Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1, Episode 15
Operation: Broken Feather

The post-Superbowl slot is a pretty prestigious one, a place where a show is all but guaranteed to attract some new, vaguely curious viewers. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, coming off a Golden Globe victory, is even more likely t ohave reached a wider audience last night. And while “Operation: Broken Feather” was a fine episode of the show, I’m not sure it was the best example of what the show does well by this point in its run. Instead, the episode mostly feels like a lot of strung together ideas about ways to show off the cast to new viewers. Ultimately, I think that is a fine decision, and I imagine that people who watched for the first time left with a decent idea of who everyone is should they choose to come back in the future, but it left the episode with a sort of disconnected feeling.

The A-plot was, unsurprisingly, a Peralta and Santiago story, in which the two teamed up to catch a jewel thief and take in some cameos by Adam Sandler and Joe Theisman. It mostly served as a way to introduce people to the romantic pairing at the center of the show, and it worked because, again, Samberg and Melissa Fumero have surprisingly great chemistry. There’s nothing here we haven’t seen before, but then, this episode isn’t really for us, and it tells a sweet story about Peralta getting over himself enough to admit some affection and respect for Santiago.

It also remains somewhat grounded, at least by this show’s standards, which allows the Terry and Holt subplot to be wackier. These two are probably the most consistently hilarious in the ensemble, and watching them scheme together to increase efficiency (Moneyball is Holt’s favorite movie) was almost as much fun as hearing Andre Braugher suggest his precinct would rather be out drinking beer and “eating chips of various textures.” Which is to say it was a blast. Again, at base this is a storyline that exists to string together a series of gags highlighting the most obvious aspects of each character in the ensemble, but it does this well enough and gives new viewers the chance to see Andre Braugher stretch his wings. Since he is the as-yet unheralded MVP of this show, here’s hoping “Operation: Broken Feather” will create an expanded legion of Holt super-fans. Or at least a larger subgroup of people who refer to social gatherings as a chance to eat chips of various textures (which I will be adding to my new favorite way to describe a party that is not what I was told, yelling “It’s a bear dance!” a la Garrett on Community).

So “Operation: Broken Feather” was largely a retread, but it was an understandable, even necessary one. While New Girl, which served as this show’s lead-in, is already an established hit, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is more of an unknown. This episode sells the premise and the characters succinctly enough to draw people pack. And hopefully, many will return on Tuesday to watch the show increasingly make strides towards greatness. Perhaps while eating chips of various textures.

Grade: B


-“It’s like your not even trying to confess!”

-“I killed that guy and his neighbor, but you were too late!” “Woo!...Wait, you killed his neighbor?”

-“Come on, jewel thief. You’re my only friend now!”

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