TV Review – Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Ticking Clocks

TL;DR – It experiments with the format while still having an emotional core.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Ticking Clocks. Image Credit: NBC Studios.


One of the great things about getting another season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine is that it is clear that the writers, producers, and actors are swinging for the fences, making the most of their new chance. Today we get to see the fruits of that when we see the show experiment with its format without missing a beat of what has made it so grand.

So to set the scene, we open with Hitchcock (Dirk Blocker) and Scully (Joel McKinnon Miller) trying to work out how best to cook their lasagne only to discover in horror that they forgot the garlic bread. However, all is not what it seems because Jake (Andy Samberg) has discovered through keen observation of Holt (Andre Braugher) that the slow internet is actually a crisis, because there is a hacker in the building and if they are not found one of two things will happen. Either the hacker will know the identities of all the precincts criminal informants, or Holt has to wipe the entire server, losing months of evidence. Well, there are 19 minutes left for them to find who it is … if they can. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Ticking Clocks. Image Credit: NBC Studios.
Never doubt Hitchcock and Scully when food is on the line. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

To be fair, this is not the first show that has experimented with the real-time episode before. It was probably most famously done by MASH back in the day, and even Doctor Who gave it a shot. However, it is not something you see all that often because it takes every department working together to pull it off. You don’t have the flexibility of finding the show in the edit, well not as much as you would usually. So you need to work to make sure that the script and actors are ready to hit the ground running. Well, this is where B99 excels because the cast and crew have a clear commitment to be up for everything and this episode is a great example of it. It also helps that all the guest cast, like Sean Astin playing the computer tech, were clearly up for the challenge as well.     

Like most episodes, there is not just one story happening, and this week instead of having A, B, and C plots, what we get is an A plot, and then all the stories that get thrown into the mix to complicate it. For example, we have the precinct full of two feuding sorority groups making everyone’s lives difficult. Also, Jocelyn (Cameron Esposito) has arrived to break up with Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz), which goes as about as well as you can expect. Amy (Melissa Fumero) is outside at a dentist’s appointment and decided to run the 10 minutes it would take so she could be back at the precinct to help. If there is a B plot it is Hitchcock and Scully’s attempts to get garlic bread in time, and now, of course, all I can think about is wanting some garlic bread.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Ticking Clocks. Image Credit: NBC Studios.
A fantastic use of time to bring the episode to life.

When it came to the story and implementation of the counting clock, I loved that it was all framed in a very B99 way. There is no 24 style counting clock in the corner of the screen, instead, it is mostly framed around references to the cooking lasagne. To go along with this, I’m glad the show also was able to misdirect you as to who is the hacker. For example, they go out of their way to refer to the hacker as ‘he’, which usually in the show would be used to reinforce the story when you find out the hacker is a she, and there was a good case for that in someone that wanted to leave quickly. But no instead, they used the he because someone slipped up and they just went for it. It meant that the episode didn’t become as predictable as I was expecting about half way through.

In the end, do we recommend Ticking Clock? Yes, yes we do. This was another strong episode in what has been a really strong season. Sean Astin was a delightful guest cast member, and it was a nice nod to his help in finding the series a new home. Wow, there are only a few more episodes left this season and I can’t wait to see what they do next.    

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Brooklyn Nine-Nine yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    

Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Directed by
– Payman Benz
Written by – Carol Kolb
Created by – Dan Goor & Michael Schur  
Production/Distribution Companies – Fremulon, Dr. Goor Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television, NBCUniversal & SBS Viceland.
Starring in Season Five – Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero, Joe Lo Truglio, Dirk Blocker, Joel McKinnon Miller & Andre Braugher with Sean Astin, Cameron Esposito, Madison Leisle, Elaine Lockhart, Barbara Arbara, Olivia Norman, Shanna Strong & James Tang


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