Introducing Jake's new, unstable partner: Paul Sneed—er, Adrian Pimento
A hot cup of crazy was thrown in the face of viewers at the beginning of this week’s installment of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and for the next 30 minutes, there were free refills. From the get-go, you could tell the dynamic in the Nine-Nine was about to change — to get a little more odd and dangerous — with the addition of Det. Adrian Pimento (a.k.a. Rafi from The League, a.k.a. Dennis Feinstein from Parks and Recreation, a.k.a. Jason Mantzoukas, who will be guest-starring in four episodes). As the wild-eyed Pimento held a knife to Jake’s neck (and as he unconsciously dipped in and out of his alias of Paul Sneed, mob muscle for Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis), it became clear that his dozen years spent undercover infiltrating the mafia had blurred, crossed and otherwise effed up the line between cop and criminal. Jake’s reaction was perfect: Oblivious to his own full-throated jeopardy while Holt explained the identity of this crazy man in the precinct, he declared, “That…is…awesome!”
But as the episode unspooled, Jake, who’d asked Holt to partner with Pimento to investigate a breaking-and-entering at an electronics store, would see that it wasn’t exactly awesome. Initially enamored with the man who did what Jake always wanted to do — go undercover in a hardcore, skull-busting way, instead of a brief stint that involved switching the mafia’s internet provider — he saw that Adrian was actually a disturbing handful (see: a flashback in which he beats someone to bloody pulp, cries a bit, then resumed the beating; or rather: a flashback in which the victim’s blood serves as his eye moisturizer). Worse yet, it seemed like he may still be working for the Butcher. Why else would he surreptitiously buy a burner phone, don a ski mask to break into a warehouse to retrieve a dufflebag, and do tai chi in his underpants? (Fine, that last one has nothing to do with anything; it’s just super creepy.)
While all of this sexually intrigued Rosa, who admitted that her crushes were bad news (see: the Vulture, the ShamWow! guy, Stripe from Gremlins), Jake launched an investigation into Adrian, only to wind up busted by him; the non-trusting Adrian then reverted to his old ways as a bag man. That is, a bagger at a grocery store. (His unbottled anger at cashier Maggie? Hilarious.) Only in the final minute did he take Jake up on his offer to help him transition back into police life, joining him on the raid of the B&E perp’s apartment and attacking the guy just as the episode ended. “Adrian Pimento” felt a bit like a set-up episode (Can Jake tame — and trust — Adrian? Will Adrian and Rosa get into a weird-ass flirtation/romance?), but a promising one that is injecting some seriously dark, off-kilter energy into the Nine-Nine.
Let’s also touch on the B-story, which kicked off with a shocking moment, one maybe even more jarringly funny than when Terry felled Holt’s office by slamming the door. The pressure cooker that Charles was using to make a Turkmenistani stew for Pimento exploded, shattering windows and leaving everyone dripping wet in goat gunk. Seeking a clean-up crew, Charles ran into an administrative buzzsaw named Marge (The Office‘s Kate Flannery), which resulted in a janitorial boycott of their floor and a garbage pile-up before they learned her last name and renamed the break room after her, which Charles promptly soiled again. The other story line — Holt tasked an overambitious Gina with making a video to win a grant from the MC Guffin Foundation (McGuffin, anyone?) to improve the Nine-Nine facilities — contained a twist that amused: Gina replaced Holt with a look-alike who created a pill-popping backstory for his character. In the end, semi-Sgt. Linetti impressed the foundation — and Holt — by eschewing Hollywood pizzazz and served up the precinct’s mangy, wonk-eyed underdog truth.
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Enough guff about McGuffin: It’s time to sit on our pancake butt, turn off our burner phone, stare into the chilling eyes of the ShamWow! guy, and recap the best lines of “Adrian Pimento.”
9. “I can be dynamic. Exclamation point.” —Rosa flatly to Gina, after she says that Rosa and Holt are not the most dynamic screen presences
8. “What the hell, Boyle??? You almost killed me! I’m not going out in a stew-making accident! Terry’s going to die saving the president or Terry’s never going to die!” —Terry to Boyle after the stew explodes all over everyone (Tie with: “They just draw so many and they’re all so bad.” —Terry to Marge, when she threatens to tell his kids that he throws out their drawings)
7. “It’s only the job I’ve ever had, except for bagging groceries at the supermarket at the corner of Atlantic and Clinton. Well, I guess I could go back to that again. ‘Paper or plastic?’ Yeah…still got it.” —Adrian to Jake (while staring off into the void of crazy)
6. “Yes, I wish it were tan. It’s my favorite color. It’s no nonsense.” —Holt to Gina, when she says to him, “Pizzazz is who I am. Would you tell the sky to stop being so blue?” (Tie with: “There he goes. Off to take more pills.” —Holt-impersonating actor David, inventing backstory for his character after he sees Holt tell Gina that this whole operation is a disgrace and he is removing her as director)
5. “Well, you know, I’ve been re-Vined by Rob Kardashian, so, yeah, I’m a director.” —Gina to Holt when he asks her if she has any filmmaking experience
4. “Look, I get it. You’re still tense. When I came back from being undercover, they made me see a shrink. But then he told me I had dad issues, and I was like, ‘You know what? You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not my dad!’ So he was a moron.” —Jake to Adrian
3. “Yeah, well, I’m not going to bone Gizmo.” —Rosa to Jake after she confesses that she had a major crush on the evil Gremlin and Jake incredulously says, “Stripe? Are you crazy?”
2. “(Whistles) That’s the dream.” —Scully, as an aside to Hitchcock, after Charles says that he’s making a traditional Turkmenistani goat stew with an animal that has been so overfed it can no longer stand
1. “Please don’t interrupt me.” —Holt to Rosa after he says that the two of them have an easy chemistry where they “finish each other’s…” and she finishes with “sentences”
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