Alas, it is not. Without quite the amount of time needed to get Charles and Jake to leer into each other and then resolve their working relationship in a way that did not feel rushed, this strong story felt compressed for time . One wishes this plot had gone deeper; nevertheless, even with just a solid execution, “Stakeout” was still one of the funniest episodes of the season.
Interestingly, the two subplots also dealt with disintegrating office relationships, although neither had quite the stunning resonance as Jake and Charles’ embittered falling out. Amy and Gina find out that Terry has been drawing a picture book for his daughters, but are horrified when they discover the insect creations in it resemble them, in looks and unflattering characterization. Amy considers the cricket based off her to be a pushover, while the “stone-cold bitch” junebug that looks like Gina insults the precinct administrator.
This subplot seems a bit silly when looked at in hindsight. Regardless, the comedic timing of Gina and Amy’s squabble with Terry brought a sharpness and urgency to the proceedings. Meanwhile, the close bonding between two of the office’s least compatible characters, Gina and Amy, worked as a nice counterpart to the breaking apart happening on the stakeout miles away.
Another story that felt a bit shoehorned into an already packed episode involved Rosa’s crush on Cpt. Holt’s 31-year-old nephew, Marcus (Nick Cannon). This subplot featured a lot of nervous energy, due to her eagerness to be in a relationship and Holt’s surprise at Rosa’s interest in Marcus. The awkward pacing of the scenes in this subplot worked both for and against it. Since Rosa and Cpt. Holt are usually so stern and upfront about their feelings, watching them navigate the tricky road of office gossip and, later, him returning her a brassiere in a paper bag from her one night stand at his home was a refreshing change of pace.
On the other hand, the episode’s chief guest star – not to be confused with the episode’s guest star playing the deputy chief, Kyra Sedgwick – stuck out against the more polished ensemble. While the Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast has figured out how to recite the speedy dialogue in a way that feels natural, Cannon’s lines felt rushed, as if he was trying to keep up with the pace but didn’t know how to adjust to the casual rhythms of the cast.
Unlike Cpt. Holt’s brainstorming about a zinger to take down snooty Deputy Chief Wuntch, though, the one-liners came with zip this week. “Stakeout” is certainly one of the FOX comedy’s funniest episodes, filled with offbeat and hilarious situations. (Highlights: Jake and Charles booing Terry for being a “muffin guy,” the Captain’s giddy smile in the cold open, Gina’s curt mention of Rosa’s sexual affections for Marcus.) Brooklyn Nine-Nine could always try to experiment with structure and form every once in a while, but it is still, at its core, a top-tier character-driven sitcom, with one of the highest laugh-per-minute ratios on television.