On the Thanksgiving episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine — appropriately titled "Thanksgiving" — Santiago is throwing a holiday dinner for the precinct in hopes of impressing Holt so that he will become her mentor. However, her plans are derailed when he is called away to find money that was stolen from the evidence locker, and Peralta, desperate to avoid Thanksgiving, decides to tag along. Meanwhile, Terry is desperately hungry after Boyle accidentally spoils all of his food. And Diaz? Well, she just wants to sit back and watch the trainwreck unfold.
As we say every week, the true joy of the show is the ensemble of incredibly weird, slightly insane characters, who make up the family of the Nine-Nine. A weird family, with two black dads, two Latina daughters, two white sons, Gina, and Scully as some sort of weird giant baby, but a family nonetheless. But as in every family, some characters earn our attention over the others, so who stole the show on last night's episode, "Thanksgiving"?
We have noted before that Captain Holt has spent the past few episodes in the background, while everyone else goes insane around him. However, it was worth waiting for Andre Braugher to step to the forefront in this episode, as "Thanksgiving" not only shows off his hilariously deadpan delivery, but also allows him to goof off a bit with Andy Samberg, and gives Holt the chance to step out of his comfort zone and become the wise, unsmiling Gerald Jimes, whose wife was killed by a man in a yellow sweater.
- Holt understands that it's not actually a pilgrim hat if it doesn't have a buckle.
- Holt calls his judge mother "Your Honor." When he later reveals that his parents weren't affectionate, Peralta correctly intuits that "Your Honor wasn't a big snuggler."
- Braugher's facial expressions are even better than usual this week, especially the slightly bug-eyed expression of disbelief that he aims at Peralta so often. We're convinced that if Brooklyn Nine-Nine ever made an episode where Holt had no lines, he would still manage to be hilarious on the basis of his reactions alone.
- The timing on the "punch it" gag in the car was impeccable, and the tiny smirk that Holt gives Peralta before finally hitting the gas is the perfect touch.
- Holt's decision to commit to the "Barley and Jimes" bit in order to break up a fight is unexpected and magnificent. Hopefully, when it comes time to submit Braugher for an Emmy, they choose to submit "Thanksgiving," because that speech is going to be hard to top.
- Holt has valid criticisms of Santiago's speech: "There are several compelling arguments, [and] the fonts suit the tone," although he did have to mark some passages "'awk' for awkward."
Sgt. Terry Jeffords
After a few episodes playing the straight man, Terry Crews gets a chance to let loose and go on a hunger-induced rampage. Between the screaming, pleading, and a great deal of physical comedy, Crews nailed Terry's desperation for food, and every scene he was in was better for it.
- Terry's lunch includes chicken, potatoes, pasta, meatballs, a whole ham, and several four-packs of yogurt. Terry loves yogurt.
- "No waiting, just toasting. I want you to toast. Now I want to eat toast. GIVE ME SOME TOAST!"
- Terry dancing on the security camera in the evidence locker is the night's best visual gag.
- On Amy's food: "I ate one string bean. It tasted like fish vomit. That was it for me."
- Crews nails every bit of physical comedy he was tasked with, from pouring the bucket of pretzels into his mouth, to stealing olives from the bar on the way out, to flipping over Scully in order to shake the food out of his pockets, to eating packing peanuts.
- When the group finally gets dinner, Terry threatens Scully with a fork: "Put that hand near me again and you will lose it."
Amy Santiago and Gina
Although Melissa Fumero has much more to do than Chelsea Peretti does this week, some of the episode's best moments happen when the two play off of each other. Santiago's desperate need to suck up to Holt mixed with Gina's inability to care about anything are perfect counterpoints. As this is one of the few pairings that Brooklyn Nine-Nine hasn't given its own plot line, we can only hope for more Santiago and Gina in the future.
- Gina, seeing Santiago happy: "Did you make the cover of Hair Pulled Back Magazine?"
- Santiago goes all out this episode, sending Holt a save-the-date decorative gourd, an ornamental cornucopia, and a handmade invitation in the shape of a turkey wearing a top hat. Her toast is eight pages, single-spaced and double sided — Santiago style.
- Santiago: "I like quilts." Gina: "Please stop. The end of your sentences just get sadder."
- Santiago made everyone brownies recently, which Gina thought were erasers.
- Gina's drink of choice is a Rough Night: tequila and a nicotine patch.
- Gina gave Holt Santiago's speech as a prank. "I'm happy it worked out, but I would have been happy if he hated it. But, I'm happy he didn't." That may be the sweetest thing Gina has said to anyone on this show.