We all know who Jake’s real Captain is but in this week’s episode another Captain — Jake’s father and regional airline pilot Roger (Bradley Whitford) — flies over to the precinct for a visit.
Despite how much we’ve heard about Roger’s absentee parenting (and the jokes that have been made at Jake’s expense because of it), Jake’s still incredibly excited when his dad announces that he’s coming to New York to see Jake.
There’s been an increased focus on Jake’s personal life in Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second season, and a lot of that focus has become hinged on the failures in that part of Jake’s life. Amy didn’t want to date him at the beginning of the season and while he then fell for Eva Longoria’s Sophia, she didn’t return his feelings. He couldn’t catch the Pontiac Bandit, either, and as of this moment in season 2, it feels like everything that Jake has a personal investment in is failing.
Which is why it makes sense, of course, that Roger is only visiting Jake because he wants to use him.
One of his girlfriends (of which there are many, because Jake’s dad really isn’t a stand-up guy) packed his bag with pills that Roger is then accused of smuggling across the border from Canada. Something that Jake finds out when he agrees to help his father. He takes Boyle with him (and Scully, because Scully knows French- but noone cares about your boring life, Scully!) with Jake insistent on proving that his dad didn’t do this because he’s really a good guy.
And Jake’s dad didn’t do the crime that he’s accused of. But that doesn’t make Roger Perlata a good guy. Something that Jake finally acknowledges by the end of “Captain Peralta”. Boyle spends the episode reminding Jake of what his father has (but mostly hasn’t) done, but it’s clear that Jake already knows what his father is like. In fact, it’s said best when Jake tries to plan a dinner for the two of them. “I don’t know what fathers and sons do, but I’m going to find out!”
Jake’s made a lot of excuses for his father over the years, but when he bails on his son one more time after promising to buy the precinct drinks at their bar, Jake’s had enough of pretending. He storms over to his father’s hotel and tells him to leave him alone until he wants to try and be a real dad. And then he steals his pilot’s hat- because it’s cool- and also because Jake looked super sweet in that pilot’s uniform he and Boyle wore to go undercover.
The rest of the precinct, meanwhile, are given an unsolvable puzzle by Holt. Rosa and Gina team up to try and beat Terry and Amy to the answer, and while Amy mocks them for thinking that they’ve solved it, in the end they really do work out the truth. And that truth is that Holt doesn’t have an answer. The unsolvable puzzle is unsolvable because Holt can’t figure it out either. It was given to him by a supervisor, and he just wanted to see if anyone in the Precinct could solve it for him.
But they can’t, just like Jake can’t somehow turn Roger into a good father because of one trip he made to New York. But Jake’s turned into a pretty good cop and overall guy without his dad, proof of which is given to him when Holt pats Jake on the shoulder and tells him that he’s proud of him.
Brooklyn Nine Nine and all of the best sitcoms always work so well because friends and co-workers feel more like family to their characters than people that you’re forced to spend nine hours a day with. And although Jake doesn’t have a large immediate family, he has a generous adopted one.
There’s a reason why Jake called Holt ‘dad,’ back in season one. And “Captain Peralta” shows us why.
- The prize for solving the puzzle? Two Beyonce tickets! Everyone wants them, especially Terry: “My girls were conceived at Bootylicious!”
- Captain Peralta meets Captain Holt: “Hello Captain,” “Captain.” Jake: “This is super weird for me.” “Captain,” “Captain.”
- Aw Jake. Such a puppy, really: “But you’re the best pilot in the world I’m guessing, without knowing anything about the field.”
- Hitchcock on Canadian erection pills: “What! I don’t need it! …But I love it.”
- Amy’s donuts she uses to plan out the problem quickly get demolished by Terry: “I’m saving them from this weight obsessed island!”
- You don’t say a lot, Holt, but you always say what’s needed to be said: “Is this an allowance? Are you giving me an allowance?” “I’m proud of you.”