Boyle-Judy banter that fans have been waiting for, it ultimately gets lost in the shuffle in an episode that has more twists and turns than any previous installment featuring Craig Robinson's iconic character. 

After Trudy Judy reveals that Doug is headed to prison once again, Jake decides to take his old friend on one last ride before sending him off to jail. The first act of the installment sticks to the contagious chemistry between Samberg's Peralta and Robinson's Judy that viewers have long been accustomed to, with the pair participating in everything from outfit changes to freestyle rapping. That joyful vibe is slowly stripped away when Boyle enters the scene and interferes with the duo's fun, causing Judy to reveal that he is actually planning to escape. Boyle does little to enhance the episode, but his appearance is brief and he leaves before the bulk of the conflict arrives. 

As tensions rise, it becomes quite difficult to figure out who to root for in this scenario. Doug Judy certainly does not deserve to go back to prison for stealing a car five years ago, but Jake should not have to put his job on the line to keep Judy out of jail. Nonetheless, the way Judy weaponizes his mind games against Peralta makes the following events a blast to witness. From changing the contacts in his phone to making him paranoid about the backup officer's motives, Judy puts Peralta through the wringer in a way that he has never done before. And yet, Judy still saves Peralta's life at the end of the day, proving that their bond remains as strong as it has always been. Though some may find it off-putting that Peralta would subtly break the law to help Judy escape, it only seems fitting given what Judy ended up doing for him. 

'PB&J' serves as an adequate sendoff for the Pontiac Bandit, with a story that is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. What pushes this outing to the next level is the fact that there is just one story that fills up the entire episode. Fans are able to immerse themselves in the exciting narrative at hand without the antics of Jake and Judy being interrupted by underdeveloped, middling side-plots. This structure is sorely missing from most Brooklyn outings and truly helps capture the mood that the writers are trying to establish. Though it is disheartening that Doug Judy is once more evading the police instead of living his life as a free man, it was pleasant seeing Jake and Judy have one final, heartfelt goodbye before Judy fled to Amsterdam. As an Instagram ad for a travel bidet once said, focus on the journey, not the destination. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has blessed viewers with eight chapters of the Pontiac Bandit arc and 'PB&J' is a worthy epilogue to complete the series. 

Stray Thoughts

  • Rosa rooting for Judy seemed completely off. Even though she's no longer a cop, it makes little sense why she'd suddenly side with him. 
  • Alternative titles for this episode include "Tigers and Toucans" and "One Last Ride". 
  • Would have been nice if we got to see Doug Judy's wedding.
  • Moral of the Episode: Never hire goons off of Craigslist 

Grade: A

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

The Set Up

Since its debut back in 2013, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always portrayed Jake Peralta as a cop who does everything in his power to combat crime and keep the streets of New York safe. Even when he broke the law in past episodes, it was seen as a necessary evil because Peralta had the right intentions. In Season 1's '48 Hours', Peralta went as far as to arrest his nemesis Dustin Whitman (played by Kid Cudi) without any evidence to prove his guilt. This type of reckless behavior may have worked out for Jake before but 'The Set Up' showcases Peralta's policing through a much more critical lens. Though he is not viewed as an outright villain, this installment makes it clear that Jake's rule-breaking does not always end with a positive outcome. 

After the FBI takes a bomb case away from Peralta, Jake finds himself bypassing their orders and working on it anyways. Unfortunately, Jake finds himself in serious trouble when he chases after an alleged suspect at the crime scene and places them in holding for ten hours. Once the suspect is fired from his job because of the incident, he sues Peralta and the department for wrongful arrest. In a standard Brooklyn outing, Jake would eventually find out that the suspect is guilty and be branded as the hero of the story. His hunches and gut instincts have always helped him crack the case until this episode. Here, we are met with a more sobering take on how baseless assumptions can backfire dramatically. 

As Peralta digs himself into an even bigger hole, Rosa and Amy attempt to get O'Sullivan drunk so that he'll admit that he set up the whole situation as payback for their police reform program. Their scheme ends up failing in comical fashion, with the two getting hammered despite O'Sullivan barely catching a buzz. Though their attempts are unsuccessful and it turns out O'Sullivan did not plant the guy at the crime scene, there are still some hilarious tidbits peppered throughout this story thread, especially as Amy and Rosa keep switching places between recording the conversation and talking to Sullivan. In another subplot, Charles and Terry find themselves competing over candy selling. With Scully deciding to buy from Boyle's supply of treats instead of Terry's, the two erupt into an all-out war. What gives more depth to this story is the fact that it is actually O'Sullivan that is sabotaging Jeffords and Boyle, adding a legitimately surprising twist to what could have been a fairly run-of-the-mill plotline. 

'The Set Up' is certainly an unorthodox episode with an ending that may very well leave a bad taste in your mouth. No matter how the writers attempt to lighten the mood, Jake being suspended from the NYPD for five months is no laughing matter. Peralta's passion has always been in police work, so it is crushing to see his duties stripped away from him. Despite that, this episode does a fantastic job at illustrating how Peralta's haphazard methods of solving crime can lead to disastrous consequences. On top of that, the secondary plotlines connect to the main story in a way that does not often occur in Brooklyn, giving 'Set Up' an extra layer of consistency. It will be quite interesting to see how all this conflict is resolved with just four episodes remaining, but the B99 team is sure to handle matters in a way that stays true to the core of the series. 

Stray Thoughts

  • Hitchcock seeing himself as the "wise old sage" of the precinct was undoubtedly the funniest moment here. 
  • O'Sullivan is clearly suffering from a case of Oedipus Complex. 
  • It seems as if there has been much foreshadowing to a finale where Jake quits the force entirely. 
  • I wonder if the next episode will return after Jake's suspension has ended. 

Grade: B+

What did you think of these episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Which episode did you enjoy more?
The Set Up

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