“Always leave them wanting more.”
No matter how good something is, it’s never enough. Once someone gets a taste of pleasure, they only want more of it. (Phrasing?) That idea’s applicable to many things but especially when it comes to art. By making the audience want more, that’s as a good a way as any to measure quality. It’s certainly possible to create a work of art that is all-encompassing and complete, but there will still be that insatiable craving from the audience to devour more and more of that work. It’s the earnest, non-capitalistic reason why spin-offs and after-life comics and movies all based on dead television shows exist.
This is all an over-thinking way of saying that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the type of sitcom that packs in as many jokes and character moments as it possibly can on a weekly basis, but even after it’s over, there’s still that sense that there should be more. It’s not a feeling of emptiness based on the show’s material but instead a sense of belief in the show’s ability to bring the laughs for much longer than the confines of the 30-minute television space. It’s something that the sitcoms that have already been canceled in the 2014-2015 season are sorely lacking, and it deserves to be addressed. “The Mole” is one of those episodes of television where, even though it hits all of its beats well and to satisfaction, there’s every chance that extending the episode would somehow make it even stronger. Remember when NBC would “Super Size” its sitcoms? Unlike those shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine could actually benefit even more from that.
The episode has a simple enough premise: Despite the fact that Jake claims to know everyone in the precinct so well that no one could surprise him (on a personal level), there’s apparently a mole in the precinct, and Internal Affairs has sent Lieutenant Andrew Miller (Veep’s Dan Bakkedahl) down to investigate. It’s the latest in what feels like a streak of poor performance and bad luck in the precinct, and that also includes Rosa and Terry’s drug task force not being able to take down the big dogs and get Giggle Pig off the streets. Deputy Chief Wuntch is even around to mock Holt for his precinct’s shortcomings, and it looks like all hope is lost.
It’s a nice step back into typical Brooklyn Nine-Nine after the elaborate nature of “Halloween II.” It makes sense that Best Detective Ever Jake Peralta would take files home to work on cases, just as it makes even more sense that he would forget to take the files back to the precinct. Basically, his overachieving (that includes his time undercover) is what makes him the prime suspect.
The episode does well to combine Jake’s need to always be right with his need to be everyone’s friend: The audience of course knows that none of the main characters would knowingly be a mole (this is Brooklyn Nine Nine, not Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), but none of the characters themselves (especially Jake) know that for sure, only in their gut. It’s actually part of what makes Jake a likable character instead of a complete know-it-all jokester; for all of his bravado, he never once would seriously think the worst of any of his co-workers/friends, and he trusts them all implicitly. He sees them for who they are, and for that, they really can never surprise him, even when they’re secret lovers.
Of course, none of that seeing them for who they are can prepare him for the shocking truth that Captain Holt’s middle name is Jacob. There is honestly no better way this episode could have ended—since it unfortunately did have to end—than with Jake’s “WHAAAAAAAAAA—”.
Outside of the mole story, Terry and Rosa find themselves at a silent disco (which seems like five types of terrible) in search of a big lead on all things Giggle Pig. What follows is Terry’s worries about his twin daughters turning to a life of crime no matter what choices he makes for them, instead of them becoming the first twin presidents of the United States. It’s kind of amazing how Rosa can be the most sensitive and emotionally mature character on the show, since she’s not really shown to have sensitivity and emotions (unless you, like me, count leather as an emotion); but when she reassures Terry that he’s the best dad that she knows, it’s the type of thing you can believe because she always tells it to people straight. Except for in the case of watermelons and melons of any kind—then she’s just a straight-up liar, according to a delirious Jake.
