The 99 thwarts their latest administrative antagonist with the help of three previous ones.
You can always tell when the end of the season is approaching on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s when the central antagonist, who is inevitably an authority figure who has beef with Captain Holt (Andre Braugher), makes a big swing at something that threatens to unmoor the happy harmony of the precinct.
In the case of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s season six finale, it’s the return of dastardly Commissioner Kelly. The character is on the cusp of wrapping up his first full year as the “Big Bad” of the series, following his attempt to squeeze out the squad back at the start of the season – a move that prompted Holt to crash Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero)’s honeymoon out of despair. Now Kelly is back with an even larger scheme, one that initially seems like a simple technological advancement (the kind created from a mad lib of buzzwords like “community relations” and “cost efficiencies”), but is, in reality, a much more nefarious plot.
It takes nearly the entire first episode of the two-part Brooklyn Nine-Nine season finale (and a random case) to get to the root of Kelly’s plot. Like so many other episodes, the case that Holt assigns Jake and Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) to work on is a bit of a MacGuffin, in that it doesn’t really matter who the serial killer is that is murdering young men and stealing their hearts. You can tell that the case hardly matters when director Matt Nodella and writer Justin Noble don’t even bother to include the names or faces of the victims, never mind a family member to interview.
Aside from a mildly amusing cameo from Tim Meadows – reprising his role as Caleb the Cannibal from the S5 opener when Jake was in jail – this is all mere fodder to get to the big double reveal at episode’s end.
The first is the revelation that Kelly’s supposedly public hotline app, HotClues, is actually wire-tapping software that he intends to use to create a The Dark Knight-esque police state. That reveal leads to the second twist, which is the return of a cadre of (super)villains in the form of Jake’s self-appointed “Suicide Squad”: the Vulture (Dean Winters), Madeline Wuntch (Kyra Sedgwick) and C.J. Stentley (Ken Marino).
It’s an embarrassment of riches as each of the three antagonists have an opportunity to play up their schtick in brief, but memorable ways.
Naturally the pay-off depends on your proclivity for each of these characters. Marino’s Stentley has seemingly become even stupider since we last saw him, but his buffoonery during Jake’s kidnapping plan plays off well against Amy’s disdain. The Vulture arguably has the least to do, but Winters makes the most of his limited time throwing a motorcycle helmet around and cracking gross sexual innuendos.
That leaves Sedgwick’s Wuntch, whose tête-à-tête with Holt dominates the second part of the finale. It’s a bit of a mixed bag in that their repartee of insults is frequently hilarious and ridiculous. At times, however, it also feels like “The Suicide Squad” is relying exclusively on the steady stream of banter to pad out the runtime and the comedy feels increasingly less fresh as the second episode progresses. It’s obvious that Braugher and Sedgwick relish the antagonism (and many of the quips are admittedly epic), but there’s so much of it that by the time they’re pretending to be lovers at the ball, it has bypassed comedy and moved into overkill.
Still, it’s hard to complain when there’s so much good stuff packed into the two episodes comprising Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s season finale. The second part, in particular, has a brisk pace and offers everyone in the cast a beat or two, including all three of the guest stars. Plus: the accompanying visual when Wuntch punts Holt down to traffic cop – a slow pull back to an extreme long shot, birds-eye view – is an all-timer.
- While Holt’s reaction to Jake’s prank in the opener is not out of character, the Squad’s concerned reactions feel a little out of whack considering that this episode literally follows the most recent installment of the Halloween Heist, which is more or less entirely comprised of pranks.
- With that said, I did appreciate that Holt was still laughing about it after the credits, making it seem like he’d been laughing about it in real time for several minutes.
- Considering that the male killer was killing “young” men, the coding of coroner Dr. Cox and Holt’s leather gimp mask, this pair of episodes has a lot of queer elements that don’t really go anywhere.
- Over the course of the season, I’ve come to realize that Terry Crews‘ Terry just isn’t my favourite character on the show. His “denial about being in denial” B-plot storyline about an impending transfer to Staten Island is a slog; the simple resolution in the 11th hour of the finale suggests that even the writers knew this was underwhelming.
- Of course, both Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) have murder basements that are perfect for filming kidnap videos.
- Little touches like The Vulture being friends with the Fyre festival guys is what helps solidify Brooklyn Nine-Nine as one of the best comedies on television.
- With this pair of finale episodes, that wraps up The Spool‘s coverage of season six of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Thanks for reading along this past season!
- Stephanie Beatriz‘s Rosa (brainstorming ways to cut cost): “We can stop paying the exterminator. We all have guns.”
- Rosa (retelling a woman’s story from a recent episode of Ellen): “It was inspirational as f*ck.”
- Boyle (when Jake mentions John Smith is a fake name): “From Pocahontas? As if!”
- Boyle (admitting he didn’t hear Holt say “sorry”): “I would remember if someone said my catchphrase.”
- Terry (discussing Bryan’s singing): “That’s American Idol, Amy! The Voice is purely a celebration of talent.”
- Holt: “What are you hoping for Wuntch? Revenge on Dorothy for killing your sister?”
- Boyle (when Jake refuses First Wives Club kidnap masks): “Just because you can’t be Keaton?! Grow up, Jake.”
- Holt (comparing the 50 Shades of Grey kidnapping masks with his): “At least you’re not wearing a Gimp mask.”
- Amy (when CJ spectacularly fails at assigning them Breakfast Club nicknames): “I’m not sure you’re nailing this.”
- Holt (introducing himself and Wuntch at a party): “Madeline and I are now…lovers.”