I’m willing to chalk it up to the fact that I haven’t had much cause to laugh in the past week, but in my view, “Monster in the Closet” is one of the funniest Brooklyn Nine-Nine episodes has ever done. The show has loosened up considerably this season, and it’s fun to see it try new things and play outside the box. In previous years, even a Rosa wedding episode would have had a heavy spotlight on Jake, but this episode is built to highlight B99’s ensemble appeal, which is where it shines brightest. The result feels snappy, well-directed, and razor-sharp.
Things get moving quickly with the reveal of the scary “monster” in Charles’s son’s closet — it’s Adrian Pimento, who’s finally come out of hiding more than a month after Figgis was put behind bars. The reason for his delay? He was imprisoned in Uzbekistan. “Which is not as bad as it sounds,” except for the whole being-forced-to-eat-your-co-pilot’s-tongue-and-developing-a-taste-for-it thing. After reuniting by screaming at each other and making out like wild animals, Pimento and Rosa decide they should get hitched within 24 hours, so they put organizational wizard Amy on the job.
I’ve always enjoyed that Gina is the only person Pimento fears, and adding him to the already excellent Jake-Gina pairing is perfect. It’s the only scenario in which Jake is unquestionably the straight man, allowing the other two to bond over the mysterious workings of the universe (Gina: “It’s hundreds of years old”) and a love of rain-stick larceny. I could have watched an entire episode of just their road trip, especially when Gina started quizzing Pimento on his origami skills and realized he couldn’t fly a plane.
As for the scenes at wedding HQ, I particularly enjoyed how the episode weaponized each character’s personal hobgoblins as cause to get them drunk, starting with Rosa’s commitment-phobia and building through Charles’s “Full Boyle” need to commit to Genevieve, then reaching Terry’s desperate desire to be a good dad. (When Rosa told him about her rough relationship with her dad, I was nearly tempted to make my own Bellini.) The choice to make the ever-incompetent Scully and Hitchcock the only adults in the room only makes the misbehavior funnier. (“I got eye-rolled to, not about!”)
And then there’s Holt. The perennially underrated comic genius that is Andre Braugher had me thoroughly convinced that Holt is the world’s most erudite aficionado of balloon arches. (A particular shout-out to this line reading: “Made her? No, I birthed her. There is no form more graceful than the arch, no object more whimsical than the balloon.”) I ask only for GIFs of Holy popping balloons one by one with a pained expression, and crying “VINDICATION!” when it turns out Rosa loved the arch.
I’m curious about what will happen with Jason Mantzoukas, who’s very funny in this role as always. Of all the B99 guest stars, he could most easily be made a series regular, but I’m kind of hoping that he doesn’t. Pimento’s insanity could get grating pretty quickly without some fresh aspect of his personality to temper it.
But for now, his and Rosa’s decision to call off the wedding indicates there may be a softer side there. I’ll be interested to see how much Pimento shows up after this — he’s in next week’s episode, but maybe he’ll occupy some third area between being a series regular and being a recurring guest star on the order of Kevin, Genevieve, or the Vulture.
In any case, well done, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. You couldn’t have picked a better week to bring it.
- This episode is jam-packed with funny lines, but Chelsea Peretti’s readings of even the lesser ones are so good they should be Emmy material: “381’s looking a little crispy” and “Pimento! No! Bad!” both had me in stitches.
- My favorite Rosa bits are when she drops her cool posture and unexpectedly turns out to really love something, and Nancy Meyers movies are a great choice. “Bellinis rule! Nancy Meyers, you did it again, you saucy bitch.” (I particularly liked how she kept correcting Amy when she referred to Nora Ephron movies instead.)
- Apologies to Charles’s son Nikolaj, whose name I have been spelling incorrectly, as I learned from the lettering above his bed. (I thought it was “Nikolas.”) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, a.k.a. Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones, must have to deal with this constantly.
- I wish I could call off a wedding like Pimento and Rosa do. “Thank you for the presents. We’re keeping them.”
- And I wish I could throw shade at weddings like Holt does. “You’re supposed to say, ‘This wedding looks like garbage.’” “This wedding looks like garbage.” “No, no. As long as the bride’s happy.”