Brooklyn Nine-Nine 6x11 “The Therapist” Review
Since Season 1, Jake’s refusal to go to therapy (and even outright dismissal of the validity of therapy), despite the obvious lingering issues he has from being abandoned by his father as a kid, has been a recurring theme. In “The Therapist”, all of this finally comes to a head, as Jake comes to terms with why he’s been so resistant to receiving help for some of his past trauma.
For the most part, this episode handles the topic of mental health well; both Terry and Charles talk about how they regularly go to therapy, and Terry is astounded that Jake has never sought out a therapist after everything he’s been through. (To recap: Terry brings up how Jake was shot by Amy, held at gunpoint and forced to write his own suicide note by his ex-girlfriend’s ex-boss, sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and joined and gang and tried meth while at said prison. And that’s not even mentioning the time Jake spent in the mafia, or in witpro in Florida, or all the other traumatic stuff he’s exposed to just by being a cop.)
And although the episode does talk mental health — something EP Dan Goor promised they would do if the right opportunity presented itself — it’s not even the primary focus; the episode’s main plot revolves around a potential murder, after a therapist, Dr. William Tate calls in to say one of his patients, Susan Buckley has gone missing, and he’s worried her husband killed her after he received a worrying call from him.
Susan’s husband, James, mentioned doing something horrible to his wife in a park so that’s where Jake and Charles head, with Dr. Tate in tow. Jake’s hostility towards therapists is on display right from the start, as he compares the doctor to Hannibal and reacts angrily towards Dr. Tate’s mild questions. To Jake’s relief, Charles finds a body in the bushes, putting his conversation with the therapist on hold.
Now that they’ve found the victim, it’s time to track down her suspected killer. The search takes them to the couple’s apartment, which is unlocked, empty, and devoid of anything suspicious except for strange contemporary artwork featuring Jesus. Jake becomes suspicious of Dr. Tate when he’s able to immediately point out the location of a bathroom in an apartment he’s supposedly never been in before (in New York, the location of the bathroom is never obvious) but Charles just thinks Jake is letting his bias towards therapists get in the way of his detective instincts.
(Personally, I was fully on Jake’s side; I was suspicious of Dr. Tate ever since Jake mentioned that the only DNA found at the scene of the crime was of the three of them who discovered the body.)
After promising Charles he won’t go behind his back and break into the therapist’s office Jake...does exactly that. His misconduct (did he even stop to get a warrant?) pays off when he finds a notebook hidden in a filing cabinet filled with information about the dead woman and her currently missing husband.
Dr. Tate returns to the office as Jake is trying to sneak out and he finds himself taking refuge in a different therapist’s office to avoid being seen. Once there, he ends up pretending to be a man with multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder, as it’s more properly known) while he waits for Dr. Tate to leave.
This was the only part of the episode I felt weird about; while I feel like this bit was a chance to showcase Andy Samberg’s notoriously bad skill at accents, it came across as...disrespectful towards an actual mental illness, when this show usually has such nuance navigating around these topics. Since I don’t know much about dissociative identity disorder I’ll leave it at that but I feel like it could have been handled better.
Jake finally makes it back to his car, where he’s surprised by Dr. Tate, who’s been hiding in his backseat with a gun. The therapist admits to not only killing Susan but her husband as well, along with another couple several years back; in order to stall him, Jake ends up opening up about his problems with therapy: he’d gone to family counselling with his parents when he was a kid because he was acting up in class, but the sessions only brought attention to his parents’ problems, which eventually led to their divorce.
Jake blaming himself for his dad leaving makes a ton of sense not just in the context of this episode but in the context of the entire series, making it one of those well-earned reveals that’s less of a surprise to the audience than it is to Jake himself. I’m glad he had a breakthrough, and if he does choose to go forward with therapy sessions in the future I hope that’s something the show continues to address.
Before Dr. Tate can kill Jake, Charles shows up — Jake had managed to text him his location without looking at his phone. Kind of. (Actually he texted Amy a string of random characters, who forwarded the message onto Charles, who used “find my phone” to figure out Jake’s location.) So Jake got a free therapy session from a murderer who they have now successfully apprehended, win-win!
Back at the precinct, Captain Holt finds out the rest of the squad has already met Jocelyn, Rosa’s girlfriend — albeit unintentionally — and invites Rosa to bring her to dinner with him and Kevin on the weekend.
Can we talk for a moment about how far the relationship between these two has come? Going all the way back to Season 2 when Kevin wanted to have Rosa and her then-boyfriend, Marcus, over for dinner and Holt and Rosa conspired to stop their lives from becoming too entangled. Since then, the two have become a lot closer: Holt was one of the first people Rosa allowed herself to become vulnerable with when she went to him for advice during her breakup with Marcus; he convinced Rosa of her place within the Nine-Nine family when she tried to run away to Argentina; and he provides her with support, love, and understanding as the only other (out) LGBTQ+ cop in the precinct.
Rosa turns down Captain Holt’s request to have her and Jocelyn over for dinner, but not because she’s worried such an event will bring them uncomfortably close, as she was in Season 2. Now it’s because they are close, and her captain’s opinion matters so much that she’s afraid he won’t like her new girlfriend.
Rosa’s so worried about this that she goes to lengths to introduce Captain Holt to an actress she hired to play Jocelyn, so that she can gauge his reaction; when Holt realizes what’s going on, he’s understandably upset. While he thinks the reason Rosa won’t introduce him to Jocelyn is because she’s not as close to him as she is to the rest of the squad, it’s the opposite that’s actually true.
Captain Holt — and the audience — get a chance to meet Jocelyn for real, when she appears in the precinct break room and introduces herself to Holt through a bad joke that instantly endeared me to her. I don’t know if Jocelyn is Rosa’s forever-girl, but I hope she sticks around for a while.
Two episodes in a row now that Charles has mentioned doing couples activities with his dad. I realize his dad is going through a breakup, but what happened to Genevieve?! I miss her.
“It’s just that sometimes you can be...judgemental.” “What a stupid thing to say.” Never change, Captain Holt.
Holt’s conversation with Kevin about rice is adorable, when can Marc Evan Jackson guest star on the show again?
“Mentally ill people are much more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators” was a really nice line for them to just throw in there.
Charles’ tendency to be unconsciously sexual is one of my favourite things about him, please don’t take that away.
It was nice to get confirmation that Scully and Cindy Shatz are still going strong.
The brief kiss between Rosa and Jocelyn was the first kiss between a same-sex couple on this show (still waiting on Holt and Kevin); not only that, but it was a kiss between two LGBTQ+ characters portrayed by two LGBTQ+ actresses, which I think is pretty cool.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.