Brooklyn Nine-Nine S8E2: “The Lake House”

Jake and Terry check on Kevin and Holt to see if their plan is working, peeking from behind a pillar

If the premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s final season showed us that the show was willing to step right into the messy, changing world that it had suddenly found itself coming back into, “The Lake House” is something of an exercise in escapism. S8E2 takes our beloved detectives outside of the precinct and away from the messiness of the world beyond for a trip up to Cpt. Holt’s vacation home—at no point during the episode do we even step foot in the precinct building, the planning sequence at the beginning taking place in the bar they all hang out in after work. The entire episode takes place in a bubble of sorts: no Covid restrictions, no messy questions about the role of police in society, just a trip up to the woods and a central conflict that is mostly resolved by the time the credits roll. It almost feels like an assurance from the Nine-Nine team that the final season isn’t going to be all heavy introspection.

The greatest strength of Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always been having one of the most well-rounded casts in the last few years of television; it’s what’s allowed previous episodes that have taken the Nine-Nine out of the precinct to usually turn out well, most notably the “Coral Palms” trilogy which saw Jake and Holt having to enter witness protection after a threat against their lives was made. “The Lake House” is an especially strong showing of this—this is a cast that has worked together for years now, and it shows in how well they play off one another.

Boyle points a finger in Amy's direction as she leans over a crib

“The Lake House” is definitely a much funnier half-hour of television than the season premiere, with a lot of classic Brooklyn Nine-Nine humor being thrown around: Jake’s familial issues, Holt’s idiosyncrasies, and Boyle’s accidental innuendos among other things. There’s not much new ground being broken in terms of jokes, but there’s a definitive feeling of comfort and familiarity throughout the episode that’s a strong contrast with the new and unfamiliar territory that the premiere jumped right into. The whole season is going to be aired with two episodes being shown each night, and I’m curious to see if in future weeks we continue to get a funny episode paired with a serious one.

Once again, things are mostly divided up into three separate storylines, but the Nine-Nine being all together means that there’s more overlap between them, giving us a more complete feel than in the premiere where the cast was mostly split up into their designated pairings. Amy gets paired off with Boyle this time, with their storyline revolving around his attempts to prove how good he is at watching children—only to wind up accidentally locking a sleeping Mac in the room that the Peraltas are staying in. Melissa Fumero is a particular standout of the night, with her typically neat and tidy control freak Amy becoming even more stressed and wound up than usual with the chaos of a new baby who’s having trouble sleeping. It leads to some particularly barbed exchanges with Boyle, culminating in her breaking down a door to free her infant son.

Jake and Terry talk with Holt before entering the Lake House

Meanwhile, Rosa winds up hanging out with Scully of all people—Hitchcock is now retired, and Rosa has an “anxiety prescription” that makes Scully’s idea of a tournament to determine the best flavor of potato chip a very appealing prospect. It’s very much an odd couple pairing, but the two wind up going very well together. Stephanie Beatriz also particularly shines in this episode, giving us a Rosa who’s far looser, relaxed, and much more of a comic relief character than we usually get to see her be.

Finally, we have Jake and Terry teaming up for Jake’s ulterior motives: trying to ensure a reconnection and reconciliation for Kevin and Holt, who as we found out last week have separated due to the stress Holt has been through over the last year. It’s a typical Jake plan, one that wouldn’t have felt out of place in an earlier season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, involving dribble cups bought from Spencers and exploiting the couple’s shared love of birdwatching, and it goes just about as well as you would expect (several bee stings and a tumble down a hill, among other things). But Holt and Kevin do wind up reconciling on their own terms, and agree to start attending couples’ counseling—an idea that I find particularly intriguing, and I hope that we’re able to get a glimpse into these sessions in a future episode. We already know that the events of the year have pushed Holt to his limits, and I hope we get a chance to hear exactly what’s on his mind.

Hitchcock and Rosa unpack the van after arriving at the Lake House

“The Lake House” is an excellent chaser after the much more serious season premiere. It’s a throwback to the earlier, goofier days of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that does its job of reassuring us that the show is no less funny than it was before, a reminder of why Nine-Nine became such a beloved piece of comfort viewing for so many people, and a very welcome escape for both characters and audience alike.

While the episode ends on a joke, (Rosa comes down from her inebriated state to find she’s agreed to a road trip to a potato chip factory with Scully) I still felt a strange sense of melancholy as the credits rolled. After all, we can’t stay at the lake house forever. At some point, we have to go back. To our jobs, to our lives, to the mess. The problems facing the Nine-Nine that were established in the season premiere aren’t going away anytime soon, whether it’s Holt undertaking couples’ counseling, Jake and Amy trying to juggle parenthood with work in a world that suddenly isn’t as big a fan of police officers, or Rosa trying to find some justice in a world when it feels almost impossible to find for people that look like her. 

But, that doesn’t mean we can’t get away from time to time, whether that’s a trip up to the lake house or just an hour or so of damn good TV.

Written by Timothy Glaraton

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