Jake and Charles partner up with Damon Wayans, Jr.
Credit: John P. Fleenor/Fox

Nothing against Jake and Rosa (they broke up an illegal diamond ring and through emotional walls) or Jake and Amy (they can mix business with pleasure and mattresses), but Jake and Charles do make for an ideal detective team. Jake is the goofy alpha clownchild in their duo-dom; Charles proudly serves as his doofy, quirky hype man. Either can pull a save-the-day move out of his ass, either can totally botch it in a New York minute. But this week’s episode — which crackled and popped with laughs and energy — threw a wrench in the Nine-Nine’s primo partnership by introducing someone from the Nine-Eight: Stevie, Jake’s very first partner.

Played to winning effect by Damon Wayans Jr., Stevie arrived with a bunch of his co-workers from the Nine-Eight — the neighboring precinct that no one at the Nine-Nine liked — because a pipe burst in the Nine-Eight building and they needed a place to work, which resulted in them sharing desk space with our regulars. (The plot evoked the semi-similar conceit of Dopplegangers, the Parks and Recreation episode in which staffers in the Pawnee parks department met their counterparts from the more upscale Eagleton parks department.)

The playful reunion between old partners laid the foundation for a great reservoir of comedy: Jake and Stevie, overjoyed at the chance to relive fast times in badass flashbacks set to the Beastie Boys, juxtaposed against the threatened Charles, playing the “three’s a crowd” card, feeling like a left-behind third wheel, trying futilely to compete by bringing up his friendship with Jake (which didn’t boast the same highlight reel) and referencing his old partner (and by old, we mean that Charles had to help “The Coot” down the stairs). Indeed, it was “Swert!” versus “Noice!” all the way through the episode.

With Stevie joining Jake and Charles on a stakeout to bust a drug dealer that Stevie had been tracking, you knew that Charles would have to throw a penalty flag on Jake and Stevie’s rekindled bromance, but he actually had a very good reason to (besides jealousy): He realized that Stevie planted drugs in the apartment of the low-life suspect to save a botched mission. Jake ultimately saw the light, which led to an absurd, cramped quarters attempt at fist fight with Stevie, before it mutated into an all-out brawl between the two precincts. Stevie was ultimately arrested and brought to justice by Jake and his restored-to-glory partner, Charles (with all three singing “Unbreak My Heart” in the perp ride). The foolery of singing Toni Braxton together did undercut the severity of Stevie’s betrayal to Jake; there probably were darker jokes to make there. Also, the dirty-cop reveal positions this as more of a one-off and doesn’t set up a logical return visit for Stevie. That’s too bad, because the Beatsie Boys deserve another reunion, and Stevie would be a welcome addition to the roster of dip-in-and-out characters like the Pontiac Bandit and Wunch.

The episode’s related story lines involved the rest of the staff bemoaning and bitching about the invasion of the Nine-Eight staff on their turf, which led Amy, Rosa, Hitchcock, Scully — and, once his full-fat Greek yogurt had been violated, Terry, in a well-sold speech — to create a secret satellite office/society on the roof. From Rosa’s seething hatred of a nut named Ellen who likes to talk about juicing nuts, to Amy’s red-eyed irritation over her counterpart’s questionable therapy dog (“Fraud dog! Fraud dog!”), the vitriol was bubbling over in all sorts of amusing ways. Even Holt, who exhibited tremendous patience in being a gracious host by letting the other captain use and abuse his office, right down to the critical lumbar settings on his chair, finally had enough. During the inter-precinct throwdown, he surreptitiously sabotaged the radiator, rendering the Nine-Nine inhospitable, and forcing the Nine-Eight to seek alternate housing arrangements and the Nine-Nine to work in freezing conditions. Who would act so coldly? A man who secretly sent a precious wooden duck tumbling to its death, that’s who.

Maybe there was a repair kit in that 1970s-era mystery suitcase from the cold open? We’ll never know. (Seriously. What was in it?) Anyhow, it’s time to adjust the lumbar, tell Paul to shut up, crank up the sedan rock, learn how the game of basketball actually works and recap the best lines of “The 9-8.”

9. “Sarge! Take off your shirt! It’s restricting your movement!” —Gina, once again showing her lust for Terry during the brawl, when he had two guys in a headlock (Tie: “She also likes to look up recipes online and go, ‘Who’s got the time?’” —Rosa, with a perfect Midwestern accent, complaining about her Nine-Eight deskmate, Ellen)

8. “Don’t worry, sir, we will be cordial a.f. [pause] As Frasier. Love that show.” —Terry to Holt when he orders his troops to make the Nine-Eight feel welcome in the Nine-Nine

7. “So my spine will hurt a little. It’s only a highway holding all your body’s…. nerves.” —Holt to Gina, trying to hold on his bitterness about the fact that the Nine-Eight captain has taken over his office and is messing with his chair, specifically the lumbar

6. “Well, what about in The Lion King, hmm? When Jermon and Perboy become friends with Steambo?” —Jake to Charles when he says “Three’s a crowd,” because he doesn’t want to work with Stevie. (Tie: Charles’ response to Jake: “That’s not the names. It’s Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa. But I appreciate you trying. It really is the perfect analogy.”)

5. “Stevie and I were beat cops together. We called ourselves the Beatsie Boys and, yeah, it was as cool as it sounds.” —Jake to the precinct about his first-ever partner

4. “I know it’s crowded in there, and they’re not very considerate guests, and they took my mouse, and then they took my keyboard, and then they took the whole computer, and when I had nothing else to give… they came for my yogurt. No, not just any yogurt: full-fat Greek… With a touch of honey… That’s a once-a-week treat!” —Terry to Rosa and Amy, about the Nine-Eight visitors

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3. “Dammit! We wasted those cool lines on nothing! [pause] Also we blew the case. That’s obviously much worse. That was my first thought.” —Jake, after they tried to arrest a suspect with nothing on him with lines like Stevie’s “ I’ll have a martini with a twist. The twist? You’re under arrest” and Jake’s response: “None for me, I’m driving… you to jail”

2. “Okay, I once saw you use a ruler to measure another ruler.” —Gina to Holt when he claims to be easygoing, to which he replied, “It was off by half a centimeter. It never should have been in circulation.”

1. “No. But mirror-top coffee table, iguana cage, Samurai swords on the wall… Either this guy’s a drug dealer or he used Nic Cage’s interior designer.” —Jake to Charles after Charles said he didn’t find any anything in a suspect’s apartment

Episode Recaps

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A group of ragtag cops — led by Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) — run the 99th precinct of the NYPD.

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