Brooklyn Nine Nine
S1, E10: ‘Thanksgiving’
‘MY WIFE WAS MURDERED BY A MAN IN A YELLOW SWEATER’
The precinct, all holed up in a small flat making increasingly desperate small-talk? Must be the holidays.
Santiago has invited the precinct down to her straight-out-of-Murder She Wrote-set flat for Thanksgiving. Jackets and ties, a formal spread, and toasts. Of course, it’s all elaborate set-dressing for yet another spirited attempt from Santiago to get Holt to notice her and tell her she’s his favourite. And of course it all goes awry. Just as Santiago is about to whip out her eight-paged, single-spaced, double-sided Ode To Holt, he gets called away. And Peralta – all too eager to get out of Thanksgiving celebrations – decamps with him. That leaves only the rest of the gang, including a starving and distinctly menacing Terry. Too bad Santiago’s an epically terrible cook. And even when she tries to channel Peralta (because of course she’s noticed that the manchild is tucked away safe under Daddy Holt’s wing, as usual), Santiago’s native awkwardness gets in the way. She wrecks the bar, and the gang is kicked out with poor Terry remaining unfed. And not even Scully’s secret stash of food back at the precinct can save them. The rats have gotten at them (how about that shot of Santiago pulling a gun at them?).
In the meantime, Peralta is putting the kibosh on Thanksgiving with his usual manic fervour. He feeds a stone-faced Holt elaborate cover stories, and then watches, nearly exploding with suppressed glee, as Holt slips into the cover at a pivotal moment. But when the case is done and Holt presses him to go celebrate with the rest of the gang, Peralta unbends with possibly the weakest strand of the episode: his sad childhood Thanksgivings with his father vanished and his mother working. Holt reminds him that adults can create a new family, and leaves him to chew on that.
Because Holt has some parenting to do. Gina’s handed him a copy of the speech Santiago couldn’t deliver, and he’s given her grave, measured praise, along with feedback on awkward phrasing. And as he walks away, Santiago punches the air. All she ever wanted from Holt was for him to mentor her, and guess what just happened?
And what about the rest of the family? Well, our irrepressible foodie Boyle orders in a playful riff on Thanksgiving themes, and Terry – at long last – gets his nutrients. And Peralta shows up – in jacket and tie, no less! – to deliver a heartfelt vote of thanks to his strange, perfect little family.
Okay, so yes, it’s schmaltzy. And yes, its not-terribly original message is telegraphed noisily and repeatedly. Shush. B99’s earnestness is very much part of its charm.
Odds and sods
- Cold open razzing Charles again, this time beautifully uniting his love of festivals, his not-at-all-infectious love of catchphrases, and his foodieness.
- Scully likes being held upside-down by Terry and shaken.
- ‘Where’s the buckle, Santiago?’ I can’t figure out if Holt enjoys tormenting Santiago, or if he just expects impeccable attention to detail from the Olympic Gold Medallist in Apple-Polishing. I like to think it’s the latter.
- My God, though, Santiago is perfection in this episode. From her array of escalating reminders/invitations to Holt, to her eight-paged, single-spaced, double-sided ode to him, to calling him beautiful…..I had to pause every time to cringe my skin inside out, but I was magnificent.
- ‘Hitchcock, why do you have your shirt off?’ ‘Can’t spill on your shirt if you’re not wearing one.’ Solid logic, Hitchcock.