Brooklyn Nine-Nine has its fair share of memorable recurring roles – Doug Judy, the Vulture, and of course Adrian Pimento, who returns in “Pimemento.” Part of what makes a good recurring role is a character (and actor) who can bring something fresh to the series that prompts something new from our standard characters.
“Pimemento” attempts to use Pimento to incite conflict between Jake and Boyle, and while it succeeds in creating that conflict, there is little to no tension that comes from it. Of course, Boyle and Jake’s friendship isn’t truly at stake, not over something as simple as Jake not telling Boyle that he and Amy are trying for a kid. Even Boyle, who would take this secret as an act of betrayal far beyond what most characters in media would, isn’t going to let it seriously threaten his unique and valuable friendship with Jake.
Fortunately, the episode has two weapons that nearly nullify the effect of the lack of real stakes. Firstly, Pimento has become enough of a character in his own right that his presence on the series isn’t necessarily just to incite conflict on the characters around him. I’m invested in Pimento and his health, so the fact that he’s in danger and we don’t know who is after him is enough of a draw to keep the story rolling.
Secondly, a lot of the conflict in Jake and Boyle’s storyline comes not from Jake keeping his secret, but from Jake’s personal struggle with avoiding Boyle and Boyle’s disappointment of not hanging with his best friend.
Boyle’s comment that he’s mostly upset that they haven’t hung out in weeks is the true sting in this storyline, and it’s the sort of issue that real friends go through. By trying to keep Amy happy, Jake accidentally cut Boyle too far out of his life and hurt his friend. Boyle will, of course, forgive Jake, but it’s understandable that Boyle would be hurt by this and want to explain his feelings.
So while this plotline doesn’t soar, it provides an adequate vehicle for the episode and keeps me invested, despite the lack of threat to any relationships.
The B-plot of the episode somewhat mirrors this by having the Nine-Nine devolve into bickering children after a workplace conflict seminar. Everyone has petty grievances with each other – from the way they chew to how often they talk about their children. Again, there are no real stakes here because we know the Nine-Nine isn’t going to let these petty grievances come between each other, and Rosa states as much by the end of the plot.
Yet it dovetails nicely with the A-plot by showing us what sort of grievances we should let go (minor secrets and improperly finishing each other’s sentences), and which issues we need to discuss (when a friend is actively hurting our feelings). I’m not sure how intentional that message is considering the focus of the parallels is on conflict itself and not on the type of conflicts, but it’s still a message I can draw from the episode and I think these plots fit nicely together.
Pimento is a great recurring character who brings a lot of energy to the screen. I’m a little disappointed by how relatively plain this episode is considering a lot of Pimento’s previous appearances, but the “Finding Dory” style memory loss leads to some fantastic moments of what I’m going to call “verbal slapstick,” including Pimento screaming in multiple random locations and forgetting what tables are.
The rescue on the side of the building, however, seems a bit off to me. I’m not a cop and have no training in scaling buildings, but I would assume that everyone gripping arms to shuffle off the side of the building would be bad form because if one of you falls, you all fall, no? There is no narrative link to the physical linking of arms (outside of maybe Boyle and Jake reclaiming their friendship, but it is never really threatened, as stated earlier), so I can’t imagine this is needed from a story standpoint, and it just made me question the intelligence of the move.
All in all, though, “Pimemento” is a fine episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Other Great Thoughts:
- I was also hoping Pimento’s actual reappearance on screen would be a little more dramatic, especially after his excellent screaming for Jake and Boyle.
- A seminar that is boring to Amy??? That tells you everything. I always love when a show weighs situations again its characters’ traits. It provides a bar for the audience and keeps the characters feeling alive.
- Loved Pimento correcting Jake on Nolan’s first film, especially since he has never seen Memento.
- Obviously, since Jake has been avoiding him, putting Jake and Boyle on a case together is the easiest way to incite conflict into this situation. Using Pimento as the catalyst for the reveal is much more unique, and it very much keeps Jake’s character intact. Jake would never tell someone else before Boyle (Rosa was told by Amy), so Jake feeling free to tell Pimento because of his memory loss allows the conflict to unfold while keeping Jake in character.
