The Nine-Nine are back on our screens tomorrow with the start of their final, shortened season, but it’s safe to say that the world has changed quite a lot since we saw them last. Not only has COVID caused a couple of issues for us, but society’s attitudes towards the police itself have been rocked.
It would’ve been a bit odd for the show to just not acknowledge the events of the last year, and they certainly do. COVID is covered in a few quick lines, which is arguably better than black-ish’s attempts to make it the centre of a couple of episodes of plot and then promptly never mention it again. Unfortunately, Nine-Nine’s handling of BLM and police brutality leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s difficult to say too much about why the way the show’s dealing with current events left a sour taste in my mouth without spoiling anything, but there’s some major issues across a couple of episodes with how it paints the core cast as ‘the good ones’ and everyone else as ‘the bad ones’. There’s a whole subplot in the premiere about how that’s not a great way to divide officers, and then it makes that very split itself two episodes later. At one point it turns all the uniformed officers in the baddies, except of course Amy and Holt, because of course absolutely none of the show’s main characters could possibly be anything other than heroic. Oh, and one of those episodes is wrapped in a giant advert for WeWork, a company dealing with its own allegations of sexual harassment, racism, sexism and more. It’s not great.
When the show isn’t trying to make statements about society and falling flat on its face it feels much more like the show we’ve grown to love over the last few years. All the cast are back and are on top form, with a couple of emotional moments clearly showing that the stars themselves are aware this is their last hurrah and that they’re going to miss it. I laughed out loud more than a few times as you’d expect, but the real strengths here are the relationships between everyone.
In some ways this definitely feels like a final season. There are elements of closure being teased throughout, with some long-running plot points seemingly being pulled together as we edge closer to the end. And for the officers themselves, you certainly get the feeling that the writers are moving pieces to make sure everyone can be in place for the finale, which I have no problem with whatsoever. A good final season of a sitcom can be a great send-off, and I have faith that for the characters at least Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s will work. It’s just a shame that whilst the writers clearly know how to craft great relationships between everyone we love, their abilities to handle real world concerns about the institution of policing and its racist undertones seem more than a little lacking.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 will premiere on NBC on August 12th 2021 with 2 episodes. The season will continue showing 2 episodes over the next four weeks before taking one week off. The hour long finale will air on September 16th.
Do you plan to watch the series? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
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