Brooklyn Nine-Nine won the coveted post-Super Bowl spot this past Sunday (after an all new New Girl, brought to you by Prince and the Ford Fusion, apparently) less than a month after the show won two Golden Globes. That kind of means that if you’re not watching this show by now, you’re really missing out.
This post contains spoilers for episode 1.16 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Party.”
While the post-Super Bowl episode, entitled “Operation: Broken Feather,” gave us a cameos by Adam Sandler and football great Joe Theismann, the focus was mostly on the budding relationship between Jake and Amy. Amy was considering interviewing for Major Crimes, the department where Jake’s archnemesis, The Vulture, works, which offended Jake on a personal level. Ultimately, he admitted to Amy that he’s at his best when he works with her, and we inch ever closer to the inevitable romance between the two detectives. There was also a B-plot involving Captain Holt and Sergeant Jeffords attempting to manipulate the staff into working more efficiently to make quotas, which ended up backfiring. It was a very funny episode, but it wasn’t exactly daring in plot construction or characterization (and note to Adam Sandler: less is more).
Tuesday’s episode, “The Party,” was arguably Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s best episode. It’s Captain Holt’s birthday, and his husband is throwing him a party, and some of the detectives are on a mission: Jake, to get the Captain’s husband, Kevin, to like him; Amy, to do recon on the Captain for future bonding purposes; and Terry, to make sure all of the detectives don’t embarrass himself and Holt in a social gathering. Spoiler alert: none of their missions go well. But they’re all hilarious.
Terry forces everyone into an “Adult Parties” meeting (Jake: “Adult parties? Sergeant, I believe they’re called ‘orgies.’”) where he gives them a set of basic rules: no staring at their phones, be on time, and no sweatpants, jeans, or shorts. “And everyone bring a bottle of wine.”
Cut to that night, as the group waits for Jake across the street from Holt’s house. Amy’s waxing poetic about the neighborhood (Terry: “Keep it in your pants, Santiago!”) when Jake runs up, thirty-five minutes late, because he was buying a bottle of wine.
It turns out, they all brought Arkansas’s finest wine to the party. Scully also wore shorts. (“Sarge, it’s not my fault, you said so many things about shorts, I got confused!”)
Amy gets awkward as soon as they get into the party. She takes pictures in Holt’s kitchen, making note that he has ingredients for hummus, but Jeffords confiscates her phone. Her recon proves to be fruitless: later, when she asks Holt’s opinions on hummus, he says he has no thoughts about it. She’s crushed, but she’s so determined to get some inside info that she sneaks into Holt’s bedroom.
That’s not nearly as bad as Jake’s attempts to get into Kevin’s good graces. All police talk is banned in the house, and as Jake later tells Amy, “Gruesome murders are the cornerstone of my charm!” He recalls reading an article in The New Yorker when he was in the dentists chair, so he uses that to try to start a conversation with Kevin, but it becomes clear that Jake didn’t really read the article about human trafficking. He ends up on a quest to find a copy of The New Yorker, which he is convinced is in the master bathroom, aka “the crap library!”
Jeffords fails on his mission too. Boyle spills food on himself in the first four minutes of the party, so he holds an impromptu meeting in the corner of the party, where he gives everyone assignments. Boyle is instructed to talk about food (“That’s great stuff, so boring!”) while Amy is told to talk about art history. Scully, “Opera,” with no further explanation, and Hitchcock: “Nothing. Talk about nothing.” Rosa is to stick with Gina to make sure she doesn’t say anything crazy or steal, and Jake: “Keep a low profile, chuckle at anecdotes, try not to start any conversations.” Jake’s outraged that he’s getting Hitchcocked, so of course he ignores that.
Jeffords then goes around the party trying to keep everyone in line (“Stop eating crab wrong!”) before he’s caught hiding in the master bathroom with Jake and Amy. While hiding, they find out the real point of contention between Holt and his husband: Kevin didn’t want to invite any cops to the party, and Raymond had made Kevin invite his employees. Unfortunately, that’s when Gina has an allergic reaction to Holt’s pet corgi.
The only person who actually excels at being a party guest is Boyle, who falls in love with a cookbook author named Vivian. He ends up making out with her in a closet. Who would’ve guessed?
The next day, Jake uses his detective skills to figure out that Kevin resents all cops because of how his husband has been treated by the NYPD over the years. After sixteen episodes of us taking the precinct’s acceptance of Holt for granted, it’s a subtle but poignant reminder that Holt hasn’t had it easy. This new crop of detectives don’t bat an eye at Holt’s sexual orientation (in fact, Jake’s relentless teasing of Holt usually focuses on his stoicism, and no one else takes those sorts of shots at the Captain) but as Raymond’s husband, Kevin’s got a long memory. He dislikes cops, because Raymond has been “marginalized, underappreciated, and disrespected by the NYPD.”
Jake gets the team together to give Holt the birthday he deserved: a nice dinner out at a restaurant with his husband. (Amy picked the restaurant, Boyle picked the menu, Terry picked the champagne, Gina returns the silverware she stole at the party the night before, Scully serenades them with opera music, and Jake promises not to talk about The New Yorker ever again.) It’s good, in hindsight, that Kevin was so relentless with his “needling” of Peralta, because it didn’t come from a place of elitism or derision, it was simply his way of vetting his husband’s top employee. Similarly, it’s nice of Jake to smooth things over for his team and for his captain, because it has to be hard on Holt to love his job and the people he works with, and then go home to someone who has nothing but contempt for it. Hopefully this makes his life just a little bit easier.
“Oh, man! All the orange soda spilled out of my cereal!”
“In high school, I was voted Most Appropriate.” “Ooh, self-burn! Those are rare!”
Everything regarding how funny everyone finds Holt. “There’s no one funnier than Ray Holt.” / “Needling him a new suit? Even when we’re arguing, you’re hilarious! Stop it!”
“I am flummoxed! That’s a word I learned for this party, and I am it!”