It’s Turkey Day for BROOKLYN NINE-NINE – literally – in “Mr. Santiago.” With binders, and fathers, and dog shows, oh my! The show continues on its streak of good episodes for its fourth season.
This episode hit the ground running with a great cold open. The nine-nine (minus Holt) is holding a contest for impressions of Holt reacting to eating a marshmallow for the first time. Everyone has very different ideas of what Holt’s reaction would be. Particularly strange is Boyle’s guess that Holt would laugh through the experience of eating a marshmallow. Jake scoffs at him for this weird idea and everyone moves on. But then Holt actually enters the room, and Jake baits him with a marshmallow, which he proceeds to eat and laugh through, just as Boyle had predicted. It’s an old joke, but the execution is hilariously fresh.
The other laugh-out-loud funny moment was also an instance of Holt’s character choices. As he and Pimento try to get the bar owner to change the channel so they can watch the Thanksgiving dog show, Pimento breaks a bottle of beer and wields the broken glass menacingly, as a very Pimento-way of persuasion. The bartender is not impressed, though, until Holt also breaks a bottle of beer and wields it menacingly.
In other news, things are getting serious with Jake and Amy. Amy’s father comes to town for Thanksgiving with the precinct this year. A retired police captain, Jake creates a binder with research on Mr. Santiago, in the hopes of pretending to be someone he’s not to try and impress the man. Also, sidenote: we finally know that Amy is of Cuban heritage. I’ve been trying to figure that out for seasons. Jake’s binder seems to be going great, until Mr. Santiago finds Jake’s binder.
Lucky for Jake, when Mr. Santiago comes across Jake’s notes for one of Mr. Santiago’s unsolvable cases, he praises Jake for pointing out a possible suspect and suggests they go question that subject in the hopes of finally solving the case. Jake agrees enthusiastically, giddy that perhaps Mr. Santiago is impressed with Jake’s detective skills and will like him after all. Unfortunately for Jake, when they question the suspects and it comes out that they were questioned years before and had solid alibis when Mr. Santiago was on the case, Jake realizes Mr. Santiago has set him up for humiliation. He’s done this because he’s got a binder full of research on Jake as well, and he does not like what he’s found. He thinks Jake is far too much of a screw-up for his daughter. He apparently knew all of this from the get-go, and all of his general cordialness was a facade.
However, the best part of the episode comes from Amy. When she discovers that her dad and Jake are not getting along, she gets angry at both of them – not for not getting along, but for thinking either one of them had any claim in her decision of who she dates. This is the best part of the episode because, while it’s not necessarily funny, it turns the typical “father doesn’t like the boyfriend” narrative on its head and gives us a fun and empowering commentary on the fact that yes, women can decide for themselves, thank you very much.
I’ll be interested to see what the rest of the season has in store for Jake and Amy and the rest of the nine-nine. Now that Pimento is back and the storylines from last season are all wrapped up, the show is at that in-between period where serialized arcs take a backburner to a more traditional sitcom style. This episode did casually let us know that Pimento won’t be returning to the precinct as a cop, however. His abrupt departure last season to go into hiding apparently didn’t sit well with superiors, and he’s been fired as a cop. Holt suggests he look into being a Private Investigator, and so there’s a chance that we will get to see Pimento in that role in the future.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Season 4, Episode 7 (S04E07)
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