“Maximum Security” is an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine that finally gives the viewing audience the single greatest scenario in the “let’s hide Melissa Fumero’s pregnancy” saga: Just have Amy be fake pregnant. It’s all been building to this, now hasn’t it? You did good, Nine-Nine. You did good.
Now that that’s out of the way—while last week’s “Paranoia” was a set-up episode for the rest of this third season, this week’s “Maximum Security” is certainly a transitional episode. “ Filler” might even be the word for it, but it’s not exactly all that filling. After all, we don’t even get to see Rosa, Holt, and Terry throw things off the roof of a church. But in continuing with the big Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis plot, “Maximum Security” makes some baby steps, immediately slowing things down right out the gate.
Amy’s plot in this episode is one that has endless potential as Amy tries again to prove that she’s a “badass” and not some pushover. And what better place to prove such badassery than in a Texas women’s prison, with a very, very dangerous target in Jimmy Figgis’ sister Maura (Aida Turturro)? It’s a solid fish out of water plot for Amy, in theory. In practice, it’s ultimately a plot to bring up how Amy and Jake’s relationship affects them in the workplace and more of a wrong time, possibly right place version of that plot. Unfortunately, as much as it makes sense given the dangerous setting of the plot, it’s especially glaring in an episode that’s born out of a pretty important serialized case for the season and the show as a whole. It’s also relatively late in the season and relationship when you think about all the other dangerous things they’ve been through since becoming a couple.
Even worse, every Jake interference in Amy’s undercover is a case of diminishing comedic returns, as what’s supposed to be a show of love comes across more as the return of too immature Jake (which first rears its ugly head during his women’s prison tangent) and patronizing behavior to a seasoned detective like Amy Santiago. The plot doesn’t come across a matter of Jake not finding her “badass” enough to get the job done as it is does him not thinking she can even be competent at her job. She may not be able to play cool, but she’s still a high-trained detective and, better yet, a classic overachiever. This in turn makes Boyle’s very Boyle-esque interjections in this plot and their relationship more frustrating that anything else… although the “go to” each other moment do work to show just how deep his mind has gone down the road of Amy and Jake being romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies. Jake’s just no Tom Hanks here, unless we’re talking Hanks in You’ve Got Mail and actually addressing how awful that character is.
The plot is, unsurprisingly, at its best when when Amy/Melissa Fumero is actually allowed to go off on her own—and of course when Rosa is made by an inmate from the very moment she walks into the prison—and it’s all worth it to see her take down “Not A Doctor” Jake at the very end. It’s really, really worth it. She’s “kicking for two!”
The fake funeral of Adrian Pimento is a better executed plot; the all hands on deck approach to the investigation actually feels like it constantly gets something going here, even though the crew doesn’t find Figgis’ FBI goon (now, thanks to Gina’s sneakiness, called “ScarJoe”) in this round. This plot is worth it all for Captain Holt’s new-found affinity for high-fives, but it’s really full such solid little moments throughout. After last week’s makeshift crime scene, seeing the Nine-Nine up production values with Hitchcock’s interpretation of Adrian Pimento’s corpse is an even better visual. And the funeral itself is a fun experiment in seeing just how awkward the remaining team members in the episode can be. The answer is pretty awkward, actually.
However, one slight hiccup in the plot is Terry’s attempts to get Rosa to let out emotion (and Rosa would probably agree with that too). It’s completely understandable that Terry would want Rosa to let her guard down and emotions out, even if it’s just pretend. But to act like it’s impossible for her to do so in the first place ignores how last week’s “Paranoia” was the most emotional Rosa has ever been, both on the happiness and sadness scales. Plus, as much as Terry brings up making it appear as real as possible that Pimento died, a standard Rosa eulogy would be normal to most people in attendance at the funeral. It’s not as though Pimento “was” a typical guy. The funeral probably should have been weirder.
Of course, it’s still a way for Stephanie Beatriz to show off her acting chops—even when that means dropping a tear deuce—so there’s nothing wrong with that. As I mentioned last week, it’s kind of amazing how Brooklyn Nine-Nine has managed to make something real out of Rosa/Pimento in such a short period of time, and a great deal of that goes to how well Stephanie Beatriz sells. That’s no different here, when Rosa does ultimately let out that emotion we all already knew existed.
But seriously, Terry should’ve just made good on that promise to get her a “real thick veil.”
- This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: WWE Tough Enough (the version with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the host), but with the characters of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Yes, the idea spawned solely from Amy saying she’s “tough enough.” There could also be webisodes of Captain Holt teaching us all classic counter-espionage maneuvers. I’m not picky.
- Gina: “Doesn’t she go to like an adult puzzle camp every summer?”
Jake: “Yes, but please don’t bring that up. I’ve been throwing out the mailers.” This Jake Peralta needs to be stopped.
- Honestly, Boyle telling Genevieve (and Genevieve’s comatose mother) about the Adrian Pimento situation makes him more of a liability than Scully or Hitchcock. Get your head in the game, Boyle.
- Holt: “Peralta’s gross. But correct.”
- Gina: “Kinda feel like you could’ve just used ‘air quotes’.”
Holt: “I could also wear short pants and drink from a jug that says XXX.” Touche.
- Holt: “All this sneaking around is exhilarating. I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. Coursing.”
- Rosa: “Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…”
- Jake: “I speak the language of the streets. It was actually from Girl, Interrupted.” This Jake Peralta can stay.
- Is Andre Agassi really at it again?
- So Amy’s in a Texas prison. That’s fun, right?