- There is something very creepy about doctors doing harm, even in a show as fun as Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
- Love when Boyle gets to be a detective and take out some bad guys.
- The ending tag is one of my favorite tags of the entire series.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review – A Classic “Who Has Done This” (7×09)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine tries its hand at a classic “Who Has Done This” in “Dillman,” and while it hits its character beats well, the plot itself is a bit plain. It’s set up well; the prank gone wrong is a believable offense but also quite a serious one, so real consequences are to befall the culprit. That initially added some real stakes to the equation, and Jake’s desire to prove himself worthy of the spot on the task force adds a nice bit of character motivation to the story.
By this point in the series, Jake really doesn’t need to prove to Holt how good of a detective he is, so instead Jake’s goal is to prove to Holt that he is the “best detective” that Holt has ever worked with. Jake’s success is impeded by series newcomer Dillman, the actual best detective Holt has ever worked with. Each tries to solve the case of a prank in the precinct gone wrong first, and everyone is a suspect.
So far, on a plot level, this episode is moving along just fine, but the final reveal of Officer Howard Booth being the culprit is…plain. It’s quite obvious he’s probably the culprit from the moment we meet him, as speaking roles outside our main crew are rarely given out unless the character has some form of relevance to the plot, which Booth didn’t have in his introduction. It is a clear set up to establish his presence as a cop in the precinct (though it doesn’t develop his character at all) and gives the episode a scapegoat to pin the crime on.
None of this is bad, it’s just a bit uninspired and expected. None of our main characters really have anything at stake here, even if at first we think they do, and most of them are regulated to bit roles (Terry, Amy, Hitchcock and Scully, Rosa). There are also no consequences to any of them from this storyline unless you count Dillman losing the respect of Holt.
Character-wise, though, I like this episode. The reveal of Boyle being offered the task force position is great because the show references the fact that Boyle and Holt are the second least likely combination of the squad. Holt and Boyle don’t have many storylines together, and while I normally like when shows mix up character pairings, sometimes it is valuable to keep two characters a little more distant.
Holt and Boyle’s relationship is through Jake and through work, so Holt having lunch with Boyle and considering Boyle for this position is extra meaningful. It isn’t a decision based on playing favorites, and it shows us how fair of a captain Holt is and how highly he thinks of Boyle from a professional standpoint.
Boyle proves his worth in “Dillman” by actually solving the case after both Dillman and Jake flub it. He doesn’t do anything particularly special to solve this case from a detecting standpoint, but the personality traits he shows in doing so show why he is the right fit for the task force. Jake and Dillman are both trying to solve the case to prove something and to gain something, while Boyle is just doing the right thing.
Boyle is a relatively selfless guy, rarely seeking validation or praise for all his hard work. I can see why Holt would choose such a selfless detective, and I love how Boyle’s personality is contrasted to Jake’s in this episode to emphasize Boyle’s value.
Being on the special task force would mean a lot to Jake, so his reaction to the news that Boyle has been offered the position is understandable to an extent. He’s so used to Boyle supporting him, though, that it doesn’t come naturally to Jake to support Boyle. Jake is a good friend and isn’t as selfish as he used to be, but the natural order of his life is shifted here and the tables have been turned. Jake immediately realizes his poor behavior and encourages his friend to take the position, but is still willing to take the offer from Boyle if Boyle gives it to him. Once he sees Boyle’s methods put into action, though, Jake goes out of his way to encourage Boyle to step up to the plate and take the spot on the task force, complete Jake’s mini character arc for the episode. Good for Jake, good for Boyle, good for Holt; good stuff all around.
The plot may be a bit tame and predictable, but it’s adequate enough to pull these character beats from Jake, Holt, and Boyle, so in the end “Dillman” is a worthy entry into Season 7, if not a particularly special one.
