Plot: Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) returns from a successful undercover run as mafia underling, however there’s one guy who’s gotten away and Jake and Charles (Joe Lo Truglio) go undercover to catch him. Gina (Chelsea Peretti) is dreading the fact Charles will most likely spill the beans about the two of them having sex six months ago, she prepares for the worst. Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) has Jeffords (Terry Crews) drilling Santiago (Melissa Fumero) and Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) on handling some impossibly challenging people who might come into the station.
There’s a fear that looms over a sitcom during its season premiere. The fear is one, simple question — “Is it still funny?”
Last season Brooklyn Nine-Nine was hands down one of the funniest shows to debut last season and we’ll say it, one of the funniest shows on television last season, period. Yet, it wasn’t without warts. When the series returned in February after a brilliant first half, it felt rushed, sloppy and the brilliance of its 2013 run was dulled by forced storylines like the Peralta’s puppy dog feelings for Santiago.
So, when B99 returned for its second season, there was legit concern that the series would continue down this less funny, more traditional sitcom path. And frankly, that would suck.
Luckily, Brookyln Nine-Nine’s second season premiere, “Undercover” was a return to 2013 form — it was fun, weird, random and it took your breath away with laughter.
The plot to the premiere is pretty inconsequential as standard with most B99 episodes because the series is more about the interaction between the characters than what actually happens in the world of Brooklyn’s finest precinct. However, kudos to the show for getting comedy it-girl Jenny Slate on the show with a brief, but fantastic cameo.
The driving force of tonight’s episode is Charles and Jake teaming up for the first time in over six months. The chemistry between Lo Truglio and Samberg is probably the best part of the entire series. Both are bumbling fools, but Jake just happens to be infinitely cooler than Charles by the mere fact that he isn’t Charles. The scene where Charles blacks out and beats Jake up as part of being undercover was truly the moment of the night particularly when he ended the beat down with “There’s more where that came from because I have a really wet mouth.” It’s one of those weird, random moments the show has become known for and I’m glad they went that weird place this early in the season.
However, you can’t overlook the national treasure that is Terry Crews on this show. His performance as Jeffords has always been one of the highlights of the series (his meltdown over building his daughter’s a castle was classic – “Why are their wheels!!!”) and tonight was no exception. His portrayal of different, difficult members of society who might come in to report a crime, were just gold. His sassy prostitute and old, senile grandmother were funny but when he was a seven-year-old, that’s when Terry Crews shined. His temper tantrums, including destroying the Lego castle was tear-inducing good. Santiago’s reaction was priceless and totally sold the entire scene.
We weren’t given a whole lot of Holt tonight, which is slightly disappointing, but then again, we can’t have everything in the first episode (although his scene with Jeffords about smiling was classic). However, with the addition of Kyra Sedgwick as NYPD brass who had the hots for Holt could prove to be an amazing addition to the show.
“Undercover” does a great job of erasing any initial fears one might have about the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to the air. The chemistry between the characters is still there, the weird random silliness of the show is still intact and the show is moving forward in terms of plot and character development and not spinning its wheels doing the same old, same old.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Bill Bodkin is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. He can be read weekly on Trailer Tuesday and Singles Party, weekly reviews on Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal, Law & Order: SVU and regular contributions throughout the week with reviews and interviews. His goal is to write 500 stories this year. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English and currently works in the world of political polling. He’s the reason there’s so much wrestling on the site and is beyond excited to be a Dad this coming December. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom