Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 Episodes 7 & 8 Review [Game of Boyles & Renewal]


***Spoilers Ahead***

(L-R): Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Joe Lo Truglio. Photo Credit: NBC

Game of Boyles
Though he always seems like the most awkward of the core group of characters, Charles appears to be the least dysfunctional member of the Boyle clan. While this might have more to do with him creating a strong bond with the 99 crew than being an outright family outcast, it demonstrates that Charles may not be as in-tune with his family's quirks as he'd like to think. 'Game of Boyles' tackles this concept through a mildly-enticing, murder-mystery plotline and treats viewers with a thoroughly engaging narrative, even if it does fall short of matching the excitement that comes with standard Brooklyn cases. 

After Boyle's great uncle passes away at the ripe old age of 93, he is summoned to the Boyle Family Farm to attend the funeral and give the eulogy. Jake and Terry tag along as well, with Peralta still feeling the brunt of his suspension. The situation soon becomes heated when Jake suspects that cousin Lyndon may have murdered his great uncle to get the full inheritance, resulting in some humorous, Knives Out-style interrogation sequences that reveal Lyndon did have bad blood with the deceased Boyle. Unfortunately for Jake's murder-mystery appetite, the DNA test informs them that Lyndon was not the killer and instead gives them the knowledge that Charles is not actually a real Boyle. 

Though this revelation is handled more like a comedic afterthought than a late-season bombshell, it clearly takes a toll on Charles in a way that little else would. While he does redeem himself in the eyes of his family by opening up the Grandmother Dough, Brooklyn deserves credit for not copping out here. It would have been easy for the writers to backtrack by having cousin Sam tamper with the DNA results out of jealously, but Charles ultimately has to live with his newfound identity crisis. This is a rather mature way for Nine-Nine to handle the storyline and illustrates that the series will continue to not shy away from troubling subject matters. 

Amy and Rosa introduce Captain Holt to the online-dating scene in the B-plot, as the two attempt to get Holt to realize that Kevin is the only man right for him. Though Holt does see through their scheme and metaphorically checkmates them, he soon realizes that he does miss the company of Kevin and runs off to reunite with his husband. While the kiss in the rain comes off as a little too cheesy, it does feel like a proper way to wrap up the Holt-Kevin divorce arc. Nonetheless, this scene would have been far more satisfying if the episodes had not been pumped out two at a time and would have made this reunion feel a lot more meaningful. 

Though it does not rock the boat as much as you'd expect for an episode so late in a sitcom's run, 'Game of Boyles' is a fairly harmless outing that provides fans with two conclusions that are sure to have a significant impact on the installments to come. Seeing Jake and Terry cringe and groan at the traditions of the Boyle family remains as amusing as ever, and Holt's dating escapade places the character in an position not previously explored. It may not make any 'best episode' lists but it definitely won't make any worst lists either.

Stray Thoughts
  • Alternative episode titles include "One True Boyle" and "Grandmother Dough". 
  • A scene where Jake mentions Nikolaj was seemingly removed from the NBC broadcast but is available on Hulu and other streaming services. 
  • Holt didn't have to be so rude to Todd, he seemed like a nice guy. 
  • The chess metaphors were amusing but Holt should have expanded on them.
  • Terry's TikTok reference makes you realize how long this show's been on.

Grade: B 

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

Ever since season 2's Boyle-Linetti Wedding explored the possibility of a Holt-Kevin vow renewal ceremony, fans of the couple have been eager to see the event actually take place. Though it easily could have slipped through the cracks or been brushed aside, the Brooklyn writers felt the need to have it take place before the series reaches the end of the road. It would have been understandable if 'Renewal' solely focused on the wedding ceremony at hand, but the writers add an espionage element that enhances the quality of the episode overall. 

'Renewal' starts out with the shocking reveal that Captain Holt will be retiring so that his relationship with Kevin can become his #1 priority, a decision that is thankfully withdrawn by the installment's end. The main plot begins forming when Holt and Jake find out that O'Sullivan is trying to mess up the CompStat numbers to sabotage their police reform program. As a result, the two are forced to leave the wedding venue to retrieve O'Sullivan's laptop. First and foremost, it's a complete blast to witness Peralta and Holt break into O'Sullivan's house with cheap disguises and comical aliases, harkening back to a much simpler time in the show's run. Furthermore, the fact that Holt would actually follow Peralta's advice and seduce O'Sullivan's mom elevates the plotline to extravagant heights in the comedy department and blesses us with a side of Holt that has not appeared in many moons. 

Once the humor subsides and the two are locked in the basement, a more vulnerable Holt returns to tell Peralta that he does not feel like retiring just yet. The despair the two feel resonates deeply in this scene, with Samberg and Braugher both delivering a serious, heartfelt performance as they discuss their respective spouses. Although they are able to make it back in time for the wedding thanks to Kevin and Rosa, it felt refreshingly genuine to hear Holt air out his raw thoughts to the man he once considered childish and incompetent. If the final episodes end up not focusing on some sort of police work, it's reassuring to know that 'Renewal' gives us a solid fix of classic Brooklyn shenanigans. 

As Holt and Jake deal with breaking into O'Sullivan's house, Amy and Terry try to get his fingerprint in order to open the laptop. While Terry poses as a memorabilia-selling Billy Joel fan to lure in Sullivan, Amy becomes completely distraught with the idea of Holt retiring from the force. This culminates with a brilliant moment where Terry simultaneously chews out O'Sullivan and Amy with a fiery speech about not basing your entire life and identity around one person. Crews truly sells his frustration here and this serves as the perfect payoff to the storyline. In a smaller C-plot, Rosa ends up getting into a feud with Cheddar at the wedding venue. As the Boyle-Diaz friendship is placed in the spotlight for the first time in a while, Scully steals the show with his failed attempts at making sure Kevin isn't aware that Holt is working on a case.

The final moments of the episode reveal that Holt will now be the deputy commissioner of police reform and Santiago will work by his side as chief. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been subtly alluding to Jake quitting the force throughout the season and it seems very likely that it will soon happen. With Amy now taking on more hours, it wouldn't be out of the question to imagine Peralta giving up his badge to become a stay-at-home dad. While that's not exactly the desirable outcome, it would signify that Jake has clearly matured since the early days of Nine-Nine. 'Renewal' rewards Nine-Nine aficionados with one last Jake & Holt case and lays out the groundwork for a finale that is sure to shake up the status quo. 

Stray Thoughts
  • I'm surprised they flew past Jake's suspension so quickly. If the season had been longer, they might have explored it a bit more.
  • Seems like there won't be a Halloween Heist this season, unless that's what the series finale is.
  • Holt seducing the old lady is Emmy-worthy material. 
  • The series finale could have aired on 9/9 but it will instead air on 9/16, one day before the series debuted in 2013. 

Grade: A-

Which episode did you enjoy more?
Game of Boyles
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