‘New Girl’ Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: “Shark”

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Whenever shows go on a break — and this is doubly so for a show that I adore and keep up with — I always realize that I love it more than I originally thought, solely because of its absence. And when it returns, I tend to automatically love the episode. I was expecting as much for “Shark,” especially because of the warm and fuzzy feelings that “LAXmas” left but, eh. It was an average episode, with a few laughs here and there, but it wasn’t anywhere near the series’ (or even this season’s) heights.

Fortunately, “Shark” did feature plenty of Winston, which is something that I will always appreciate in a New Girl episode. It’s time for Winston to graduate from the police academy and his roommates are both proud of him but understandably worried about his new career in the LAPD. He’s such a nice, gentle guy — he once broke his arm wrapping presents! — so none of the roommates can really picture him as a police officer (plus, it’s hard to take Winston seriously when he lets them try on his uniform). Their fears are temporarily eased when they remember that Winston gets a partner but, as they quickly learn, that partner is not a “really strong man” or a “Guy with a mustache” but rather a tiny Nasim Pedrad (borrowed from Mulaney), so tiny that she could take a nap in a matchbox.

Meanwhile, the other big plot of the night is Jess going to war because of the nonstop, noisy construction that’s been annoying the hell out of her in the apartment. She’s deemed too much of a dolphin to get anything done but finds an in with a councilwoman … who doesn’t actually help but just loads Jess full of useless forms. She does take something of a liking to Schmidt on their date, however, mostly because she quickly realizes that he’s someone who is easy to use. It turns out that maybe everyone is a shark.

Both plots have pretty clear cut endings, though both are equally silly. Coach and Nick have the better, funnier plot as they show up at the precinct to check in on Winston’s partner Aly and then later follow them around only to get caught and hurt by Aly, who proves to be much stronger and a much better cop than her size lets on. By the end, both of the guys end up in a support group for worried family members of cops.

As for Jess, she does an adorable preschool-esque sketch at the public hearing starring her new boyfriend Ryan (oh yeah, they are officially dating but he’s so … boring and underdeveloped so far that it’s hard to get a read on his character) as a hot construction worker. Councilwoman Fawn has enlisted Schmidt’s help to provide the counterpoint to Jess’ argument but his speech is basically incoherent babbles, thanks to Cece who throws him off by casually mentioning that she thinks his sleeves are too short. Still, the construction continues and Jess — the dolphin that she is — just embraces it, making friends with the workers. The end.

It feels very much like a filler episode, one that doesn’t do much for any of the characters (except push Winston’s career forward) and while it’s entertaining enough, there just isn’t much to say about it.