Other Great Thoughts:
- J.K. Simmons puts on a good performance as Dillman. I particularly love his change of demeanor when speaking to his manager of the “Yarn Barn.” He even has a small character arc in “Dillman” which is always appreciated for guest roles.
- I loved Jake recalling all the times windows break in the precinct. That scene could serve as an introduction to the characters in it, with such distinct yet broad characterization of the squad.
- I’m a bit surprised Holt believed Dillman’s theory about Jake committing the prank. Holt knows Jake by now, and Jake’s reaction is clearly one of anger when Dillman starts blaming him, which Holt should be able to pick up on.
- Holt’s shining moment: “Let him finish HIS way.” Once again, “Dillman” shows Holt’s respect for Boyle as a detective; after all, it’s Boyle’s way that earns him the spot on the task force.
- Rosa’s dismissal of Boyle is played so lightly at the start of the episode, and I love that it is brought back at the end. They should have listened to Boyle at the start, and, in fact, should listen to him more in general, but he never takes offense. He just continues to do his job.
- I like this love for Boyle! Keep it coming.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review – Doug Judy is Back! (7×08)
Doug Judy and Jake Peralta’s relationship has truly blossomed over the course of their seven episodes together. I enjoyed the Pontiac Bandit’s latest return in “The Takeback”, but I can’t help but feel something has been slightly lost along the way.
It’s still fun to watch Doug and Jake sing karaoke and find enjoyment out of silly t-shirts, but part of the joy of their early dynamic was the constant push and pull between their natural affinity for one another and their natural antagonism due to their respective professions.
That tension has mostly dissipated by “The Takeback,” as we know Doug Judy is an all around decent guy and that at this point he’s more likely to work with Jake than work against him. This makes the final twist of “The Takeback” a bit less emotionally interesting as previous Doug Judy specials, but it’s still emotionally satisfying because we’ve seen this friendship blossom and this is a natural culmination of their arc.
Due to the lack of tension in their relationship, the tension of the plot of the episode has to come from an outside source. Having Jake go undercover as a criminal to attend the bachelor party is a good way to solve this. It’s funny to see Jake live out his cool fantasies, but his dedication to being a good cop always trumps these fantasies.
Jakes position as a cop at a criminal bachelor party immediately creates tension for Jake, and the suspiciousness of Doug’s friends only makes that stronger. Trudy Judy’s interference also ups the ante, and the episode maintains tension even after Jake’s cover is blown by having the reverse heist, so from a plot perspective the tension is still present, even if it’s not as prevalent on a character level.
I love that Jake’s skills as a heist master are put into practice here. Those Halloween Heist episodes really are highlights of this series, and I’m not sure I would have believed Jake’s competence at reverse heisting if we hadn’t seen those Halloween episodes all these years.
Of course, being a heist master himself, we discover Doug Judy orchestrated the entire plot in an attempt to get his criminal friends away from his wedding. Doug always seems to one up Jake at the end of his episodes, and “The Takeback” continues this tradition. Instead of this being a betrayal, however, it’s a touching sentiment.
Doug refers to Jake as the most consistent thing in his life, which doesn’t just mean as a friend, but as a person. Jake is consistent, and part of what I like about “The Takeback” is that it uses Doug Judy to emphasize this character trait in Jake. It’s a good trait to have, and just reminds us what a good cop and decent human being Jake is.
“The Takeback” is a good Doug Judy episode with a few layers to peel back, but the energy of a “Doug Judy episode” is gone. The back and forth between Doug and Jake has become more standard (in some ways even more natural). This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, as they have had a great arc, but perhaps Jake and Doug’s story, at least as the centerpiece of an episode, is reaching its natural end. I definitely want to see Doug Judy back again in Season 8, and if Season 8 turns out to be the final season I can imagine they’d go big with a final Doug and Jake episode. Whether that episode ends in a final betrayal or a final sentiment it should be satisfying due to the success they’ve had building this relationship.
The other plots of “The Takeback” are ultimately fine, though unremarkable. I got the biggest kick out of Rosa absolving herself of blame and then happily taking credit for the ordeal with Holt’s business cards. Terry’s reaction to not getting the credit puts a funny cap onto the story as well. We all know Holt isn’t a good cop because of a business card, though, and it’s just as likely he is just being a bit petty that Terry threw something out that had some sentimental value to him.