Also, the jig is up on Boyle and Gina’s secret sex, and if this is the end of that chapter, then I tip my hat to the show for the way it chose to do so. If it’s not the end, then I still tip my hat to how it’s been handled past the premiere. Having Boyle and Jake address that it was Boyle’s first casual relationship (“I didn’t even propose to her once.”) is a reminder of just how far Boyle has come from the depths that were going “Full Boyle.” In fact, “The Mole” takes a step back from the relationship “drama” of the earlier episodes in the season by also having Jake and Amy interact without any of it leading to lingering feelings on Jake’s part. That could be because a good portion of their interaction is shrouded in Volkswagen Jetta product placement—in what is sure to be the first and only place to refer to a Jetta as a “spy car”—but sometimes you just have to take what you can get. Jake and Amy’s friendship being seen as just that—a friendship—is what “The Jimmy Jab Games” was missing, so it’s a pleasure to see that showing off Jake’s underlying feelings for Amy in every extended interaction wasn’t intended to be the new normal.
The episode even features moments from the stealth greatest relationship on the show: Gina and Amy:
“Gina, is everything okay? You never text me. Look—last message I got from you was August 3, 2009. You wrote ‘Sup Rosa?’. Followed by ‘Nevermind’.”
While the episode also continues the streak of beautiful Holt/Wuntch interactions, Wuntch going completely unprofessional to one-up Holt doesn’t quite hit the humor beats of her other attacks on Holt, which makes it a notable blemish on an otherwise excellent episode. Based on what we know about her, it simply rings false. She might be a she devil, but as far as we know, her and Holt’s competition has never made either of them less than a consummate professional. Getting a spy from IA feels like too much. As we all knew, Wuntch can’t stay forever, so perhaps this is the best way to keep her out of Holt’s hair. But having her be petty enough to get a spy to find out information about the precinct is a whole different level than Holt splitting infinitives to rattle her.
But as mentioned before, the most upsetting part about this episode is that it had to end. Just imagine if it hadn’t. Imagine more of the Jake/Holt mole sleepover party. Imagine more of Terry’s bewilderment over the entire concept of a silent disco. Imagine more of Jake destroying Amy’s brand new Volkswagen Jetta. Imagine an actual scene with Gina’s new dance team, Dance-y Reagan, “the first ladies of movement.”
That last one is what really hurts.
With as talented of a comedic cast and crew that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has at its disposal, even when the show’s at its weakest, there’s never an episode where you just wish it’s all over. If only there were anything one could do to make it go on forever.
Holt: “You’re going to leave my precinct and my task force alone. Or else… You’re… Wuntchmeat.”
Jake: “You sure you wanna go with that one?”
Holt: “Absolutely. It’s hilarious.”
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: Two words. Disco Terry.
- Jake’s spy voice sounds a lot like Andy Samberg’s Nic Cage voice. Discuss.
- Jake (re: incoming Wuntch): “I would give you more details but someone just came in to try and find her Dalmatian coat.”
- Jake: “You know how I’m kind of a sexy bad boy who rides motorcycles into work and is always breaking the rules in the name of justice?”
Amy: “I dont like where this is going.”
- With Holt’s entire “And you ask, ‘Is everything okay?’” monologue, they should just give him the Emmy already. No needs for an awards show.
- Holt: “I know you’re used to riffing with me, but Internal Affairs detectives rarely have my sense of humor.” No. Need. For. An. Awards. Show.
- Gina: “I’m about to Olivia Pope this sitch.” I like when my sitcom characters to aspire to be like ABC drama characters (see also: Penny Hartz’s attempt at being Emily Thorne), so I approved wholeheartedly of that line. Also, I need to know more about “the guy who looked like Tywin Lannister.”
- Jake not only thinks that there is always an “evil twin” when it comes to twins, he’s decided that Cagney is the evil twin of Terry’s daughters. I’m willing to bet he thought that Lindsay Lohan was a twin during The Parent Trap and that she was the evil one.
- Boyle: “I’ll handle [Jake], you take care of Amy.”
Gina: “But how to make it look like an accident?”
Boyle: “I’m not saying murder, just talk to her like a normal person.”
Gina: “Right, even better. Get her to tell me all of her little secrets. Then if she tries anything, we can destroy her.”
- Jake: “Who else is hooking up that we don’t know about? Rosa and Terry? Holt and Scully? You and Hitchcock?”
Amy: “…Whoa whoa whoa. Why’d I get Hitchcock?”
Jake: “‘Cause you’re the girl version of him.”