Even more than usual, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s iconic gay dads have played a central role in this final season. Holt announced their separation back at the end of “The Good Ones,” and every episode since has featured their fragile relationship to varying degrees. You had to assume their reconciliation was waiting in the wings, and it would hopefully be one of the biggest and best moments of the season.
Yeah, they very much delivered. The only surprise was that the biggest moment did not even happen in the episode featuring their official reconciliation.
Instead, it happens during this week’s first episode, “Game of Boyles,” which ends with the first on-screen kiss between Ray-Ray and his husband. It is somewhat hard to believe that Brooklyn Nine-Nine never had these two kiss before now. I had to check to make sure no previous kiss slipped my mind, and no such kiss had. This was the first time we saw them make out, and it was glorious.
Holt’s plot for the episode revolved around him testing the dating app scene in an attempt to move past Kevin. This suggestion comes from Rosa, in an attempt to both convince Holt of the nightmare of dating and remind him exactly why he loves Kevin, only for Holt to recognize the game involved and trick both Rosa and Amy by going along with a match.
Anyone who has suffered through dating apps (most of us, at this point) will recognize the frustrations here and enjoy them. We have all dealt with the Hot Todds of the world.
In the end, though, the plot succeeds, and Holt realizes why couples therapy was failing. He was treating it like a competition rather than a chance to recognize the faults in his relationship and fix them. The episode ends with Kevin running to the Nine-Nine, in the rain, after hearing about Holt’s dating app profile, and so we get our long-awaited kiss.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine did not need this kiss to validate Kevin and Holt. They are an iconic couple either way. But damn if it isn’t appreciated anyway, because same sex couples deserve the same cheesy running through the rain to kiss their husbands that all the hetero couples get. This is especially true of relationships with two men, which still have a television stigma that WLW kisses avoid more often.
The second episode of the season, “Renewal,” features the actual renewal of their vows in the kind of elaborate ceremony that Kevin and Holt passed on when they originally married. Naturally, the ceremony is threatened when Holt joins the Nine-Nine on “one last case” to preserve Amy’s police reform program, which he plans to be his last before retiring, a gesture he wants to make in order to display his commitment to Kevin.
If this was not the final season, I might have worried about Holt’s hidden police work causing another split. After all, he feels so strongly about hiding his police work that he would rather Kevin think he was looking at porn on the day of their re-wedding. Thankfully this is the final season, Kevin assures his husband that he doesn’t need to retire, and we get a second smooch when they renew their vows while wearing disguises.
It was perfect.
I assume this was basically our sendoff and celebration for these two, and it was absolutely fitting. I will leave discussions of representation to those better qualified, but Kevin and Holt have been one of the best and most popular couples on television for basically a decade. Brooklyn Nine-Nine absolutely needed an episode like this to celebrate their iconic legacy. Complete with their first kisses.
There is something perfect about “Renewal” practically ending with Kevin disguising himself as a cop in order to bail Holt out of a disastrous plan that landed him in O’Sullivan’s basement. Remember, Kevin’s first appearance had him so uninterested in the police and policing that he bans work talk at home and did not want anyone from the Nine-Nine invited to a dinner party. This professional tension never really went away over the years, and it played a role in their pre-season 8 separation.
Having Kevin not only be understanding of Holt’s predicament, but then encourage him not to retire from the NYPD, is serious growth and mature, healthy communication. And that’s why they are such a great couple, everyone’s favorite dads, and one of the best parts of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
They were not the only good part of these episodes. Most of “Game of Boyles” had nothing to do with Holt and Kevin, but instead gave Boyle what I assume is his last spotlight. Following Pappy Boyle’s death, Jake and Terry accompany Charles to the funeral, where Jake suspects foul play and eventually ends up accidentally proving that Charles is not a Boyle by blood. It’s a nice little Knives Out-style parody with a Boyle twist and was entertaining for sure. Boyle managing to prove himself the One True Boyle by opening the unopenable jar of grandmother dough was a fitting (presumed) end for one of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s best characters.
The union plotline continued in “Renewal” as O’Sullivan engineers false statistics to tank Amy’s police reform proposal. This largely did weave into Holt and Kevin’s ceremony but had some pretty great moments independent of them. Rosa and Cheddar’s feud provided some of the episode’s best moments. Amy’s comatose reaction to the news of Holt’s retirement was perfect, as was her near sabotage of the plot to unlock O’Sullivan’s laptop.
The episode ends with Holt and Amy both receiving promotions in order to oversee their new reform policies. The last two episodes will probably seek to strike a balance between optimism and the realism of the task ahead. I’m curious how they will manage this.
I have some larger complaints about these pacing of these episodes and the events they rush through. For example, Jake’s five-month suspension was rushed through and he is back in action at the start of “Renewal.” I also have major issues with the lack of Terry throughout this season, especially when he is so good in his limited scenes.
This can wait for my larger examination of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s final season, though. For right now, let’s just celebrate Raymond Holt and Kevin Cozner. Lack of vindicated balloon arches and all.
Line of the Week: “Boyles coddle their children so much it shapes their bones that way. He likened it to growing a square watermelon.”
Images Courtesy of NBC
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