Holiday episodes are a sitcom staple and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first foray into the tradition is definitely a successful one. The simply named “Halloween” has the gang working on the holiday. The main plot finds Peralta trying to show off his smarts to the Captain. After taking in someone attempting to rob a bank in a banana suit (which featured a great cutaway flashback with banana puns of course), Peralta is telling his fellow detectives how he’d make an excellent criminal. Holt isn’t buying it which leads to Jake making a bet over whether he can steal the Captain’s Medal of Valor by midnight. This leads to a string of seemingly awful attempts to abscond with the Medal throughout the episode which was worth a lot of laughs. I especially loved his attempt with the pidgeons which led to this exchange: “But if we’re talking about who’s holding more birds, I’m winning four-nothing,” “You’re only holding two.” I suspected throughout that Peralta’s terrible missteps might just be distractions, but that didn’t make seeing it play out any less fun. Seeing Jake explain his “End Game” in a classic criminal mastermind sort of way was a great capper for this plot and employed yet another great use of the show’s flashback mechanic. While the big theft attempts may have been the most obvious bits of humor, I liked some of the more subtle bits throughout this story like the fact that Holt keeps his sandwich in the safe or the running joke about Peralta’s lack of chess knowledge.
One of the reasons the main plot was so good is that Peralta and Holt work so well together. Matching Samberg’s outlandishness against Braugher’s deadpan has been something the show has utilized since the start and it shines again here. The B-plots don’t work quite as well as the main one this week, but one thing I really liked about them was the atypical pairings they used. Over the course of the series, we will probably see every possible pairing we can plenty of times, but as of now these two both seemed a little different which helped give them a unique feel. The Boyle-Santiago plot was right out of the classic holiday playbook. Someone loves the holiday (Boyle), someone hates it (Santiago), but the former totally turns the latter around on it (to some extent at least). And despite being something we’ve all seen before, it still had its share of laughs and the ending didn’t come off as too overly saccharine to me either. The Diaz-Jeffords pairing produced quite a few great moments itself as the Sergeant tried to dig into Diaz’s mysterious past a bit. I really liked when she used Royal Baby #3 to say “Worse” one last time.
More great bits from this episode:
- My favorite joke of the episode was the running gag about the names of Santiago’s sex tapes: Kind, Sober and Fully-Dressed; I’m Sorry About Tonight; It’s Not Your Fault, I Was Terrible; It Was Slightly Less Unbearable With You.
- Other than seeing Peralta’s scheme play out, my favorite flashback of the week was the montage of Boyle saying Jake was the best.
- After complaining about girls dressing in slutty costumes, Santiago asks “Who wants to have sex with a tree?” Scully responds: “Was it a maple?”
- Gina was kind of pushed to the periphery tonight, but still had a couple of good lines like “Well how am I supposed to get it into that garbage can” and her and Peralta realizing they share a mutual friend in Natasha whose dog has lupus.
I love a good holiday episode especially Halloween-themed eps since I’m so fond of that day. Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s first Halloween episode isn’t going to join the pantheon of great sitcom episodes for the spooky holiday, but it was a winner of an ep nonetheless and continues what I think has been the best start for a comedy in recent memory.