Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 Episodes 1 & 2 Review [The Good Ones + The Lake House]

 ***Spoilers Ahead***

Stephanie Beatriz (left), Andy Samberg (right). Photo Credit: NBC

The Good Ones

Sitcoms have always acted as a form of escapism, providing viewers a portal into a world absent from the problems they face in their daily lives. For the past seven seasons, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has perfected this craft with the help of lovable characters, zany one-liners, and generally light-hearted scenarios. On the off-chance that the series did delve into more grim territory, they made sure to resolve the issue in a quick, neat fashion. While past episodes like season 4's Moo Moo handled a serious topic like racial profiling in a manner that stayed true to the tone of the series, The Good Ones has a very difficult time juggling several different hot-button issues. This results in an episode that swaps out the fun atmosphere of Nine-Nine in favor of a joyless recap of a year most would like to forget. 

The episode begins with Rosa announcing her resignation from the NYPD in the cold opening sequence, already revealing a glaring issue with The Good Ones. The fact that something as noteworthy as a main character leaving their position is initially played for laughs seems like a betrayal of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine framework. Installments that featured a character leaving the 9-9 in other seasons took time to give said cast member a proper, heartfelt sendoff. Here, Rosa's departure to become a private detective is almost treated like business as usual. The main plot centers on Rosa trying to bring the officers who assaulted a black woman to justice, with Jake tagging along in an attempt to feel like he is one of the good cops. Rosa is eventually able to capture the footage to prove the cops are guilty but the captain ends up erasing it, resulting in Jake exclaiming "Oh no, you're a villain". 

What makes this line so absurd is that it seems to be ignoring seven seasons of trial and tribulation. Every member of the Nine-Nine is fully aware that the police system has a rotten core, especially since characters like Madeline Wuntch, The Vulture, and Commissioner Kelly have consistently abused their power. To suddenly portray Peralta as someone oblivious to the corruption in his career field seems more than a little disingenuous. On top of that, it's disheartening to see Jake hurled with insults from random New Yorkers, the woman he's trying to help, and Rosa herself. This type of mean-spirited humor seems foreign to what Brooklyn has offered in prior years. Ultimately, this plot ends on a low note, with Jake and Rosa unable to press criminal charges against the cops responsible for the incident. While it is admirable that Nine-Nine exposes the harsh reality of a situation where the police abuse their power, the plot as a whole feels more focused on making a political statement than staying accurate to the character dynamics at hand.

Fortunately, the B-plot does a much better job at blending real-life events with the DNA of B99. Amy returns from maternity leave and finds herself less connected to Holt than ever before. As a result, she tries her best to get their relationship back on track, using a plethora of methods from Terry's Scully's sex book. After some mildly amusing attempts on Amy's part, this storyline takes a more dramatic turn as Holt confesses to Santiago that he and Kevin have separated. The two discussing their worries about returning to work in a post-pandemic world feels far more genuine than anything else in this installment, proving that Nine-Nine still has heart to it when it takes a stab at sincerity. In a mediocre third storyline, Charles pesters Terry with his brand of performative activism, culminating with Boyle accidentally sending Jeffords $10,000 instead of $100. This plot essentially feels like an attempt to cram in as many references to BLM-related slogans from June 2020 than anything else. While it does make some sense that Boyle would feel the need to overcompensate in such a neurotic way, it's odd that a guy who has worked with multiple people of color for nearly a decade would suddenly view them as helpless beings in desperate need of his assistance. 

The Good Ones is a disaster of an episode that seems more focused on stuffing in as many references to the hot-button social issues of mid-2020 than advancing the characters in a meaningful way. Perhaps if this episode had aired in August 2020 instead of August 2021, it may have felt more natural, but that barely excuses the lazy writing and lack of comedy that plagues the installment. It's understandable that the writers felt the need to address these issues but that does not make the final outcome any less awkward to watch.

Stray Thoughts

  • Not sure if Hitchock retired because he couldn't be on set or if it was just a running gag the writers decided on.
  • Now that Rosa is a private detective, maybe she could reunite with Pimento since he is working in the same field. 
  • John C. McGinley's character was way too over-the-top but he still had some of the best lines of the episode. 

Grade: D+

The Lake House

Photo Credit: NBC

Episodes the feature the squad taking part in a group getaway always seem to be some of the strongest Brooklyn outings, with season 2's 'Beach House' and season 5's '99' serving as notable examples. Part of the reason these type of installments work so well is that it places all the characters in one location and forces them to interact in ways they normally would not. Although The Lake House may not be quite as strong as previous getaway episodes, it does feel like quite a return to form when compared to the unpleasant season premiere. 

The central storyline focuses on Jake trying to get Holt and Kevin back together during a trip to their lake house. Peralta hacks into their shared calendar and schedules their visits at the same time, ensuring that they'll have to communicate with each other. Part of what makes this storyline so endearing is the fact that Terry decides to secretly take part in the plan despite publicly criticizing Jake for attempting it. The pairing of Jake and Terry has been heavily underutilized in recent seasons and it almost feels nostalgic to see the two hatching a scheme together. What makes their chemistry shine through here is that Jake is now playing the straight-man and Terry is the comedic foil, a sharp contrast to how their interactions would be like in the early days of Nine-Nine. And while divorce is a heavy subject, the writers make sure to keep the exchanges between Holt and Kevin relatively comical and calm. Although Brooklyn could definitely pull off a serious arc with them splitting and have dealt with their relationship problems in the past, it's quite a relief when the two admit they still have feelings for each other. 

The B-plot features Boyle accidentally locking Amy's son Mac in one of the rooms in the lake house, causing Amy to successfully break down the door and reunite with her child. Although this story is played for laughs, it does bring out the worst of both characters. Amy and Charles seem to have the most animosity between each other when compared to other pairings, so it's not very pleasant to witness their bickering. Plot three focuses on Scully and Rosa bonding over eating different flavors of chips. Edible-induced Rosa steals the show overall, with Stephanie Beatriz demonstrating once more that she can play the comic relief just as well as she plays her more dramatic roles. It's also enjoyable to see Scully finding common ground with someone outside of Hitchcock, even if Rosa comes to her senses after the edibles wear off. 

While older episodes have done a better job with this format, The Lake House is charming enough to please longtime viewers of Nine-Nine. This is a fun and airy installment that goes back to doing what Brooklyn does best, balancing strong character relationships with hilarious exchanges and a dramatic undertone. 

Stray Thoughts

  • One of the funniest gags in this one was Amy calling Boyle a mother****er. Having swearing allowed on the show has been a major positive of the NBC move.
  • How many sitting rooms can one lake house have?
  • Nice to see the return of Terry saying he loves love. 

Grade: B

Which episode did you enjoy more?
The Good Ones
The Lake House
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What did you think of these episodes? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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