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Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second episode, “The Tagger,” was a hit or miss as it tried to establish some of the more important storylines and relationships. While there were still some funny jokes in the show, having to blur out the graffitied penises and therefore huge chunks of the cars they were driving for instance, it didn’t provide as many smart laughs as the pilot. “The Tagger” was an above average episode that hopefully won’t become the normal for a show that still showed its enormous potential.
“The Tagger” focused on two storylines. The first had Captain Holt forcing Jake to become more serious about some of the less interesting aspects of his work. Clearly Holt trying to mold Jake into a great detective will be a running plot throughout the season and it was good to see the two characters begin to establish their relationship. They both end up catching the police deputy’s son, the one responsible for the vandalism of the police cars, and Jake is faced with a dilemma about whether to ruin his career by formally charging the deputy’s son or letting him go and losing respect and facing possible repercussions from Holt. It was a great payoff for the viewer when Holt’s plan to force Jake to become more details oriented – even if Jake was sarcastically going about much of it – come to fruition as Jake decided to charge the deputy’s son. The fact that the episode didn’t explicitly state what had happened is what made it rewarding.
It is important for the show to not make Holt just be a stickler. The pilot episode did a very good job allowing Holt some comic leeway in a couple of scenes. Unfortunately, even with the extended time with Jake, Holt didn’t really have any moments of levity in this episode. Being able to laugh at the straight man, and have him play along in some of Jake’s quirks, will help to keep Holt on the side of a good guy the viewer can root for.
The other storyline focused on Charles’s infatuation with Rosa and his gullibility, which fell completely flat. First and foremost, Charles’s character really has yet to be revealed. While he does seem a tad socially inept and clumsy none of these characteristics are played up enough to really help define him. If he is supposed to be a dolt, which he very well could be seeing as how he believed in the psychic powers of Gina’s friend, he didn’t come off as stupid enough or cute enough to get away with it.
Secondly, why does he like Rosa so much? Sure she has that scary but sexy vibe but that is a more lusty quality, and Charles isn’t just lusting for her. The show could get away with the audience rooting for the relationship if they seemed like star-crossed lovers. But since the audience doesn’t have any particular reason to like Charles and Charles and Rosa don’t seem compatible, let alone meant to be with each other, it’s hard to be too involved in this storyline. Especially since there has been very little comedy thus far coming from it.