TV Review: Brooklyn Nine Nine: ‘The Slump’

Brooklyn Nine Nine

S1, E3: ‘The Slump’

Peralta has the yips, and the girls scare some kids straight.

Grade: B+

Peralta is in a slump. Case after case on his roster has ground to a halt, until even he has to acknowledge that he has a problem.

Brooklyn Nine Nine is still fleshing out its universe and cast. Peralta is our nominal lead, and we know he has two defining traits: his talent as a detective, and his immaturity. Three episodes in, and it has already snatched away one of two pillars of Peralta’s character. This is either a sign of desperation, or a sign of confidence.

Turns out it’s the latter, because this is the strongest episode yet. Brooklyn Nine Nine explores its deep bench of terrific performers, and gives us some of its sharpest lines and physical comedy.

Santiago has been tasked with heading up a squad of cops reaching out to at-risk kids and turning them away from a life of crime. Gina offers her help, but Santiago turns her down because she’s not a cop. Shockingly, Santiago’s bone-deep dorkiness (just watch her move to the ‘Mission Impossible’ theme) fails to get through to the kids. More upsettingly, Diaz’s tough-guy act gets remixed. It’s only Gina, loping and writhing on the floor with her killer interpretive dance moves, who horrifies the kids into signing up for the team’s Junior Police Office programme.

And what of Peralta’s slump? Well, after he tries trading in an unsolved murder for one of Hitchcock’s no-brainers, he hits a dead-end and has to glumly watch Hitchcock hit a hot streak. He believes he’s cursed, and Holt gives him a data-entry job while the curse blows over. Which, of course, sends Peralta so perilously close to a coma that his brain ‘reboots’ itself and he cracks a case – which, of course, is what Holt thought would happen all along. Slump over, and Peralta twigs what we’d already suspected: he and Holt are becoming ‘homies’. And Gina’s been made Holt’s personal assistant over her own protests that she has ‘no talents’. Poor Santiago. What’s a girl got to do to win Holt’s approval?

Odds and sods

  • Love the cold open where the gang is discussing their favourite cop films. Of course Peralta’s is Die Hard: ‘Lone wolf cop heroically saving the day while everyone else stands and watches’? Of course Rosa’s is Robocop. Of course Charles’s is Turner and Hooch, with the tale of its unlikely friendship. And of course yogurt-loving musclebound Terry’s is Breathless. Although point docked for miscalling it as a Truffaut film rather than Godard.
    • Don’t know what to make of Santiago’s mishmash of choices, though: the Midwestern awkwardness of Fargo (with its underlying darkness) makes sense, but Training Day?
    • Wonder what Holt’s would be. I assume a painfully stilted instructional manual from the 1950s.
  • ‘Yes, sir. I will make better mouth.’ More UberDork Santiago! MOAR!
  • ‘Hitchcock, Boyle needs you to fill out a lineup.’ ‘Great! [unfastening tie] I’ll take my shirt off!’ ‘No-one asked you to take your shirt off. Stop volunteering to take your shirt off.’ ‘Can’t hear you. Shirt’s over my ears.’
  • [When Boyle brandishes ID indicating that an elderly lady is not who she was supposed to be] ‘Why was your hand in her back pocket?’ Ah, cops. Always asking the right questions.
  • ‘You had me at ‘no paperwork’.’ ‘That was the very end of the sentence.’
  • Terry’s plot has him reduced to tears while assembling a princess’s castle for his daughters. I love the blend of physical strength and tender family man the plot evokes. Plus, we get to watch Crews pleadingly ask what kind of castle has wheels.
  • Holt gets Peralta to rub a rabbit’s foot to break his jinx. When asked why, he responds that he was ‘messing wit’choo’.

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