It was the magical moment that Jake had been waiting for: Christmas Eve. Make that a hostage situation in a sealed-off building on Christmas Eve. This was his Die Hard — or at least the closest he probably would ever come to it — and he was going to make the most of this gift while trapped in a department store with Charles, Gina, and some shoppers held at gunpoint. That comedic conceit worked perfectly, resulting in more than a few laughs: We watched Jake, giddied-up at his chance to play John McClane, try to contort this situation into his all-time (and oft-referenced) favorite film and express disgust/disappointment when he discovered that the bad guys were Canadian instead of German and had names like Matt instead of Klaus. He was oblivious to the danger around him, right up until one of the robbers was about to straight-up shoot him, which he capped off delightfully with a nervous, off-kilter and absurd punchline (see below).
Charles and Gina had their moments to shine, too. First Jake and Charles gained the upper hand, albeit temporarily, by weaponizing prosthetic limbs and knocking out the criminals to the sounds of Onyx’s “Slam.” And then Charles took down the big baddie by crashing through the vent (John McClane would approve) and exclaiming “Yippie kayak, other buckets!” (John McClane would not approve). Jake’s decision to let Charles play hero here was appropriate karmic justice for forgetting to buy his uber-thoughtful friend a Christmas gift. Of course, given that this was a Die Hard-ened tribute, we received the bonus ending in which the bad guy still has one last unexpected fight in him, but Gina quickly subdued him with a makeshift flamethrower, thus saving the day/Christmas. (It’s what she does. Every. Damn. Year.) The only thing missing was Scully and/or Hitchcock in the underground parking garage, perhaps trying to open a bag of pork rinds and his hand slipping violently and accidentally knocking out one of the Canadian criminals holding him hostage.
Meanwhile, Terry, who considers himself more Lori Greiner than Barbara Corcoran, but also is kind of a Mr. Wonderful with all of his third-person references to himself, was just trying to get some peace and quiet — isn’t he always? — for the holiday but sprang back into action after receiving a call from Jake that was part “Help!” but mostly “Oh my god, the coolest thing is happening right now!” This begot a series of amusing exchanges between Terry (as McClane’s man-on-the-outside Al Powell) and the perpetual glory hound that is the Vulture (as cocksure deputy chief Dwayne T. Robinson), who was itching to send the SWAT team in for the kill, despite Terry’s rational pleas to let Jake advise from the inside. (One offensive comment too many finally landed the Vulture in a garbage can.) Alas, the other story line — which featured Holt and Rosa going for a polar plunge and Amy desperate to prove that she could “dunk her junk” — fell a bit flat and felt disjointed from the rest of the episode. It’s Christmas — your wish is to see the whole gang together as much as possible. Yes, having Holt, Rosa, and Amy off on their own chill thrill allowed Terry to demonstrate that he had captain characteristics (minus the trash-can stuffing); Holt would urge him at the end of the episode to take the lieutenant’s test as a stepping stone. But it would’ve been nice if these three could have been tied more into the department store adventure.
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Anyway, what’s a brother named Charles got to do to get a wet wipe around here? Let’s tell Ramon to stop farting, go to town on Daddy’s nog, make a toast to the sea with a glass of heart attack soda, take a dip in Lake Cocytus, liberally apply some Canyon Stank, shut our dumb poem mouths, and revisit the best lines of “Yippie Kayak.”
9. “Nonsense. It was just a lot of time and a lot of money.” —Charles to Jake after Jake says his presents were too much
8. “This one thinks July 18th is mid-July!” —Amy, scoffing to Holt after Rosa said Amy brought a blanket to a Mets game in mid-July
7. “Give that back to me!!! Are you serious??? I will end your career!!!! You’ll be out there working as a model because…well, you know, you’re shredded, and I respect that.” —The Vulture to Terry when Terry grabbed his walkie-talkie
6. “I’ll give him a chance to sit on his little white butt and wait for me to come rescue him. You tell him him that I’m Liam Neeson and he’s my hot, dumb daughter.” —The Vulture to Terry after Terry urges him to give Jake a chance to take down the burglars
5. “Oh, well. I always knew he would die of sadness.” —Gina to Jake after he said he forgot to get Charles a gift
4. “Oh my god — it’s real-life Die Hard! [realizing he sounds overexcited]…I mean, ‘Oh no! Crime.’ —Jake after Charles tells him that the robbers are sealing the exits
3. “Spoken like a true captain. Also you are in trouble. You’re suspended one week. But you’ve got a bright future. But I’ll need your badge and gun.” —Holt to Terry after Terry said that Jake and Charles deserve credit for taking down the robbers
2. “I don’t trust the way the Greeks dance.” —Charles to Jake, who responded “no one does” while they were quizzing the robbers on their nationality, tossing out German, Russian, North Korean, and Greek
1. “And that’s such a nice round number, wouldn’t you agree? I mean, imagine: ‘I’ve killed 11 people!’ It just sounds so…cumbersome! [nervous laughter]” —Jake to the bad guy who just boasted that he’s killed 10 people