Fans were excited when it was announced that NBC had decided to keep Brooklyn Nine-Nine alive after it was unceremoniously canceled by Fox. The show has consistently delivered on hilarious and well-written storylines anchored by a stellar cast that elevates all of the material they are given.
Over the last five years, there have been some truly great episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. However, along with the hits, there have also been a few misses. Luckily, the show succeeds more often than it fails, and even the episodes that aren't that great have something to offer viewers.
10 BEST: "USPIS"
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is often at its best when it puts Jake up against a character that challenges everything he believes in. In "USPIS," Jake is psyched to be paired up with a federal agent named Jack Danger. Unfortunately, it turns out that Agent Danger (pronounced 'Donger') is a major drag.
Ed Helms guest-stars in this episode and plays Danger with the perfect amount of self-importance. Danger may rub Jake the wrong way, but his refusal to work with him actually goes up against direct orders from Diaz, playing on the relationship between the two detectives and Jake's need to understand that he can't always get what he wants.
9 WORST: "NINE DAYS"
Brooklyn Nine-Nine works best when it is letting the entire team of detectives work together in a singular story, broken up into smaller parts. The problem with "Nine Days" is that it isolates Jake and Holt in quarantine while they get over their cases of the mumps together.
While there is some fun to be wrung out of the two main characters of the show being stuck in a house together while reeling from a pretty serious illness, there is just something lacking about this episode. As always, Jake and Holt are hilarious together, but the rest of the cast are stuck with forgettable B and C stories.
8 BEST: "HALLOWEEN"
It's the episode that began the Halloween tradition on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and it still stands as one of the best episodes of the series. When Jake bets holt that he can steal his watch before midnight on Halloween, it looks like he will be stuck doing a lot of overtime for the Captain.
However, and this is where the episode really shines, Jake is smarter than he appears. When he realizes early on that he cannot steal the watch on his own, he enlists the help of the other detectives by promising to do their paperwork, which Holt must do after he loses. The episode is a lot of fun, and the payoff is getting to see how all of Jake's failed plans were really part of a bigger plan.
7 WORST: "HALLOWEEN II"
Unfortunately, next year's Halloween episode, "Halloween II" couldn't quite live up to the standard set by its predecessor. This time out, Jake is given the runaround by Captain Holt, who has been planning his own Halloween Heist since the end of the previous one.
What makes this episode weaker than the previous Halloween episode is how the pieces of Holt's plan don't seem to be as fine-tuned as Jake's. They mostly involve the detective having his things stolen or being distracted while the other detectives do their parts for Holt's plan. It has its moments, but "Halloween II" just doesn't quite match the greatness of "Halloween."
6 BEST: "YIPPIE KAYAK"
Anyone who watches Brooklyn Nine-Nine knows how much of a die hard Die Hard fan Jake is. So, when he gets the chance to live out his favorite movie, it comes less as a crisis than an opportunity to emulate John McClane. However, things get complicated when Gina is taken hostage, and Jake really has to take the situation seriously.
This episode is great because it blends the best parts of Brooklyn Nine-Nine into one story: it has plenty of fun action, like when Jake and Charles must rig up their own weapons to take out the robbers, plus a lot of truly funny moments, like Amy running into the freezing ocean, only to immediately run out after she realizes how cold it is.
5 WORST: "THE MATTRESS"
It was refreshing to see a sitcom that didn't play the "will-they-won't-they" game with two of their leads. Jake and Amy being together just made sense, and it was nice that the writers didn't complicate the matter with a lot of drama. The episodes about Jake and Amy's relationship are among some of the best, but "The Mattress" falls short on delivering a compelling story.
Amy is mad at Jake because he won't buy a new mattress, which Jake does not want to spend the money on. They argue about it for a while before Jake comes to the realization that he would do anything for Amy, including spending money on a new mattress. It's a somewhat trite episode that feels like its just trotting out a well-worn relationship story, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine can do, and has done, better than that.
4 BEST: "HALLOVEEN"
The Halloween Heist tradition continued through all five seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine while it aired on the Fox network, and it was the fifth and final installment of the Halloween Heist saga that was really the best. Not only did this episode surprise everyone with a heartfelt proposal, but it was also a lot of chaotic fun involving everyone in the squad.
Right from the cold open, when Jake, Amy, and Holt are all trying to one up each other on how prepared they are for Halloween, to Jake's silly but earnest marriage proposal to Amy, this episode is just pure fun. It also allowed everyone in the squad to shine in their own ways (plus any episode that features a Cheddar cameo is instantly great).
3 WORST: "CAPTAIN LATVIA"
Charles Boyle has always been the secret weapon of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He may be a bit strange and sometimes a little too eager for Jake's approval, but he is a good cop and is fully confident in his knowledge of strange foods. Joe Lo Truglio has always done such a great job playing Boyle to the hilt, but "Captain Latvia" felt like a big misstep for the character.
After a toy he bought for Nikolaj is lost, Charles and Jake attempt to track it down, but Boyle feels so out of character in this episode, with his overly confident posturing and shortness with Jake. There are plenty of great episodes that give Boyle a spotlight, but this is not one of them.
2 BEST: "THE BOX"
Even though some of the best episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine give the entire cast a chance to shine, it's "The Box," an episode that features only Holt and Jake (as well as a dentist played by Sterling K. Brown, who is absolutely fantastic in the episode) that stands out as one of the best episodes ever.
It's not just the novel structure of the episode (although that does also help it to be a stand out episode of television) that makes it great, but rather the relationship dynamic between Jake and Holt, which continues to build in this episode, especially when Jake reveals that all he wants is Holt's approval.
1 WORST: "RETURN TO SKYFIRE"
In the fourth season episode, "Skyfire," Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans were treated to a great Jake and Terry story that put a focus on Terry's love of a fantasy book series. A follow up might have been inevitable, but it should have been far better than "Return to Skyfire," which unfortunately does not quite deliver on the fun of that first episode.
Even with hilarious guest star turns from Rob Huebel and a returning Fred Melamed as DC Parlov, "Return to Skyfire" falls flat in its storytelling, as well as its ultimate resolution. The reveal that DC Parlov was committing fraud was maybe a little too obvious, since viewers already knew he wasn't such a great guy.