Friday, December 1, 2017

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x08 Recap: “Return to Skyfire” (The Case of the Missing Manuscripts) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

“Return to Skyfire”
Original Airdate: November 28, 2017

On this week’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Terry’s favorite author, DC Parlov, is back and in need of the team’s help. You may remember Parlov and his 12-book series Skyfire Cycle — which changed Terry’s life forever — from last season. If not, you can read all about it in my recap of that episode.

This time, Parlov is in town for LegendCon and his latest manuscript has been stolen. Even though he turned out to be a big jerk last year, Terry admits they’ve kept in touch over the months and Parlov is actually quite nice. Jake is also now a huge fan, having read all 12 books while he was in prison and declaring them the greatest books ever written.

They convince an extremely skeptical Rosa to come with them to LegendCon to track down leads. Their first stop is the “Diversity in Fantasy Writing” panel Parlov is on... along with four other white guys. While they stand in the back waiting, Terry admits to Jake and Rosa that he’s been writing a novel. Jake encourages Terry to show it to Parlov and get his feedback, but Terry’s afraid it isn’t any good and doesn’t want to be embarrassed. Of course, as soon as Parlov approaches, Jake tells him about Terry’s book. Parlov says he’d love to read it, but first he has to show them why he called them in.

Parlov’s laptop, which contained the manuscript for the 13th book in the Skyfire series, was stolen and the thief left a ransom note demanding $500,000. If the ransom’s not paid, the book will be leaked online. To show they’re serious, the first five chapters have already been posted. Parlov tells them that those chapters have been downloaded 85,000 times.

Naturally, Jake’s first instinct is to go online and read the chapters to search for “clues,” but Rosa steers him back on course. Parlov tells them he knows who stole the book — it was Landon Lawson, a fellow panelist who has a book coming out the same time Parlov does. (Terry informs the team that Lawson’s Shadowbringer saga is garbage.) Parlov and Lawson have a bet on whose book will sell better, and if Skyfire is leaked online, his sales are sure to drop. Even worse, it will be the end of the Skyfire series, Parlov tells them. That lights a fire for Jake and Terry who immediately speed off to interrogate Lawson.

But things won’t be simple. When they arrive at Lawson’s hotel room he informs them that his manuscript has been stolen and he knows who the culprit is: DC Parlov. It turns out both Parlov and Lawson received identical ransom notes. This seems to indicate neither of them is the culprit, but they can’t think of any enemies they have besides each other.

Back at the precinct, Holt, Amy, and Boyle are super excited about a forensic sciences course being hosted by the precinct. It’s being taught by Dr. Ronald Yee (played by the hilarious Reggie Lee from Grimm), who revolutionized the field of forensic entomology. Boyle tells Holt and Amy that he’d like to sign up but they’re hesitant. Apparently, Boyle has a tendency of derailing presentations with personal stories and this particular presentation is extremely important. If the precinct does well with Yee’s course, they will receive board certification, making them eligible to receive a grant to open a field lab, so a lot is riding on this. Boyle promises he’ll behave and Holt and Amy agree he can sign up. Unfortunately, as soon as Yee arrives, the Boyle derailing begins.

The next day, they’re learning about plaster casting. Yee informs them that one person from each group will have a plaster model made of his or her head. They immediately vote for Boyle to be that person since he won’t be able to speak while the plaster is on and they’ll have a few minutes of peace.

In their eagerness to silence Boyle, they overlook one crucial step in creating the plaster cast. They were supposed to lubricate his face with Vaseline first so that the cast can be easily removed. When it comes time to remove it they realize their mistake and ask Yee (hypothetically, of course) what would happen if a person’s face wasn’t properly lubricated. Yee tells them that the plaster becomes impossible to remove without tearing the person’s skin right off, and they would have to instead wait five days for the plaster to slough off naturally. He then relays a story about the time a lab tech did that and was fired for his incompetence. Holt and Amy panic. They lead a plaster-headed Boyle into a supply closet where they inform him Hitchcock and Scully will babysit him and he’ll be out of view until the class is over, since if Yee sees him they’ll lose their chance at certification.

Boyle seems pretty upset about it but honestly it’s hard to tell because his only means of communication are the two straws up his nostrils allowing him to breathe and the incoherent mumbling he’s able to produce. Amy’s worried, but Holt draws a smiley face on the plaster to ease her mind, and they had back to class.

Meanwhile, Terry and Jake have stayed up all night working the case and are eager to fill Rosa in on what they’ve uncovered. It turns out Parlov and Lawson do share a common enemy: a fellow writer named Miles Moorgil. It seems they both slept with his wife, so he has some valid reasons for wanting revenge. They decide to head back out and talk to Moorgil, but before they do Jake quietly confides in Rosa that he read Terry’s book last night and it was awful. Now he’s worried Parlov will tear it apart and crush Terry’s hopes and dreams. Terry’s been riding high since Parlov agreed to read it and is already convinced a publisher will call any minute. Jake’s not sure what to do.

