Summary: Jake’s dad comes to town looking for a favor, leading Jake, Boyle, and Scully to Quebec to help him out. At the precinct, Holt gives Amy, Gina, Rosa, and Terry an impossible riddle to solve.
Best Scene: After standing up for him the whole episode, Jake finally sees his dad for who he really is, and goes to his father’s hotel room to tell him so.
Best Line: “I’m proud of you.” – Holt, after Jake cracks his father’s case.
My Review: This was no typical episode of Nine-Nine, and with that in mind, I’m aware that it’s going to be hard for me to do my usual objective review. I (and I’m sure many other viewers) have been wanting to see Jake’s dad since the beginning of the series, so I went into this episode with high expectations, ones that I think were completely met.
As a rare fan of both The West Wing and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (where he plays another disappointing father, actually), I was really pleased when I heard that Bradley Whitford had been cast as Captain Peralta, and I think that he did a great job in this role. He brought a confidence and showmanship that made me totally buy him as Jake’s dad. But he (as well as the writers of the show), also did an excellent job of showing the differences between the two; Jake may be boastful and over-the-top about his abilities sometimes, but he’s also done a lot for the NYPD, so he’s earned that to some extent. And I think Jake also has a kindness that his dad just doesn’t have, something that’s been made apparent by the various kind things he’s done for his co-workers and friends throughout the series.
Those differences are also what made that scene in his dad’s hotel room so important; Jake has always wanted to be like his dad, because he’s always thought of his dad as a hero. But I think in realizing that he wasn’t, Jake also understood that of the two of them, he’s the better guy, he’s the guy who would be around for his kid if he had one. And what’s more, I love that he told his dad the truth about how he sees him now. His line about not contacting him until he was ready to be a good father showed what a truly important moment it was for him, as he dropped his usual bravado and just told his dad what he was feeling. Another moment of character growth for one Jake Peralta, in a season that has been full of them.
I also really enjoyed the part that Boyle and Holt played in Jake’s storyline this week. It was great that the usually gullible Boyle was suspicious of Captain Peralta’s intentions right from the start, keen as he was on protecting Jake. I also think it spoke to the history between them; you could tell that Boyle has spent enough time around Jake to know that he has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to his dad, and that he needed to remind Jake of that. Also, let’s be real: only a true friend will offer you a ten minute hug.
Going into the episode, I knew that Holt had to play some role in it, given how much of a father figure he is for Jake, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how little the two of them talked about what Jake was dealing with in this episode. Instead of changing who he was because Jake’s father was in town, Holt remained the exact same: supportive, present, ready with a kind word when Jake needed it, just as he has always been, and just how Jake’s father has never been. Also, I’ll be honest, Holt saying “I’m proud of you” to Jake may be my favorite moment ever between the two of them. Andre Braugher did a great job of playing it casually while still making the impact clear, and Andy Samberg’s reaction was perfect; a little sad because it wasn’t his dad saying the words, but also happy to hear them from someone whose opinion he respects even more.
The stuff with Jake’s dad was obviously the meat of the episode, but I also really enjoyed the cold open and the riddle B-plot. I was totally not surprised to see Boyle grow a gloriously tacky beard, and everyone’s reactions to it were spot-on. I also loved seeing the Captain as an integral part of their plan to get him to shave it. Any scene where Holt descends into the fray and takes part in the precinct shenanigans is a win in my book.
The B-plot was also solid; it was fun to see the two teams work together, and I love that Gina and Rosa were the ones who figured out why the Captain gave them the riddle. Amy’s face of failure was fantastic (A+ work, Melissa Fumero), and we got another moment of Holt zigging where I expected him to zag when he went with Gina’s plan of rubbing his Captain-ship in his old mentor’s face.
What about you? Did you enjoy “Captain Peralta” as much as I did? Let me know in the comment section!