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‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Recap: Dirty Tricks

Commissioner Kelly lays a trap for Captain Holt while the rest of the crew tidy up like Marie Kondo

Jake (Andy Samberg) looks on as Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) greets Gordon Lundt (Karan Soni) in "The Honeypot."

Jake (Andy Samberg) looks on as Captain Holt (Andre Braugher) greets Gordon Lundt (Karan Soni) in "The Honeypot."

Vivian Zink/NBC

A review of this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, “The Honeypot,” coming up just as soon as I wear a single Windsor knot…

If the Nine-Nine cast weren’t already overpopulated, Chelsea Peretti’s departure might have been an opportunity to bring in a new regular civilian aide character to shake up some of the show’s familiar interpersonal dynamics. That may still be coming down the road(*), but for the moment, “The Honeypot” uses Gina’s absence as the hook for a terrific one-shot appearance by Karan Soni as the episode’s title character, a.k.a. Gordon Lundt, who has been sent by Commissioner Kelly to spy on Captain Holt. The story’s core joke is an elegantly simple inversion of a familiar Nine-Nine formula where Captain Holt doesn’t understand the way Jake sees the world. This time, it’s Jake who is utterly baffled by the notion that Gordon is flirting with Holt, not because of the difference in their sexuality but because of the gaping chasm between their personalities and temperaments. (See also Holt’s hilariously slow and formal drumroll because “I default to Lento” if not given a tempo by Jake.) Soni expertly matches Andre Braugher’s excessively formal, deadpan delivery, and the script has a lot of fun finding things that Raymond Holt would find incredibly attractive, but that would baffle (or, in the case of the two-hour barrel-making lecture, utterly bore) Jake. A basic idea, executed wonderfully, down to a “Velvet Thunder”-esque moment where Holt reveals the full acronym for Operation Triple Dragon for a delighted Jake.

(*) Though I wouldn’t expect the permanent replacement to be Marcy Lux from South Orange, the repeated figure of Holt’s ire, as a nod to the Jersey suburb where Braugher and his family have lived for more than 20 years.

Holt’s victory over Kelly does raise the question of how the show will keep seamlessly including Amy in storylines without a built-in excuse for her to always be on the second floor. But the farewell to the precinct overcrowding arc was a good one — and built to excite a particular overlapping set of TV Twitter, what with Santiago trying to use the teachings of Marie Kondo to help declutter everyone’s workspace. Had this story solely included the gag where Scully chooses to keep his fidget spinner over his seizure medicine, only to realize his mistake when he sees the spinner’s flashing lights, it still would’ve been a winner. That’s among the most perfectly-constructed jokes the series has ever done. But the rest of it deftly showcased everyone’s unique quirks: that only Terry could see why his backup suspenders were so much nicer than his usual pair, that Boyle‘s great-grandfather had one baby foot and one regular-sized foot, that Rosa has six bows in her car to give all their trash a proper Viking funeral, etc. And “Munkensmåt,” while not a real thing, is the kind of nonsense word it’s amusing to hear characters say again and again.

And where the series often keeps episodic storylines entirely separate, it was satisfying, and very funny, to bring Jake and Amy together at the end so she could be driven wild by his imitation of Holt’s barrel lecture. “The Honeypot” was an outing where everything was working beautifully.

What did everybody else think?

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