While Jake wrestles with that decision, he and Terry confront Moorgil. It turns out that Moorgil had no idea his wife had slept with either Parlov or Lawson until Jake mentioned it. A big fight ensues, complete with the Moorgils’ young son asking Jake and Terry repeatedly if his parents are getting divorced. Jake things the child looks suspiciously like Parlov and they extricate themselves from the room as quickly as possible.

As they leave, Jake makes an off-handed reference to something from Terry’s book and Terry realizes Jake read it and hadn’t said anything. Terry deduces that Jake hated it and Jake can’t manage to lie convincingly. Terry’s upset but they have to go meet Rosa. With no other leads, Lawson and Parlov have decided to pay the ransoms. They’re supposed to leave the money behind a potted plant in the lobby.

Terry tells Parlov and Lawson that if they see anyone take the bag of cash, they’ll swoop in and intercept him/her. Jake and Terry will be disguised as characters from Skyfire, naturally. Rosa says that won’t work for her because she doesn’t own a nerd costume. Terry tells her that’s no problem because she naturally dresses like the female bounty hunter in every steampunk novel ever written. Sure enough, in the lobby they encounter several Rosa lookalikes, much to her disgust.

Over at the precinct, Dr. Yee has become suspicious about Boyle’s absence. Holt and Amy manage to convince him that after they successfully removed Boyle’s plaster face cast, he then had to leave to go save some kidnapped children. Yee buys it, but just then Scully and Hitchcock come in and pull Holt and Amy away. It turns out that while they were both in the bathroom, Boyle wandered off and they have no idea where he is.

They look everywhere but can’t find him. Just then, they hear a huge crash and run out of the breakroom to find a very confused and scared Boyle at the bottom of the stairs. His plaster cast has cracked slightly so now he can at least speak to them, but the rest of his face and head is still covered. He tells them he was trying to help by going to the showers in the hopes of steaming the mask off, but he got turned around and ended up falling down the stairs. Holt and Amy feel terrible for the way they treated him and tell him the certification isn’t as important as he is.

They lead Boyle back to the presentation and come clean to Yee about the fact they failed to listen to his instructions about applying lubricant. Holt says he hopes his honesty will mean that certification is still on the table but Yee says no, they have definitely failed. Holt understands and with nothing left to lose, allows Boyle to derail the rest of the presentation with a personal story involving a Boyle cousin who has a genetic disorder called “bird mouth.”

Back at LegendCon, things are not going very well. Terry, Rosa, and Jake observe someone dressed as the Skyfire character Ka’lar — who Jake also happens to be dressed as — grab the ransom, but when they round the corner to intercept him/her, there are dozens of Ka’lars. It turns out a Ka’lar costume contest just ended, which is why the person waited until now to steal the bag. Terry thinks he spots him and Jake tells him to take him down, but then Terry tackles Jake, and it’s obvious he had eyes on the wrong Ka’lar after all.

Lawson is super angry at them for losing him $500,000 and storms off in a huff. Parlov is less concerned, saying his insurance will cover it and he’ll get it all back. More importantly, while he was waiting he had the chance to read Terry’s manuscript. Parlov says he absolutely loved it and sent it along to his publishers. Terry is so excited he runs off to call his wife. After Terry and Parlov leave, Jake tells Rosa that Parlov’s lying and he thinks it’s because Parlov and Lawson conspired to steal their own manuscripts and are now just trying to butter Terry up so he doesn’t realize it was them.

Jake thinks they leaked their first few chapters to generate excitement over the books, then staged the ransom to raise the hype even more. Parlov has been sending Terry presents and winning him over for a year now, and knew he’d be easy to manipulate. When Jake and Rosa go to break it to Terry, he’s already figured it out. Not only that, but he already got a warrant for Parlov’s browser history, found the evidence, arrested Parlov and Lawson, and even got a confession.

Jake then tells Terry not to give up on his dream of being a writer. Just because his first novel was awful and everyone hated it doesn’t mean that he can’t get better if he works at it. And now that Jake and Terry have made up, they head off to the evidence room to read the 13th Skyfire novel on Parlov’s confiscated laptop.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:

  • “I know you think it’s dumb but Skyfire is actually very smart and dark and adult. It’s not for nerds at all. Oh! On our way there, should we sing the Elvish hunting song?”
  • “What is it that you do in your free time that is soooo cool?” “Fix up old cars and sell them to celebrities. That’s why I’m friends with Tom Hardy.” “Right, so, we agree that we’re all equally cool.”
  • “I’m not sure Barbra Streisand counts as a rock star, sir.” “She sings in English. That’s rock music.”
  • “Send it over to me and I’m going to stay up all night reading it.” “It’s only 150 pages.” “I’m going to stay up all the next three nights reading it.”
  • “What? Terry, no! I didn’t hate it. I liked tons of parts.” “Name one. Name one part you liked, Jake.” “The map?” “I didn’t draw that! It was a map of the Chesapeake Bay with the name slightly changed.” “Sarge, I’m sorry! I didn’t just like the map. I also liked... the spaces between the words!”
  • “Why would you leave that windowless supply closet we locked you in? ... Ah, yes. Hearing it, I understand why.”
  • “I started reading it because the character looks like me. I kept reading it because it’s SO GOOD.” “Rosa! You did get hooked, you big nerd!” “This heroine is my heroin.”


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