Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.
Jason Mantzoukas guest starts this week as a cop just having returned from being deep undercover in the mob for 12 years and immediately, and unsurprisingly, Jake is determined to not only befriend him but partner with him in his case. The big problem? Pimento isn’t exactly emotionally stable due to everything he seen over the course of those 12 years and how detached he’s been from the outside world. Jake convinces Captain Holt that he’ll be able to relate to Pimento since he too spent some time under cover (63 days exactly) and Holt allows him but it’s clear from the start that this relationship isn’t going to be a simple one. Also clear is that pairing Mantzoukas’s brand of erratic comedy against Andy Samberg’s excitable styling was a perfect decision due to two aspects: it allows Samberg to play the cautious and rational character as well as showcasing how the development that Jake has undergone in these past three seasons.
At first it felt that Pimento’s storyline would be jarring to the shows overall tone, especially at the beginning when we were given snippets of his undercover time, either of him crying while interrogating a man or seeing the blood soaked aftermath of some physical altercation. The show chooses to smartly only deliver these sequences in quick flashes so that we’re never overwhelmed by how terrible the situation was and instead are given just enough detail to inform who Pimento is and why he behaves as he does. This includes sneaking into Jake’s apartment rather than simply asking if he could come over, forgetting his name and referring to himself as his alias and going from zero to 100 at a moments notice. All of this Jake is happy to ignore and instead tries to off him some advice based off of his own experience, my favorite being when he begins to tell him how he was sent to therapy after coming back but quickly dismisses it saying the therapist told him he had dad issues so he left. So genuinely Jake.
What Jake can’t ignore is Rosa’s warning to him that all boils down to her attraction to him which must confirm he’s a creep since those seem to be Rosa’s type what with the Vulture and all. Rosa and Jake are one of my favorite relationships on the series and I love their interplay throughout the episode and how Rosa quickly gets to jump ship between her C storyline to Jake’s A storyline. Their phone call as Jake stakes out Pimento’s apartment is gold. From Jake’s tentative “you don’t have to sleep with him” to Rosa’s resolved response that yes, but she’s going to and then to the “Call Me Maybe” musical cue. Jake, worried that Pimento is a mole at the precinct after watching him partake in a number of suspicious acts such as carry around bolt cutters and buy a burner phone they confront one another and Pimento had reasonable responses to every action he took which leaves Jake feeling foolish.
A recurring character for the time being there was little surprise that this storyline would be resolved by the end of the episode and I’m glad that we’ll be getting more than just this episode to flesh out the character, otherwise it all would have been too rushed to really see the point in his inclusion. Instead, it gives the precinct yet another fantastic comedic actor to work into the script (both good and bad at this point considering the overall stuffed quality of the show) and it allows us to really see the growth that Jake has gone through, able to pocket his enthusiast hero worshiping in favor of trying to be there for a fellow officer. His acknowledgement at the end of the episode that his time spent undercover was tame instead of the big adventure Jake would have liked is a big step and a humanizing moment.
Elsewhere the show is split in it’s humor. The Boyle vs. the janitor Marge gets off to a rocky start with the explosion of the food he’s making being so obviously telegraphed by the framing and camera movement that it was hard to find it as funny as we were supposed to.
Holt and Gina’s storyline too feels rushed with no discernible ending to their plot. It also seemed to take Gina a step too far in how broadly she’s written.
It’s one of those rare instances where the A, Jake focused storyline is the strongest from beginning to end and either they should have woven in the other characters such as they did with Rosa or they could have axed one of the other two storylines to make room for all of the characters. Boyle’s storyline easily could have involved Holt and Gina, Holt with his fear of Marge and Gina with her complete disgust over the trash littering the room.
Regardless it was another funny and competent episode that is cut short by it’s pacing. An added minute or two would make such a difference.