Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review: “Jake And Sophia” (Season 2, Episode 6)

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Amy often feels like the most well-realized character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Perhaps it is because the personality of an overachieving perfectionist aligns with those of the show’s writers, who probably had to work extra hard to make it into a network TV writers’ room. When Amy steps up to the podium to make a quick address at the episode’s end, we can feel the pride of many hard-fought school elections that are likely part of her (and the episode scribes’) back-story. Also, Fumero is priceless in her petrified running into the precinct during the cold open, one where the characters make a bet on where she – who never arrives after 9:00 am – could be. (“Maybe she fell into another dimension where she’s interesting,” quips Gina, who really has some bug in her about Amy.)

Unfortunately, two of the show’s problems this season continue to recur. Hitchcock and Scully are still weak caricatures, people that the writers think we can point and laugh at because of their office incompetence. However, any time they are the butt of a joke, it reveals the more juvenile instincts of the writers who would rather bully these characters than treat them as real people.

Scully’s mission to continue as the precinct’s union rep is a story that could have been used as a way to bring more insight into this punching bag of a character. Unfortunately, episode scribes Tricia McAlpin and David Phillips make his motive to hold the position a joke – something food-related – and ensure that he behaves foolishly in front of the office staff on more than one occasion in the episode.

Meanwhile, one had hoped that the unconvincing love affair between Gina and Boyle had come to a close last week, in a hilarious and somewhat heartfelt way. However, we still have to deal with the repercussions of their relationship. Both had originally planned to have a “luxury sex romp” at a prestigious New York hotel, and now since both cannot get out of the reservation, each wants the room to him or herself.

It was hard to complain with the execution of this storyline – especially when great character actors Stephen Root and Sandra Bernhard end up stealing the subplot during the closing credits as Boyle and Gina’s single parent, respectively. However, the longer this contrived subplot continues, the less it utilizes Lo Truglio and Perretti’s deft comic talents.

For an episode that begins with a discussion on the whereabouts of a character running behind, “Jake and Sophia” runs full speed ahead to become one of the zippiest episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to date. With three terrific guest star turns – Longoria feels well in her element as the slick, efficient Sophia – it gave us some new characters we hope will become part of the cast rotation. Meanwhile, another stellar turn from series MVP Andre Braugher, mostly delegated to twirling around his captain’s chair to avoid dealing with less-than-pressing office matters, helped the episode overcome some of its character deficiencies to be a solid half-hour.