Brooklyn NIne-Nine S01E11 Recap: "Christmas"

This week, it’s a sorta Merry Christmas at the Brooklyn Nine-Nine: brawling Santas, stalkers and an ass wound.

After beating up a couple brawling Santas and traumatizing on-looking children, Peralta is assigned to be Captain Holt’s protective detail in the light of the death threats he has been receiving. While Jake is busy annoying an uncooperative Holt with his protection tactics, Santiago can’t find a picture for her Christmas card in which Diaz in smiling- thus begins the epically boring quest to capture an elusive Diaz.

After tricking Holt into a Safe House and Holt reveals he is taking the threats more seriously than he led on, Peralta helps solve who is behind the death threats. Prideful Holt still refuses to accept help from his squad until Peralta changes his mind. With the whole crew on the case, they quickly locate the ‘The Freestyle Killer’ at a train yard. With help from Terry, the perp is apprehended but not before he fires his gun, shooting Boyle who took the bullets for Diaz.

This episode does a lot of interesting things. The roles of Peralta and Holt are reversed (albeit very transparently) save a personality transplant. Peralta continues to act immature but rationally in order to protect Holt who continues to appear levelheaded but is motivated by pride. It’s great to see Holt as a fallible human being who acts irresponsibly in trying to right past wrongs alone. It also speaks poorly of Holt that he would assume Peralta would shirk his responsibility to protect his Captain- though Peralta has selfish thoughts he cares for his squad.

The Boyle and Terry side-plots were entertaining. Joe Lo Truglio’s commitment to Charles’ sincerity is perfect in his plan for an 7 hour window to catch a flight. Also it’s nice to see some real consequences for the job even if they are treated with as much silliness as possible.

Terry continues to be a highlight, somehow Terry Crews is able to exaggerate trauma into comedy (thanks to some great writing). In many cases that could come off as offensive but Crews pulls it off so effortlessly you forget what he’s doing, playing a traumatized cop not ready for duty but feeling pressured to get out from behind his desk. His scenes with a psychologist are really amazing even if they keep it to sight gags and funny word association. All that matters is that it works.

Despite the good elements, the Christmas episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine was ultimately pretty boring. With the card, and the monotony of a safe house this episode drags and even shooting can’t really revive it. It feels like an asterisk to the whole episode, an afterthought. Even if it might artificially alter Boyle and Diaz’ relationship at the end of the episode I couldn’t help but feel like “who cares?”.

Notes & Quotes
• Does Amy Santiago like being hated? No one likes a try-hard. Especially Holt, the person she is trying to impress.
• [Charity Santas arguing over street corner] “Canine Diabetes, who cares about fat dogs?” “They can’t give themselves shots they’ve got paws!”
• “Hit ‘im in his fat cherry cheeks!”
• “And a very Merry Christmas to you Captain! Ho! Ho! Ho!” “The Captain has received a number of death threats.” “I really came in here with the wrong energy.”
• “Why would a death threat be a big deal? Oh that’s right because it threatens death.”
• Peralta’s excitement noises upon hearing he has control over Captain Holt sounds like another kind of excitement noise… that belongs in the bedroom… Sex. The last one sounded like an orgasm.
• “Think I’ll be safe if I get to the airport 5 hours early.” “5?! No wayyy! You gotta do 7. 7 minimum” “7, knew it.” As if Boyle had already considered leaving even earlier. Genius.
• When Terry said: “I don’t have time for that” my reaction was to say “Ain’t Nobody got time for that.” Because I have been brainwashed by Sweet Brown.
• “Why do you care what they think? Psychologists are just people that weren’t smart enough to be psychics.” Another Gina gem.
• View of Boyle in his butt-bandage diaper was soooo… I don’t have the words. The jokes about being shot in the butt were dumb, they should have been talking about how he was an overgrown baby.

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