Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: “The Takeback” Returns to the Familiar

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, "The Takeback" Craig Robinson & Andy Samberg in Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)

Holt settles back into the role he was meant for & a friendship is renewed in a episode that briefly steps away from the precinct.

This week’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Takeback,” sees a lot of return to form as Holt (Andre Braugher) is reinstated as Captain, Doug Judy (Craig Robinson) rekindles his friendship with Jake (Andy Samberg), and the Nine-Nine gets another short-lived third vending machine. 

Doug Judy’s upcoming nuptials serves as a callback to season five’s “The Negotiation” where Jake’s guilt over not telling Doug Judy about his upcoming wedding  puts the first noticeable strain in their zany cop/robber dynamic. This time it’s Doug Judy who is bound for the altar, and Jake finds himself hurt at being left out of the loop. To soothe his archnemesis/best friend, Doug Judy invites Jake to his bachelor party in Miami (courtesy of Mark Cuban’s private jet), but in order to blend in with the other groomsmen—all criminals—they have to invent a secret criminal identity for Jake. 

Episode writer Dewayne Perkins and director Michael McDonald understand that Jake Peralta and Doug Judy have always worked well as a duo because they are essentially the same person. Had each of them made slightly different choices in their lives, it would be easy to see their roles reversed (this is my plea that Schur and Goor take note and give us a It’s a Wonderful Life episode with Jake as the sassy, too-clever-for-his-own-good bandit and Doug Judy as the wisecracking detective who can’t helped being charmed). 

Things quickly fall apart as Jake’s real identity is nearly revealed by the butt-obsessed Trudy Judy (an always-delightful Nicole Byer) and Doug Judy’s other groomsmen rob a Russian oligarch staying in the same hotel. Jake agrees not to alert the authorities if they pull off a reverse heist (or “Takeback”) to return the stolen diamonds to the Russian’s safe. The heist goes off without a hitch, only for Jake to pull a last minute coup in calling the authorities from underneath Doug Judy’s rejected Shark Tank prototype, a noise-cancelling blanket called “The Smush Shush.” 

Episode writer Dewayne Perkins and director Michael McDonald understand that Jake Peralta and Doug Judy have always worked well as a duo because they are essentially the same person.

It’s a lot of fun getting to see Jake outwit Doug Judy for once, but the payoff really comes when it’s revealed that the whole weekend was a setup in order to get the criminals off the board for Doug’s wedding. “Catherine, my fiancée, doesn’t want any of my crook friends coming to the wedding. She’s a Federal judge, how would that look?” What’s more, Doug not only invites Jake and Amy (Melissa Fumero) to his wedding, he asks Jake via pottery to be his best man. 

While Jake is off in Miami cosplaying Jason Mraz/Tom Green, Terry (Terry Crews) is fraught over throwing away a business card on Holt’s desk he mistook for trash. It’s not fear that has Terry frantically trying to reproduce the card’s exact replica, but the chance to make everything perfect for Holt’s return as Captain. In the end it’s not the card that matters to Holt, or the wad of chewed bubble gum stuck to the front, but the message on the back from a man who he failed to help, a message that has motivated Raymond Holt to be a better cop for many years. With Rosa’s (Stephanie Beatriz) help, Terry manages to remind Holt that while there may have been some failures, there have been a lot more successes. Still, it’s fun to watch Rosa and Terry try to live up to Holt’s exacting standards, and it’s a huge relief to have him in a position of authority once more. 

The C-plot of replacing the vending machine felt a little tacked-on, but it was fun watching Amy fully step into the role formerly occupied by Terry as the hyper-competent but chronically over-it sergeant of the Nine-Nine, and gamely agreeing to hear pitches on new machines from Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) and Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker). Thankfully, Boyle’s pitch for a Fish Ball machine did not win Amy over, but the pizza cooking vending machine was as short-lived as you might expect. The third vending machine is becoming as much of a recurring gag as Doug Judy, after all, so it makes sense that this episode would include both. 

While there still hasn’t been a clear arc established this season beyond Jake and Amy’s plans to become parents and Holt’s return to rank, it was a nice sidestep away from the precinct for a short time, even if there were only fourteen butts. 

Random Thoughts:

  • I never want to hear Hitchcock say the words “make it wet gravy feature” ever again. 
  • Trudy Judy’s insistence that “Sometimes things are lessons, sometimes things are just messed up facts” is played for laughs, but has been a subtle recurring theme on Brooklyn Nine-Nine from the beginning. We’ve seen it with Rosa’s coming out, flashbacks of the cruelty Holt suffered in the early days of his career, Terry being profiled by a fellow N.Y.P.D. officer and Amy’s fertility struggles. Sometimes there’s no lesson. Sometimes there’s no comfort. Sometimes things are just messed up facts. 
  • The constant need for Jake and Doug Judy to break into song is one of the hallmarks of their friendship, and this episode is no different as we’re treated not only to New Edition, but a two-part rendition of Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat’s “Opposites Attract.”
  • I would watch Reverse Heist, or any movie with the tagline “This summer, there ARE takebacks!” 
  • O-Town was a little after my time so I can neither confirm nor deny that they were “the hardest boy band.” 
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