A review of “Hitchcock & Scully,” this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, coming up just as soon as I see the bucket of male body butter…
While Brooklyn Nine-Nine is pretty egalitarian about spotlighting different members of its deep ensemble, there’s still a pecking order. On one end of that, Jake is almost always involved in each episode’s A-story (and on the rare occasions he’s not, either Amy or Captain Holt is). On the other end, Hitchcock and Scully rarely even get a C-story to call their own. The only previous episode to be primarily about them was Season Three’s “House Mouses.” Dirk Blocker and Joel McKinnon Miller are hilarious whenever called upon, but the Brooklyn creative team also understands that less is more with these particular imbecile cops, and that they’re best deployed to generate one or two big laughs in the middle of someone else’s subplot.
It’s been almost three years since “House Mouses” aired, though, and Blocker and McKinnon Miller have more than earned a second showcase. Through an internal affairs investigation into an old case, the eponymous “Hitchcock & Scully” provides their origin story, revealing that before they were ineffectual dimwits, they were badass Eighties action-hero-style cops — the kind of quippy alpha males that Jake and Charles imagine themselves to be but really aren’t. As we discover in an episode-ending flashback scored brilliantly to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun, it was exposure to Wing Slutz’s signature dish that gradually ruined their once taut bodies and minds. But their devotion to the chain may be emotional as well as gastronomic: An earlier scene reveals that tubs of slut sauce strapped to their torsos save their lives, stopping the bullets of the crooks who’ve surrounded the restaurant. It’s marvelously dumb, punctuated by Hitchcock boasting, “You bet your nips it did, skidmark.” Between that and their disgusting “Beaver Trap” van, this belated “House Mouses” sequel was more than worth the wait. The story resolves with the two morons being sentenced to one year of desk duty in the present day for a decades-old transgression (giving some impounded drug money to an informant). It seems a lenient punishment even within the elastic reality of this show’s NYPD, but since they rarely go in the field anyway, it shouldn’t change how they’re used going forward.
Given how rarely the title characters get this degree of prominence, the episode probably could have foregone subplots altogether. But the ratcheting up of tension between Captain Holt and Commissioner Kelly not only gives the season a larger arc, it provides an excuse for Amy to be around the detectives all the time, since the precinct’s “downstairs people” now have to work upstairs. The show could have contrived reasons each week for her to be hanging around in the bullpen when she has new responsibilities as a sergeant, but this becomes an easy blanket excuse for as long as the feud lasts, which in turn leaves even more room for comedy.
What did everybody else think? Do Hitchcock and Scully deserve for their next big episode to come sooner, or has the show portioned out their stories just right so far?