Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: “Undercover”–This Is a Tight 240

Posted by Jasmine

Note from Kelly: I’m so excited to announce that Jasmine is joining the team to recap Mike Schur’s latest gift to the TV world, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Check back every week for the latest on Holt’s smile (HAS HE EVER), the romantic stylings of Jake and Amy, and Gina’s very important sweaters.


A couple things before I dive headfirst into the recap: I’ve missed this show like no other during its break; Andy Samberg has the best nose; Melissa Fumero’s hair is verging on Roz Doyle levels of luxuriousness; Rosa Diaz is still everything I want to be when I grow up; and this cast remains as awesome as ever. While I love those episodes where the precinct splits up into unusual pairings – tearing Jake away from Charles, for example – so that the audience can see how well everyone works with everyone, I’m glad the writers decided to, for the most part, stick with the familiar. Specifically, watching the expected hijinks that come from Jake and Charles teaming up, the escalating crazy from Amy and Terry, the glowering mutterings from Rosa, and the vapid deadpan from Gina.

The episode opens up six months after the last episode from season 1, with Jake at a mafia mob event: he’s making a speech at a wedding reception, and he is in his element. His hair is gloriously slicked back, he has on a gold chain necklace, and is wearing a shiny, shiny gray suit. In his speech he simultaneously shoots down his past work as a police and demonstrates the familiarity with which he’s insinuated himself with the mob. He’s obviously the darling here, and is soaking it all up, in typical Jake Peralta form.

b99 undercover jake

The scene devolves into a bit, with Jake setting off a chain of kisses with the mafia heads of the family. He yammers on, seemingly mindless chatter, until he comments on how dry the meatballs were – and then the scene switches over to a fully decked out undercover van, its walls plastered with photos and notes, and crammed full of police officers and monitors. Of course Jake’s extraction line would be “dry meatballs.”

It’s high energy when the entire NYPD runs in: lots of throwing punches, running at mob members, and affronted yelling. Terry throws Jake down onto a table, crushing it, before hefting him over his shoulder. He rushes Jake into the police van, who maintains cover right up until the door slams shut. Then he wheels around and toothily smiles at Captain Holt, going in for a bear hug – and OMG WE GET TO SEE HIS EAR PIERCING GLINT IN THE LIGHT.

b99 undercover ive missed us

Time for opening credits; and can I say how much I love that they’ve remained the same?

It’s the next day, and we’re in the police station. Charles has got a prank in mind (which is to ignore Jake completely), but his preparatory speech is immediately undermined by the enthusiastic welcome he screams Jake’s way. That was a very enthusiastic welcome, indeed.

I like how in contrast to Charles’ buoyant reaction, a completely unimpressed Rosa catches Jake up on the three things that had happened at the precinct during Jake’s absence: Terry had a lisp for one week because he chipped a tooth; Amy and Charles wore the same outfit to work one day, a gray suit with a pink button up. Boyle’s version totally looked like something out of Miami Vice; and Gina and her headphones had an incident, because of course. She was appropriately jamming out to some Korean song – I wish I knew what it was, all I could catch was the word “milkshake” – while a crazy fight erupted behind her. (Also, for anyone unaware, I love Gina to pieces. TO PIECES. Anyone who disagrees can shift right on out.)

b99 undercover gina headphone incident

Holt allows Jake only 12 seconds to recap his undercover adventures. Which, like the actual undercover stint, was way too brief for my liking.

Amy and Jake are adorably awkward together. He tries to erase the potential awkwardness but can’t help himself but go in for the kill. And by “kill,” I mean elementary-school-style flirting. When she firmly tells his she’s still with Teddy, he just nods; writers, I laud you, this was great. Because yes, while Jake’s acknowledged that Amy is the one for him, she hasn’t quite made that transition from “work friends who flirt and unconsciously deal with their simmering UST” into “potential romantic life partners” yet.

And onto the best part of the episode: Rosa – and I assume the rest of the squad – has been undergoing impromptu drills, and gloriously, Terry acts as whatever subject/victim, with an identifying whiteboard helpfully hanging around his neck. Just in this episode, we got mentions of Terry as: an angry, sassy prostitute, 81-year-old woman Adelaide, an unattended backpack that has a suspicious ticking noise emanating from it, and 7-year-old Timmy.

b99 tick tick undercover

Amy, Rosa, and Terry are all tired of these drills; they all have their specific way of expressing their concern, though. Amy goes the ass-kissing route, Rosa goes for the straightforward, and Terry hilariously takes issue with Timmy’s stilted dialogue. Which, OF COURSE, is lifted verbatim from Holt’s boyhood diary: “I am feeling trepidation at the prospect of a parentless existence.” WHICH OH DEAR CHARACTER BACKSTORY THAT MAKES ME CRY.

