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Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Pimemento - Review: "Just keep swimming"

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There seemed a collective sense about Brooklyn Nine-Nine by the end of season six: that the show’s first outing on NBC was the weakest in its run. Rarely did it feel like the Brooklyn of FOX, as if trying too hard to succeed. Weirdly, a lot of the more character development-heavy episodes fell flatter (see: “Return of the King”) — although the goofy, higher-concept episodes tended to work as ever (see: “Ticking Clocks”).

In “Pimemento” — and, indeed, the two part premiere — it feels like Brooklyn Nine-Nine is back in its old groove, over the teething problems of the shift to NBC, once again returning to the summit as one of the best comedies around.

Adrian Pimento’s exit from the show as a regular recurring character, facilitated by his breakup with Rosa, proved something of a masterstroke. Great as Jason Mantzoukas is in this role, he is most effective in small doses. His quirks and chaotic energy are as wildly entertaining as they are wild, but too much of him too fast can become tiresome. So with Pimento not having appeared since season five’s “Gray Star Mutual”, this is a perfect opportunity to reintroduce him.

It’s a typically manic time with him in the picture: the story that a doctor was resetting Pimento’s memory to silence him over an affair could only happen to our favourite crazed P.I., and the show, as ever, does a wonderful job of embracing that. Mantzoukas is at his best when he’s able to flail limbs and mouth, so his frequent panic over not knowing where he is each time his memory resets, or his reactions on the roof, work perfectly.

The story balances the chaos nicely with the testing of the emotional bond between Jake and Charles, pushed to a limit here with Jake not revealing he and Amy are trying to have kids. It’s a contrived, sitcom-y way of getting there — Jake tells Pimento the truth, assuming he won’t remember, only for him to remember; you could see it coming from the moon — but the payoff is satisfying enough to make up for it. Charles trying to make a random coffee vendor the godfather to Nikolaj is very Boyle, but so too is the patching up of their relationship.

Back at HQ, we get some entertaining hijinks courtesy of seminar leader Brad (Paul Welsh). Amy’s obsessive learning of the seminar material is typically Amy, and one of the best uses of Melissa Fumero, who embodies the determined student so well. Her reciting the correct answers like she’s reading from an answer sheet (spoiler, Brad: she is, just in her head) while the others nod along and agree provides a strong dynamic, as does the ensuing argument between the crew.

It’s somewhat unsatisfying that they don’t resolve any of these issues, save for Amy enjoying Rosa call her a flope, but the fact remains that for six previous seasons, the Nine-Nine have by-and-large worked well together. These conflicts have existed before and all has been well. Why change that now?

Just three episodes into the new season, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is showing signs that it is back at the top of its game. Let us hope that no memory resetting occurs between now and May.

Case notes:
THERE WERE TWO KELLYS ALL ALONG! One was Scully’s wife, the other his dog. It answers the age old question… to an extent. We still don’t know which one he was talking about when describing his weekend, though.

The “Finding Dory” recurring joke was a great touch, if hit on a little too much, although Jake finally caving and referencing it instead of “Memento” worked nicely. As did Pimento calling out Jake for wrongly describing it as Christopher Nolan’s first movie.

Great callback on the Hitchcock prank to this from season four’s “Cop Con”.

“Oh my god, there’s a bomb in my chest!”

"Both my parents died falling out of lighthouses, separate incidents.” I, too, have so many questions.

“Oh, no, from this height, it wouldn't be instant. When you hit the ground, your ribs would shatter, puncturing your lungs. You'd start to drown on your own blood, gurgling…”

What did everyone think of “Pimemento”? Let us know in the comments!

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