'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': Holt Struggles With His Working-Class Status (RECAP)

Emily Hannemann
Spoiler Alert

Though Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn't often discuss it, Holt and Kevin come from two very different working worlds.

Those completely separate circles don't typically apply to the plot, but when they do, they really do. When three antique coins are stolen from Kevin's Classics Department at Columbia University, he asks for Jake's — not Holt's — help. It becomes clear why Kevin insisted Jake, and not his husband, be the one to work with him: Holt has some unpleasant history with the department, and much to his frustration, they only see him as Kevin's "working-class bimbo."

In order to solve the case, Holt and Jake have to deal with a smug dean who believes himself above them. Meanwhile, Amy and Terry try to raise morale through a series of elaborate lunches.

The Working-Class Bimbo

Kevin stops by the precinct to meet with Jake, and in secret in the bathroom, he asks Jake for help with a case of three stolen coins. Jake doesn't want to keep the case a secret from Holt, and they stumble on their first hurdle when Holt interrupts them, asking Kevin what seats he'd like for a symphony performance. As Jake squats in the stall and tries to stay undetectable, Kevin gives Holt a hurried answer.

Later, Holt barges into the lecture hall at Columbia, finding Jake and Kevin out. He knew something was amiss when Kevin chose seats he'd never choose for the symphony, and Kevin eventually reveals Holt's not on the case because of a holiday party at which he got drunk (but Holt-drunk, so still smart and articulate). The real reason Holt's not on the case is because Kevin's university colleagues see Holt as, in his words, "Kevin's working-class bimbo," and Kevin knew how much that upsets his husband.

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Case Closed?

The case taps into some very real insecurities for Holt — he says he worries he'll slip up one day, and Kevin will realize he's beneath him. Wanting Holt to realize his worth and for Kevin's colleagues to respect him, Jake puts him on the case. They meet with the dean, but when it comes time for Holt to tell the man their plan, he freezes up. Multiple times.

Holt and Jake keep working, and while aren't any clear indicators as to whodunit, Jake thinks based on the crime scene that the perp works at the university. Holt finds a footprint under UV light, but the dean interrupts them to say the case has been solved... by a janitor who found one of the coins in a professor's office. The dean, smug, tells Holt and Jake they have the same basic skill set as the janitor and walks away, leaving the pair annoyed and humiliated.

A Rock-Hard Brain

Holt says they should arrest the dean for the crime — he thinks he planted the coins in the office, and the other professor is the dean's academic rival. Yet when they follow the dean, he doesn't do anything suspicious. He almost catches them following him, so Holt and Jake are forced to duck into an acapella circle to keep their cover. When they re-emerge, the dean is gone... but he's left his footprint, which matches the one on the drawer. Bingpot!

They confront the dean at an awards ceremony for the janitor, and Holt announces the man has been caught by his "rock-hard brain" (Jake's description, which Holt then uses despite the fact that he says a hard brain is bad). Unfortunately, the entire department has those shoes. Their evidence is inconclusive, and again, the dean taunts them. "At least you got one thing right," the dean tells Holt, "you do have a rock-hard brain."

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A Kerfuffle

Jake talks to a dejected Holt in the lecture hall, and he tells him there are benefits to being underestimated. His choice of words gives Holt the information he needed to solve the case — the janitor was being underestimated because they were only looking at professors in the department, and the janitor had access to Kevin's shoes! He confesses to the crime, and Holt, rightfully, gets the credit for solving the case.

Kevin causes "a kerfuffle," berating Allister for the way he treated Holt. "Sure, my husband is a hot piece of ass, but he's so much more than that," Kevin tells him. He clasps his husband's hand, which is pretty huge PDA for them, and the case is closed.

Raising Morale

To improve morale at the precinct, Amy offers to buy lunch for her section of the squad — Terry then tries to one-up her with a better lunch for this people. Amy doesn't stick to her original plan of pizza, and neither does Terry — he takes his team out for steak and mashed potatoes.

The two compete for better lunches and morale-raising, complete with limousines and cupcakes. The conflict escalates to the point where no one's really having fun, and the squads abandon their leaders to hide outside instead of eating lunch. They apologize to their squads and turn the briefing room into a lunchtime paradise.

Other Observations:

  • Fun fact: Joe Lo Truglio (Boyle) directed this episode!
  • It's always nice to see Marc Evan Jackson on the show, even though it's hard not to see him as Shawn from The Good Place sometimes. Holt and Kevin have such a great relationship.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Thursdays, 9/8c, NBC