The vending machine order is a good way to get Scully and Hitchcock into the mix, but this is the sort of plot that I would have loved to see everybody involved in. Taking such an ordinary office task and pushing it well past is reasonable parameters is a good baseline for a workplace comedy plot, so part of me wishes Holt, Terry, and Rosa could have been involved and making the process even more difficult for Amy. I liked the business card plot better than the vending machine one, but I feel the vending machine plot had more potential.
Doug Judy, though; he’s the point of this episode, and I’m happy he asked Jake to be his best man. We just need Boyle to meet Doug Judy now. We’ve needed that for awhile. That’s such a natural storyline that I cannot believe they haven’t taken advantage of yet. Boyle would lose his mind if he ever found out Jake is Judy’s best friend. Maybe next year!
Other Great Thoughts:
- The opening scene is gold and vintage Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
- I’m sad they didn’t take more advantage of Holt’s absence as captain. The biggest standout moment I can recall is when he is radioing the group about a suspicious pigeon. I feel like they left some strong storylines on the table there.
- Amy mentioning a yogurt machine and Terry appearing – I can really see this storyline taking off if everyone got involved. Maybe that’s just me, though!
- Rosa has no pictures on her phone. Great character detail.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Review – SPOILER Died??? And a Jake and Amy Baby Update (7×07)
I’m sure there are a lot of people excited about the final reveal of “Ding Dong.” Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. As I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t typically enjoy baby storylines, and I’m super, super disappointed we didn’t get to explore Jake and Amy’s management of their grief and disappointment over not being able to conceive. I think this retroactively hurts “Trying,” as their pain, while effectively portrayed in that episode, is now essentially inconsequential regarding their storylines as well as what we will be learning about Jake and Amy moving forward.
I’ll admit I found Boyle waking up in the middle of the night having sensed the conception pretty funny, but even that, already, I’m finding issues with. Maybe it’s because I have a negative filter over these storylines, but why did Boyle only sense when Amy told Jake, and not sense the moment that the baby was conceived? I’m being picky and ruining it, I’m sorry.
But that’s why it’s first! So I can get my Negative Nancy views out of the way. I’ll review each subsequent episode with an open mind, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine surpassed my expectations with “Trying” and I’m hoping they can do it again. Let’s see if Jake and Amy can continue to flourish on Nine-Nine in their professional careers and with their friends while going through this pregnancy, or if they will get pulled away and onto Baby Street. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is at its best when it’s mixing tone and creating humor in ways no other show can, and baby plots are something I can see on almost any other sitcom. Hopefully the baby doesn’t take away from the “Debbie’s” of this show.
I liked a lot of “Ding Dong.” Jake’s already starting on the “Dad” sort of storylines, as he gets to be the mature one in the group for once. Few incidents on the show have had me smiling with glee like the lead up to Boyle and Terry’s boxing match. The potential for comedy was sky-high with this concept. I felt like Charles had a trick up his sleeve, but the decision to make that trick just fighting dirty is great in all the right ways. It’s funny, believable, and highlights the immaturity Boyle is acting with.
We rarely get to see Boyle this intensely at odds with Terry, and there aren’t too many other things I can see Boyle going to the mat for outside Nikolaj. Boyle and Terry will do anything for their kids, and the lengths they are willing to go here is funny but also sweet. The stakes are low, but their desperation is high, and that’s a perfect mix for a comedy.
As I mentioned, this storyline allows Jake to standout as the most mature, which is nice to see because it’s fresh. I like seeing Jake act more mature; I certainly don’t want this to be the case all of the time, but once in a while it’s good to remind us that Jake is a functioning adult, even if he does get mad at Wario when playing video games.
I knew Jake would end up only taking the kids almost immediately, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the storyline. It’s fun to watch Jake get there and to watch Boyle and Terry’s increasing bribes and competition along the way.
