BROOKLYN NINE-NINE opens up its fourth season with “Coral Palms Pt. 1”, the start to a three-episode arc addressing the time Captain Holt and Jake spend stuck in Florida. When we left the show last season, Jake and Holt had been forced into the witness protection program after trying to take down notorious crime boss Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis. In lieu of finding Figgis so that Rosa’s lover and new member of the nine-nine, Adrian Pimento, could safely return from hiding, Holt and Jake manage to take down a team of Figgis’ men, subsequently putting them at the top of Figgis’ hit-list. As a result, at the top of this season, we find Jake and Holt six months into their new lives as Floridians, and while the situation couldn’t resemble a “sweaty orifice” more for them, it’s pure delight for us.
In the first episode of this season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine took an interesting jump in narrative: the episode features only Jake and Holt, leaving us – much like our two protagonists – in the dark as to what’s happening back in the nine-nine. Instead, we get the Jake-and-Holt show, with a few super guest stars – most notably Rhea Perlman, Maya Rudolph, and another one-third of The Lonely Island, Jorma Taccone. Holt and Jake – now christened Greg and Larry – are stuck in the less-than-effervescent town of Coral Palms, Florida. Greg/Holt has made a new life for himself here, complete with a walking posse of retired women and a job at a place called Frank’s Fun Zone, which I can only describe as a cross between a Chuck E. Cheese, a miniature golf course, and what I imagine is the setting of Holt’s nightmares. Larry/Jake, on the other hand, is struggling to accept his Florida fate – he’s bleached his tips a la Lance Bass, and spends his afternoons crying in hot tubs while he eats soggy burritos.
The slow life doesn’t stick with these two for long, though, and as we soon discover, you can’t keep a good cop down. Holt catches Jake secretly working to uncover Figgis’ location and the two find themselves at odds as Holt tries to force Jake into complying with the non-involvement rules of the witness protection program, and Jake tries to convince Holt to help him solve the case in the only way he knows how: by being Jake. This results in both men getting caught on viral-worthy video, and just as they were at odds, the two men suddenly find that they now must work together to get their hands on the video before it blows their entire cover. Dusting off their slick detective moves, Holt and Jake acquire the video before it gets posted online, and realize that working together to solve the case may be the only way they ever escape Florida. Missing home and their jobs back in the nine-nine, the two decide to post the video online anyways, in the hopes of luring Figgis to them.
The show wasted no time in getting the jokes rolling, which seemed to pour out in abundance from the duality of chaotic man-child Jake and robotic straight-man Holt. The show, which at its best is a plethora of wacky character-based jokes and scenarios, seems to have found a treasure trove of comedic possibilities in its Jake-Holt pairing. It’s a refreshing pace to the last two seasons, which were slow at points and frequently felt lost in the balance of comedic and serialized storytelling.
This episode felt very true to the Schur-esque humor we’ve come to know and love from bits of The Office and Parks and Rec, but it also felt very grounded in its own voice. In a surprising way, considering the episode was carried entirely by only two of its ensemble cast, it seems as though perhaps this season Brooklyn Nine-Nine has finally found its balance of the comedic and the serialized arc. No matter what, I’m looking forward to the next episode.
Season 4, Episode 1 (S04E01)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 8PM on Fox
Tasha is a freelance writer currently based in Los Angeles. Originally from Kansas, when she’s not writing about or watching TV, Tasha is searching for the best BBQ place in LA to fill the KC BBQ hole in her stomach.
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Tasha Cerny | Contributor