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‘Brooklyn Nine Nine’ Season 2 Finale Recap: “Johnny and Dora”

brooklyn nine nine johnny dora

Change is afoot in Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s season finale, whether it’s wanted or not.

There’s more than a few declarations of affection tonight, but the most meaningful one comes from Captain Holt. The 21 months he’s had leading this precinct have been the best days of his career: a career that’s been halted (or, if you will — and forgive me for this — holted) by Wuntch.

Before he admits defeat, though, Holt tries one last trick before he’s forced to transfer out of the 9-9 and into the NYPD’s PR department. He has Gina and Terry fetch an insulting letter that Wuntch wrote about her now-superior and blackmails Wuntch into undoing his ‘promotion’ before he releases the letter publicly.

It’s a good plan (with even better insults when Holt calls Wuntch into one of their interrogation rooms), but Wuntch has too much power for it to actually work. She comes back the next morning and refuses to undo Holt’s promotion. So what if Holt hands the letter in? She’ll just deny that she really wrote it, and if it does get investigated, she has a heartbreaking plan for what she’ll do if he doesn’t move on quietly like she wants him to.

Wuntch is Holt’s biggest nemesis (at least so far, that is), and the one person that he struggles to defer to. She turns him into a petty, insolent cop, the opposite of the staunch team leader that he is when he has his wits about him. But when she brings his team into their feud, telling him what precincts she’ll scatter Diaz, Boyle, Santiago and his pet project Peralta to if he hands that letter in, Holt instantly complies with what she wants. Holt sacrifices himself for the good of his detectives, putting his dreams of having his own precinct aside for the collective security of what has become, in these two seasons of Brooklyn Nine Nine, his family.

So, with more emotion than we’ve ever seen from him, Holt announces that he’s leaving. The team start the episode giving a salute to a fallen vending machine, and end it speechlessly saying goodbye to their Captain. A man that not all of them wanted, but one that they certainly all needed. “I know that every one of you gave me everything you had” he says, but what Holt might not realize is that his team only gave him their all because he brought it out in them.

Something that he does, again, even after his departure.

Jake has been walking on eggshells around Amy since she told him that she doesn’t want to date cops anymore, with an awkwardness present that Jake quickly and honestly explains the root of when she asks him why he doesn’t want to work with her. It’s not that they’re not good together — rather the opposite, really.

They could be something really good together, but it’s a risk that Amy isn’t sure she’s willing to take. Jake is more than just a crush: he’s her friend and her partner, someone that she’s known for years and a person who understands her — even to the point of knowing what post-case snacks she’ll be having. But when they’re posing as a couple, Amy in Rosa’s leather jacket and Jake swimming in Scully’s sports jacket, they can’t help but expose some of their feelings for one other.

Their perp’s girlfriend asks them, after they posed as a newly engaged couple to get a table, how they know that each other was ‘the one.’ Oh you know, Jake says, vaguely mentioning something about Amy’s face and attached body. In every other undercover situation, Jake has a fully formed character that he plays, complete with catchphrases, accents and one hundred percent confidence. But the thing about ‘Johnny,’ is that he’s barely real. Yes, he and Dora were characters made up on the spot, so Jake and Amy could follow their perp to dinner, but this is Peralta. He’s got a new persona for every situation, and thrives on playing pretend.

Except this time.

Johnny’s nervous because Jake is nervous. There is no fictional story behind Dora being Johnny’s ‘the one,’ because Jake and Amy don’t lie when they speak about why they like each other. He makes me laugh, she says, and when Jake hears Amy’s honesty, he can’t help but add his own, extra reason for ‘proposing’. There’s really no one else’s opinion I care about more than hers, he tells her, and if their perp isn’t skeptical when he catches them making out suspiciously close to where he was talking to the chef, it’s only because they were so convincing as a couple.

So, after catching their bad guy (and kissing again because you know, do what you gotta do to stay undercover — including, even, each other), Jake and Amy share a debrief, agreeing to keep their relationship strictly professional. They don’t want things to change, but as Holt’s departure shows them, change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s bad, but sometimes, it has the possibility to be great, too.

So, Amy takes a leap.

It might not seem like much, but after making it clear on several instances that she doesn’t want to change their relationship, she says to Jake, “So, a lot of change around here, huh?” It’s an open invitation, a statement that makes it clear to him that she’s ready to try something with him.

Amy’s a rule follower, someone who follows her head over her heart, and Jake has respected that and everything that she’s chosen so far. But now, she’s ready to go with her instincts. Change happens whether you want it to or not. The only thing you can control is whether or not you embrace it.

So, Amy says yes to change. And so does Gina, standing up and leaving the precinct — her home, and a place that Jake brought her to — so that she can follow Holt to the PR office.

And it’s there that Brooklyn Nine-Nine leaves us, closing its second season with a whirlwind of change and the image of our detectives waiting in front of the elevator for their new captain to arrive.

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Notes

  • Rosa also has a nice plot with Boyle revolving around her birthday. He helps Marcus set up a surprise party for her in an empty bar with only one guest. It’s perfect, and she’s forced to admit that Boyle knows her, and is a good friend.
  • “Madeline’s not some invincible succubus: she’s a regular succubus!”
  • While Amy and Jake move from friends to something else, Rosa and Boyle cement their friendship: “Ms. pacman is insatiable. Insatiable. Insatiabl-“ “Stop saying insatiable.” “Come on, Rosa. Come on, Hey You.”
  • Holt’s best burn? “So I see you’ve got an audience for this stunt.” “Yes, well, who wouldn’t want to see a man fight a crocodile?”
  • We learn a fun little tidbit about Rosa: “…Like how you’re still super mad at Gilmore Girls for how the finale went down?” “I just want to see Lorelai happy!” Me too, Ro-Ro.
  • Seeing Jake and Amy recovering from their undercover kisses was also great: “NYPD! Freeze! We are work colleagues!” “You’re under arrest! This is a work event!”
  • When Terry can’t break into the safe containing Wuntch’s letter, he does what any normal person would do and carries out the entire filing cabinet.
  • Wuntch pats Holt down for eight. minutes. looking for a wire. There was no need to cut that out, b99. I would have watched every minute.
  • Gina put her phone on airplane mode for Holt. He might have sacrificed his dream job, but he didn’t lose everyone in ‘Johnny and Dora,’ as she stands up to follow him: “Sir! I’m coming with you.”