[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 8 episode 8, “Renewal.”]
After their heartwarming moment last episode, Holt (Andre Braugher) and Kevin (Marc Evan Jackson) are having a vow renewal ceremony, with salad forks — but that’s not the big revelation.
The big revelation is that Holt is retiring! The captain doesn’t want to tell Amy (Melissa Fumero), since the news would devastate her and they’re working on the police reform proposal. But of course, the secret can only live for so long… especially as the team pulls together to solve one last case.
On the special day, since the proposal is turned in, Jake (Andy Samberg) asks Holt to tell Amy he’s retiring. But the proposal is far from done — someone has messed with the numbers, and Jake thinks O’Sullivan hacked the system to mess them up. They come up with a plan to get his fingerprint through a fake Billy Joel memorabilia sale and get into his laptop, but the whole thing has to be done in 90 minutes before the vow renewal ceremony. And Kevin can’t know about any of it.
As happens with the best-laid plans, it goes wrong. Terry (Terry Crews) accidentally spills the beans about Holt retiring, which sends Amy into a tailspin; Jake and Holt, who are sent to get the laptop, end up with O’Sullivan’s mom pointing a gun at them; O’Sullivan, believing the sticky stuff meant to get his fingerprint is gum from Billy Joel’s trash can, takes the “first draft” of a song and the “gum.”
Jake and Holt end up trapped in mom O’Sullivan’s basement as she plans to get her son, but Jake knows exactly one phone number of an old friend from high school that he can call from the basement landline, so… that seems promising. At least Terry has success. He convinces O’Sullivan to give back the “lyrics” and maybe also to re-evaluate his life choices, so they get the print and just need Jake, who has the laptop. But thanks to Cheddar knocking over a whiteboard with a diagram the squad drew of the whole operation while at the ceremony, Kevin finds out Holt’s on a case. And he’s not pleased.
Stuck in the basement, Holt admits he’s enjoyed working the case and he’s scared he’s not ready to retire. “What would you do?” he asks Jake — and Jake implies that he would choose Amy over police work, every time. Then, Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) bursts in, dressed in full uniform, along with Kevin! They pretend to arrest them, and after, Kevin explains that he understands how meaningful the proposal is and that he only wishes Holt had told him.
In the end, Holt and Kevin have a sweet — if short — vow renewal and the commissioner approves Amy’s reform program after it’s proven O’Sullivan messed with the data, so all is going well for the Nine-Nine. And, surprise! Holt won’t retire. He’s promoting Amy to chief, as he is promoted to oversee the reform.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Series Finale September 16, 8:30/7:30c, NBC