Adrian Pimento: “Wait! You wanna get married?”
Rosa: “Yep!”

“Paranoia” is a very fun—and surprisingly emotional—episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Surely that’s expected in an episode that technically consists of bachelor and bachelorette party plots, but there still deserves to be some acknowledgement about just how fun the episode is. As much as I bring up this current season’s status with regards to the greater picture, that doesn’t discount how good the show can be as just a glowing example of fun. (Though, the bigger picture is here. Just wait.) A party bus, a paintball game, a drunk trivia challenge, and a demolition party—that’s hard to keep down. In fact, the B-plot in this episode is basically Brooklyn Nine-Nine reaching its maximum hangout sitcom potential. And because of how fun it all is, it’s amazing that the episode is also able to include character heartbreak without ultimately betraying the episode itself.

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Then again, it’s amazing that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been able to make a compelling relationship between an emotionally closed-off human enigma and a madman with intense PTSD in four episodes. But that’s what the show has done, and now it appears that the Adrian Pimento detour in this season leads to a big case for the rest of the season (which is now officially three more episodes).

The decision for Rosa and Pimento to get engaged is definitely a quick one, but based on the previously episodes, it actually makes a lot of sense. Rosa has spent every one of the Adrian Pimento episodes acknowledging how deep he gets under her skin and how intense their connection is. She’s not the type of person to pussyfoot around either, so there’s no need for a plot where Rosa weighs the pros and cons of this engagement (plus, she’s not Amy). She doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do what she wants to do—but the show does acknowledge that she’s also the type of person who wants her friends (Terry, specifically) to accept her relationship with Pimento.

That’s why it’s so great to see Rosa experience this relationship in a way that the audience can also see and understand, as opposed to her previous serious relationship. Adrian Pimento may not be many people’s ideal love interest, but it makes sense why he’s Rosa’s. Rosa is just so happy in this episode, to a point where it’s extremely unexpected but also just feels right. She’s happy to have her best friends celebrate her impending nuptials. She’s happy to be in love. She’s happy to be getting married. Despite Rosa’s brash attitude, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has made it clear that she’s a human woman who has human emotions (other than “scowly”), and “Paranoia” really, really highlights those emotions. But at the same time, the fact that Rosa is so happy kind of telegraphs that something is going to go terribly wrong by the very end. The bright-side, however, is that Pimento only has to fake being dead here. It could have been far worse, right?

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Jason Mantzoukas has fit into the world of Brooklyn Nine-Nine extremely well, to a point where it’s a wonder it’s taken three seasons for him to show up here in the first place. It’s great to see the other characters bounce off of him, with everyone but Rosa basically becoming straight men to his character’s chaotic style. The realization that it couldn’t last forever—at least not now—meant that this time would come, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine does so in a way where it turns what should be a fun romp into… emotions.

Obviously, due to his deep undercover work, Adrian Pimento is a lot like a Rockwell song: He always feels like somebody’s watching him. So “Paranoia” capitalizes on that by making said paranoia extremely well-founded and turning his bachelor party into a police mission. The fact that Pimento’s constant paranoia finally comes to a head in a big way is the best course of action to reel in the character completely and make it so he’s not just that crazy guy who stormed through town; it also goes a long way to make Terry accept him.

Unfortunately, what doesn’t work about the Pimento plot is just how much it all feels like a ruse. Up until Pimento’s goodbye to Rosa, that is. Look at it this way: Jake’s mission to make Terry accept Pimento is the type of thing that would usually become an elaborate Jake plot, like making a wild goose chase to bring the men closer together. Obviously Pimento is paranoid even before Rosa asks Jake to help her out, but from the moment the contract killer shows up, there’s a feeling that everything’s not what it seems… even though it absolutely is. It could be mostly because this particular plot is one that feels too surreal for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, even though Adrian Pimento is such an amped up character that it does technically make sense that he could pave the way for more amped up plots. But the humor of the world’s worst and most chill contract killer (whose eyes aren’t as piercing as described) and the ski masks makes it all come off like a wacky goof from Jake, even though it’s not. And even Pimento darting out of the party bus to escape in the night looks more like cold feet on his part, even though it’s also not. Instead, there’s a crime boss who wants to kill Pimento and has an inside man in the FBI.

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That’s ridiculous, right? Think again about the staged murder scene. It’s all absolutely ridiculous. But the final three scenes of the episode do well to sell it all. It makes it work as a set-up episode, and that’s much better than thinking about how ridiculous it is.

The biggest question still remains: Why exactly did Pimento want “a DVD copy of American Beauty for [them] to watch at midnight?”

Stray observations

  • This week in webisodes Brooklyn Nine-Nine needs: The Rosa quiz could go on forever, as far as I’m concerned. “You’re all wrong. I’ve never had soup.”
  • Amy nonchalantly calling Pimento a “weirdo” in the cold open makes it super disappointing that she hasn’t been nonchalantly calling him names this whole time.
  • Jake should never, ever do his fake surprised face ever again. Ever.
  • I’m extremely surprised that Rosa opted to crawl away fast from Jake instead of spy roll, but as they say, love makes you do the wacky. She crawls so fast.
  • Jake: “That was 18 days ago. He’s getting saner by the minute. In a month he’ll basically be Frasier.”
    Terry “Don’t use Frasier’s name in vain.”
    Jake: “Copy that.” As we all know, Terry loves Frasier.
  • Hitchcock expected boobs at the bachelor party, and you know what? He did something about it with his boob hat. Still, I do not want to know how Hitchcock kept getting those cuts on his cheeks.
  • Rosa: “YEAH!!! BOYLE’S PLAYING TO WIN!!!”
  • Rosa: “Did Gina really go to Puerto Rico with that drugstore cashier?”
    Boyle: “…yeah! They seemed really happy!”
    Rosa: “They really did.”
    Amy: [is passed out at her desk]

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