After some smooth sailing last week with the Pontiac Bandit on “The Cruise,” Brooklyn Nine-Nine dipped into its returning-guest-star pool again by bringing back one Peralta parent — but not before introducing the other one. Still glowing from her exchange of I-love-you’s with Jake, Amy dutifully readied herself to meet Karen Peralta (Katey Sagal, playing the mom that Jake proudly serves and protects, not to mention, a more docile one than on Married… With Children or Sons of Anarchy). But Amy wound up getting the full Peralta at Karen’s home on Jake’s birthday when Karen revealed that she had reunited with Roger (Bradley Whitford), Jake’s deadbeat pilot dad who flew back in (and out of) his life last season.
It was a nice touch to have Jake — who has wanted his father to play a bigger role in his life — try to shoo Roger away because he doesn’t want him back in his life in this role. It was illuminating to witness some of Jake’s damage from Roger destroying the family, sleeping with Karen’s best friend, Sheila, and just generally being a “leaving jerk.” And it was fun to watch Jake act out like an bitter, wounded, goofy manchild (see: his poor, angry performance during charades) before his mother (who got him his favorite kind of cake: blue!) explained to him that this was her decision (mistake?) to make. Still, there was something muted about Karen; I was rooting for a little more fire, light, or mischief from the maternal part of the family dynamic, the mother of Jake the jester.
While the episode entertainingly brought Jake’s parents together, it kept the rest of the cast apart. Charles, Rosa, and Terry strapped on body cameras and took down a drug dealer, with Charles going the extra mile and taking down his own pants. Quick recap: Rosa chased the dealer into the Vietnamese restaurant where Charles bought the pho that he spilled all over himself. That chase ended in the bathroom, where she found Charles naked, and then afraid that the disturbing footage would become a key part of the case. Which it did, and everyone got to see it. (“Objection!” “On what grounds?” “That’s… my penis?”) There’s an opportunity here, albeit a tricky one, to run more comedy through those (very topical) body cameras; perhaps a future episode will be told strictly through the lens(es) of the body cameras when the squad is forced to participate in a documentary or maybe there’s a story to unspool through different points of view, literally.
Meanwhile, in C-story land, Holt found himself trapped in a team-building exercise with the B-team — Hitchcock, Scully, and Gina. (Loved the revelation that Scully had to communicate with his father, a prisoner-of-war, via morse code; there’s a challenged father-son relationship.) But as this plot headed toward its conclusion — they found the four keys before the deadline-to-apocalypse expired, thus ending their incarceration — I was mostly thinking about how this could have served as the basis of an entertaining bottle episode if all of our characters had been there.
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And that, glorious turd monsters, is How Amy Met Jake’s Mother. What do you say we pour a glass of red wine on the rocks, eat some space dust, wonder about Jane Seymour, fall for 20 Nigerian scams, go to Vegas to insult Britney Spears backstage, and recap the best lines of “Karen Peralta”?
9. “I wouldn’t say I’m very good. I mean, deaf people — they’re the real talents.” —Amy to Jake and Karen, when he says that she’s very good at lip-reading
8. “All right, what I am about to say will make you very horny, but you have to try and remember that we’re still at work. Do you want me to quiz you?” —Jake to Amy (Tie: “It’s just a line, right?” —Rosa to Terry when she refers to his “stupid” kids and he declares that Cagney can draw a lower-case L.)
7. “Um, I’m intrigued by the phone. It looks like it would be fun to call a friend on it and talk about a third friend behind their back.” —Gina to Holt, when he asks the group who’s locked in the room what object catches their eye
6. “I’m not hungry… It’s a figure of speech. Obviously I’ll have some.” —Jake to Karen, when she says, “I got your favorite cake: blue,” after he expressed disappointment that she got back together with his father
5. “I used to be so good at meeting grownups. I’d just sing ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ flawlessly, and ride that wave ’til bathtime. But now, it’s anybody’s guess.” —Amy to Jake
4. “Sorry we’re late. Turns out the front door was a ‘push’ not a ‘pull.'” —Hitchcock to Holt, arriving to the team-building exercise out of the breath
3. “It’s fine. Things don’t burn down like they used to.” —Karen to Jake, when he’s concerned that there’s something on fire in the kitchen
2. “Is that a lot? All my friends are pilots. I’m on the low end of average.” —Roger to Jake, who is freaked out when he says that he has had sex with 400 women
1. “You got me the ’86 Mets??? Be warned: A lot of them turned out to be drug addicts, so this could be a bummer.” —Jake to Karen, when she says she got him a birthday surprise
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