Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review: “Lockdown” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Jake Peralta is the captain now, but he is so pre-occupied with tending to the potential anthrax scare at the precinct – one that has put the staff, sans Terry and Cpt. Holt, on lockdown – that he doesn’t even have time to catch the reference to Captain Phillips the first time. Even though this could have been a bottle episode of the FOX comedy, the proceedings are loose, just as Jake would like it. The problem is, just because it is the way Jake would have preferred things does not mean that “Lockdown” is a full-fledged success as Brooklyn Nine-Nine half-hours go.

Of all the members of the Group of Seven, Jake is the easiest one to tire of. Now in command over the precinct during Thanksgiving – sorry, Turkey Day – Jake gets yet another opportunity to reassure the captain that he can be responsible… and then fails on the most basic leadership skills. When Boyle discovers a box filled with mysterious powder in the workplace, Jake panics. The entire 99th precinct shuts down as the Hazmat suits come in to investigate the space. Despite his decision to calm the hectic workplace by playing Sade, Jake is far from a smooth operator when it comes to mending a calamity. A talent show can only help a biohazard investigation so much.

Strangely, the dozens of characters present – including locked-up criminals, lawyers and everyday office workers that each get from Jake their own clique nickname – are not told to move to another place, but stay in the main office space. One wishes that Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s ensemble had the chance to coop up together in a small space for a bottle episode like the ones Community does every season. Instead, we have a scattered half-hour where Jake is called once again to deal with a crisis, ends up enlisting Amy as his aide to help put out literal and figurative fires, and finally impresses Cpt. Holt with his charisma.

Since Jake takes everything as a competition – he even has to one-up Amy on how he expresses condolences for the passing of Cpt. Holt’s uncle in the cold open – it is not surprising that he treats his time at the office more as a game show host than an authority figure. Instead of keeping the office calm and informing them of updates to the inspection, which Amy would have done without hesitation, he decides to distract the people present with games, movies (Something’s Gotta Give may not be the best entertainment, despite Rosa’s glowing recommendation) and food. However, Jake is unable to delegate responsibly and does not know how to manage an overwhelming batch of requests for ordinary folks upset to be trapped in Brooklyn during a holiday.