Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A “splashy” Brooklyn Nine-Nine defines the “Four Movements” of Gina Linetti

Illustration for article titled A “splashy” Brooklyn Nine-Nine defines the “Four Movements” of Gina Linetti
Graphic: Vivian Zink (NBC)
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

“Four Movements” is a pretty straightforward Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode: Gina promises everyone in the Nine-Nine “a signature Gina moment” over her last two weeks working there. The episode itself turns the four movements of “The Linexit”—the dance piece introduced in the cold open, with each movement taking 45 minutes—into four separate acts, each highlighting Gina’s relationship with the rest of the Nine-Nine. In the dance, these movements are supposed to express one aspect of Gina’s personality; however, while each act drives home one particularly special “Gina Moment” (or “GM”), they also encapsulate every aspect of Gina’s personality. “Four Movements” is the definitive Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode when it comes to backing up the claim that Gina is, in fact, “the human form of the 100 emoji.”


Note: Each movement is introduced with a silent movie-style title card, which feels atonal for Gina Linetti... but Chelsea Peretti could probably pull off the silent movie star gimmick well.

First Movement

The First Movement has the strongest emotional beat of the episode. It helps that, despite the jokes and Gina-isms throughout, it’s also the strongest-written and directed act in terms of getting across the genuine emotion and poignancy of what Gina’s doing by leaving the Nine-Nine. Chelsea Peretti gets to have a back and forth with Andre Braugher as one of her last scenes as a series regular on this show, and while it’s not a full-blown “The Box” situation, it’s still very much enough. Plus, she gets to do so whilst (not to step on the Third Movement’s toes with that word choice) Braugher comedically hurls insults at her the whole time.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a very uniform look in general, but “Four Movements” has a few moments where Luke Del Tredici’s direction plays around with things. Of course, there are the act opening title cards, but there are also moments like the reveal of Boyle’s struggle devil sticks (this episode likes its callbacks) routine in the Third Movement and the set-up of shots during the Fourth Movement (with the reveals of Gina’s presence). But here—during Gina/Holt’s chess game and conversation-turned-argument-turned-life lesson—it feels pretty damn close to special. The episode synopsis calls this a particular plot “a high-stakes game of chess,” and while the game itself isn’t anything resembling high-stakes—to the point that Gina ends up “winning” because she “done reinvented the game”—everything they talk about throughout multiple rounds is. Phil Augusta Jackson’s script is an instant winner from the moment Gina’s very obvious stunt double back handsprings into the cold open, but it’s apparent just how great it is during this Gina/Holt back and forth.

And it’s such a small moment in a larger conversation about Gina’s future, but when Holt says “I was just worried,” the emotion Andre Braugher injects into that one sentence condenses every bit of logic and meaning from the rest of their conversation into one tangible moment. Brooklyn Nine-Nine hits the beat of Holt being Jake’s surrogate father the most, but he fills that role for Gina too. In that “I was just worried,” Holt isn’t just worried about his employee but his daughter figure. His daughter figure who will never learn how to properly play chess.


Second Movement

After the First Movement, it makes sense for the Second Movement to make comedy out of its emotional beats, obviously starting with the overly-emotional Amy and ending with the acceptance of such emotion from both Gina and Rosa. While Holt’s closeness to letting out tears touches on something early on, “Four Movements” knows to milk comedy out of Amy’s near-constant stream of tears. But despite the different approaches, these first two movements are the strongest of the bunch, much like the very relationships (in terms of Gina) that are highlighted within them.


It also makes sense that Amy’s GM is to learn how to just be herself. For a time, Gina’s antagonism toward Amy was more mean-spirited than it was a clear joke, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine ultimately acknowledged that Gina does like Amy and considers her a friend, despite the teasing. The Second Movement is the “one for the road” version of this dynamic, complete with the Gina/Rosa dynamic, where Gina considers herself as cool as Rosa. (She is not.) A “lady’s lunch” where they get emotional by “the bum barrel” (as Hitchcock calls it) is the most honest way—that doesn’t involve them getting sloshed—to say goodbye to this dynamic.

Also, despite how smartly-written this episode is, it’s not above poop jokes, whether it be Amy talking about taking “a huge dump” (as weak cover for crying) or Gina’s “beautiful GM” (“GM” is like “BM,” get it?).


Third Movement

Last week’s episode gave us a Gina/Jake plot for the first time in a while, but while that was more of a means to a goodbye revelation—outside of the beautiful “Stop Or My Mom Will Ska” moment—the Third Movement provides a funnier and more emotionally-fulfilling focus on the duo. This plot captures what I meant when I noted how strange it is there isn’t more Gina/Jake interaction in the series: The effortless way in which they team-up, plan, and improv here could’ve been an asset for the series. Because of that lack of dynamic on a more regular basis, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s created even stronger relationships for Gina and other characters (same for Jake). Gina/Holt, Gina/Amy/Rosa, Gina/Boyle—Boyle truly became her anchor in the Nine-Nine, as this episode notes—and even Gina/Terry, a dynamic which relied so much on her objectifying him.


However, as is clear here, their relationship can be defined succinctly as, “they’re friends who like to do stuff together.” And that probably made it hard to justify them having more plots together.

