Brooklyn Nine-Nine 2.23: “Johnny and Dora” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for the second season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine are present in this review


Brooklyn Nine-Nine closed out its second season on a pretty strong note with “Johnny and Dora”, a season finale that brought together some of the season-long teases with some pretty satisfying, and potentially shocking conclusions.

The episode’s title comes as a reference to Peralta and Santiago, who are thrown together on an undercover assignment, against Peralta’s wishes, after Santiago announced that she doesn’t wish to date cops anymore. After failing to get Holt to consider assigning Boyle with Peralta, Peralta shows a surprising moment of honesty and maturity when he simply fesses up to Santiago that he’s bummed out and awkward around her, due to his repressed feelings for her, and the new knowledge that she never wants to date another cop… Well, mostly. He did mask his emotions behind a shaky attempt to do some rather ridiculous accents.

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After the two are put on the trail of a notorious identity thief, trailing him before he hands off a cache of stolen credit card information to a Chinese buyer, things become more awkward when the two are forced to masquerade as an engaged couple. Despite the Peralta/Santiago sexual tension being a considerable annoyance throughout most of Season Two, this season finale actually executes this bit pretty well. It’s funny, and the writing backs it up far better than previous episodes in the season did.

Things eventually come to a head when Boyle and Diaz drive off to chase the one perp, while Peralta and Santiago go after the buyer. After being forced to kiss in the park, after having to kiss to dupe the seller as well, the two hilariously announce that they’re NYPD to arrest the buyer when he approaches, following it up by trying to assert their professionalism. Yep, keep trying, you two…

While this is going on, Boyle tries and predictably fails to throw Diaz off of the scent of an imminent surprise birthday party. This also provided lots of solid jokes, and it also gave us the best Boyle/Diaz pairing that the show has featured in quite a while. Brooklyn Nine-Nine almost seems afraid to touch Boyle and Diaz together, after the two obviously didn’t end up romantically entangled after Boyle’s obsession with Diaz in Season One, but it was nice to throw that to the wind here, and finally go back to good old times with these two.

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The result of this subplot also went over well to boot, with Boyle forcing Diaz into a bar, only to find Marcus there by himself, with no one else. Boyle triumphantly declares that he knows Diaz best, and put together the perfect surprise party with Marcus’ help, even if he unfortunately didn’t get to call her, “Ro-Ro”, as he so badly wanted to. Marcus realizing that he should have at least had a bartender because he doesn’t know how to make drinks was pretty funny as well. I have to wonder how these two managed to rent an entire bar for a night, considering that neither man has a good living situation, let alone a robust income, but I suppose that’s a nitpick.

The big development of the season finale however came with Holt having to leave the Nine-Nine, after Wuntch promotes him to being head of the NYPD’s PR division. Holt initially tries to get Gina and Jeffords to track down an incriminating file that will make Wuntch fall out of favour with the commissioner, and this leads to some pretty funny attempts at stealth by the two least stealthy members of the precinct. Despite Holt getting the file however, Wuntch tells him that it won’t work, and the promotion is going ahead.

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Eventually, Holt is left without options, and must announce to the precinct at large that he is abruptly leaving. The stunned reaction from Santiago and Peralta was quite funny, as was Holt claiming to be emotional, despite maintaining his ever-consistent tone. Still, it was a bit heartbreaking to see him admit that his time with the Nine-Nine amounted to two of the best years in his entire career, even if this change is bound to be undone somehow when Season Three gets going. The fact that he took Gina with him is something that’s also bound to be undone eventually. I seriously doubt that both Andre Braugher and Chelsea Peretti would simultaneously walk away from the show after the second season, especially considering how successful it is as a tentpole FOX comedy.

Peralta goes to try and comfort Santiago afterward, who is trying to hide out in the file room, and the two end up sharing a passionate kiss, finally submitting to their long overdue romantic relationship. Well, it’s about damn time! Still, I have to admit, the show handled this perfectly, with Peralta and Santiago genuinely brought together by an honest loss of someone that they both looked up to. It was especially telling to have Peralta reveal that he associates the grief with when his father left, hinting at the true, suppressed depth of Peralta’s admiration for Holt, despite how much he likes to torment the captain.

The episode also had a pretty inspired, and delightfully groan-worthy ending. The replacement captain arrives on the elevator, with the entirety of the detectives standing alongside each other in front of it, and right as the elevator doors open, the episode ends, without us seeing who’s inside. Damn! That’s quite ruthless on the part of FOX, especially since this ignites all sorts of debate as to who may end up replacing Holt, however temporarily. It could literally be anyone, from a crotchety old man to a sexy hot woman, to another devil-may-care joker like Peralta. Hell, how great would it be if a previous guest character like Stacy Keach’s Jimmy Brogan ended up taking over the Nine-Nine at the start of Season Three?! That’s probably a long shot, but you see my point. The debates amongst fans should tide them over nicely before Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns in the Fall.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second season hit a few bumps as the season wound down, but “Johnny and Dora” definitely capped off Season Two on a great note. With the mystery of the Nine-Nine’s new boss hanging in the air, and Peralta and Santiago finally becoming an item, the show looks to be headed into plenty of interesting territory for Season Three!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's second season finale delivered both strong humour and uplifting heart for its leads, as some key precinct members appeared to make their exit, and Peralta and Santiago finally made it official.
Peralta and Santiago, together at last
Diaz's great surprise party
Holt and Gina's shocking exit
Holt and Gina exit is no doubt temporary