Switch over to the three of them playing with Legos in the staff room. It’s good to know that Rosa and Timmy are on the same wave of comebacks. Terry’s insistence on keeping up the façade culminates in him smashing his and Amy’s Lego castle onto the ground. Their next tactic is to blow up an inflatable bouncy castle and wear Timmy out. Hilariously, Rosa sounds threatening even when she’s assuring Timmy that they’re having fun. (Her eye makeup game is great, by the way.) Holt concedes that it is a good idea to keep a 7-year-old entertained while the precinct looks out for him, and then admits that his idea of fun at that age was looking at his father’s collection of antique globes. CUE EVEN MORE FEELINGS.

I totally had forgotten that Gina and Charles had drunkenly slept together at the end of last season! Gina’s been bracing herself for the inevitable fallout for Charles’s unfiltered word vomit, motivated mostly by his enduring love for Jake. To wit: the first thing Charles asks Jake is if he had a best friend while undercover, and he gets visibly upset when Jake admits that sure, he did lots of jobs with a guy named Derek.

Jake gets called into a meeting with Holt and Special Agent Mark, for congratulations and an overall briefing about the mafia arrest. Jake’s arc from purposefully disheveled, content with mediocrity to competent, relatively mature police officer is well underway. He’s upset that one out of 15 high ranking mafia mob members escaped. While he’s still as irreverent as ever, he’s crazy prepared concerning the mob.

But the fantastic upside to these turn of events is: YAY. RE-UNDERCOVER MONTAGE TIME. Jake quickly dons on a maroon velour jumpsuit, slicks back his hair, links on his gold chain necklace, and growls: “Welcome to the mafia!”

b99 undercover charles mafia

Jake’s plan on re-infiltrating the mob goes as such: visit the bar to talk to Benny to sniff out Frankie, and then Charles would swagger in and punch Jake in the face to prove Jake’s dirtiness. And while Charles initially didn’t want to hurt Jake at all, the level of fear that Jake found a new friend turned him into a pretty badass cop. He morphed into a “forthright and confident Boyle” and punched the crap out of Jake.

A bit of a nitpick: why on earth would Jake and Charles think that sitting in the same car would be good for their cover?

When Jake visits Bianca, Frankie’s girlfriend, the scene makes a nice callback to the pilot episode: he’s making the rounds at an apartment complex and a former SNL cast member greets him. OMG JENNY SLATE IS BIANCA. OMG. YES SHE’S SO HOT. THAT CROP TOP IS DOING THINGS TO MY INSIDES. And now we know that Jake’s nickname among the mob was “Jake Lady Hands,” not “Jake the Jew.” Bianca’s delivery of “shut up” to Jake’s rambling was terrific.

Bianca refuses to tell Jake where Frankie really went, on account of Frankie’s deep feelings for her, so to convince her that she was only one of his mistresses, Jake whips out the handy-dandy song that he made to keep track of everyone’s trysts. As expected, the song was ridiculous and awesome, as was the way Bianca got caught up with it.

b99 undercover jenny slate

Unfortunately, Jake and Charles were an hour too late to catch Frankie. So Jake mopes at his desk. Which, grossly, had been left untouched during his entire six month stint, per Charles’s orders, and is now overrun with maggots. Gag. Charles tells Jake that some stuff are just not under people’s control, reminding him that Jake actually did pretty awesomely during his undercover stint, and successfully manages to get Jake to the bar (has the show given the bar a name yet?).

There are a lot of precinct officers in the party scene at the end of the episode, and many of them are very attractive. Woof. To nicely bookend the start of the episode, Holt makes a pretty epic congratulatory speech for Jake. Most of the speech is devoted to Holt making clear what “on the house” means – a two-drink maximum, no trades, and no guest tabs can be covered.

