“The Slump” is a bit of an unfortunate title for the third episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as it was the weakest episode thus far. However, it did give the show the opportunity to explore its supporting characters, and like Parks and Recreation, promises to be building up an ensemble of hilariously weird co-workers. The main plot of the episode focused on the surprising slump that Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) has found himself in. It turns out that the best detective in the precinct hasn’t been able to close a single one of his cases lately, and it’s starting to get to him.
Peralta gathers everyone together to collect suggestions for how to break his slump, but they are either unhelpful (get married… and then get divorced), impractical (finding a stranger in a hotel bar in Montreal and sleeping with them), or just plain impossible (10,000 situps). Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) suggests that he simply work a case until it’s solved, which Peralta of course dismisses off hand. He eventually gives Holt’s advice a go, but after a string of particularly miserable failures — including forgetting to check an elderly lady for her ID and busting a reported meth lab only to find out it was the apartment of an old man and his parakeets — Peralta comes to the conclusion that he’s cursed. The announcement is accompanied by a beautifully timed spray of water form a malfunctioning urinal, and Samberg plays the moment perfectly, defeat clearly written on his face.
When Peralta comes to Holt with this new development, Holt tells him about a guy from his old precinct, Smitty, who was so cursed that nobody ever wanted to work cases with him, and so he sticks Peralta on desk duty until the slump is over. He even goes so far as to give him a rabbit’s foot that Smitty recommended, and pops up at random intervals to remind Peralta to rub it for good luck. Braugher does a wonderful job of including the audience in the joke on Peralta, and proving that beneath his tough exterior, Holt has a great sense of humor. The monotony of desk work helps jog Peralta’s memory, and he manages to solve a case and break his slump — which, of course, was Holt’s plan all along.
However, the episode’s two sub-plots were the real highlights. Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) has been asked by Holt to head up the junior police officer program, and she forcibly recruits Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) to help her. Gina (Chelsea Peretti) offers her own assistance, but is rebuffed, and when she shows up to the meeting anyway to heckle Santiago and Diaz, she manages to steal everyone’s attention. Peretti really gets to shine, however, at the very end of the epsiode, when she performs a magnificently weird intrepretive dance to Christina Aiguilera’s “Beautiful” … for some reason.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews) spends most of the episode trying and failing to assemble a princess castle for his daughter’s birthday. It’s a joke that has been done so many times that it’s practically a sitcom staple, so it’s a testament to Crews’ delivery that he manages to make it the funniest part of the epsiode. Jeffords, along with Gina, is quickly becoming one of the funniest and interesting characters on the show, and it would be wonderful to see them develop a bigger presence.
– Gina’s favorite cop movie is Bad Boys, becuase it has “a hot cup of Tea Leoni”
– Jeffords enjoys playing his lineup character, Mean Terry, because he says what regular Terry is thinking: “I’m late for the farmer’s market!”
– Holt: “What did I tell you about doing voices?” Peralta: “I’m a storyteller, sir. It’s my craft.”
– Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio) keeps giving Peralta nicknames throughout the episode, the best of which is “Jake Hammer” and is accompanied by the appropriate sound effects.