Brooklyn Nine Nine
S1, E4: ‘M.E.Time’
In which Peralta is a shitty friend, and Santiago’s apple-polishing pays off.
Ahhh, here we go. Brooklyn Nine Nine turns in a quality episode, calling out its lead character, and fleshing out its running themes.
Last episode, I wondered what Santiago had to do to get Holt’s approval. She is clearly – and hilariously – hungry for it, and it always seems to elude her. This episode, she insists that Holt is in a bad mood, although Holt’s expression remains the same whether he has had a magical weekend in Barbados with his husband weaving hats out of palm fronds, or whether he has lost photographs of treasured memories in a fire. She spends the entire episode trying to put him in a better temper, and only succeeds in losing more and more ground with him. It begins with her – literally – bowing and scraping (Fumeiro’s physical comedy is genuinely on point). Santiago tries to recover by having Terry paint Holt’s portrait, only to be met by the withering disdain of the subject, asking why he would be expected to delight in a North-Korean-dictator-esque ostentation such as a portrait. When Holt, oozing sarcasm, asks where his ‘noble steed’ is, all Santiago can muster is a feeble ‘we can add in a horse’. It’s only when Santiago puts her own detective skills to work that she figures it out: Holt is worried about the crime statistics for his precinct after his first month on the job. And he needn’t be: crime stats are stable. That sounds underwhelming, but it isn’t – stats tend to worsen under new leadership, but under Holt, morale is up and the team is pulling together. The analysis wins her a rare smile and a soft ‘thank you’, and of course Santiago has to muck it up with a ‘You know, we’re not so different, you and I’. But a win is a win, and Santiago’s jubilant fist-pump shows she knows it.
Meanwhile, Peralta is Boyle’s secondary on a sudden death. Santiago warns Boyle that Peralta cannot let go of control, and she’s right: we immediately see Peralta barking out orders and assessments and bantering with the beat cop on duty. It makes complete sense, too: the Die Hard-loving maverick would of course make everything about himself. Peralta diagnoses the death as due to natural causes, makes far too many fat jokes, and has sex with the cute Medical Examiner (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) who’s a leetle too happy in her work. It’s not like it matters, since it’s natural causes, right? It’s only when Boyle (very mildly) ticks him off that Peralta realises he’s been a lousy secondary and a lousy friend. Also, Boyle’s suspicion about the death proved correct, and the case would have been wrapped up much earlier if the lone wolf had actually done as he was supposed to. Peralta, suitably chastened, offers to do the mopping-up paperwork. But I doubt very much that he’s really and truly learned his lesson.
Odds and sods
- [Peralta licking fingers obnoxiously] ‘that’s the sweet taste of success.’ ‘You should shower more.’ ‘Yup.’
- ‘God, you must’ve been the worst fourth-grader ever.’ ‘Joke’s on you. I skipped fourth grade.’
- In general, I cackled at Peralta needling Santiago in this episode. I know, I know, I know it’s the easiest joke in the world for the man-child to push the goody-two-shoes’ buttons, but there was something about the way that it bypassed flirtation and headed straight for the playground.
- ‘I could go on and on and on.’ ‘Is something no lover of yours has ever said?’
- ‘Were his eyes…desperate? Lonely? Did they betray heartache?’ ‘….They were brown.’ ‘Do you even want your purse back?’
- ‘You guys have been down here two hours. What, did you have sex forty times?’ …………….Dear God, Charles.
- Peralta lets Boyle choose the music in the car, and manages to sit still through ‘Consider Yourself At ‘Ome’ without throttling Boyle. He doesn’t join in, but you know what? Baby steps.
- ‘Scully! Get. Me. My. Oils.’ Man, if they just have Terry displaying one remarkably delicate and refined skill each episode for the rest of the series, that would not be a bad way to go.