Jake brings over a champagne-whiskey-tequila drink for him and Amy, and they have a little heart-to-heart about Jake’s feelings and Amy’s current relationship status; truthfully, that actually sounds pretty bomb. Minus the olive juice, of course. I may, or may not, be drinking a version of it as I type currently. Anyway, they both agree to go back to the way their relationship was before Jake’s admission, and I let out a sigh of relief, because this ship hasn’t been ruined, thank God.

b99 undercover he's back

Spoiler alert! Charles and Gina sleep together again. In a cute throwaway moment, Gina wakes up with her hand caressing Charles’ face. BUT WHAT. After spending an entire season building up the potential Charles and Rosa sexual tension, the writers are going with the Charles and Gina route? I don’t see it – I’m slowly warming up to the possible coupling of the overly earnest, hangdog Boyle and the filter-less, shameless Gina – and I do appreciate the writers getting rid of the whole Nice Guy aspect of Charles’ personality, but still. What’s happening? What’s the end goal?



(Since this a show that has amazing one-liners, all the characters must be highlighted)

Terry: HEY. This is a tight 240. Show Adelaide some damn respect.

Gina: I have spent years cultivating a reputation as someone who sleeps with bike messengers or better.

Holt: Yes, I’ve been a cop for 30 years. And I’ve watched movies. (In response to Jake’s attempts to sound all mysterious and smart when talking about the acronyms for FBI and RICO)

Rosa: Adelaide has successfully transformed back into a giant man, sir.

Amy: [after Holt deflates the inflatable bouncy castle] Turn on the pump! I’m very claustrophobic! (Amy’s face is great, here.)

b99 undercover amy

Jake: Let me soak it in, oh yeah, stale coffee, fingerprinting ink, whatever Charles is fermenting in his desk. (Beans. Eurgh. )


  • Jake’s dancing is fantastic. His velour sweatsuit, which he inevitably dons later on in the episode, is most equivocally NOT. Also – has Andy Samberg always been this chest hairy, or was that a mafia choice?
  • Apparently, singing “Piano Man” bonds any group of people together. I’m not saying I disagree. Drunken karaoke is an incredible experience.
  • Amy uses staples to put together Legos, and assures Timmy that there’s still lots to do because “the structure’s done but we haven’t even started on the landscaping.”

b99 undercover space ship

  • I don’t know what it means about me that I actually think Jake has very attractive hands. All trim and full of veins… Yeah, that description just sounded weirdly cannibalistic. Next.
  • The key clicker scene was predictable but still amusing.
  • When Bianca goes “that son of a bitch” and waves her hand in front of her face, it totally reminded me of the scene from “Undateable,” where Danny Burton insisted that the proper, realistic Italian accent can only be done if it’s accompanied by appropriate hand motions.
  • Gina’s naked mole rat sweater is DISGUSTING. I literally recoiled from the screen.

b99 gina naked mole rat undercover

  • Someone has got to start gauging Holt’s smiles. I swear I saw an imperceptible twitch, but upon re-watch, I totally can’t tell.
"You've helped me find my smile."

“You’ve helped me find my smile.”

  • Holt explains to Terry that there’s going to be a new commissioner – isn’t that something that’s happened already?
  • Jake’s delivery of “you ruined it” at the end of Holt’s bar speech was a little startling, because it made him morph into my good friend, Dan, and I was like…wut.

b99 undercover better on you

Follow Jasmine on Twitter @blueberryjelly


  1. Yay Jasmine! 🙂

    I am so glad you are recapping this show! It makes me laugh so much. Also, Jake and Amy are definitely my new ship. I have Olicity hanging around there too, but like a friend posted on Twitter the other day, essentially all of my OTPs are married with kids now…which is amazing on one hand, but kind of boring sometimes! 🙂

    I thought this episode was a great premiere; and I love Jenny Slate in small doses (like as Mona Lisa or on Drunk History, and here as a jilted mafia girlfriend). The Boyle/Jake banter about “derek” was probably my favorite bit.

    Gina is amazing, so is Rosa, so is everyone actually! You identified all of the best lines. Can’t wait for more!

    1. I’m super excited to add Olicity to my list once I’m caught up on Arrow. And YES! Jake and Amy are great–I loved that he realized (at least by the end of the episode) that he needed to be honest and not go back on his feelings just to make things neater between them.
      Jenny Slate is a GIFT. Just like Holt’s smile.

    2. Sarah, I’m glad you liked my recap/the episode. I’m so glad B99 is back on air, I’ve missed everyone. Jake and Amy are so sweet, but I’m crossing my fingers that Teddy will come back on because I heart Kyle Bornheimer. And YES. GINA *IS* AMAZING. I’m debating whether I should dress up as her or Rosa for Halloween, actually, haha.

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