"Karen Peralta" is the fourteenth episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine's third season.
It's Jake's birthday and Amy is nervous because she's going to meet his mother Karen for the first time. Jake tries to reassure Amy that everything will be fine and the get-together is going well when his mother introduces an unexpected guest: his deadbeat father!
Meanwhile, Terry's taken Rosa and Charles out on a stakeout. Terry's nervous because his detectives have been chosen to field test the NYPD's new body cameras and he wants everything to go flawlessly. The cameras work as intended. Unfortunately, they also capture a little too much.
Also, Holt wants to take the detective squad to a team-building exercise at a room escape game. However, Gina forgot to e-mail the invitations and the only people she could get to come on short notice are Hitchcock and Scully.
This episode provides examples of:
- The Atoner: While still as smarmy as he was in his previous appearance, Roger seems to have taken on board Jake's prior condemnation of him and appears to be making a sincere effort to mend his ways and make amends.
- Birds of a Feather: This episode underscores that despite being superficially very different, Jake and Amy are really quite alike in many ways. Amy's resorting to bizarre childish ploys to get Jake's mother to like her, her inability to stop giggling at Jake's dorky high school photos and pay attention to him while he's freaking out, and her ultimate willingness to go along with any crazy plan to make him happy (no matter how personally embarrassing for her) are all traits that Jake has displayed in previous episodes.
- Brain Bleach: Charles's junk is shown to a packed briefing room on a large 4k screen. Everyone is disturbed/disgusted by what they see.Prosecutor: Now let's zoom in.
[Everyone groans in disgust]
- Broken Record: Jake list topics to avoid during Amy's visit: "Jake: Topics to avoid how my dad left us and ruined our lives, how my dad got remarried twice and ruined our lives, how my dad moved to Canada and ruined our lives."
- Character Title: The episode is titled "Karen Peralta" after Jake's mother.
- Crazy-Prepared: Typically, Amy goes completely overboard in preparing to meet Jake's mother. She even goes so far as to track down Karen's dental records.
- Didn't Think This Through: Charles didn't consider the potential danger of setting off a confetti cannon in a precinct full of armed police officers.
- Door Dumb: Hitchcock and Scully were late to the escape room because it took them a while to figure out that the front door was a "push" instead of a "pull".
- Enhance Button: The prosecutor asks to zoom in on the footage. See Brain Bleach for the result.
- Everyone Knows Morse: Scully recognizes the dial tone on the phone as morse code, which he learned from communicating with his father while he was a prisoner of war.
- Freudian Excuse: Karen muses that Jake spending his entire childhood trying to protect her from Roger is why he ended up becoming a police officer; so he could keep protecting everyone, but Jake just says it's because he loved Die Hard.
- Gilligan Cut:Jake: I'm going to go down there and express my concerns to her in a calm, rational manner.
Jake: [Shouting hysterically] What are you doing, mom?! He's evil!
- Gone Horribly Right: The perp from the stakeout tries to claim that the drugs the detectives found on him were planted. The bodycam footage shows that he actually threw the drugs into a trashcan. Unfortunately, the drugs are only visible between Charles's legs, partially obscured by his genitals.Terry: Hey, man. Look at that and tell me what you see!
Charles: A naked fool...
Terry: No! Between the thighs and under the testicles. That's a bag of cocaine. A bag of cocaine that's going to get us a conviction and prove the value of bodycams. You know what I see? A naked hero!
- In his father's previous appearance, Jake chewed him out for being a crappy father and overall crappy person. In this episode, his father returns, now back together with his mom, which initially horrifies Jake.
- Hollywood Law: The Terry/Rosa/Charles subplot has a couple of odd examples.
- Terry's keen for the Nine-Nine to start wearing body cams to assist in evidence-gathering. In real life, body cams are better known for their role in exposing police corruption and brutality.
- Judge Marinovich and District Attorney Krum return from "Jake and Sophia", but instead of the courtroom set, the dealer's trial apparently takes places in the Nine-Nine's briefing room.
- Hypocritical Humor: When trying to wrangle people together last-minute for the locked room escape game, Gina chides Jake for taking Amy to his mother's house to celebrate his birthday by claiming adults don't care about birthdays. Jake retorts that on her previous birthday, Gina marked the occasion by riding to the precinct on a horse.
- I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Charles calls his penis and testicles "Bennie and the Jets" (after the Elton John song), to Rosa's extreme discomfort.
- I Regret Nothing: Charles has no regrets about his confetti cannon:Jake: Probably shouldn't have fired that off in a police station, huh?
Charles: And not celebrate your birthday properly? I'd rather get shot.
Jake: You do you, buddy.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: When Jake' finally accepts that his parents are reuiniting, he threatens his father with this if he misbehaves again.
- Knew It All Along: Karen tells Jake that she knew about Roger cheating on her with Sheila, as well as some other women Jake never knew about.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: When confronted with the Hypocritical Humor example over Jake's birthday (see above), Gina decides to just give up browbeating Jake instead of trying to press the point.
- Locked in a Room: Holt's storyline takes place in a real-life Room Escape Game, meant as a team building exercise. Unfortunately, his team consists of Gina, Hitchcock and Scully.
- Momma's Boy: A mild example; Jake clearly dotes on and is super-protective of his mother, particularly compared to his father.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It turns out that Jake's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Roger in season two was a catalyst for Roger trying to mend his ways... leading to him getting back together with Karen in time for Jake's birthday.
- No Social Skills: Amy lampshades her own shortcomings in this area, ruefully noting that there was a time where she knew exactly how to engage with adults. It appears to have been a skill she lost fairly early on in life, however:Amy: I'd just flawlessly sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and ride that wave till bathtime. Now, it's anybody's guess.
- Primal Scene: Jake caught his father cheating with his wife's friend Sheila in the back seat of his car. It traumatized him so much he can't have sex in cars in garages. Amy notes that as sexual hang-ups go, this is both incredibly specific and unlikely to have too much bad impact on his love-life.
- Really Gets Around: Roger Peralta has been with more than four hundred women. Jake is appalled, but Roger claims that this is "low-average" among the pilot community.
- Retcon: Jake's mother was originally described as a waitress who had to constantly work extra shifts to support herself and Jake (leading to his hatred of Thanksgiving since she was always working during holidays). Here she's an elementary school art teacher who raised Jake in a decent-sized house and provide him and herself with the occasional luxury. Given that the earlier reference notes that she had to work "extra" shifts during the holidays, however, it is possible that waitressing was a second job on top of teaching.
- Scenery Censor: Charles's head is used to keep the home audience from seeing his junk.
- Soup Is Medicine: Karen says Jake's father used to be selfish, but claims he's nicer now. He even brought her soup when she was ill...Karen: Last month when I had bronchitis, he flew in on his day off just to bring me soup. It was this weird Canadian soup I think it was just all cheese. But it was really nice.
- Tempting Fate: As the bodycam footage is about to be viewed, Charles finds comfort in the fact that the small, low resolution monitor won't show his genitals in full detail. At that moment the prosecutor brings in a large high-definition screen he bought just for the occasion.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Captain Holt, drinking in the fact that he's trapped in a locked-down room escape puzzle with no one to help him escape but Gina, Scully and Hitchcock:Holt: Well, this is a sobering reality.
- Twerp Sweating: Jake does it to his own father.