Brooklyn Nine-Nine: “The Jimmy Jab Games II” Is Fun for All

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Jimmy Jab Games IIa

Relationship growth, payback, office wagers, and even a Greatest Showman abound.

We are all the bearded lady.

The silliness of this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine somewhat overshadows what seems to be the seasonal arc: Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) are trying to start a family. Terry (Terry Crews), still filling in as captain, thinks this development qualifies Jake to be in charge of the Nine-Nine while he and Amy volunteer for an Administration seminar. But while we all know Jake can be an adult when the chips are down, he tends to chafe under any expectations.

On one hand, happy and excited at the prospect of fatherhood—and honestly so. On the other hand, he insists he’s still fun and immature. We all know different, though; between his marriage to Amy and the mentorship of Raymond Holt (Andre Brauer), Jake has flourished personally and professionally. He even seems not only eager but excited at the prospect of responsibility. However, Jake has a reputation to maintain, so with the squad on reserve parade duty, there’s only one thing for a mature, responsible leader to do. It’s time once again for the Jimmy Jab games!

Without Gina there to head things up, Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) steps into the role of host/Greatest Showman to his cast of freaks, complete with songs and dance routines. Boyle has to convince Officer Debbie Flogle (Vanessa Bayer) to take his place as a contestant and she barely gets to participate before she gets eliminated thanks to a handful of turkey cold cuts. Undaunted and full of the Broadway spirit, Boyle spends time in between costume changes giving her pep talks, which is all just buildup to the perfect final scene.

Boyle does such a great job of convincing Debbie that she can do anything. She masterfully makes off with a suitcase full of drugs and guns with the rest of the squad none the wiser. The payoff might have felt unearned if anyone other than Bayer played Debbie, but her goofy, slightly unhinged charm makes this turn feel plausible even if it’s a little rushed. 

Holt and Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz), meanwhile, are more competitive than usual, trading retorts and trying to garner sympathy over the treatment they’ve received for being queer. Rosa is her usual forthcoming self when Holt attempts to needle her over why she wants to win so badly until she finally admits that Jocelyn ended their relationship—and that she needs a day to listen to death metal and get her head right. Touchingly, Holt leaves the competition, and they go off to do just that.

Having Holt demoted to officer removes the barrier of authority that’s always been between himself and the members of the Nine-Nine, and that’s going to open up a lot of possibilities for his relationships with the squad. We saw it last week in conflict resolution—I don’t believe for a second that Captain Holt would unleash the way Officer Holt did—and now writer Vanessa Ramos shows us the flip-side of that. We get to see Holt being a friend to Rosa in a way he really couldn’t have seen before.

The payoff might have felt unearned if anyone other than Bayer played Debbie, but her goofy, slightly unhinged charm makes this turn feel plausible even if it’s a little rushed.

With Scully eliminated thanks to K9 Officer Frisbee and Amy sacrificing herself Armageddon-style, the games come down to Jake and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker), who struck a wager over the outcome. If Jake watched Supernatural, he’d know not to make deals with demons, but the prospect of having Hitchcock do his paperwork for a year was too tempting. That said, he confesses to Amy that the only reason he agreed was it would give him more time to help with the baby, so we can’t really blame him too much. Even his impulsive decisions are rooted in responsibility.

Thanks to Amy stabbing him with one of Debbie’s epi-pens, Jake claims the win (though not the circus) and keeps his sensible new sedan, which would have gone to Hitchcock if he’d lost. There’s the distinct to “The Jimmy Jab Games II” feeling that Jake is beginning to leave his old self behind with fatherhood approaching. More importantly, there’s the sense that the Jimmy Jab games were more of him trying to say goodbye to young, immature Jake and stepping into adulthood the way his own father never fully managed—much like the show itself.

Random Thoughts:

  • Based on Jake and Amy’s reactions to seeing Boyle without pants (“He really is the greatest showman!”), we can guess old Charles is packing some serious heat. 
  • I’m glad director Neil Campbell chose not to show Rosa at Drag Brunch since it would never live up to the image in my head. 
  • So the show is either setting Debbie up as the season villain or she’s decided to take the law into her own hands and is using the drugs and guns from evidence to find her sister’s killer. I’m personally hoping for villian solely because I want to see her as the Joker to Boyle’s “suave” Batman. 
  • Torrence from Bring It On is exactly the kind of role model I imagined for Jake. 
  • It’s only a little unbelievable that Amy wouldn’t understand Jake’s Armageddon reference, but maybe he doesn’t have as much love for that movie as he does for Die Hard.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Jimmy Jab Games II” Clip

Beau North

BEAU NORTH is the author of four books and contributor to multiple anthologies. Beau lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband. In her spare time, she is the co-host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast.

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