Happy Birthday, Jake! Time to grow up!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 3: Episode 14: Karen Peralta: GRADE: B+
Maturity has always been the crux of development for Jake Peralta. He fit the leading man-child role many sitcoms tend to have and Samberg played it well while showing what a impressive detective Jake is as well. Jake has gone through major changes over the course of the show and we’ve touched on his childhood before via little touches like his friendship with Gina and the huge influence Die Hard has had on him, but we’ve only gotten one real big development through his dad last season in one of the show’s finest half-hours. Captain Roger Peralta was the apple of Jake’s eyes until he fully and finally saw his father for who he is and thus makes it understandable how Jake reacts to seeing Roger pop backup in his life as a birthday surprise when he though it would be celebrated with Amy and his mother, Karen, played by Katey Sagal.
It really is nice any time to see Katey Sagal as she is an actor that can really put herself into a role and she’s honestly a good fit here and she is a more low-key, but really believable chemistry and mutual affection with her and Andy Samberg that balances well with how high energy and the bigger personality that Bradley Whitford’s Roger is, but more significant is how Jake handles the situation. To be honest how Jake is portrayed in this episode is much better than one could expect. Karen’s optimism is a great counter to how Jake believes he can solve anything and things driving Roger off is really the best idea since Jake is someone who can’t really take another disappointment from him. Jake benefits from the deeper characterization here as we see another side of him in trying to protect his mother, a mentality he has about everyone he works with really. Which is why it does hurt for him to give his father yet another chance to be with his mother, despite knowing it could blow right up in his face and thankfully the anger he feels is nicely fit right into his goofiness. Jake’s willingness to do this for his mom shows that caring side of his.
Jake’s maturity this week also speaks volumes as to his relationship with Amy. A situation like this might also have Jake freaking out if he himself could become like his dad or what this could mean for him and Amy in negative ways, but again the maturity I spoke above of his mentality for those he loves prevents that and for the better. Jake and Amy have always had a great friendship, only now it involves more flirting and naked bodies. Amy even gets great laughs when she is thrown into defusing tension either faking constipation or awkwardly singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Plus her getting hot at Jake quizzing her at her desk seems perfectly in character.
Now whereas Jake’s step forward was entertaining, the subplots were some standard fair. First to get Boyle/Rosa/Terry who successfully apprehend a drug dealer and have concrete evidence via body cam, but Rosa accidentally sees Boyle naked when arrested. Its a small joke and while a nice one, its just an over extended one because naked people are still a comedy cornerstone and always will be. I mean the biggest laugh for me was the best objection ever from Boyle on the grounds that its his penis on the TV. Lets see SVU get that deep! But really body cams are a much bigger plot that the show could easily tackle.
Holt and Gina attend an apocalypse simulator/team building exercise thing and get joined by Hitchcock and Scully. This I’ll admit is the funnier of the subplots given it lends itself to some more jokes and feels far more fleshed out and lends itself to more than one joke with Andre Braugher still being the greatest gift of comedy right now and of course Gina, who rode into the precinct on a horse for her last birthday and I want a follow up on that!
While there were plenty of character development, hoverboards, vicious air humping, and nudity to go around, Brooklyn Nine-Nine this week can only stand strong on its main plot while the B and C-plots play catchup, but hey now that we have the Peralta family all here, next Thanksgiving episode?