“Defense Rests” is an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that sees its characters take risks on people — with varying degrees of success.
Wuntch is back, and in a surprising turn, she needs Holt’s help. After counseling from Rosa, he decides to give it to her. He takes the high road, giving her a good recommendation if only to get her out of New York. He’s shocked when he then finds out that what his recommendation really did was give her a promotion within the NYPD.
Wuntch, it seems, isn’t over. Even if Holt did get revenge by autocorrecting her own name to ‘butt’ on her computer. It’ll be good to have Kyra Sedgwick sticking around New York for more revenge — Holt is at his best when he’s pettily plotting against her, dragging the rest of the precinct into it as his plans get wilder and more ridiculous.
Jake, meanwhile, has got problems of his own. Sophia wants to pause their relationship, concerned that her relationship with a cop is affecting her work- and the cases that she’s being given. So, like any normal hothead, Jake decides to win Sophia’s boss Geoffrey Hoytsman (Chris Parnell) over, after he crashes a public defenders’ party, dragging Terry along with him for back-up. And as charmingly foolish as that plan is, at first, Jake actually pulls it off. He and Hoytsman bond over betting, measuring Terry’s height in egg rolls and playing jenga with a tower of champagne glasses; but like those glasses, the game soon ends with everything smashing around him when Jake follows Hoytsman into the bathroom, to find him snorting cocaine.
He might be at a party, but Jake is a good cop. He has to make the arrest, something that Sophia can’t forgive him for. She asked him for time and space, and instead, he barreled further into her life, attempting to fix her work problems for her.
Jake has the best of intentions, but in this case, he didn’t listen to what Sophia wanted. He’s a good detective, but he’s a steamroller, just like another of Mike Schur’s comedy protagonists, Parks and Recreation‘s Leslie Knope. For someone so cool, Jake doesn’t actually know how to play it cool. Basically, he’s a human golden retriever. He’s desperate for everyone to like him, and although that makes him incredibly endearing, it can also come off as overbearing. He blurted out his love for Sophia, but only after she said that she wanted some space, and in the middle of a plan that she told him not to attempt.
As Sophia tells him, Jake went with the first plan that came into his head, and didn’t think about what would come next, or what she wanted to do about it. Jake can very easily be short-sighted, something that then confirmed for Sophia that this relationship wasn’t going to work out. He tells her that he’s willing to fight for them as a couple, and that they can make it past their differences, but Sophia doesn’t want to commit to anything. She’s going with the instincts that make her a good defense lawyer, and cutting Jake out of her life.
Jake loves Sophia — or so he’s said, never really thinking the words over for more than a few seconds, going with his gut before he has a chance to think otherwise — but she’s not going to give herself the chance to see if she could love him back.
So, Jake and Holt get drunk together in their misery. Joining them at the bar are Gina, Amy and Boyle, who spend the episode in conflict negotiation, as Boyle tries to get Gina to approve of their parents’ relationship. In the end, she does take a chance on Boyle’s father, interviewing him in an interrogation room, and coming out with the verdict that he’s good enough for her mother, and that yes, he has her permission to propose. And if he’s not good enough, well… She’s got a lot of revenge plans centered around Boyle if it comes to that.
“Defense Rests” isn’t a great episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It spends too much time away from the precinct, showing its characters failing. Jake tries too hard to sort out Sophia’s work problems and Holt puts too much energy into his Wuntch revenge. But they end up at the bar, reducing each others’ enemies and exes to ‘butts’, which is always a good thing.
“Defense Rests” had its moments, but mostly, it felt awkward.
- I bet Holt has a book filled with Wuntch zingers that he’s written: “Boston… But it’s so close to Salem. You do know what they do to witches up there, don’t you?”
- Gina’s frustration was pretty great: “Who says papa? Are you a lil French boy?” “A hon hon hon!”
- “You and I both know what Mother Jeffords would say: ‘take the high road’!” Unfortunately, if the person that you’re taking the high road away from isn’t also using it, then the high road gets a lot steeper.
- Chris Parnell was a pretty great at pretending to be high: “I don’t care about you and your gross life!”
- “I’ve already accidentally told you that I love you like four times already!” “I know, I just… don’t think that I accidentally love you back.” Ouch.