Full spoilers for this episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are present in this review
Halloween is back again for the Nine-Nine crew, and with it comes the most noble of Brooklyn Nine-Nine traditions! “Halloween IV” once again had the precinct upping the ante in their latest competition for ultimate detective/genius in this week’s special episode, as they compete for a stylish plaque announcing their victory, locked in Santiago’s childhood caboodle after Hitchcock eats the key. The race is on again, and with the squad now on the night shift, this time it’s a competition until dawn to see who can emerge victorious!
It’s really amazing to see how well the show keeps raising the bar with its traditional Halloween specials every year, and, “Halloween IV” is once again a fantastic offering that brings together the best and worst of the Nine-Nine precinct. For this year, after the victories of Peralta, Holt and Santiago on years one, two and three, respectively, the squad breaks into teams of two, with only Jeffords abstaining, declaring that heists are dumb. This has Peralta ordering Hitchcock and Scully to tail Jeffords, making sure he doesn’t steal victory like Santiago did last year, when the contest was simply between Peralta and Holt.
Once again, this episode was all about simple, goofy fun, even at the expense of logic or common sense. This also had the show once again firing on all cylinders, as it was during its previous Halloween specials, with Peralta and Gina forming one team, Holt and Boyle forming another, and Santiago and Diaz forming the third. Even the placement of the teams is quite funny, after Diaz agrees to go along with Santiago’s, “Nerd crap” for just one night, including reading up on The Babysitter’s Club, Holt poaches Boyle to give Peralta a major disadvantage, and this leaves Peralta stuck with Gina, who is quickly rendered incapacitated after a botched trick has her skating face-first into a wall, and knocking out her two front teeth.
Gina being out of the episode for the most part is a bummer, but fortunately, Peralta still finds a worthy partner in Bill, a Boyle lookalike that he hired off of the street. Peralta automatically assuming that Boyle would be his partner, and Holt turning this against him was pretty funny from the start, but truth be told, every gag in this episode brought pretty big laughs overall. Even the abstaining of Jeffords worked to pretty amusing effect throughout most of the episode, especially with Hitchcock and Scully around to pick up the comedic slack, annoying Jeffords appropriately whenever the gags and heist tricks couldn’t do it on their own.
The way that the squad anticipates and counters each other’s moves this year made for one of the best heists yet as well, and this was all the better when the show beautifully referenced tiny details from earlier seasons. Santiago gets ahold of the plaque and hides it in the womens’ washroom vent where she hides her cigarettes for example, nicely referencing Santiago being a closet smoker from earlier in the series, and Holt brings back his loyal dog, Cheddar from late last season to take the plaque from this hiding place, stashing it in an obscure case box, or so it appears. Holt even anticipates Boyle’s inevitable betrayal for Peralta, feeding him fake intel to throw Peralta off of the scent.
The especially intense and ridiculous heist this year eventually gave way to everyone surprisingly ending up with fake plaques, and a blacklight being turned on to reveal the words, “Heists are dumb” on said plaques, referencing a line from Jeffords at the start of the episode. When everyone goes to the interrogation room to confront Jeffords however, they get locked in, and another light turns on to reveal Gina, who was manipulating the precinct’s manipulations all along. Gina was the only one in possession of the real plaque, which she took away after pretending to go to the dentist, revealing that her front teeth have always been false, knocked out after a childhood making-out mishap at a birthday party that she and possibly Peralta attended together, and she manipulated the squad in advance to schedule all of the ways that they would get one over on each other. Gina wanted to win to make the award eligible for people beyond detectives, and thus, she became this year’s champion! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Gina is the smartest person at the Nine-Nine, and when she decides to take advantage of that, she really is a force to be reckoned with! Plus, Gina exploiting Santiago’s drab clothes to literally become invisible to the rest of the squad was hilarious, I must say.
“Halloween IV” beautifully upheld a sacred tradition of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, delivering another satisfying heist for this year, full of twists, turns, suspense, and of course, non-stop hilarity. Gina felt like a very fitting winner for this season, especially as she opens up the competition to those beyond the detectives, and even if the entire episode focused on the same batch of silly ridiculousness, it nonetheless offered constant entertainment value that once again made Halloween a highlight for the precinct. Even without any real Halloween-themed gags this year, a first for these Halloween-themed heist episodes, this episode still stands as probably the best episode of Season Four so far. The only question that remains is, who may emerge the winner next year?
- Consistently hilarious and ridiculous heist turns
- Jeffords, Scully and Hitchcock trying and failing to stay away
- Gina's smart, surprising victory