Welcome to The Jake and Holt Show
by: Alison Golub
Now by standard means, the season four premiere of Brooklyn Nine Nine is strong. There’s a solid story that takes what happened in the season three finale (Jake and Holt being put in Witness Protection) and furthers it by skipping ahead 6 months and showing us their new lives as Greg and Larry. The jokes are funny, Rhea Pearlman, Maya Rudolph, and Jorma Taccone are all good additions, and we get further development of the Jake and Holt relationship. There’s just one glaring issue: the rest of the squad seems to be missing.
Yes, that’s right, not a single main character appears other than Jake and Holt and the episode is severely lacking for it. Now, a new viewer tuning in for the first time would probably not notice a void. The writers do a good job of using both Jake and Holt’s misadventures in Coral Palms to their full story potential.
It’s the regular viewers that are going to feel the loss (and most likely betrayal as well) of the absent precinct. Other than Jake kissing Amy’s picture and a quick reference to how much he misses her, they don’t even get a mention. As a fan, it hurts. As a critic, it’s a big loss, seeing that the stronger and better episodes have always been when the focus is on the ensemble and every member of the squad gets something to do.
There are some other issues with the premiere as well. After everything we’ve seen from Jake over the previous three seasons, I find it very hard to believe that he wouldn’t be putting his all into his undercover persona, no matter how upset he was. This is, after all, the man who feels the need to come up with an undercover persona for something as simple as a stakeout.
And of course, he’s secretly working on the case and trying to solve it from Florida. And it makes sense and works narratively for Holt to decide to help him by the end of the episode. However, I felt that the apology Holt gave him at the end for calling him out on his half-assed attempt at staying undercover, and trying to get back the video a patron at their job (at a Kiddie Fun Zone, no less) was going to make viral, was completely unnecessary. Holt was completely in the right for calling Jake out; Jake was the one who was acting immature the whole episode. Not just when he was working on the case secretly, but also, becoming assistant manager and making Holt’s life hell was unwarranted and unfair. Holt was doing his job, and it’s upsetting to see a show that is usually so willing to call out Jake’s immaturity drop the ball on this one.
Overall, the episode was good but not great, funny but not hilarious, strong yet lacking. Here’s to hoping The Jake and Holt Show goes back to being Brooklyn Nine Nine once again next week.