Brooklyn Nine-Nine – A
Jason Mantzoukas’ leagues-over-the-top performance as Adrian Pimento, a cop turned deranged after 12 years undercover with the mob, should be a Ted McGinley level jump-the-shark dealbreaker. Instead, I’m feeling genuinely dejected to see Pimento’s arc possibly end, taking his impromptu wedding to Rosa down with it. Rosa’s bachelorette party was B99 at its farcical best as bridesmaids Gina, Amy, and Charles compete for the best Rosa-inspired concept. That Charles’ spot in the bridal party (and eager acceptance of his role) is never once questioned or played for a cheap joke speaks volumes about the show’s writing and character development. Of course Rosa wants once-smitten Charles by her side, and it’s zero surprise that he would know his friend intimately enough to win the contest by handing her a sledgehammer to destroy a condemned restaurant. Meanwhile, best man Peralta is trying to calm a demented Pimento who fears hit men. While he’s long established as paranoid, if songs and conspiracy theory movies have taught us anything, it does NOT mean they’re not after him (which ultimately leads to his possible exit from the show). “Paranoia” stakes its plot on the strong bonds of friendship in the precinct, a wise move for a show that thrives on the strength of its characters.
– Jason Thurston
New Girl – A-
Freak out! At least that’s what Schmidt, Jess, and Winston all do in this odd, but quite funny in spots, episode. Nick is too weak with flu to freak out, even when one-time rival for Jess’ affection, Sam, shows up for the first time after punching Nick in the neck — this time to demand apology and closure. Of course it ends up with Sam once again decking a dazed Nick. Schmidt had exiled Nick, along with CeCe and a faking Winston to a saran wrap quarantine, hoping to avoid the bug. He doesn’t, leading to Max Greenfield executing one of the most wonderfully dramatic abortive sneezes ever caught on camera. Winston shines with his usual non-sequiters about missing Paris and considering “going iced” with his coffee. Meanwhile, Jess wrestles with her awkwardness between loving her new boss and job and grappling with said new boss’ boyfriend, a be-bearded Sam. That all goes about how you would expect, but David Walton makes the most of it with his ever-on-edge performance as alternately uber-macho and utterly defeated Sam — culminating in a potential Emmy for Best Smooshing of Brownies. There’s also a play-within-a-play consisting of a bizarro Land of Make Believe puppet show that has the loft transfixed.
– Jason Thurston
iZombie – B-
There are some great moments in “Pour Some Sugar, Zombie,” particularly Ravi’s slowly gathering suspicion of Major and his passionate confrontation when there can be no further doubt that Major is the Chaos Killer. There’s another great reveal as Liv visits Drake’s mother, thinking her erstwhile boyfriend is a scoundrel, flips through the scrapbook to a photo of Drake in his academy best. iZombie has excelled in its ability to juggle an insane number of intertwined plotlines, while keeping up with its case (and ingested brain) of any given week. It’s inevitable that the show will sag under all the weight, and this episode is a bit jumbled and muddled. It doesn’t help that the zombie stripper storyline, which should be right in the show’s campy wheelhouse, just veers into too much silly territory — addled by a villain who is just too damn obvious.
– Jason Thurston