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“The Slump” is another reminder that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a show very much still trying to find itself. However, “The Slump” also shows that being perfectly delightful may not be the best thing for a show that has the potential Brooklyn Nine-Nine does.
The cold open for the show is an example of how good the show can be. In it the precinct is arguing about what is the best cop movie. It’s deliciously meta while also keeping it in the realm of believability as it is more than conceivable that real cops have had the same discussion. Each detective’s choices also reveals something about their character. Santiago thinks Lethal Weapon is one of the best, showing her desire for a strong partnership between her and a more spontaneous partner – like Peralta. Peralta explains his choice of Die Hard that shows his need to be the lone hero while “everyone else stands around.” And even Terry Jeffords offers up a foreign film to continue to play off the running joke of his complete domestication despite his muscular physique. The added level of metaness of having police footage of Detective Hitchcock being beaten up by a prostitute was also a nice touch. This scene shows that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is capable of some funny commentary on the cop show genre while also being true to the characters.
The show, however, continually decides to hammer these overriding characteristics, especially in the case of Jeffords. Jeffords’s subplot this week was useless and unfunny as it revolved solely on seeing his physical talents being wasted on building a plastic dollhouse for his child. While the juxtaposition between his clear physical capabilities and his domestication can be good every once in a while, an entire plot cannot revolve around it. Not to mention that there was nothing new added to his character.
The main plot again revolved around Holt trying to mold Peralta into a better cop. Peralta had hit a slump, as he hadn’t been able to close any of his recent cases. After he flubs both a missing persons case, in which he has found the wrong grandma, and a meth lab bust, where he finds nothing but an old man playing a flute, Holt confines him to desk work pretending to buy into Peralta’s theory that he is cursed. Holt decides to have a little fun at Peralta’s expense but the fun doesn’t translate to the audience. Holt’s monotone straight face works well next to Peralta’s goofiness but it feels like something is missing if Holt is the one making jokes. Unlike in the pilot episode where Holt brings the entire precinct in to witness Peralta’s self-inflicted idiocy, this instance of Holt making a funny just wasn’t all that funny.
Perhaps the funniest moment of the episode was when Peralta emerged from the bathroom stall to bust the people who had filed the missing grandma report, once he realized it was fake. Commenting on his dramatic entrance and making a stupid joke about how they were full of crap offered up a solid guffaw.