It’s the double D of diamonds and drugs in this week’s episode of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, “The Big House Pt. 2.” In the follow-up episode to last week’s jailhouse premiere, and the conclusion to the story arc started in the final episodes of season four, Jake and Rosa are finally exonerated, and not a moment too soon for Jake.
The episode confirms that I think we can expect really strong writing and humor out of this season, though now that we’re entering the show’s less-serialized phase, we may need to wait an episode or two to really find out if the humor will stay consistent.
This episode offered less in terms of outright punchlines, but the gags and riffs were solid. Particularly clever in this episode was Boyle’s Serial-style parody podcast and Jake’s meth high. Actually, the entire segment where Jake is high on meth just had me thinking of the Lonely Island’s “Great Day” SNL digital short the whole time. In a good way – I reference that video far too often. Everyone should know it – if you have never watched it, go watch it. Right now.
Two things in particular struck me as being noteworthy in the episode, one I liked, the other I felt could have been done better. To start with the flawed, I was not surprised at all by the reveal that the diamonds were in the pigs. Perhaps I’m a bit too close as an analytical watcher, but the second Hitchcock and Scully mentioned that the hogs were being force-fed, I knew that was the clue drop and hiding spot. Besides, the red herring of the phone app and locker drop message was far too straightforward to be convincingly considered the real answer. I get that this was the B-story in a half-hour show, and that the writers work under extremely limited story ground coverage, but the actual reveal at the end just didn’t feel as rewarding because of it.
What did come as a surprise to me, though, was Holt cracking a deal with the mob boss. The red herring of that reveal – Holt simply having a lot of knowledge of show pigs and putting two and two together – was far more believable. I had no idea Holt hadn’t actually come to that conclusion on his own, and while I’m cringing at the thought of how big a hole Holt has now dug for himself by being indebted to this gangster, I was pleasantly surprised at being surprised by this reveal. This actually launches us into a much more deeply intriguing season, as we wait with anticipation to find out exactly how making this deal and keeping it a secret from the precinct is going to bite Holt in the butt.
Equally exciting about this revelation is the chance to give Holt a much larger focus than what he’s had. Granted, Holt has always been the Spock to Jake’s Kirk in terms of starring characters in this ensemble, but Holt has only ever gotten A-story screen time when he partners up with Jake for different episode arcs. Granted, Jake is still technically the main character, so who’s to say if the show will downgrade his role for an episode to truly let Holt shine for a change, but wouldn’t that just be the best? A black, gay police chief as the star of an episode? Incredible.
To quickly recap: We pick up where we left off last week, with Jake now both working for his prison gang and working for the warden as a snitch. Unfortunately for him, the warden doesn’t like any of the intel Jake has given him – the warden isn’t worried about contraband coming into the prison, he wants to stop the “blizz balls” – small balls of meth – that are coming into his prison. Jake hasn’t been trusted with any information about drug shipments, however. The warden threatens him that if he doesn’t find out where the drugs are coming from, the warden will tell everyone in the prison that Jake is a snitch. This puts Jake in a tough spot because if he does get his gang leader to trust him with the details about the drugs and then reveals that to the warden, he’ll still be found out as a snitch. Jake decides that instead of trying to get his gang leader to trust him with the information, he’ll just use his detective skills to figure out how the drugs are being shipped in and hidden, and then that way his gang leader will never suspect him and the warden will have the information he wants. Unfortunately, in a twist that complicates Jake’s plans, he unwittingly discovers that the drugs are being shipped in disguised as bars of soap – bars of soap that Jake just used to take a shower. His gang leader discovers that Jake is super high on meth – after Jake has already told the warden what he’s figured out – and his gang leader is so won over by Jake’s brazen drug high that he tells him how he smuggles the drugs into the prison, effectively ruining Jake’s deniability as a snitch.
Meanwhile, Amy has been approached by an infamous mob boss with information on the diamond shipment that would implicate the police chief who framed Jake and Rosa and free Jake and Rosa of all charges. Amy isn’t sure what to do – if they don’t catch this woman before she ships the diamonds, they essentially lose any chance of clearing Jake and Rosa of their charges. However, if they take this mob boss up on his tip, then the precinct owes the mob boss a favor, and owing him a favor is not something the precinct can easily get out of. Instead, Holt suggests they use the knowledge that the diamonds are moving soon to try and solve the case themselves, without taking the mob boss up on whatever intel he has. Unfortunately, the corrupt police chief is still one step ahead of them, and at the last minute, without the rest of the team knowing, Holt takes the mob boss up on his information. This comes not a moment too soon, as Jake’s gang leader discovers that Jake is a snitch when the warden confiscates his drugs.
So what’s in store for the rest of the season? The show has set up some interesting thread lines, and with a strong start to the season’s writing, I think we can expect good things.
Season 5, Episodes 2 (S05E02)
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