Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x19 "Bachelor/ette Party"
With Jake and Amy’s wedding now only a few weeks away, the squad takes a break from solving crime to celebrate their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. What results is a character-driven, lighthearted half-hour which is a pure joy to watch from start to finish; the squad is always at their best when they’re together, and although they’re split mainly into two groups, that doesn’t diminish the overall feel of the episode in the least.
Jake and Amy are both standouts (as they should be, as the episode focuses equally on both of them) — Amy, similar to Holt, is at her funniest when she is being either The Most Amy or The Least Amy, and in this episode she manages to be both; meanwhile, Jake’s adoration for anything related to Die Hard is as endearing as ever, and seeing the depth of his bond with Charles as well as him attempting to be the responsible one over both Holt and Terry is a treat.
And of course, Captain Holt has the ability to be the shining star in any storyline but especially so here, as we meet drunk/horny/party Holt (in a Kangol hat) for the first time. It reminded me a little bit of when we saw Holt with the mumps, and I’ll never stop being impressed with the myriad of ways they come up with to break Holt out of his robotic, emotionless demeanor without compromising his character.
The true focus of the “Bachelor” half of the episode is the friendship between Jake and Charles, with a Holt doing his best to be “one of the guys” and a hangry Terry (and later a very drunk Holt and a very drunk Terry) mostly along for the ride. Jake’s best-friendship with Charles has been a staple of the series since the beginning and has been one of the only relationships not to undergo some form of transmutation over the years, and I always enjoy when the show emphasizes just how much Jake loves Charles, even if he’s not as enthusiastic about displaying that love as Charles is.
Unfortunately, before we see this relationship at its best, we have to see Jake at his not-best. Selfishness has always been a core trait of Jake’s, and although he’s made leaps and bounds in this regard over the past couple of years, it’s perhaps not that surprising that Jake would ultimately go with Terry’s plan of skipping Charles’ elaborately-planned scavenger hunt (ten years in the making!) and cheating to find out where the endpoint is supposed to be, given the assumption that Charles won’t ever find out they didn’t do the hunt and thus won’t be hurt.
(What’s a little bit more surprising is how quickly Holt gave up the hunt to join Jake and Terry at a steak restaurant. Given his stiff moral compass and love of puzzles, I would have expected him to resist more, or insist on finishing the puzzle himself, but Holt fully commits to his “one of the boys” gimmick for the night.)
Of course, Charles does find out, because the scavenger hunt wasn’t so simple as them showing up at the final location with nothing to show for it; after realizing that they never completed the hunt (because drunk Holt is incapable of convincingly lying), Charles storms out, just as a slideshow portraying his and Jake’s friendship over the years ends on a photo of the two of them hugging, captioned with “24K GOLD BEST FRIEND EVER!” Ouch.
The kicker here is that, in his own way, Charles had planned the perfect party for Jake, proving just how well he knows him: on the boat, he provides steak and booze (which the others had already indulged in some hours before); throughout the course of the hunt Jake was supposed to meet Reginald VelJohnson of Die Hard fame; and the party was supposed to have ended with Charles presenting Jake with $3,200 worth of gold coins. The only thing missing from the party that Jake wanted to be there was Charles himself, who got “kidnapped” in the name of the hunt at the very beginning and went missing for six hours. This, perhaps, sadly speaks to Charles’ own perception of his place and importance in Jake’s life.
One thing Jake has always been good at, though, is recognizing when he has made a mistake and then doing everything in his power to fix it. Determined to go find Charles and apologize, who they figure out has gone to collect his $3,200 in gold coins that were never found (leading to a hilarious bit where the three drunk men get stuck in a loop of “How will we know where to find the coins? Charles will know! But how will we find Charles? He’ll be where the coins are!”), Jake, Terry, and Holt end up on the front step of Reginald VelJohnson’s apartment.
Jake is predictably starstruck but, when Reginald refuses to help him, decides to tarnish his image in the eyes of one of his heroes forever in the name of finding his best friend. (He does this by making a high-pitched screeching sound until Reginald agrees to help them just to get him to stop.) This earns him an enemy for life (Reginald also promises to tell Bruce Willis he sucks, something that hurts Jake immensely) but does lead him to Charles, where Jake is able to properly apologize.
This entire plot is somewhat cheekily summed up when Terry and Holt try to butt in on the private conversation between Jake and Charles, and Jake exasperatedly tells him that he’s not a part of this. Jake and Charles have a necessary heart-to-heart, wherein Charles reveals his fears that things will change between them once Jake’s married and Jake tells him that of course things will change, but they’ll always be best friends. This scene reminded me of how much Jake was afraid of things between him and Charles changing when Charles adopted Nikolaj before ultimately realizing that he had to accept it; Jake really has grown so much and I’m proud of him.
Amy’s bachelorette party is being hosted by her best friend, Kylie (kudos to Amy for being the only one to actually have a friend outside of the precinct). My favourite detail of the episode is that Hitchcock and Scully are a part of Amy’s party, because she lost a bet to Jake — “In hindsight, we should probably stop making major decisions through bets and competitions,” Amy says ruefully, but I heartily disagree. She and Jake are opposites in almost every way, but one aspect in which they are exactly the same is their competitive nature and the joy they take in showcasing that competitiveness through gambling. (In a way, their entire relationship started because of a bet.)
