We get another solid hour of comedy with two new episodes on Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8, and both of them prove that this show is still on top of its game with a perfect balance of humor and contemporary issues.
It should not surprise any of us that Brooklyn Nine-Nine can pull off this balance, considering that Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 Episode 4 is all about balance.
But first, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 Episode 3 picks up where we left off with the police union as the institution protects uniformed officers staging a walkout and faking an illness.
It is relieving to see that Brooklyn Nine-Nine continues the police reform plot instead of hanging it up after one episode. This time, the squad deals with an understaffed precinct since the uniformed officers staged a walkout, then claimed they contracted the “blue flu.”
The best part about this storyline was the satirical moments involving O’Sullivan, the police union president. O’Sullivan represents a “Blue/All Lives Matter” person, embodying every racist and dumb argument these people make.
You truly do not realize how ridiculous they sound until O’Sullivan appears on your screen. And while he makes us laugh the entire time, he is also an important reminder that hundreds of O’Sullivans exist in real life.
Scully: How is it possible that every single uniformed officer got sick at once?
Terry: They’re not actually sick. They aren’t allowed to strike, so they made up a medical excuse. It’s called a blue flu.
And while it is funny to watch them on a sitcom, they seriously defend police brutality and maintaining the status quo. They spread lies about the police reform and Black Lives Matter movements to keep policing the way it is, even though it endangers real lives.
This storyline comes to a head when O’Sullivan backs into a corner, forcing Holt to realize that even though he became a police officer to create real change, nothing has actually changed since he became a cop.
Of course, Holt broke many barriers as a gay Black officer, who eventually became captain and even a nominee for NYPD commissioner. But the backlash against the police reform and accountability movement has made Holt step back and realize the system has not changed since he became a cop.
It is heartbreaking to see Holt come to that realization because no one believes in change and progress more than he does. So, if Holt says the system has failed and nothing has improved, we know it is the truth.
For Holt to cave into O’Sullivan’s demands shows that he has exhausted every possibility and has no choice but to stand behind this broken and racist system. It seems that the NYPD is irrevocably irreparable.
But if anyone was going to find another way — or as Holt would say, a “fifth prong” — it would be the squad. And Charles’s existential crisis happens to inspire Holt.
Charles is at his best on “Blue Flu,” as he waits for potentially terrible news after a doctor’s appointment goes awry. Of course, his abnormally large and discolored testicle could mean just about anything. Still, Charles, known for going “full Boyle,” immediately assumes the worst and concludes he must have terminal cancer.
Although it is sad to see how negatively he reacted to this situation, it is precisely what makes him so funny and one of the highlights.
Charles is known for exaggerating and going from zero to one hundred in the nick of time, and although the premise was a bit dire, he still makes us laugh with his absurd conclusions, awkward phrases, and weird quirks. You could put Charles in any situation, and he would still make it hilarious.
Okay, well, I am scared that whatever’s in my testicle has spread and that I’m gonna die. And then I’ll never get to see Nikolaj grow up. And I won’t know what kind of man he becomes. Also, my time with you will be cut short. So, no more stakeouts, or drinks after a long shift, or midnight calls when you’ve had a breakthrough in a case. I’ve always had this image of us in our nineties hunting down criminals at the retirement home. But I guess that was just a dumb fantasy. Because soon I won’t be here anymore. Because I’ll be dead and gone, and you won’t ever see me again.
We are grateful that Charles inspires Holt on how to go about the blue flu while providing comedic relief at the same time.
When Holt initially draws his conclusions on the NYPD, he insists that he is a realist. And realism certainly comes into play on “Balancing” when Jake and Amy simultaneously struggle with working and parenting.
It certainly does not help when Mac’s daycare closes due to a lice outbreak, affecting Jake and Amy themselves. They have to learn the hard way that both working and parenting are enormous responsibilities, and it is physically impossible to get everything done.
Balancing work and children requires compromise and sacrifice. Jake and Amy do not have to sacrifice their entire careers, nor do they have to sacrifice spending time with Mac because they have each other.
Yes, Jake had to miss out on putting Johnny Franzia behind bars, his longtime arch-nemesis, and white whale. But it is worth it as he watches Mac pull himself up and stand on his own for the first time. And there will always be more white whales and arch-nemeses for Jake to take down in the future.
Likewise, Amy had to miss Mac’s incredible moment because she is responsible for presenting Holt’s police reform initiative at the One Police Plaza.
But in return, she received the green light for funding the initiative — reduce the number of uniformed officers at each precinct. And Amy will get to see Mac pull up and even be present for more of his firsts, such as walking or talking.
That is what balancing is all about. There will be small sacrifices in both work and parenting, but as co-parents, one of them will always be there for Mac. And as for working parents, one of them will always be able to finish a project. And there will always be more family moments and work projects in the future for both Jake and Amy.
It is a heartwarming moment between Jake and Amy, making us realize for the first time this season how much we will miss them when the show concludes in six more episodes.
Amy: Ugh, this sucks! You didn’t get to arrest Franzia; I didn’t get to see Mac pull up. I guess we really can’t do it all.
Jake: I don’t know. I mean, you got to do the work thing, and I got to do the parent thing, so together, we could do it all.
Of course, “Balancing” has its comedic moments. These include Holt and Rosa sneaking into Holt’s house to delete a nude photo from Kevin’s messages that Holt sent and Charles repeating everything Jake says over his earpiece — even when Mac has a dirty diaper.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine never falls short of its humor, always knowing how to balance it with storylines and sensitive subjects.
Jake: Amy! We know where Franzia is. We’re gonna go arrest him; I need you to take Mac.
Amy: No, you need to take Mac; I have to go right now!
Jake: So do I! What do we do?
Amy: I guess we could call that creepy babysitter you like so much.
Jake: The babysitter is Franzia!
Amy: Even better! Two birds with one stone, we bring him to you!
Jake: We’re not giving our baby to a serial killer!
Amy: OH, GROW UP!
Jake: COME ON!
Over to you, Fanatics!
What did you think of these two episodes? Do you think the change Holt seeks to make will be successful? What do you think of how Amy and Jake handled working and parenting simultaneously? What else are you looking forward to this season?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Sarah Novack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.