A fun, slightly meta A-plot is paired with some bland subplots on Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 4 Episode 14, “Serve & Protect.”
The friendship between Jake and Rosa is one of my favorite relationships on the show, and while this wasn’t their most hilarious case together, Jake’s enthusiasm and Rosa’s skepticism still made them the best pair to work together on this particular case.
Whenever TV characters head to the set of a fictional TV show, there’s bound to be some silly self-mockery, and “Serve & Protect” delivers just enough funny winks. The executive producer pokes fun at TV show writers, calling them awkward and saying they can’t talk to normal people much longer than a few minutes. Jake adds, “They’re probably all perverts.”
The TV show itself also pokes fun at cop dramas with the lead character’s absurd catchphrase (“rock, paper, scissors, or gun?”) and signature sitting-on-the-chair-backwards move.
Guest star Nathan Fillion gets just the right amount of screen time as the obnoxious star of the show, and his humor is perfectly used, from his “interrogation” of a P.A. to his casual confession when he realizes Jake and Rosa found the laptop in his car.
The episode also gives Jake and Rosa a sweet moment for their friendship when Rosa admits she’s worried they won’t be friends anymore if they don’t work together (just a week after Jake said he would literally forget who Amy was if he didn’t see her every day).
It’s always nice to get a glimpse of Rosa’s softer side, and her relationship with Jake tends to bring that out.
Compared to last week’s subplots, which had cocaine-fueled rats and injured Gina, the subplots on “Serve & Protect” feature far less action.
At the end of my review of “The Audit,” I said I thought the Nine-Nine had found a true adversary in Terry’s ex-girlfriend, Veronica Hopkins, but apparently I was wrong.
Veronica appears briefly at the beginning and end of the episode, but the squad doesn’t take her on directly. Instead they try to figure out what they’re going to do without actually involving her.
This leads to a B-plot that is mostly Terry, Gina, and Amy talking to each other in an interrogation room, and Holt and Boyle taking a trip to track down the deputy commissioner, who is on vacation.
The trio of Terry, Gina, and Amy has made for some entertaining subplots in the past (like their diet back in Season 1), but this one is a little underwhelming. It has its moments — like Amy’s attempt at “girl talk,” and Gina’s angry yogurt throw — but overall, it’s a bit dull.
It serves its purpose, since Terry realizes why Veronica is still holding a grudge about their relationship, but it seems like a shame to mostly have the squad talk about their worries about Veronica rather than actually seeing them interact with her.
Meanwhile, Holt and Boyle, who have also had some fun team-ups in the past, plan to sort-of blackmail the deputy commissioner into helping the Nine-Nine in another low-action subplot. The highlight is a conversation in which they try to determine the proper amount and placement of eyebrow raises to imply they know the deputy commissioner is cheating on his wife.
The conversation is a goofy mixture of physical comedy, Braugher’s incredible deadpan, and the overuse of the word “pump.” The joke overstays its welcome by maybe a few seconds, but it’s still the funniest part of the short C-plot.
I know I said last week’s B-plot was a bit too much, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine has had many B-plots that were solidly in the middle ground between rats-on-cocaine madness and this week’s blandness. All I want is something in that middle, and hopefully the show will get back to that happy medium soon.
What did you think of “Serve & Protect”? Share with us in the comments below!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX.
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