‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ 5×21 Review: White Whales & Vindication

Like a beautiful phoenix rising from its ashes, like Jesus himself coming back to life after his death, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has resurfaced from its cancellation fate and brought back by our now true lord and savior, NBC.

Seriously, they have saved our collective asses.

Thanks are in order, NBC. The fandom had lost all hope when Hulu and Netflix passed on this underestimated ensemble comedy after FOX decided to cut its head off, and then you showed up, on a magnificent horse like some prince ready to save the princess in some old-fashioned not-too-feminist bedtime story, and rescued our squad from their deathly fate. They will now come back stronger than ever in the network that has brought us some of television’s best comedies ever.

Thank you, NBC. We are forever indebted to you. And I now forgive you for canceling Community. 

And as if Brooklyn Nine-Nine had been aware of it’s rollercoaster-like future where imminent cancellation awaited only for them to be reinstated a day later, “White Whale” came armed with the big guns, ready to give NBC yet another reason, if they needed one, to rescue them. Because, just in line with season five’s second half, “White Whale” brought the laughs, big time.

In a much awaited A storyline, Amy and Rosa go after their White Whale, a criminal that has escaped them for years and that they now have the chance to take down. While they hunt for them, a terrible secret Amy has been keeping comes to light, and Rosa isn’t sure she can forgive her for it. Meanwhile, Jake struggles to become a great husband as he tries to tackle everything that’s still left to be done for his wedding with Terry’s help, and Captain Holt is about to step down from the race for Commissioner.


If we were angry that “Gray Star Mutual” —the one with Amy taking down a perp while wearing a wedding dress, you know the one— tempted us with a Rosa and Amy storyline that could’ve enjoyed a much bigger presence in the episode, “White Whale” delivered everything we missed. Amy and Rosa team up to take down their ultimate enemy, and they’re given storyline preference and a damn awesome handshake.

The best thing wasn’t even the amount of screen time they were allowed, it was the fact that their plot was actually entertaining and enticing, and incredibly hilarious. Their case was worthy of their value as characters. The bad guy really was a threat and was constantly outsmarting them. It was their own Doug Judy, in a way, except with less singing and a lot more old people.

Source: Tumblr.

Plus, it was really funny. Melissa Fumero and Stephanie Beatriz constantly prove their deserved place in the ensemble, and they go as far as the gag needs to make it work. Seriously, the amount of work and thought they put into their performances and their choices is a pleasure to watch, and their strength and weight as two fierce Latinas is inspiring. It was hilarious to see them high-five —I wonder how many takes it took for them to nail it— or to see them play the “Senior Seduction” card while they’re dealing with the elderly.

That, and the writers blessed us with an incredibly random but somehow accurate backstory for Rosa in which she apparently went to med school and business school, and can pilot a plane. Honestly, we didn’t think Rosa could be any more badass, and then the show proved us wrong.

But if anything other than Amy literally jumping off a building has to be highlighted from this episode, it’s how it has managed to once again prove that feminine friendships are as complex as masculine ones, and that they need the same work as any relationship. Amy betrays Rosa’s trust by lying to her about letting Sergio escape, but the two are allowed to have a meaningful, mature, honest conversation about it to overcome this obstacle in their friendship. And to see two women be so sincere with each other and constantly have each other’s backs is marvelous.

Especially because it paralleled their awesome scene in season one.

Source: Tumblr.
Source: Tumblr.


Because the A storyline was so great, and because Jake Peralta is the number one supportive boyfriend and would have wanted us to feel this way, we didn’t mind him being relegated to a secondary position this episode. Needless to say, his storyline with Terry this week was as hilarious as any other one they’ve been involved in.

But there was true heart to it as well. The last two episodes of the show have shown us that Jake is truly worried about becoming someone’s husband, and even more so Amy Santiago’s husband, and Terry is precisely the best person to help him deal with his insecurities. During the entire episode, Jake busts his butt off to try and get everything done —an obscene amount of stuff, might I add— before the wedding next week.

Brief sidetrack: oh my God the wedding is literally happening next week!

Source: Tumblr.

Okay, back on track: Jake tries so hard to make Amy happy and to support her while she kicks ass in her own way, that no one has the slightest doubts about his capabilities as a husband, except, of course, himself. But Terry is right there to make him understand that the mere fact that he’s trying his hardest to make her happy already makes him a good husband. A damn good husband, in fact. Even if he spontaneously breaks into Dr. Seuss-style raps.

Actually, scratch that. Especially because he spontaneously breaks into Dr. Seuss-style raps.

The napkin picking scene was comedy gold. Terry’s ability to bring out Jake’s mutant-like gene to pick a beige colored napkin has got to be one of the funniest things this show has done, and watching Jake spiral into madness when he realizes not all beige tones are the same is yet another reason why NBC did well in rescuing the Nine-Nine while FOX let go of one of the best things it had.

No hard feelings though. No resentment whatsoever.

Anyway, Jake really did have to break two of the Sarge’s car windows for full dramatic effect like the dramatic bitch he is, and those cookies with Peraltiago’s faces in them looked amazing.

Anyone know where I can get some? They’re for a friend.


Perhaps the less developed of the episode’s three storylines, it still provided for great jokes and an already legendary scene with Gina and Charles —two of the show’s strongest comedy sources— whispering disses for Holt to use. Beside that, it demonstrated once again why Captain Holt is the kind of man everyone should aspire to be.

Him dropping out of the race for Commissioner just so a woman could finally take charge was as noble as it was admirable, and we could never really ask more from the Captain himself. But the heart-warming moment at the end where we realized Crawford had actually gracefully backed away from the race herself was oddly moving.

And please, we need to hear more of Holt’s incredibly correct and poignant trash talk. It makes for great deadpan humor that the show always thrives from.

Source: Tumblr.


Essentially, this episode, like the show’s entire fifth season, proved why FOX will regret letting it go as much as NBC regretted not picking it up in the first place, way back when. This is, frankly, one of the best shows out there, and we can trust it will now be in the best hands at their new home.

So, from the bottom of my heart and those of all of the fandom’s, once again, thank you NBC for bringing back the show that has continuously proved, and will undoubtedly continue to prove that to be funny you don’t have to be insulting or politically incorrect or overall mean and disgusting.

Source: Tumblr.

And thank you to the squad, who always makes it possible, and who we will continue to support through thick and thin.

Definitely not for the last time,


Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Sundays at 8.30/7.30c on FOX (for one more episode). 

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