Brooklyn Nine-Nine is easily one of the best comedies on television, but year after year, they outdo themselves with their Halloween episodes. There are plenty of shows that do great holiday editions— Thanksgiving and Christmas Very Special Episodes for the whole family. For Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Halloween is their Very Special Episode.
We should also take a moment to appreciate that for a show that so perfectly nails its Halloween episodes, it does so without ever being the slightest bit spooky. This episode aired last week (and the show took this week off for baseball), but if you missed it, it’s a perfect addition to your weekend watch list, breaking up your Halloween weekend horror movies.
Now in its fourth season, “Halloween IV” differed from its three predecessors in that it was a tight bottle episode. Every year on the holiday, the gang partakes in a challege-based caper, but this year, the whole thing took place in the office. (Did they maybe blow their season budget on that lackluster New Girl crossover? Maybe, but if so, they’re making it work.)
This year, the group splits off into pairs to break a three-way tie from years past. The goal is to gain possession of their yearly winner’s plaque. With Terry excusing himself because “heists are dumb,” the rest of the squad is left to some unconventional pairings. Captain Holt knows Jake will have planned his entire strategy around Boyle, so Holt chooses Boyle. That leaves Jake and Gina, and Rosa and Amy. Where a lesser show would make the episode’s humor revolve around the odd couple pairs’ differences, the brilliance of “Halloween IV” is in the way everyone accepts and works within those matches. Jake and Gina are old friends, but Holt and Boyle (or “Pork Chop” as Holt calls him here) are maybe the most uneven power dynamic possible in this office, and with Rosa giving into Amy’s planning abilities, these two have a shockingly easy banter.
The entire length of the episode, the dialogue is quick, the physical jokes aren’t slapstick, but they’re elaborately choreographed, and throughout, you have Rosa and Amy talking about The Babysitter’s Club. It’s perfect. Hands down, the best exchange of the episode is when Rosa tells Amy she did her “suggested reading of Kristy’s Big Day.”
AMY: “You did??” ROSA: “Calm down, you’re such a Mary Anne.” AMY: “I am! It’s true!”
Although Holt telling Jake and Amy he will ” slit you both open from mouth to anus and wear you like jackets” is a damn close second.
The episode doesn’t go full farce, but it’s a tightly paced caper reminiscent of some of the best Parks and Recreation and The Office ever had to offer. The only thing missing are the elaborate costumes of years past, but there is some great use of fake blood, and with an episode this good, that’s easy to let slide.