I can’t help but think of “Road Trip” as a nasty, beautiful little joke. The episode promises big changes and seemingly delivers on them: Amy breaks up with Teddy, Jake learns that Amy used to like him back. The romantic spark is hotter than it’s been in months. Jake and Amy drive back to Brooklyn together, the opportunity for a big moment gets set up… and then Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn’t pull the trigger. No, you can hear the writer room laughing, we’re having too much fun right now.
This season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has gone between episodes that swing for the fences—pulling in big-name guest stars (as in “USPIS” and “Sophia”) or staging elaborate sequels (as in “Halloween II”)—and ones that have just spent time hanging out with the crew (as in “The Mole” and “Lockdown”). “Road Trip” is an excellent example of why the episodes in the latter category have been a lot more fun than those in former. Because “Road Trip” looks like its going to be overambitious (see: Eva Longoria, introduction of a kooky/creepy B&B), but it ends up taking things slowly. This isn’t an episode about Teddy or his pilsners or Sophia and her strange willingness to rent a room full of dolls, it’s about Jake and Amy. And as much as you might want “Jake and Amy” to mean something “romantic-styles,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine isn’t done exploring the dynamics of a quirky, competitive, maybe-too-close friendship.
Anyway, Jake and Amy are supposed to go to said upstate bed and breakfast to manage a prisoner transfer. Jake has invited Sophia because he thinks the trip will be romantic. Jake invites Teddy because Amy has complained about how Teddy never does any romantic gestures (that don’t involve pilsner), and he thinks the trip will be romantic for them, too. Amy was planning to break up with Teddy later this week, and she is not happy to hear that he’s about to arrive. Now she doesn’t have time to finish drafting her break-up speech. Also, she’s not in her optimal break-up location: a well-lit Korean restaurant in midtown.
Jake convinces Sophia to help him help Amy. “You know what would be even more romantic?” he tells Sophia. “Hanging out fully clothed with two other people who have fallen out of love.” The three of them make a game plan for dinner, after which Amy can just pretend to be sick and escape. But despite the best laid plans, things at dinner devolve from worst-double-date-ever to here-are-four-people-who-do-not-like-each-other-right-now all before the kindly waitress can ask, “we having a good time?” Amy cracks and breaks up with Teddy, but she is so terrible at improvising that she manages to put the blame on his love of pilsners. Teddy reveals that he thinks Amy’s hung up on Jake and then leaves in frustration. Sophia realizes that Teddy’s right and also leaves. Amy and Jake realize they’re alone at the table with just their unresolved sexual tension to keep them company. They both leave.
After dinner, Jake apologizes to Sophia, who complains that “all this who likes who stuff is very high school.” But as Jake tells Amy in a chat in the car the next day, his penitence worked. Jake and Sophia are still together, which means that he and Amy are still just friends. Of course, that’s won’t stop Jake from making fun of Amy for having liked him—or stop Amy from making big doe eyes when she looks over at Jake. Then she tries to crash the car to get Jake to stop with the jokes. The moment’s gone.
In affairs notably less high school, Holt asks Boyle to teach him how to cook because he wants to make Kevin breakfast for their anniversary. Boyle’s super excited to teach Holt the ways of gastronomy, but Holt’s not interested in food at all. “If it were feasible, my diet would consist entirely of flavorless beige smoothies containing all the nutrients required by the human animal,” Andre Braugher intones with glee.
Boyle is usually Jake’s sidekick in Jake-and-Holt plots, but here he gets his own time with the captain. The pairing works. To try a cooking analogy, Joe Lo Truglio’s buttery mania plays well with Braugher’s flinty wit. We have Boyle’s description of how rotisserie chicken makes him want to crawl into his mother’s womb (in parody of the best scene in Ratatouille). We get Braugher on what it feels like to eat a PB&J: “I want a sandwich. I make a sandwich. I eat… a sandwich.” The two try to make scrambled eggs. They fight. Holt gives up. Finally, we have the resolution: After a night of reading Boyle’s blog for the purposes of scoffing, the captain sees meaning in his lessons. He decides to cook Kevin a croque monsieur in honor of an old anniversary trip to Paris and gives Boyle a spare, by way of apology. Boyle tries the sandwich. It’s perfect. “Now I know how Salieri felt.“
While everyone else is trying to deal with their feelings for other people and/or cook breakfast, Diaz tries to get a confession from a perp to nail down a possible Giggle Pig lead. Unfortunately, her terrible cold makes that nearly impossible, even if she claims that “Diazes don’t get sick.” Terry and Gina try to intervene, but she ignores them, relying instead on the feel-good high from an entire bottle of non-drowsy cold medicine.
There isn’t much to this plot—eventually, Terry gets a confession from the perp and Gina forces a get-well kit on Diaz—but it deserves recognition for sending Diaz zipping across the precinct floor in a cold medicine-induce haze. Stephanie Beatriz is game for pretty much anything, and her end-of-episode smile (“my immune system is too weak to fight off my smile muscles”) just made me want to watch Diaz get accidentally high again as soon as possible.
Other open investigations:
– Hitchcock’s first name is Michael. When she’s drugged up, Diaz thinks that’s a great name and that he’s a great detective.
– What we know about Sophia: She’s a defense attorney, she’s dating Jake, she sends nude photos and “doesn’t care about the cloud at all,” her idea of “pulling out all the stops” is slapping Jake at the dinner table. Also, she might have a thing for mid-2000s network dramas.
– What we know about Teddy: “All he wants to do right now is make and bottle pilsners.” “That guy is obsessed with yeast.”
– Boyle thinks “Twink Tucker” is a good name for a longshoreman.
– Holt’s endorsement for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: “Their components have a long shelf life, they’re cost effective, and they’re so simple a child could make them.”
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