NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are present in this review
Brooklyn Nine-Nine certainly started its fourth season on a more unique note than the show has ever attempted before, shirking the main cast and events to instead focus entirely on Peralta and Holt being stuck in Witness Protection as ‘Larry’ and ‘Greg’, respectively. Forced to try and make the best of things after a six-month time jump, Peralta and Holt are finding separate struggles in adjusting to the Florida town of Coral Palms, where they’re forced to hide out while the FBI tries to apprehend Jimmy ‘The Butcher’ Figgis back in New York.
Despite the drastic shift from the show’s usual dynamic, “Coral Palms Pt. 1” was a pretty solid season premiere for Brooklyn Nine-Nine overall. The focus on Peralta and Holt, two of the show’s best characters with arguably one of the show’s best recurring dynamics, made for a good dose of character building and strong humour, especially as we see how well or how poorly they’re adjusting to their disagreeable new situation. Holt is settling in as Greg, though Peralta is struggling as Larry, to the point where he’s crying in a hot tub and eating wet burritos. I don’t know how Peralta managed to afford a hot tub after refusing to get a job, but maybe the government is unusually generous in the Brooklyn Nine-Nine universe, even if also a bit useless when it comes to catching Figgis.
We do check in briefly with the FBI at one point in the episode, which leads to one of the best scenes in this season premiere, as a marshal played by Maya Rudolph checks in with Holt and Peralta. Hearing some of the details behind their backstories is pretty amusing, especially in the case of Peralta, who must lie about his favourite movie being Failure to Launch as Larry, rather than Die Hard, which Peralta normally worships, and I can’t say I blame Peralta for struggling with that backstory. Rudolph is also very funny in this scene, which is why it sucks that this is the only scene that she appears in. Maybe we’ll see more of her in the second and third parts of this storyline that are scheduled to air over the next couple of Tuesdays, but for now, we don’t get quite enough of her, and that’s a bummer.
What we do get however are some solid running gags between Holt’s and Peralta’s new Witness Protection lifestyles, whether it’s Holt asserting his new ‘walking group’, where he power walks around the neighbourhood while gossiping with three old ladies, Peralta pretending to sell ATV’s when Holt encourages him to finally get a job (naturally, Peralta knows nothing about ATV’s, and drives them like tricycles, making this even funnier), or Holt’s teenage boss at his minimum-wage job constantly mistaking him for a stoner. In a strange way, that error makes some sense, since Holt’s stoic, authoritative presence does become strangely listless when it’s put in a minimum-wage setting.
As you can imagine though, Peralta can’t stay away from his old life as a cop, which leads to the episode’s main conflict, whereupon Holt tries to completely move away from his old life, resigning himself to his situation, while Peralta does everything in his power to locate Figgis when the FBI has failed to. This reminder of Peralta’s surprising aptitude as a cop was welcome, and the scenario of Peralta responding to Holt refusing to let him unofficially take the case by stealing the assistant manager position at the childrens’ play center that Holt works at was legitimately hilarious, especially when Peralta insists on giving everyone nicknames, then calls Holt, “Mr. Fart”, before making him do a series of demeaning tasks.
This mischief does end up biting both Peralta and Holt in the ass though, when an amusing go-kart mishap has an abrasive woman take a viral video of the two hidden cops, which she then refuses to delete, unless she’s paid $15,000. Peralta manages to partially fake his way to a payoff that seems to go bad, though Peralta switches phones with the woman to get the video in the ensuing scuffle, before angrily storming off, since Holt tells him that he half-assed everything since Witness Protection started for them. This dark moment between Peralta and Holt is pretty forced and rather unnecessary, especially when it’s resolved very quickly, but this final push of getting Holt to come around and agree to help Peralta locate Figgis was a fair enough way to wind down the episode.
The rest of the show’s ensemble is truly missed, and that’s another thing that somewhat hurts this episode’s appeal, though the creative Peralta/Holt-focused storyline still made for an interesting way to kick off the season. We’ll certainly get a chance to check back in with the Nine-Nine precinct soon, but there was still plenty of enjoyable fun to be had with Peralta’s and Holt’s less-than-ideal Witness Protection situation. This made for a simple, but distinct season premiere that kicks off Season Four of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on a pretty good note, even if the laughs will probably get better once Peralta and Holt finally return to their fellow Brooklyn cops.
- Lots of funny character moments with Peralta's and Holt's new lives
- Maya Rudolph's standout check-in scene
- Creative and interesting story to kick off the season with
- Could have used a bit more Maya Rudolph
- Hard not to miss the rest of the cast