This season on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, we’ve journeyed everywhere from an art gallery to experience the avant garde, into nature to get Terry to drop his guard, into a department store hostage situation to channel Die Hard, and onto the family-friendly seas to (try to) re-catch a silky-voiced thief.
Where to go from there? How about prison?
Tuesday’s episode, “Maximum Security,” continued our increasingly serialized adventure that stemmed from the introduction (and now rapid exit) of the loose-screwed detective Adrian Pimento, who faked his own death with ketchup and SpaghettiOs and went into hiding after his paranoid fears that Jimmy “the Butcher” Figgis was trying to kill him were confirmed. (Also not good: He had a man inside the FBI helping him with said dastardly deed.) With Jimmy operating under the assumption that he has killed Pimento — and with Holt operating with the knowledge that Jimmy has a sister, Maura, who is locked up in a Texas prison for multiple murders and knows his operation well — Holt commenced a top-secret mission to take down Jimmy by sending a detective undercover as an inmate to get close to Maura. How did a Brooklyn precinct captain get the interstate permission (without involving the FBI) to pull off this mission? Never you mind that. The point is that s— is getting deep on the show. Like deeper than the Oolong Slayer.
While tone can be a tricky issue for this clever-yet-goofy cop comedy when the plot calls for things to turn dangerously serious, this episode was stocked with sharp-as-a-shiv one-liners (many of them brandished by Gina and Holt), and laughs flowed from the assumption that cold-as-dry-ice Diaz would be the only logical choice to play pregnant prisoner with Jake and Charles as their doctors; from Amy’s frustration at being overlooked as a potential badass; from that plan falling apart when Diaz’s cover was immediately blown and Amy being called in as the expectant replacement (fitting as Melissa Fumero just gave birth in real life); and from her kinda nailing the role after a rocky rehearsal and gaining Maura’s trust. In the end, it was Jake who couldn’t handle the heat in jail, and he had to remove himself as her handler/OB-GYN; his overworrying about Amy being near Maura and common household items was jeopardizing the mission (“Socks are just a noose waiting to be braided.” “In the wrong hands every card is like a throwing star.”).
Back on the outside, Holt, Gina, Terry, and Rosa needed to help sell the notion that Adrian was dead while trying to draw out the FBI guy with a scar on his hand. So they found a stand-in corpse for the case-file photos (“If I may, imagine Pimento’s dirty pale body being pulled out of manhole after a couple days’ sewer bloat,” said Gina. “Now squint your eyes…and look at Hitchcock”) and staged a fake funeral for Adrian, which led Holt and Gina on a fruitless search for the FBI bad apple, which led some very awkward high-fiving at the funeral (Gina: “I’m very sorry for your loss. Get some!”). If the beats in Rosa’s eulogy for her fiancé were predictable (she can’t sell it; now she’s selling it; wait, is she actually feeling something?; okay, now she’s returning to her feeling-free zone), the sentiment was there. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the fact Rosa squeeze-grunted out a tear and flicked it on Terry, who wiped it off and smelled it? What kind of emotions are in store for the final two episodes of the season? Will the Jimmy the Butcher situation cut deeper for Holt, as it is known that his old colleague at the FBI (played by Dennis Haysbert) factors into this story? Will Rosa get to reunite with the disturbing love of her life, only to have their story still somehow end in disaster? Just spitballing here. Or tear flicking.
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Before the guards tell us to pipe down in there, let’s meet in a dark closet, eat a whole apple using a knife, say a prayer for Genevieve’s comatose mom, try not to disparage Jeopardy!, call Adele a loser, forge some report cards, feel our cervixes ripening, fight through the urge to itch our butts, swerve away from the Hotzis, realize that this isn’t High School Musical (or High School Musical 2 or High School Musical 3: Senior Year), and recap the best lines of “Maximum Security.”
9. “I grew up forging report cards. If people knew how smart I was, it would have been harder to control them.” —Gina
8. “I’m going to split you like a sundae with grandpa, bitch.” —Amy, practicing her tough prison talk
7. “Ohhh, you’re not gonna try to convince us Mahler was the original punk rocker again, are you?” —Gina to Holt, who then explains that the classical music he just turned on is a classic counterespionage move and then adds, “But since you mention it, Mahler was one in-your-face bad boy”
6. “Guys, this isn’t one of those women’s prisons that we’ve all seen, being all sexy on late-night cable — you know with the ladies touching each other’s bits and there’s kind of some lame jazz playing. When these chicks fight, it’s for real! So be mature!” —Jake to his fellow detectives about their undercover operation at a women’s prison
5. “Genevieve’s mom also knows, but she’s in a coma, dead any second; we’re good.” —Charles to the group after Jake says no one can know about their top-secret mission and Charles has already mentioned that he has told Genevieve
4. “I could also wear short pants and drink from a jug that says ‘XXX.'” —Holt, sarcastically, to Gina after she tells him that he could have just used air quotes instead of repeatedly using “quote unquote”
3. “And I’m Glenn Kennedy, OB-GYN. We’re twins, like Property Brothers, but for gynecology.” —Charles, explaining his undercover identity to Rosa after Jake tells her to schedule a fake appointment with Brent Kennedy, OB-GYN
2. “A white woman in prison? In Texas? She must be bad.” —Terry, upon learning that Figgis’ sister, Maura, is serving time in a maximum security prison (Runner-up Texas joke: “Just let her do her thing. But this is Texas, so also make sure she doesn’t somehow get the death penalty.” —Jake to Charles after he removes himself as her handler in prison)
1. “Oh, I can turn it on when it’s called for. The Bachelor is a television show. Andre Agassi is at it again. I, too, avoid gluten.” —Holt to Terry after he reminds Holt that he hates small talk