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Brooklyn Nine-Nine 6x02 “Hitchcock & Scully” Review

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 6x02 “Hitchcock & Scully” Review

What made Hitchcock and Scully become Hitchcock and Scully? Maybe it’s not a question you’ve ever asked yourself, but it’s a question the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, titled after the two questionable heroes, seeks to answer.

For two peripheral characters — who I always thought were the show’s take on the lazy, doughnut-eating pigs stereotype about cops — Scully and Hitchcock been steadily developed over the past few seasons, becoming something more than caricatures. More than once, we see their rusty detective skills put to good use, and the ease and speed with which they can solve a case when they choose to do so always shocks their younger counterparts.

It’s not that Hitchcock and Scully are bad cops. In fact, they were once very good cops (as of Season 4, Hitchcock held the precinct record for most arrests). It’s just that they’ve left those days behind and desire nothing more than to work from their desks and coast to retirement.

An episode focused around Hitchcock and Scully probably wouldn’t have worked in early seasons. It’s only because the seeds for their past have already been laid and their esteem in the eyes of the audience has gone up in recent years that it works now.

The premise for the meat of the episode is this: Scully receives a call from Internal Affairs regarding a closed case he and Hitchcock worked back in 1986. Fearing that this is a move by the new commissioner to dig up dirt on his squad as part of their ongoing battle, Captain Holt assigns Jake and Charles to look into the case as well, and make sure that the commissioner doesn’t manipulate the facts in order to discredit two of Holt’s detectives.

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For the first time, this pits members of the squad directly against each other (and it’s not even the only storyline of the episode to do so, but I’ll touch on that later). I think this show does best when it focuses on external conflict instead of internal squabbles, but there is so much to this storyline other than Jake and Charles vs Scully and Hitchcock that this time, the show pulls it off.

First: the juxtaposition of Young Hitchcock and Scully with Present Hitchcock and Scully. The casting of the younger counterparts of the two cops is perfect; between the mannerisms and the dialogue, it’s possible to see glimpses of the Hitchcock and Scully we’re familiar with in the hotshots, while still struggling to connect the young with the old. (Did anyone else have a minor existential crisis about the inevitable reality of aging? Just me?)

Setting Jake and Charles as the two cops on this case was extremely purposeful, I think — especially since Jake, at least, is still something of a young hotshot cop. In Young Hitchcock and Scully we see shades of Jake and Charles, which then leads us to thinking about what their own future looks like.

Second: this episode reminded me strongly of “House Mouses”, the Season 3 episode where Jake accidentally gives Hitchcock and Scully a case involving a huge drug ring, and he and Terry have to save them. Hitchcock and Scully may contain multitudes, as Jake himself observes, but they’re still...Hitchcock and Scully.

Briefly, Jake and Charles are led to believe that Hitchcock and Scully are actually bad guys (not a hard conclusion to come to, after being locked inside a smelly sex van), before learning that for the past 30 years they’ve actually been protecting one of their informants, Marissa — who works at Wing Slutz, Hitchcock and Scully’s favourite restaurant.

But Holt learns from the commissioner that Hitchcock and Scully aren’t actually under investigation by Internal Affairs — it was actually the drug boss whom they put away on that case 30 years ago who called Scully, fresh out of jail and looking to be led to the informant who put him there. (It isn’t hard to believe that Scully would fall for this ploy, since he’s previously fallen for at least twenty email scams.)

Hitchcock and Scully may have stolen a duffel bag of cash, but they gave it to their informant — who also happens to be the crime boss’s wife — since their captain at the time refused to put her in Witness Protection. They go to Wing Slutz so often because they have a code by which Marissa can let them know if she’s in trouble, but also because the wings are really good. They decide to strap buckets of “slut sauce” to their torsos in lieu of bulletproof vests, and then put their lives at risk taking a bullet for Marissa.

To repeat: Hitchcock and Scully contain multitudes, as does every other character on this show. The brilliant part of this episode is that the deep dive into their past doesn’t contradict anything we’ve been shown on screen in the five previous seasons, but rather enhances what was already there and gives the audience a deeper appreciation for these characters.

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I wasn’t as happy with the B-plot of this episode. With the fourth floor still overcrowded after the first floor of the precinct got shut down, Amy is together with her old squad once again — but now her allegiance has changed, as her loyalty is to her uniformed officers.

Tensions are running high due to the lack of space, reminiscent of the episode where the Nine-Nine is forced to share their precinct with the Nine-Eight — except this time, it’s Amy vs Terry and Rosa.

I mentioned above that I’m not a fan of conflict between the main characters on this show. In the A-plot it worked, because Jake and Charles were investigating a past version of Hitchcock and Scully and had to realize just how much of their past — and by extension, their present — they weren’t familiar with. In the B-plot, it comes off as more contrived, since it’s only been a matter of weeks since Amy was moved downstairs, and I don’t see her instantly going to war for her new squad against Terry and Rosa instead of working with them to find a solution for everybody.

And yeah, I get it, families fight, especially when pushed into crowded and stressful circumstances. But that doesn’t mean I like watching it.

At least there is a reconciliation at the end, as both Amy and Holt realize that there are things more important than the lines they’ve drawn in the sand, namely the lives of people they care about as they go to rescue Jake, Charles, Hitchcock, and Scully from their sticky situation.

For Holt, earlier in the episode he’d put aside the comfort of his squad for the sake of his war with the commissioner. In retaliation for the closing of the precinct’s first floor, Holt plans on doing an interview during which he’ll call out John Kelly’s “vigilant police” policy for the backwards and discriminatory policy it is. While Holt’s heart is doubtless in the right place, such an interview would only fan the flames.

Speaking of John Kelly, the commissioner himself shows up this episode, a grandfatherly looking man who speaks threats with a smile on his face. He makes the skin crawl, which was no doubt exactly the intention.

As much as I already hate him, I hope we see lots of him this season. It’s been awhile since Holt last had a nemesis, and his rivalry with Madeline Wuntch in Season 2 was absolutely one of the highlights of that season. Holt can throw down.

In the end, Holt misses his interview to rescue Jake & co. (Gina does it in his place, and is a disaster). A common theme in this show is that people are more important than ideals, which is a nice message, I think. (*cough* 800,000 unpaid federal workers.)

Holt also promises to stop allowing his squad to be collateral damage in his war with the commissioner, so hopefully things return to normal soon. I like seeing Amy back with the squad again, but not at the cost of her fighting with them.

Footnotes:

  • “You’re fake news! Sad!” “Yup, that’s the language of the innocent.” I gasped.

  • “I’m not an idiot just because I have a heart.” I love Charles, and I love his optimistic naivety. I’m glad the small subplot regarding Nikolaj’s half-brother had a happy ending, too; not only does it validate Charles’ optimism, but in a world where it’s hard to trust things you find online, it’s good to know that some people don’t have malevolent motives.

  • So can we expect to get at least one bleep an episode now? I can’t even decide which squad member I want to swear next. (Amy, because she’s well-known for using words like “frickin” and “hoot”? Holt, because it would absolutely shatter his emotionless facade? Rosa or Gina, because it wouldn’t feel the least out of character coming from either of them?)

  • “My wife and my dad are here!” 1) I love Jake calling Amy his wife. 2) I love Jake calling Holt his dad. 3) The smile and wave Amy gave Jake is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

  • “I do give a hoot. I give a hoot about all of you.” Unlike Jake, I dearly hope that this “hoot thing” continues all season.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.

Sam’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝.5

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