Brooklyn Nine-Nine closed out its freshman season with a bit of a cliffhanger.
Periodically throughout its run, B99 has incorporated a twist. We saw that in what was perhaps my favorite episode to date (or at the very least one of them), "Pontiac Bandit", when - in a very Keyser Soze-like turn - Doug Judy (played perfectly by Craig Robinson) reveled himself to be Peralta's long-sought after pilferer of classic cars.
The finale played with the case-within-the-case trope and tied together some of the key elements of the series: The central Holt/Peralta dynamic; Jake's detecting prowess and slow steps to maturity; Boyle's "never wife"; the ever-evolving mystery of the man who is the Captain; big-toothed/smiley-faced friendships, (and frowny faced drunken mistakes); and last, but certainly not least; the "I'm horrible at this, when can we stop?" return of the Santiago sex tape!
Over the past season, Jake has learned to both trust and respect the Captain, and that really paid off here. Initially, it looked as though this was another typical Jake going rogue scenario, and to some degree he does need to remain a maverick, but Santiago's willingness to join forces with Peralta added a sense of legitimacy to his continued investigation of corrupt philanthropist Lucas Wint (guest star Ian Roberts). It also allowed us another, more rebellious, shade of Amy. As an added bonus, we were treated to the "thrift store!" dance sequence.
The show's done a good job of incorporating classic police procedural & cop movie storylines and Jake getting shut down by the man, or in this case Commissioner Podalski (guest star James M. Connor), only to discover that there was an even larger game afoot was a great way to tap into one of his central character traits - a relentless disdain for and rejection of rules. Of course the comedy springs in part from exaggerating those tropes, so as silly as it is, Jake joining forces with the FBI was a clever way to introduce a new element to the series and keep us guessing about what's ahead for he and the team next season.
It's interesting, over the last several weeks Brooklyn Nine-Nine has really started to demonstrate a surprising level of heart. Despite the fact that his career was at stake, and that he does indeed detest authority, Jake chose to trust the Captain when it counted. The moment worked because in the midst of all the mayhem and hilarity, that relationship truly has been earned.
Speaking of relationships! Why do I suspect that next season will open with Boyle "settling nicely into the darkness" of a tawdry, illicit, secret workplace dalliance with Gina. Truthfully, his split with Vivian was telegraphed weeks ago, and it now feels as though the purpose of that relationship really was to bring Diaz around to seeing his value. I'd liked the friendship that they'd established post his obsession, so I have mixed feelings about what looks to be an impending Boyle/Gina/Rosa triangle. On the other hand, there's something magical about the idea of Boyle caught in a moral quagmire. It might be fun to see him try and juggle two women at once. I wouldn't want to be Boyle if he taps into Rosa's genuine wrath, though.
Meanwhile, Peralta has given Santiago six months to stew over the idea of she and Jake romantic-styles. I'd imagine that no one can quite stew like Amy, so there's plenty of opportunity for amazing Santiago-special neurosis, here. Thought, I'd hate to see some kind of cop-out, wherein she breaks up with her boyfriend awaiting Jake's return only to discover that he met someone while off playing undercover games. The 11th hour confession did work for Jake as a character, though.
As mentioned, much of this season has been about Jake taking one step forward and one step back on his path to semi-adulthood. Dropping a mini-bomb on Santiago and then taking off for half a year was him making a small move without actually having to do anything about his feelings. I hope the Brooklyn Nine-Nine team finds a fresh and surprising way to play that idea out when the show returns next year and I'm looking forward to seeing what that is.
So happy with this episode.