Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns with a double of season 8 goodness in the form of “The Good Ones” and “The Lake House.” For months we’ve been waiting to see how this show would deal with the changing landscape that has swept the U.S., especially when it comes to police brutality, protests, and those that have been complacent when it comes to dangerous behavior inside the system. And as a white Latina, I can’t rant and rave about how they did such a great job. That isn’t my place. What I can say is that I saw an effort was made to not ignore how everything has changed.
A lot of that change was displayed in the relationship between Rosa and Jake. Rosa was sick and tired of seeing people like her being persecuted, jailed, killed, or a whole laundry list of things and sit by and do nothing. That isn’t the reason why we love this badass Latina. She put her money where her mouth is by quitting the NYPD. She wants to help, knows that the way she’s going to do so is away from the monster that she worked in, and she isn’t letting anything or anyone stopping her from doing what’s right.
Which, brings me to the topic of Jake. I’m glad that they took the time to show that he isn’t perfect without excusing him or his behavior. Rosa didn’t go, “Don’t worry Jake, you’re on of the good ones.” There are no “good ones” in this. What there is, is a system designed to oppress the very people they are meant to protect. And I feel like Brooklyn Nine-Nine was very conscious of that in the things they included in the episode and the things they didn’t. Because they understand that they are part of the problem.
I was especially hit by Andre Braugher’s performance in “The Good Ones.” He is the kind of talented actor that anyone would wish to work with and he absolutely got me thinking about his character’s reality as a Black gay man and how his experience is vastly different from mine or Amy’s. Brooklyn Nine-Nine didn’t spend time having Holt break down the intricacies of how police brutality has changed him. Because he doesn’t have, even for his Brooklyn Nine-Nine family. He expressed some concerns about Kevin, was straightforward, and wasn’t asked to break down his pain because that is Holt’s choice alone.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s transition to “The Lake House” didn’t conveniently forget that things have been strained with Holt and Kevin or that Rosa isn’t part of the NYPD anymore. Those things still exist even as they go about their day as family, friends, and coworkers. And it’s good for continuities sake but also for the show as a whole that they don’t just hit a topic, point at it and go, “See I did a good thing!” and then never talk about it again. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement is part of our daily lives, sometimes in forms of privilege like our fam who took the time to escape to “The Lake House” after a heavy episode in “The Good Ones.”
Admittedly, I really liked the tone they set in “The Lake House,” especially when it comes to Holt and Kevin. I’ve always thought of them as this unshakeable force of nature grounded in love. And them falling apart is proof that shit has been hard and it’s even hit power couples like Holt and Kevin. They aren’t immune to the world or hidden from it. They are human beings, just like the rest of us, and I’m glad they took the steps to finding their way back to each other because that’s how life is. And if they have to do couples therapy then so be it. Because when you love someone like these two love each other, it’s worth it.
That brings me to Jake and Amy. I really wish we got to see more of them in these two episodes but I did enjoy how they are having storylines with others on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and then coming back together as one. It’s proof that this show understands that you don’t stop being a person with interests and loved ones besides your immediate family when you have a baby. You’re still human. That’s why watching Amy and Boyle bond, especially when Amy was in fierce mom mode, mattered and why it was so much fun. The same thing could be said for Jake and Terry and Rosa and Scully.
I can’t write this Brooklyn Nine-Nine review without talking about the tension between Holt and Kevin in “The Lake House.” A lot of the tension was born out of miscommunication. There’s no denying that part. But the tension that I want to specifically focus on is their sexual tension. Them meeting in the hallway and eyeing each other in their shorts and turtleneck was some of the most intimate reactions to one another I have seen in my life. Even the way that Holt was describing the bird to Kevin had me going, “Is this hot? Because I feel like this is hot and I totally approve.”
“The Good Ones” and “The Lake House” goes to show you that Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t afraid to try new things, push new boundaries, and tell stories that have all the heart and then some. It’s what makes this show so special and why it will be missed when season 8 wraps up in a few short weeks.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC.