Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x01 Recap: “The Big House, Part 1” (Beef Baby and the Cowardly Cannibal) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]


“The Big House, Part 1”
Original Airdate: September 26, 2017

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is BACK, and no one is more excited than me! #Fact. You may recall that season four ended with Jake and Rosa being carted off to jail for crimes they didn’t commit but looked pretty guilty for, thanks to the dirty Lieutenant Hawkins.

Everyone on the team is coping in their own way. Boyle is fairing the worst, naturally. He’s eating sticks of butter like popsicles, daydreaming about Jake being released, and has dyed his hair a dirty reddish blonde (you’ll recall his hair turned white from stress last season).

Jake’s in the protective custody wing of the prison, sharing a cell with a cowardly cannibal named Caleb (played by the effervescent Tim Meadows). Jake has also grown a questionable beard that makes me fear for his sanity. Amy and Boyle pay a visit to Jake, but don’t have any good news to share. Hawkins did a great job covering her tracks for the string of bank robberies Jake and Rosa were framed for and there are no new leads.

Meanwhile, Terry and Captain Holt visit Rosa in the women’s prison. Rosa’s looking fabulous and fearless as always, but Terry and Holt can’t help worrying. Terry won’t stop smiling super hard and Holt won’t stop saying her name repeatedly to remind her she’s more than just her inmate number (he read a study about the dehumanizing effects of prisons). They press her to tell them what they can do to help her on the outside and she finally gives in and says she’ll make them a list.

Back in the men’s prison, visiting time is cut short — which leaves Jake feeling really depressed, so Caleb the Cannibal encourages him to get a contraband cell phone from a guy in the General Population wing. Romero’s one scary dude, but he agrees to get Jake a cell phone in exchange for Jake getting him 100 packets of ramen. Apparently, ramen is a major currency in prison.

While Jake figures out how to get contraband ramen, Holt and Terry tackle the extensive list Rosa has asked them to accomplish which includes rearranging the furniture in her apartment and typing up a huge stack of handwritten letters then emailing them to Pimento in Argentina.

Boyle sneaks Jake some money, which Jake then uses to bribe a guard to sneak in 105 packets of ramen. Jake keeps five packets for himself, hands over the remaining 100 to Romero, and gets a cell phone. Unfortunately, a random search of Jake’s bunk reveals the ramen and now the warden tells him and Caleb that they’ll be transferred to GenPop for breaking the rules.

Jake’s terrified of GenPop but decides to use some job interview tips he learned at a seminar to get in good with a gang. But after striking out with 16 gangs, his last resort is Romero’s gang. Romero agrees to give him a chance and even christens him with a prison nickname: Beef Baby. There’s just one catch: Jake has to kill a guard. This particular guard is known for beating up prisoners for no reason, including some in Romero’s gang. After some back and forth, Jake convinces Romero to let him just get the guard fired instead of killing him. Romero reluctantly agrees and gives Jake 24 hours to accomplish the deed.


Terry and Holt return to Rosa’s prison with the good news that they’ve completed her entire list. She asks if it was too much to handle and Terry eagerly tells her she didn’t give them enough to do. So she hands off another long list of items. They accomplish this list (which included filing her taxes and picking up her grandmother in Pennsylvania) with a little less enthusiasm than last time. She tells them she has one last request: she wants them to cancel her cable. Terry and Holt thinks this sounds easy but three hours and multiple transfers later, they’re at their breaking point.

They return to the prison to see Rosa and try to put on a happy front again but when she asks them to take her dog to Argentina to be with Pimento, they finally break down and tell her she’s asking too much. She’d been waiting for that the whole time and tells them so. She needs them to stop acting so happy and fake and just treat her normally so she knows her old life is still there waiting for her when she gets back. They agree and Holt lets her know he ended up locking her into a two-year contract with extra cable channels.

Meanwhile, Jake and Caleb have hatched a half-baked plan. Caleb will use Jake’s contraband cell phone to record the guard beating up Jake and then they’ll show the warden and get the guard fired. Unfortunately, Caleb isn’t the greatest with recording cell phone video (he has been in prison for 15 years, after all). After three beatings, Caleb finally gets a usable recording, but the warden is more concerned about the contraband phone than about the beatings.

Jake explains that he was really trying to save the guard’s life by getting him fired instead of killed. The warden agrees to fire the guard if Jake will work as his snitch. Jake agrees, if he’s allowed to keep his cell phone. Now he’s in with Romero’s gang but also working for the warden, neither of whom are good guys. But at least he still has his contraband cell phone and can talk to Amy whenever he wants.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:
  • “What’s going on with your face?” “I hate seeing you like this so I’m flexing my eyes real hard to keep from crying. It’s okay. We can still have a normal conversation!”
  • “At least you have people who wanna come and visit you. My family hasn’t been to see me since my trial. You eat nine people and all of a sudden they ‘don’t know who you are anymore.’”
  • “Wait. What? Did you say you eat people? Are you a cannibal, Caleb?” “Well, that’s not how I would define myself. If we’re going by what I’m most passionate about, I would say that I’m a woodworker.”
  • “I want 100 soups.” “Soups?” “Yeah. Ramen. They’re like a major currency in here.” “Really? That is very surprising.” “You can’t smoke anymore so Ramen has replaced cigarettes. NPR did a big thing on it.”
  • “But my tough prison beard hasn’t fully grown in yet! Just give me six or seven more years.”
  • “How are you going to do it? Shiv him? Shank him? Stab him?” “Are those different?”
  • “Why do you want him to lose his job? He’s a good man with a family.” “I mean, he did stomp on my head a bunch of times.” “Those were warning stomps.”

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