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Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s “Cinco De Mayo” proves the spirit of Halloween is alive and well

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Image for article titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s “Cinco De Mayo” proves the spirit of Halloween is alive and well
Graphic: John P. Fleenor (NBC)

At the TCA back in August, Brooklyn Nine-Nine showrunner Dan Goor answered a question about the logistics of doing a Halloween Heist episode despite coming into season six during the midseason. According to Goor:

“They’re some of our favorite episodes to watch and they’re some of the hardest ones also to write, because of the twists and turns. But I think we have a good idea how to do it.”

Fast forward to May of this year, and we get to see that “good idea” come to fruition in the form of “Cinco De Mayo.” That’s right, the Halloween Heist is now really more of a spiritual thing, and that spirit is powered by the squad of the Nine-Nine’s insatiable competitive drive to become “The Ultimate Human Being/Genius.” And with the dispute between Amy and Holt about who exactly won last year’s heist, Holt having the real championship cummerbund in his home, and Scully’s medical alert bracelet, we’ve got ourselves conditions for a Cinco de Mayo Halloween Heist. (Surprisingly, no one says “Cinco de Heist-o.”)


As this new season on a new network can mean some new eyes on the show, as much this is an extremely convoluted—in the best way—plot to follow, it also pretty much fills everyone in on everything that’s happened in the past heists. From the number of (disputed) wins to Jake’s marriage proposal to the championship cummerbund to the ever-impressive importance of Cheddar to even how Boyle, Terry, and Rosa are treated like the automatic also-rans of this competition. Then there’s the added bonus of Kevin getting involved, adding a new player for the future and increasing the sociopathic bloodlust that is these characters’ “competitive spirit.”

With everyone involved—including Kevin—this also provides more opportunities for them to recap their over-the-top heisting strategies, which ultimately involves them recapping their ridiculous double crosses (and even their plans for future double crosses). It’s absolute chaos. That’s actually the case from the moment Jake first turns on Terry (just slightly after a secret twin reveal) because of the logistics of only his name being on a custom-made banner, but somehow, things only get more chaotic. I honestly don’t even know where “Shlomo Ben Israel” ranks on the chaotic meter during all of this. And it all ultimately ends up being the handiwork of Terry, proving that:

  • He’s not a “dumb dumb.”
  • When he’s painted gold from head-to-toe, he looks like an Oscar.
  • The Heist is now anyone’s game. Honestly, while Cheddar is simply an agent of chaos, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins one of these years.

For those who have talked about the show being too cartoonish lately, this episode definitely follows down that rabbit hole. Rosa literally puts Boyle in a package to New Jersey (with no air holes) and then busts herself out of Holt’s couch in the following scene, all rules or logic be damned. (It’s pretty funny to see though.) Jake and Amy have only bought each other presents that are actually tasers for the past year. This all even falls into motion because of a psychotic plan by Terry, that’s taken shape over the past six months. Cheddar is somehow cuter than ever before.

Image for article titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s “Cinco De Mayo” proves the spirit of Halloween is alive and well
Graphic: John P. Fleenor (NBC)

Of course, the Halloween Heist damns the rules or logic every season, so it doesn’t quite work to compare it to the rest of the standard episodes. The Heist is pretty much a parody of itself at this point, but that’s also what it needs to be to stay alive and continue to work, with its function now as an episode of nonsense that is able to earnestly include life-changing moments after all the insanity. The Heist is truly its own thing.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that the Halloween Heist episodes are the hardest ones for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine writers to write, because especially as time goes on, these are episodes that rely on twists and red herrings and betrayal and intricate plotting. Even if they’re extremely absurd moments, like Scully busting through a two-way mirror or the secret tasers or… everything that happens to Terry (and everything he sets into motions). These episodes are also even more stuffed full of jokes (typically of the insult variety) than most Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes, and when it comes to quoting them, it’s almost impossible to stop. (I apologize for whichever of your favorite lines I end up not quoting below.) But that’s also part of the Heist’s trick, because the joke machine helps make moments like the proposal and Terry acing the Lieutenant exam function as an added surprise, a good-spirited one in an episode full of deception and insults. It all just works.


Stray observations

  • Of all the red herrings, the one where Bill apparently died is the most obvious one. The gas explosion actually being fake (again, another part of Terry’s plan) is a great twist.
  • Amy: “And I would love to defend my crown after I destroyed you all last year.”
    Jake: “Well, I mean—the proposal was all part of my plan.”
    Amy: “All I remember is you bowing to me on your knees.”
    Jake: “Yeah, I was asking you to marry me.”
    Amy: “Well you looked like a fool.”
  • Jake: “What? I thought everyone loved that I used the heist to do the proposal.”
    Holt: “You were wrong. Everyone hated it.” While Amy is also surprised by this, Terry’s face and Rosa’s thumbs down suggest Holt’s right.
  • Hitchcock: “It’s a Cinco de Mayo heist!”
    Jake: “A Cinco de Mayo heist! Makes just as much sense as Halloween, let’s do it!”
  • Jake: “Welcome, one and all, to the first-ever Cinco de Mayo Halloween Heist 6. We’re still working on the title.”
    Boyle: “No need. I love it.”
    Jake: “Thank you, Charles.”
  • Holt: “You are so easily manipulated. Now you’re stuck with Sergeant Dumb Dumb.”
    Jake: “Dammit.”
    Terry: “Hey!”
  • Holt: “The only thing you won last Heist was a lifetime of mediocre heterosexual intercourse with Jake.”
    Amy: “How dare you! No one thinks you won last year.”
    Jake: “Wow. Really thought the ‘how dare you’ was gonna be linked to his mean sex comment, but okay.”
  • Boyle: “Looks like I’ll just team up with my good friend Rosa.”
    Rose: “I’m out. Five heists was enough. We’ve exhausted every possibility of this thing. Literally nothing new can happen.”
  • Holt: “You will tell Jake you are pregnant with his child.”
    Amy: “What? I’m not pregnant.”
    Holt: “Here is a positive pregnancy test. And a sonogram of your fetus. Congratulations—it’s a girl.” Sure she protests, but she still ends up doing it. And being betrayed (again) by Holt.
  • Holt: “Squirt more lube and help me yank!”
  • Kevin: “I don’t like these heists. Or what they bring out in you.”
    Holt: “Oh, clam it, Kevin.”
    Kevin: “‘Clam it’?”
  • Jake: “Amy, you’re gonna have to crawl inside his shirt and operate his arms for him. It’s a Ratatouille situation.”
    Amy: “On it.” Seriously, Amy and Boyle are ready to set that up as soon as Jake says it.
  • It would not be a Heist without major reveals that will only matter for the purposes of the Heist, which is how we get other Scully, Earl (Norm’s—aka our Scully’s—twin brother), and that brotherly drama. As for other Nine-Nine siblings, “no one talks about their siblings with co-workers.”