‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Recap: Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg Are Better Together (Season 1, Episode 2)

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After a solid pilot got Brooklyn Nine-Nine off to a good start, the gang returns to solve some more crimes as comedically as possible in the series’ second episode, “The Tagger.” While there aren’t quite as many laugh-out-loud moments as there were in the pilot, both Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher as Jake Peralta and Captain Holt, respectively, proved that these two are ready to become a perfectly dysfunctional team. 

In the cold open, which is arguably the funniest part of the episode, Peralta arrives three minutes late, ready to be berated by Holt. Braugher’s comedic timing in this scene is perfect, and the frustrated disbelief with which he delivers Peralta’s list of infringements is a perfect touch. However, the show definitely needs to provide more evidence for the claim that Peralta is the best detective in the precinct — between his sloppy case files and the mouse in his desk, it’s starting to get a bit unbelievable. 

The episode centers around two crimes: Holt and Peralta will take on the titular tagger, who is spray painting wieners on squad cars, and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) and Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) are on the hunt for missing drugs. The drug-related B-plot gets its proper dose of wackiness courtesy of Gina (Chelsea Peretti), who brings in her “psychic”/shoe saleswoman friend to offer some assistance. Much of the humor comes from Boyle’s manic quest to prove the psychic wrong, but not even Lo Truglio, who was a standout in the pilot, can’t keep our attention from straying back to Peralta and Holt. 

Meanwhile, everyone’s new favorite Odd Couple is staking out the vandal in Sargent Jeffords’ (Terry Crews) minivan. Peralta shows up late, of course, undercover as “Harvey Norgenbloom, recently divorced father of two with a dark sexual secret,”  in a outfit complete with khaki shorts and “man sandals”. Although Samberg and Braugher have excellent chemistry, the constant lectures about Peralta taking his job seriously start to weigh down the episode. However, Holt lays out a clear challenge for Peralta: if every single part of his job is done perfectly, he will once again be unsupervised in the field. 

Things really get going once the two manage to apprehend the vandal, who turns out to be the son of the Deputy Police Commissioner, leaving Peralta to decide between putting his career in danger and letting a criminal go. The decision is made for him when the Commissioner arrives to pick up his son and declare that everything is out of his hands, but Peralta’s not ready to let it go so easily. After all, he spent all that time on writing up the perfect report — an hour on fonts alone! And so, after talking it over with Holt, the two decide to arrest the kid, which results in the Commissioner declaring that he is prepared to make their lives very difficult, and setting up a conflict that is sure to rear its head later in the season. Personally, we’re hoping he gets a catchphrase as awesome as “You’ve just been Jammed.”

Episode Highlights:
– Holt shows Peralta two pictures, one of his locker and one of a dumpster in the Philippines, and Peralta is unable to tell which is which. (Spoiler: they’re both his locker.)
– The mouse in Peralta’s desk is named “Algernon.”
– Jeffords’ repeated declaration that SUVs are dangerous because “They roll! They roll!”
– Peralta loses a man sandal while chasing after the vandal, causing him to hop along after Holt. 
– After the commissioner’s kid claims he is several hundred years old because he’s “a Highlander”, Perlata replies, “I’m going to put that in, and then they’re going to try you as an adult Highlander.”
– “Gina, could you look up the humidity and also what moon cycle we’re in?” “No.” “Thanks, Gina.” 
– In the episode’s best visual gag, Peralta’s report has an “About the Author” section, featuring a picture of Samberg in a black turtleneck. 

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