You don’t need “The Tattler” for the Gina/Jake/”A.C. Slater” (Mario Lopez) plot to work, but that episode does help to inform the basis for why they would both stoop to a very Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous approach to what rich and powerful looks like. The funniest, most surprising beat is the “daddy” riff actually working to get them into the club, but what works best about it is that there’s never a moment of hesitation from either character. That’s also the benefit of how this episode is structured: Every plot has to be streamlined to get to the next and then to the finish, so it’s all killer, no filler. And as the GM in this movement notes, that actually defines what Gina Linetti is all about—the Nine-Nine is “all the splash” she needs.


Fourth Movement

I’ll admit: I was ready to believe Brooklyn Nine-Nine was pulling an elaborate “PSYCH!” on the audience and that Gina would end up staying due to cold feet. It would definitely be something for the show to pull off an elaborate ruse on the audience.


Instead, Gina ends up stalling for one more week until her statue arrives. It’s not until the Second Movement that Gina apparently goes into each of these GMs trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes—her GM with Holt is more the result of his persistence in getting her to change his mind—but it all escalates to get to this point. She attempts to get Amy to burn the “ugly book full of all [Gina’s] brilliant thoughts” in a barrel. She convinces Jake to do rich people subterfuge—which leads to him getting manhandled, though the distraction is his idea—only to deny Mario Lopez at the end. Then she has a week of “cold feet” that ends in a video where she mocks Terry for thinking he was right and makes them all applaud her for five minutes.

And even that last point ends up being sweet and fitting with the general theme of this episode:

Jake: “This feels right.”

Video Gina: “I love you guys.”

To be fair, Terry is given the weakest GM in terms of learning a lesson, but he’s lucky that he has to go through the least amount of emotional and physical pain to get it. (Boyle is the luckiest because he doesn’t have to wait days to get the Boyle family mother dough starter.) Plus Terry considers his GM (an international yogurt of the month club subscription) the best because as Holt mentioned last week, Terry’s “one thing” is yogurt.


Gina clearly goes through all these extravagant, melodramatic beats—whether it be something as simple as standing up to dramatically look away or as expensive as a hideous gold statue—to ultimately get to the grounded, understated, human ones. That’s the point of the Gina character when she’s functioning properly, not just to sling a barb at Amy or Boyle or to objectify Terry or to do minimal work for Holt.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s farewell to Gina Linetti (and Chelsea Peretti) could only end one way—as over-the-top as possible, hopefully without devolving much into cartoon territory—and “Four Movements,” simply had to live up to that expectation. It does, and it does so in both a hilarious and intelligent manner, bouncing back from last week’s set-up episode to give this character a great goodbye. And hopefully, it’s a goodbye you can appreciate even if you’re not a Gina Linetti fan.


Stray observations

  • Gina “had to guess some of the spellings” to make her personalized “TIME FOR GINA’S OPINION” hoodies. Amy is “Arnie” (perfect), and Boyle is “Chorles” (oddly sweet).
  • The lack of reaction from everyone when Gina’s doing what turns out to be her warm-up dance is great, but Jake and Boyle’s interest when she does the foot phone bit is strangely delightful. Still, no dance number from Gina will ever surpass her work in the series’ third episode.
  • Terry: “I’m rooting for you, Gina.”
    Holt: “You would take the loser’s side, Jeffords, you bitch. Trash talk.”
  • Gina: “My Queen is Rihanna. My King is Beyonce. And this little guy [pawn], is Kevin. Would you be willing to murder Kevin, the love of your life?”
    Holt: “Yes. Chess Kevin means nothing to me.”
  • Gina: “Nothing bad ever happens to me. I have a crystal in my pocket at all times.”
    Holt: “What about when you got hit by that bus?”
    Gina: “That bus was going 60 miles per hour, and here I sit before you, completely fine. And you wanna say crystals don’t work?”
  • Gina: “I just wanted to stand, so I could turn slowly and say: But wasn’t there another step in the Holt life plan? Gosh, what was it? What came after Captain? I can’t seem to remember for dramatic effect.”
  • Gina: “Amy Santiago, as my parting gift to you before I leave your life forever—”
    Amy: “We’ll still see each other outside of work.”
    Gina: “Before I leave your life forever, I’m gonna fix you. I’m gonna teach you how to be more cool and detached like me and Rosa.”
    Rosa: “What’s going on?”
  • Rosa: “Gina, since you’re leaving, I would like to make a toast: Bye.”
    Gina: “Oh my god, that was perfect.”
  • Gina: “It’s the only way to change your childish sentimentality and become the true you: the one that’s really Rosa.” Why do I feel like this line is based on a network note or something as ridiculous as that?
  • Gina: “I’ll give you a name. Pamplemousse LaCroix.”
  • Gina: “Charles—weirdly, you’re kind the person I’m the closest to here. Don’t say why.”
    Boyle: “Because I was your brother and your lover? Sorry, I just can’t control my tongue around you.” Of course he says brother before lover. And yet the tongue line is more disgusting. And only Boyle could be touched by the fact Gina simply returns a gift he gave to her. Also, finally, the show addresses how strange the Gina/Boyle hook-up arc was.
  • I’d like to think I’m too cool to react to Mario Lopez like Jake does, but I also completely understand the way he melts at “Sure about that, preppy?”
  • Will Holt be Murphy Brown-ing it for the rest of series with his assistant, or will there be a new cast member? Who will be the “rebound assistant?”
  • My personal goodbye to Gina Linetti? Here it is.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Despite her mother's wishes, LaToya Ferguson is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you want to talk The WB's image campaigns circa 1999-2003, LaToya's your girl.