It’s all about bad habits in this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “Bad Beat.” The episode switches things up a bit with a unique pairing and an interesting character flaw. While not the funniest episode in the season thus far, the show still proves its strength with its continuously consistently strong writing and genuinely dynamic character depictions.
I actually want to first talk about the storyline that wasn’t the main arc this week: Rosa’s bonding with Hitchcock and Scully. Yes, you read that right: I said “bond.” Rosa is tasked with helping Hitchcock and Scully file mountains of paperwork, and very quickly on, her competitiveness kicks in and she finds herself in a sitting match with the other two, refusing to stand up from her chair so she doesn’t lose the competition to sit the longest.
The pairing of Rosa with Hitchcock and Scully is a new one, and it’s a very interesting one at that. Normally, I’d say – and I think the show would agree with me – that the pairing of Rosa with those two wouldn’t work because their character personalities would simply never put them into a situation together. However, Rosa’s been a bit off from her typical self since prison and her breakup with Pimento, making it the perfect time to reasonably throw her into a pairing with Scully and Hitchcock, and honestly, it works. Really well.
In fact, the total unlikelihood of Rosa getting along with the two dopes makes the situation even funnier. She is unexpectedly supportive of Hitchcock and Scully’s ridiculously lazy schemes and work styles, and her ability to bond with them and understand their perspective makes the entire gag more hilarious.
The show has been utilizing Hitchcock and Scully in a lot more storylines, and it’s actually making every episode better for it. I’m not sure if the decision to start incorporating these two characters more into the show is because of Gina’s absence, or if the show simply decided it was finally time, but either way, I hope they don’t stop. Hitchcock and Scully are adding a freshness to the show that no other character could, simply because up until this season, they were merely one-punch type characters, thrown in to round out the cast and add a bit of dimension to the mostly-background characters. This is the first season that we’re actually getting to spend some time with these characters, and it is working really well for the show.
Okay, now to focus on the main storyline. Jake and Terry are hoping to catch a big time criminal by getting into his high stakes poker game and planting a bugged watch on him. However, their plan has one giant flaw: Jake doesn’t know how to play poker and Terry has a major tell. In order to maintain the case and mission, they have to enlist Holt’s help, but there’s one major flaw: Holt has a major gambling addiction.
Holt convinces Terry and Jake that he can handle himself and not relapse if he’s not the one touching the cards, he’s just telling Jake what to do. However, Holt spirals, and when Jake and Terry try to pull him off the case, Holt jumps back into gambling himself.
The episode ends with Holt’s addiction placing him right into the hands of the very criminal Jake and Terry were trying to catch. Lucky for Holt, Jake is able to finally figure out Holt’s tell and he and Terry trace Holt’s phone’s GPS signal and save him while simultaneously capturing their wanted criminal.
It’s another great storyline with lots of interesting developments that remind us that, even though this show is a comedy, it’s still dealing with cops and criminals and more serious topics and dangerous situations. Giving Holt a gambling addiction is a very interesting development in Holt’s character, as well. He is no longer this idealistic Captain without flaw. Gambling addiction is a pretty serious thing, and even though this episode takes a lighter tone with it, the show still manages to demonstrate that this is something that has the ability to ruin Holt’s life – and savings.
Overall, a strong episode story-wise, even if the jokes didn’t hit quite as strongly this week.
Season 5, Episodes 5 (S05E05)
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