Brooklyn Nine-Nine Series Finale Review [The Last Day Pt. 1 & 2]


***Major Spoilers Ahead***

The Last Day Parts 1 & 2
Andre Braugher (left), Andy Samberg (right). Photo Credit: NBC

There is never a correct way to end a series, especially not one that has been on the air for close to a decade. If too many changes take place, the tonal whiplash may have longtime fans upset at the developments. If too little occurs, the closer will be seen as both anti-climatic and unsatisfying. As it often does, Brooklyn Nine-Nine finds itself in the middle of these two extremes, giving just enough of a meaningful sendoff to feel like a proper ending but steering clear of changing the status quo too drastically. 

The plot of the final episode is as simple as it is convoluted. Jake reveals to Amy that he is leaving the force to become a full-time father to Mac and plans a final heist to serve as his goodbye to the precinct. The convoluted portion comes from the actual heist itself, with the series treating viewers to a familiar mix of rapid twists and stunning betrayals. As the pairings race to retrieve the golden vessel that holds the medal, we are met with a who's who of Nine-Nine cameos from past seasons. Everyone from Adrian Pimento to Caleb the cannibal gets their brief moment to shine in a Seinfeld-style reunion of recurring characters. Gina also reemerges for the first time since season six, proving that her character has not matured or changed in the slightest. Nonetheless, it felt oddly nostalgic to see Peretti back to blurting out callous insults and committing petty theft. 

Amidst the chaos, Jake's decision to leave the Nine-Nine feels like a disheartening way to close out his arc. Though his departure from detective work has been foreshadowed throughout the season, it's upsetting that he decides to give up his passion so early in life. While it's admirable that he wants to be a devoted dad to Mac, Terry and Boyle also have children and that has never stopped them from being great parents and phenomenal detectives. With Amy, Holt, and Terry all rising through the ranks, it feels off for Jake to have no upward trajectory. Despite that gripe, the events of the heist remain as exciting as they have been in previous installments. From magnet suits to mind games, there's no shortage of that playful Nine-Nine energy. Highlights include Rosa locking Amy in a car, Holt trapping Boyle and Jake in the armored truck, and Amy tricking Jake into believing he's been in a coma for seven years.  

As the competition winds down and the squad returns from the storage facility where they first worked on a case with Holt, Hitchock reappears in the precinct and is crowned the winner of the heist. After spending several episodes on FaceTime, it's completely satisfying to see Dirk Blocker back in-person. Though the squad is disgusted by Hitchcock's win, it ultimately felt like a perfect way to close out the last heist, especially considering Hitchcock does have more arrests than anyone else in the precinct. Once the comedy subsides, a touching talk between Rosa & Amy takes place where Diaz tells Santiago that she does not need marriage and kids to be content with her life. This is a scene that neatly wraps up the relationship between the two and beautifully showcases how not every character needs to settle down to have a happy ending. The closed-off Rosa and sociable Amy have clashed on many occasions but they have always had a mutual respect for each other, with this chat only reaffirming their close bond.

The most meaningful part of this episode, season, and possibly the series as a whole comes when Jake Peralta and Raymond Holt have one, final talk. The tender feeling of euphoria that comes from Holt describing how they've rubbed off on each other through the years simply cannot be placed into words. The callbacks to the first episode during their chat gives this moment such a "full circle" atmosphere. Jake has finally solved the puzzle of growing up that Terry described in the pilot and Holt sees him as a worthy son. Above everything else, the chemistry between Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher gave this series the soul that it needed to resonate with audiences. To have them fully embrace their father-son dynamic is an outstanding way to cap off their storied relationship.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine could have ended with the team taking on a grueling case or with a sappy round of tired platitudes but it instead chose to maintain the delicate balance of witty charm and genuine heart it has cultivated for over 150 episodes. The heartfelt moments pack as much of a punch as they do because the writers have done an immaculate job at refining these character dynamics for so long. Although it would have been more satisfying to see Jake remain a detective, it's comforting to know that Terry, Boyle, Hitchcock, and Scully still work in the 99th precinct, giving viewers a small sense of normalcy amidst the changes. 'The Last Day' gives this series the final hurrah it deserves by sticking to the show's trusted, concrete formula. There's little more one could ask for from the last Nine-Nine, with the episode offering fans both a trip down memory lane and a pleasant glimpse into the future.   

Stray Thoughts

  • Even though Rosa is right to not want her life be defined by settling down with someone, I still miss the Rosa-Pimento pairing. 
  • When Jake woke up from the fake coma and was told he had been in it for seven years, I thought Amy meant that everything outside of the first season had been in his imagination. 
  • It appears that Boyle found his own Boyle in the flash-forward sequence. I would have preferred it to end with the elevator scene but it was still an interesting look into the future. 
  • I can't believe the scene in the opening sequence is actually cannon and that they were just going to get falafel. 
  • Jake really tried to replicate "I Want It That Way" with "Car Wash". 
  • It has been an honor to have been a fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine since 2014 and a reviewer since 2016. Farewell to one of the best sitcoms of the modern era and a big thank you to everyone who has ever worked on the series. Thanks for the memories and good times.

Grade: A-

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