Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 7 episode 7 review: Bitter rivalries

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE -- "Hitchcock & Scully" Episode 602 -- Pictured: Andre Braugher as Captain Holt -- (Photo by: Vivian Zink/NBC)
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE -- "Hitchcock & Scully" Episode 602 -- Pictured: Andre Braugher as Captain Holt -- (Photo by: Vivian Zink/NBC) /

This week’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine throws a shocking twist viewers’ way: Madeleine Wunch is dead. And Holt is the one who has to plan her memorial service.

The rivalry between Captain Holt and Madeleine Wunch has been a running gag over the course of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s seven seasons, and this week’s episode threw a shocking twist into the conflict between the two. At the opening of the episode, Terry holds a meeting to announce to the 99th Precinct that Wunch has died — and Holt doesn’t process the news all that well.

Going from denial to utter joy at his nemesis’ demise, Holt’s pettiness seemingly knows no bounds. But Wunch has one last card up her sleeve: She insisted before she died that she wanted Holt to plan her memorial service — and to speak at it. Since Holt can hardly manage to utter a kind word about the woman without gagging, she knows this move will destroy his career, along with any chances of him being made Captain again. It’s Wunch’s final win.

The hilarity of watching Holt’s refusal to pretend he liked Madeleine is only matched by his discovery that she had another, greater rival — a reveal that turns out to be another ruse by Madeleine herself. In typical Brooklyn Nine-Nine fashion, the episode continues to throw surprises viewers’ way, first revealing that Madeleine convinced her nephew to pose as her rival and capture Holt’s true feelings about her on tape — and then showing fans that Holt knew she had something planned all along, hiring improv actors to attend a fake memorial for Wunch.

Given that Wunch’s newphew plays the tape to a bunch of random actors, Holt’s career isn’t ruined after all — but he does wind up in his feelings by the time “Ding Dong” closes. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a tendency to balance its humor with genuine emotion, and watching Holt realize that Wunch will never make another move on their “chess board” again is sobering. Until he gives his real, touching speech about the woman, even the audience is expecting her to pop out from behind the curtain and reveal some grand plan. But her death is final, and both the viewers and the characters feel that by the time the credits roll.

And “Ding Dong” manages to juggle comedy with drama during its B-plot as well, showing Jake dealing with rivalry on a much smaller scale. After obtaining tickets to the premiere of a popular children’s movie, Jake offers them to Charles and Terry — both of whom go to drastic lengths to make sure their kids are the ones who get to attend.

Watching Charles and Terry duke it out throughout “Ding Dong” provides the usual savage humor the 99th Precinct brings, especially when the two decide to box one another in order to settle the problem. Their storyline shows how ridiculously far parents are willing to go to make their kids happy, but there’s another underlying truth at its core: Jake really wants to be a dad.

Charles’ comment that Jake can’t understand why they’re acting this way because he’s “not a parent” hits home after last week’s episode about Jake and Amy’s difficulties conceiving, and Jake’s decision to take the kids himself serves as another emotional blow to viewers. Perhaps all of it should be considered foreshadowing, though, because the end of “Ding Dong” holds one last surprise: With the help of hormone treatments, Amy has finally gotten pregnant!

The final moment between Jake and Amy will leave fans with all the feelings heading into next week’s episode, though the show does manage to get one last laugh in. After the two realize they’re having a baby, the episode cuts to Charles sitting up abruptly in bed. He knows — and Jake and Amy are probably in for it next week.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs on NBC on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. Check back on Culturess after each episode for reviews and updates about the show!