Florida. It’s full of hot weather. Oranges. Grandparents. Creepy crime. Hanging chads. Probably some dudes named Chad who like to hang out.
It’s also a great place to set your NYPD cop comedy, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine proved in its season 4 premiere, which turned out to be 30 minutes of fun in the sun. The show, which unspooled a serialized story about mob boss Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis in the final third of last season, closed out that run of episodes on a high note: Jake, Holt, and company took down Figgis’ mafia empire (minus the at-large Figgis, plus tainted FBI agent/Holt clone Bob Anderson), but in the finale’s final seconds, Jake received a death-threated phone call from Figgis. Our last shot (a crane shot!) was of Holt and Jake living the suburban life as neighbors — and as Greg and Larry — in witness protection in Coral Palms, Florida.
“Coral Palms Pt. 1” didn’t just pick up the action in the Sunshine State six months later, as we might expect — it stayed there. The two-hander treat never updated us on our fellow Nine-Niners back in NYC. Somewhat similar to Last Man on Earth’s season 2 midseason premiere, which focused solely on the quirky journey of Phil’s brother Mike, this episode managed to break a bit of form while retaining the dignity-versus-doofy DNA the show excels at via the Holt-Jake dynamic.
To find Holt working at Frank’s Fun Zone — his impeccable leadership skills wasting away as a low-level employee at a go-kart arcade, under the chill watch of Taylor (Samberg’s Lonely Island pal Jorma Taccone), who thinks Holt is a stoner — was pure fish-out-of-water pleasure. To see him hunger for a promotion there? Even better. As was seeing him try to pass himself off as a straight widower in his regular power-walking group (led by Rhea Perlman’s yenta Estelle). And to discover Jake was secretly plotting a Figgis takedown in a storage facility may not have been much of a surprise, but his inability to adapt to this new life as well as Holt (see: the sobbing Jacuzzi-burrito incident) was a nice one. Did we mention their contact to the outside world — U.S. Marshal Haas, at your self-serious service — was played by Samberg’s SNL pal Maya Rudolph? The guest stars — including Big Time in Hollywood, FL‘s Betsy Sodaro as the trashy viral-video shooter — would not stop popping. (And more are to come.)
The plot snaked through Holt’s discovery and seizure of Jake’s operation (he insisted to Jake, semi-plausibly, that they were not to get involved while the Feds did their work); Jake retaliated by taking Holt’s promotion at work (management style: “Don’t-nobody-ask-me-about-what’s-in-my-cup, we-ain’t-gonna-have-no-problems”) and hazing him until he gave back the Figgis file. This included infiltrating his new friend base (“Oh, go to hell, Larry! That’s my walking group!”), naming him Mr. Fart, forcing him to be DJ B-Day (“De De De Derek” was a highlight), and making him dress as a corn dog. This led to a goofy accident on the go-kart track that was filmed by a trashy bystander, who threatened to make it viral and (unknowingly) potentially blow their cover.
Thus began an amusing recovery operation, which along the way revealed that Holt has some kind of tattoo. He exacted revenge on Jake by revealing none of the details. The episode wrapped not on a punchline but on a declarative, hell-yeah note, after Holt — energized by their cop work — came around to Jake’s line of thinking that it was time to ditch this stinking armpit of a state. “It’s Holt. Captain Raymond Holt,” he announced, reclaiming his identity after Jake called him Greg. “Now come and get us, Figgis.”
NEXT: “She was such a strong female woman…with nice heavy breasts.”
Is it time to hop on our Ikura Bee-Otch 5000s, install some sinks in the bathroom, discuss an issue with our shared fence, and recap the best lines of the “Coral Palms Pt. 1”? It squirtainly is. To our casual wear closets!
9. “Sarah Jessica Parker, man! God, it’s like you want to die!” —U.S. Marshal Haas, after she says “Pop quiz, Larry. Who’s the female lead in Failure to Launch?” And Jake says “Kate Hudson?”
8. “Stands to reason. Classic film. One of my childhood favorites. And it only gets overtly transphobic at the very end, so a win.” —Jake, after learning Dan Marino High’s sports teams are called the Pet Detectives instead of Dolphins because of Marino’s cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
7. “I sell ATVs now, huh? Well, the truth is these little babies sell themselves. They’re super fun, and they’re a lot safer than you might think…if you’re standing next to one. If you’re driving it, it’s actually much more dangerous than you could possibly imagine. —Jake to Holt (Runner-up ATV quote: “I’ve ridden ATVs before, antiquing…in the Berkshires!” —Holt to Jake after he tries to tell him where the ignition is before peeling out.)
6. “Judging by the empty beer cans, the fur, the pornography, and the claw marks, I’d say a homeless man and a raccoon. The exact nature of their relationship is still revealing itself.” —Holt to Jake, after he asks Holt what’s living in this hole on the mini-golf course.
5. “You know, I’m still getting over the tragic loss of my wife. She was such a strong female woman…with nice heavy breasts.” —A pretending-to-be-straight Holt to power-walking group leader Estelle. (Tied with: “Probably her breasts. Which are heavier than average. I don’t mean to be crude, ladies, but that’s just how the straight mind works.” —Holt to walking group after Estelle asks what her son sees in his wife.)
4. “I don’t care about you. A great viral video like that could fetch me 10 grand. And do you know what type of tanning bed I can get for that kind of money? A mid-range one.” —Viral video shooter Jordan to Jake, after he pleaded with her not to release the video lest they lose their jobs.
3. “Carly will be the first to go.” —Holt, muttering to self after he says “Good morning, Carly, Tammy. Looks like you’re keeping the machines running smoothly” to which Carly eye-rolls a “Whatever.”
2. “No, it’s okay. It’s been like this since I broke it playing football in high school… Fine, I petted a horse too hard.” —Jake to Holt after Holt expresses concern over his injured wrist.
1. “Not necessary. Your tan is great as is. You look like…an evenly stained deck.” —Holt to Jordan after her tanning-bed comment.