Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been the big winner for me among new shows so far this Fall. It seems assured of its voice at an early age and I was surprised to find that there isn’t a dud in its cast of characters. I like everyone here and they have great chemistry with each other thus far. Last night’s episode “The Vulture” featured much of what has been great so far about Brooklyn Nine-Nine with the help of two funny guest spots.
The titular vulture is a concept that we are all familiar with. Whether it is in fantasy football, playing a video game online or even a class project, we’ve all encountered the vulture. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s version of this classic paradigm comes in the form of Major Case’s Detective Pembroke who loves to swoop in and finish cases at the last moment stealing the thunder from the officers of New York’s 99th Precinct. Dean Winters is an inspired casting choice and Pembroke’s bravado and overall schtick are a good fit for the former “Beeper King.” This show has done wonders with quick flashback scenes (like everyone trying to read the Captain in last week’s installment) and they bring us one of this episode’s funniest sequences depicting Pembroke coming in to take everyone’s glory.
Not only is Winters great in the role, but his character gives the cast a great chance to work together which brings us a lot of laughs. There was Rosa’s odd attraction to the vulture. There was them all trying to come up with revenge plans. And then the reenactments of the crime at the scene. Between his reactions to Rosa’s crush to his vengeance schemes to a well-played bit of physical comedy in the garbage chute (“This is the best moment of my life!”), Joe Lo Truglio’s Detective Boyle really shined throughout this plotline.
The B-plot with Captain Holt, Sergeant Jeffords and Gina was equally entertaining for me. Jeffords has been stuck at a desk since an “incident” lost him his gun certification (another fun use of the show’s flashback mechanic showed said incident highlighted by Peralta going to grab the candy after the sergeant shot up the piñata). Under the ruse of getting help with his shooting skills, Holt tricks Jeffords into getting recertified. It was fun to see both Gina and the captain’s technique for pushing Jeffords back towards shooting. Just as good was him freaking out before making his final shot, my favorite of which was him trying to delay things with a retelling of Top Gun. Overall it was a great side plot for the three of these characters. Now re-certified, I’m hoping we see Sergeant Jeffords get out in the field a bit more as there are plenty of laughs to mine from Crews in that environment.
Other great bits from this episode:
- Pembroke’s line about finishing a case: “The last 2% is the hardest to get. That’s why they leave it in the milk.” I hope we see Winters reprise his role now and again as the series continues.
- I knew about Dean Winters’ guest spot before watching, but was pleasantly surprised by Andy Richter’s brief appearance and his novel idea was another hilarious moment in this week’s episode.
- Andre Braugher continues to do great work with dry humor. His response to Boyle’s explanation of why they call Pembroke the vulture: “Yes Boyle I put that together… from context.”
- Peretti’s Gina continues to be my favorite character on the show. At the range with gun in hand: “Hold on, my nose itches.” Later when asked whether she has a hair dryer in her purse: “Of course, I’m not an animal.”
It isn’t a surprise that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is my favorite new comedy this fall. The creators and cast made that likely. What I am surprised at is that I’ve been enjoying it more than returning favorites like Modern Family and Parks and Rec so far this season. It’s become one of the highlights of my television week. Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t the cleverest comedy around, but it makes me laugh on such a regular basis, that that doesn’t matter much. “The Vulture” continued a great streak of opening episodes for the young series with two great plotlines and a quality guest appearance. I’m looking forward to seeing how this series continues to grow over time.