The real meat of “Ding Dong” is with Captain Holt’s story, where the title reveals itself to be very clever. Wuntch (the witch) is dead.
I didn’t believe it at first either, and I got a little worried the episode wasn’t going to take advantage of this premise to explore what this relationship meant to Holt due to his initial reaction, but it excels in this exploration.
Holt celebrates Wuntch’s death by bringing in bagels for everyone and constantly insulting Wuntch, much to Rosa’s delight. Rosa is softer than she presents but she has a consistent worldview, and she likely doesn’t mind Holt’s insults because Rosa believes Wuntch was a horrible person, and in her eyes that doesn’t change with her death.
What does change with Wuntch’s death, though, is Holt’s relationship with Wuntch. His sworn enemy is gone.
Relationships are fascinating. In real life we mostly recognize the relationships we develop with people that we like, but our preference for a person doesn’t always dictate the power of our relationships with them. Hatred is a very powerful emotion, and when you dislike someone, you create a bond with them. It might not be a bond you want to keep, but it’s a bond nonetheless and our bonds influence who we are.
Holt loses a part of himself with Wuntch’s death. He had a bond with her. That bond is initially threatened by Adam, Wuntch’s “true” arch nemesis. Holt feels almost like Wuntch cheated on him, and while this reaction can be played for laughs, it’s very very real.
Just as when you love someone and you want those feeling reciprocated, when you hold a powerful enough distaste for someone to call them your arch enemy, you want them to feel that way back. For Holt, he wants to feel that Wuntch put as much energy into disliking him as he did to her, because if not it feels like the bond he created is invalid. Also, part of it is fun! Tell me Holt doesn’t love coming up with insults for Wuntch, and you know she loved making Holt miserable.
So seeing another man be her nemesis is hard for Holt. Amy and Rosa convince him to try to team up with the man, but at the end of the day, even if Holt does attempt this, it’s not the same. It’s not what he really wants, or needs, from Wuntch and that relationship.
Holt’s speech for Wuntch is honest, thought provoking, and accepting. Wuntch is gone and so is that part of his life, that part of him. He may have hated Wuntch with all the hate he could muster, but he’ll miss her. He’ll miss the challenge, the insults, and the excitement she brought to his life. Just as Jim would miss Dwight or Jerry would miss Newman (ok Jerry wouldn’t miss Newman).
Few things make us feel as alive as overcoming adversity. We all love an underdog story, amazing physical feats, and remarkable tales of survival. The adversaries in our lives provide us with adversity. Holt’s greatest adversary is gone, and we see in “Ding Dong” how much that relationship meant to him.
Holt never has to worry about Wuntch messing with him ever again, and he’s got a small hole inside of himself because of it.
Other Great Thoughts:
- I didn’t mention Amy’s role in “Ding Dong” because it is super tropey regarding pregnancy storylines, and it isn’t an interesting side of her (in my opinion). She’s just emotionally all over the place, and while Melissa Fumero can make an incredible range of expressions with her face and that alone can be fun to watch, there is no character drive or reaction to this; it’s just hormones. We don’t get to see how she personally feels about it or how it’s affecting Jake. The episode helps it a bit by using some visual comedy with her appearance, but it’s not enough. Hopefully the rest of this pregnancy storyline is more character driven.
- The rest of this episode IS character driven, by everyone. Holt, Rosa, Wuntch, Jake, Terry, Boyle; it’s really good.
- Loved the balloon arch continuity from “Monster in the Closet.”
- I also love that Terry and Boyle got a free babysitter in the form of Jake and are happy with it. It’s fun when a storyline rife with conflict turns out well for everybody, and it also shows the complexities of being a parent. Those two men will do anything for their children and love spending time with them, but boy are they happy to share a moment of relief when they don’t have to take care of their kids for a little bit.
- Holt likening his relationship to Wuntch with chess and that, “She’ll never make another move,” is excellent, excellent writing. This line is the perfect summation of what I tried to say in like 500 words above, and an excellent way to convey Holt’s feelings at this time.
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