A game of “Never Have I Ever” quickly grows dull as everyone at the party realizes that Amy has never done anything indecent or against the rules (not even changing lanes without signalling) and while everyone else at the party is quickly getting drunk, Amy remains sober. To prove that she does have the ability to be “wild”, Amy reveals that she once had a one-night stand with the lead singer of a band — the band that played at Kylie’s wedding, in fact. Unfortunately, Kylie confesses that, not knowing this, she had told Jake to book that same band for Amy’s own wedding.
This episode is Amy at her absolute best, and unlike the bachelor party, where Holt and Terry are mainly bystanders in a Jake/Charles storyline, Rosa, Gina, and Kylie are all equally important in cheering Amy on and helping her get out of her contract with the wedding band. (Scully and Hitchcock leave Amy’s party early to go get Hitchcock’s stomach pumped, but even they ultimately play a role.) We see the full spectrum of Amy here, from someone who never agrees to the Terms & Conditions without reading them all the way through (come on, Amy, never?) to someone who accidentally ends up in a three month relationship with a one-night stand (remember what a hard time she had breaking up with Teddy?) to someone who eventually lets all her inhibitions go to somewhat disastrous effect (remember the time Amy destroyed the bar’s entire stock of liquor in a moment of impulsiveness?).
The evolution of Amy in this episode is believable because we’ve seen her at all points on the spectrum before, so watching her go from wide-eyed horror at the idea of destroying a legally-binding contract to burning that same contract while standing atop the bar and giving everyone free shots is a thing of beauty.
(Additionally, the idea that Jake would sign a contract without noticing that it contains a $15,000 cancellation clause is painfully reminiscent of the contract he signed with NutriBoom. I don’t suppose Amy will make that one go up in flames, too?)
I personally loved the use of Gina in this episode; Gina’s comedy usually comes from her barbs or from her straight-up absurdity, so to see that flipped in that the comedy is in the fact that she promised she wouldn’t say anything insulting was a nice change. I especially liked the touch at the end, when Gina is allowed to insult Amy once again and instead chooses to say something nice. And, continuing with the theme of last week, Rosa remained consistently supportive of Amy (even if she did occasionally roll her eyes).
The episode ends on a sweet moment between Amy and Jake, as the two groups meet up at the bar afterwards. Amy decides to tell Jake about her relationship with Constantine Kane, and Jake reveals that he already received a long voicemail about it. Unsurprisingly — but still refreshingly, given how often jealousy is utilized as a plot point on TV — Jake isn’t even remotely jealous of the man from Amy’s past, and even promises to never bring it up again. Although he can’t resist calling her “turtlebug”, just once.
The way this show handles Jake and Amy’s relationship is old hat by now, but I can’t understate how happy it makes me that it’s never once been used to stir up drama. Aside from the early arguments that derived naturally from the growing pains of a new relationship, never once has a facetious roadblock been thrown between these two with the threat of breaking them up, proving that it is possible to maintain audience interest in a couple without taking them on a constant emotional rollercoaster.
As is the nature of the show itself, Jake and Amy’s relationship focuses on the positive, the idealistic, the heartwarming aspects of life and love, and that’s what I enjoy most about returning to this world week after week.
Some fabulous callbacks this episode: Terry’s irrational anger when hungry, Boyle’s obsession with Diane Wiest, Jake and Amy’s love of bets, and Captain Holt’s use of a hat to change his personality.
Let’s not forget the nostalgic slideshow featuring photos of Charles, Jake, and Amy through the years!
“Title of your sextant tape.” “Ah, did not work at all but I loved that you attempted it, title of your sextant tape.” This joke just keeps evolving, I love it.
The whole gag with Terry as a nondescript background was hilarious. “I’m a neutral background, I’m huge!”
“Charles has to think we’re completely sober and we solved his puzzle. So, we good?” “Yep, I’m drunk as hell!”
The party boat is playing “All Night Long”, which was also Jake and Charles’ theme song when they were being the Night Boys last season.
Charles calling the hospital to get baby photos of Jake is a perfect example of how his devotion to Jake occasionally wanders into the creepy zone.
Pick your favourite Holt line from the episode (because there can never be just one): a) “Kevin got me quite horny this morning”; b) “It’ll be fine, I have an idea” *silence* “Why is everyone looking at me?”; c) “If Charles asks what’s wrong I’ll just put on a quick smile and say, ‘Nothing.’” (It’s impossible to capture his tone through text)
Love that Constantine just carries around his contract for Jake and Amy’s in his man purse.
Reginald: “You’re the jerk who didn’t show.” Jake: “You know who I am!” I adore Jake’s ability to blow past anything negative and focus on the positive.
“I’m Lucious Lyon, record executive at...Executive Records.”
“I’M WIIIIIILD!” Why is Amy the cutest?
It was confirmed today that FOX will be unveiling their 2018/2019 schedule on May 14, which means that's the day we'll hear news of a Season 6 renewal if we're getting one. Keep all your fingers...toes...eyes...crossed until then.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Sundays at 8:30/7:30c on FOX.