*This article contains spoilers: Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 4 episode 15*
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is in the midst of an incredibly strong and consistently funny fourth season, and I’ve finished at least two or three episodes thinking “That may wind up a season-best.” Well, after last night’s episode (4.15, “The Last Ride”), there’s a new frontrunner. I might even say a series frontrunner or, at the very least, a series top five.
Right from the cold open, I knew we were in for a treat, as the setup of the episode had a ton of both comedic and emotional potential. Just as the characters made the most of what they thought was their last day working together, the team behind Nine-Nine made the most of the premise. If I were a casual viewer, I might have thought this was a milestone episode (a 100th or potential series finale); the first scene even had the kind of meta wink to workplace comedies—“There’s an inner circle?”—that writers usually save for big episodes.
Part of the episode’s strength was that it focused on the Nine-Nine’s best-matched and, usually, funniest pairings: Jake and Boyle, Amy and Holt, Rosa and Terry, the perennial Hitchcock and Scully, and, of course, Gina and her fans. Each couple handled the last day in completely different, but fully in-character, ways, proving yet again that the ensemble’s varied comedic stylings are the show’s greatest asset.
Though each pairing had a chance to shine, Jake and Boyle were the focus, and, naturally, they wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. They cracked one-liners—“Thanks for the heroin, hunky Jesus!”—, came up with crazy names for police maneuvers (see gif below), and commandeered the precinct’s entire artillery stash. I liked that Jake’s unrelenting optimism came through here; it was far more fun to have them stumble on a case to save the Nine-Nine than desperately trying to from the beginning. Plus, it left time for one of Boyle’s overly elaborate backstories, as well as Jake’s recurring Holt impression. It amuses me that “Holt” thinks of Jake with increasing fondness and respect every time he breaks it out.
Jake and Boyle’s friendship is so much of what makes Nine-Nine work; it’s equal parts kooky and heartfelt, just like the show itself. That’s why I also bought the funny, but inherently sweet moments between them in this episode, like the binocular crying or each of them hoping the other would get the perfect partner. Luckily, it didn’t come to that, as Jake made another one of his choices-that-wasn’t-really-a-choice by finishing out the case the right way instead of saving the precinct. Not surprising, but it’s always nice to be reminded that, despite his shenanigans, Jake is a great cop.
That’s another reason this episode worked so well: it spoke to the subtle changes in these characters over the last four years, as well as the impact they’ve had on each other. I’m sure Holt’s influence is a big part of the reason why Jake never even considered abandoning the case. And Jake’s influence on Holt is why he made the speech that he did, calling out Jake’s integrity and the benefit of camaraderie between co-workers. That’s something the folks of the Nine-Nine have shown him, mostly through their unquestioning acceptance.
Holt also got some great moments with Amy, as they teamed up to cram as much mentoring into one day as humanly possible, culminating in a truly delightful advice scene that included gems such as “Do not trust any child that chews bubble gum flavored bubble gum.” But, like with Jake and Boyle’s goodbye, the two also had a lovely, well-earned moment of sincerity in their final handshake. Serious kudos to Melissa Fumero and Andre Braugher for getting across their characters’ shared seriousness and affection for one another with one look.
Rosa and Terry’s storyline was similarly hilarious and sweet, both with the reveal that Hitchcock(?!) has solved more cases than anyone in the precinct, and Rosa reminding Terry that he’s had a hand in nearly all of the team’s solves. It used to be that both Holt and Rosa rarely had moments of softness; Holt’s aren’t all that rare anymore, but Rosa’s still feel special.
Finally, Gina playing the same prank over and over again was funnier than it had any right to be thanks to her commitment—the Amy triple prank—and the fact that she and her online squad ended up saving the day. Though, I think we can all agree that the full group spit take was her greatest accomplishment.
What did you think of “The Last Ride”? Let me know in the comments!
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