Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8, episode 2 recap – “The Lake House” parent trap

August 24, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
NBC, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“The Lake House” proves that Brooklyn Nine-Nine hasn’t lost its sense of self in an episode with a classic setup.

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3.5

Summary

“The Lake House” proves that Brooklyn Nine-Nine hasn’t lost its sense of self in an episode with a classic setup.

This recap of Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8, episode 2, “The Lake House”, contains spoilers.


If “The Good Ones” was the eighth season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine proving that it was a different show more suited to this new socio-political climate, “The Lake House” is proof that it isn’t too different. It’s a classic set-up, with all of the Nine-Nine, including Rosa and even Hitchcock, who’s briefly present in video-call form, getting out of the station and into the countryside in an effort to cheer up Captain Holt after learning in the premiere that he and Kevin had separated.

The downside is that this involves visiting Holt’s Lake House to participate in birdwatching, which nobody but Holt seems happy about. Everyone is even less enthused when they learn that the house is so-called after Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard Divinity School Kirsopp Lake and isn’t actually near a body of water. But Jake is excited nonetheless since he has convinced himself that he’s going to be able to pull off a scheme to get Holt and Kevin back together by manipulating their calendars so they both must spend a couple of days together.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine season 8, episode 2 recap

It’s becoming an early theme of this season that Jake doesn’t handle change very well. His relative immaturity is no secret – he’s bummed that being at the Lake House will cause him to miss a Pokémon Go community event – but he’s also obsessed with the idea of the Nine-Nine being a family. Since his “mean older sister”, Rosa, has already quit, his two fathers splitting up is too much to handle. This is why he’s so adamant about pulling off a “parent trap”, despite the parents and everyone else insisting it’s a terrible idea.

Admittedly, everyone else has problems of their own. Rosa is high as a kite on edibles (legally prescribed for her anxiety, she reassures Amy), Amy has brought Mac along and can’t get him to sleep, Scully is missing Hitchcock, and Boyle is adamant about his near-mythical parenting skills, which throughout the episode Amy has to begrudgingly accept.

And yet Jake remains ceaseless in his efforts. “The Lake House” is illuminating when it comes to Holt and Kevin’s unique personalities and relationship – the building has three sitting rooms; their arguments consist of each man alternating deadpan statements – but it also highlights the importance of needing help. Holt and Kevin fundamentally need each other. Jake needs Terry’s help to pull off his various schemes, even if they can’t agree on who takes credit. And Amy, weirdly enough, needs Boyle, even if it’s just to secure a three-hour nap. This episode hardly plays things straight – there are rare bird mating calls, bees, and Amy breaking down a door – but it also has a vein of truth that makes it more than just twenty minutes of knockabout comedy, as the best episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine always do.

No matter how ridiculous the whole thing gets, it always stays true to character, too. When Kevin and Holt figure out what Jake was up to, they identify it as Das doppelte Lottchen, aka “The Double Lottie” or “Lottie and Lisa”, the 1949 German novel from which The Parent Trap was adapted. Rosa remains too high to contribute at all, except for helping Scully determine the best potato chip in a round-robin tournament. The eventual turning point of Holt and Kevin’s relationship rests on Holt being bad at impersonating birds. You couldn’t have predicted most of these things, but they’re far from surprising when they occur. That’s a delicate narrative needle to thread. “The Lake House” might not have the premiere’s topical power, but it’s a neat reminder of the basis in character that makes this show work so well.

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