'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' season 6 episode 8 review: Stephanie Beatriz shines as director while the show tackles the #MeToo Movement
Beatriz, in her directorial debut, describes the episode's premise as 'subtly discussing social issues through a multifaceted and complex lens while taking you on a comedy joyride'
Spoiler alert for 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' season 6 episode 8: 'He Said, She Said'
This week 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' came armed and laden with copious amounts of woke-ness to offer on the topic of burning social issues, and boy, was it a treat to witness! After tackling instances of discrimination based on gender and race, and even revolving a whole episode on police brutality, in a show about cops, the latest and eighth episode of 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' indulges in portraying one of the most popular movements of our time — the #MeToo Movement. Considering cast member Terry Crews was one of the many celebrities who very publicly came out about their harrowing experience with sexual abuse, the show addressing the disgraceful issue seemed inevitable, frankly.
But what we weren't expecting was the nuanced depiction of the topic through the angle of not only the victim's trauma but also what the repercussions coming out about the allegations publicly does to the victim's future. All of that in just a 22-minute episode!
Ahead of the episode's release, cast member, Stephanie Beatriz — who also made her directorial debut with this episode — describes it as "subtly discussing social issues through a multifaceted and complex lens while taking you on a comedy joyride." And while comedy being infused into such a serious issue might seem like a risky task to undertake, the show goes about it in such a lucid, and compassionate manner, that really helps it outshine all of its previous episodes that have been based on similar social causes. In that, not only do we see a victim traumatized by the abuser, but also how society's perception of her changes, through disgracing and labeling her as a traitor.
The premise of the plot revolves around detectives Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and his partner-cum-wife, Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) being tasked with solving a case about a finance executive getting accused by a female coworker for sexually harassing her. As clean-cut a case as this might seem, the twist arrives in the form of the victim, Keri, who is hesitant to press charges against her abuser, Seth, purely because the company is offering to pay her quite the heavy hush money.
The victim also admits that there is nobody to back up her claims and the company will obviously side with Seth and she'll be the one ending up getting fired.
However, Amy is persistent with her encouragement towards Keri, assuring her that she will go the extra mile to gather evidence or find a suggestive behavioral pattern. While this might seem like the feminist cop angle making a rookie mistake just because of her sense of righteousness, the show introduces an unexpected twist here in the form of detective Rosa Diaz's (Beatriz) take on the matter. Rosa, who has been a vocal badass epitome of feminism on the show so far, states her opinion in favor of Keri accepting the hush money, but for quite rational reasons too.
Congratulations to my girl @iamstephbeatz for absolutely killing it first time up at bat!! No one else I would’ve wanted more behind that camera. Thank you for your support, your love, and your talent. I am so damn proud of you pic.twitter.com/99nYjBlXqJ— Melissa Fumero (@melissafumero) March 1, 2019
In probably what has been the most complicated sequence on the show so far, we find Rosa explaining her opinion saying that while she is a feminist to the core, she is a realist too. And with Keri's lack of evidence, her winning the case seems like a far fetched prospect. At best, she will end up losing both the case for the lack of people testifying against Seth and also her job because she went against the whole firm. This development is significant because the show once again approaches ideals of society with the actual representation of what reality is like. In that, no matter how passionate Rosa's feminism is, she knows how the situation ends up for the victims. And after losing her dignity to a man, Keri should be able to come out of the experience with some benefit at least.
Now here's the catch: for those who might claim this was a very half-a*sed representation of feminism on the show, Amy's character shines bright in the very next scene as she refuses to back down and explains her reasons behind the same too. In one of the show's most dramatic and significant scenes so far, Amy comes clean about why this case is so important to her. She talks about her former boss coming on to her after she got promoted to a detective, claiming that he "deserved something" in exchange for Amy's flourishing career. And as the scene comes together, with Beatriz's directing skills and Fumero's sheer brilliance in holding emotions tight throughout, we get to see a new side of the buddy-cop comedy show.
Major credit goes to Samberg's portrayal of Jake in the situation too, as he reaches out and just holds Amy's hand, giving it the tightest squeeze ever. This is all it takes to remind us why despite being a totally different genre, Jake and Amy will be couple goals forever. And most importantly, there could be no two people with better chemistry to play the characters, than Samberg and Fumero have for the last six years.
The rest of the case goes exactly how Rosa had predicted; Keri's firm withdraws their offer once they learn she's going ahead with her allegations, and unfortunately, Keri quits her job.
The silver lining in all of this soon appears, when another of Keri's co-workers come forward with their allegations against Seth, and the rest is all history. But speaking of history, especially that of the show, 'He Said, She Said' will go down as the most articulately executed and tasteful take on the #MeToo Movement in modern-day TV by a good margin. Not only they did manage to bring in several aspects of the victim's torment in less than half an hour, but they also managed to stick to its signature style of other plots unfolding side by side, without trivializing the main one. So kudos for this one, Beatriz, take a much-deserved bow!
'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' returns with episode 9 'The Golden Child', on Thursday, March 7, at 9/8c, only on NBC.