TV Review: Brooklyn Nine Nine: Sal’s Pizza

Brooklyn Nine Nine

S1, E9: ‘Sal’s Pizza’

‘It’s the only one that mentions mouth-feel’

Grade: B+

This episode’s theme is unlikely partnerships. And given the rich chemistry this cast shares, that means it’s gotta be good.

First up: Peralta’s favourite pizzeria, Sal’s, has burned down. He takes Boyle to investigate. What’s that I hear you say? That’s not an unlikely partnership at all? No, you’re right, but Boyle and Peralta run into a longtime enemy: Fire Marshall Boone (played by nerd god Patton Oswalt). As with Parks and Recreation’s loathing of librarians, there is something delicious about the 99’s sneering enmity with the Fire Department. Boone is also an officious idiot, so there’s plenty of reason to despise him. He and Peralta get into a turf war, but when the fire department suspects Sal of starting the fire himself, Peralta decides to investigate anyway. He runs through rival pizza joints with Boyle in tow – sadly sans pizza-tasting bib, but with pizza spittoon. Boyle’s eerie relationship with food never disappoints, and this episode is no exception. Watch him extol the virtues of mouth-feel, and chew and spit in the background as Peralta grills pizzeria-owners. Best of all, Boyle’s email blast ranking pizzerias comes in handy when solving the case – the bad guy torched Sal’s pizzeria and took the recipe for his secret sauce! And Peralta gets Boone on side because they were both abandoned by their fathers. Awwwwwww.

Next: Sgt Jeffords and Gina team up, at Captain Holt’s behest, to find an IT specialist to beef up their cyrbersecurity after some punk kid hacks into their system. Gina seems to be herself on steroids during the interviews, irritating, terrifying and grossing out a series of applicants. But there is method to her madness: anyone who works at the 99 has to handle repetitive queries, sudden outbreaks of rage and incessant grossness. Besides, if they need a cybersecurity specialist, what about that kid who broke into their system and was ratted out by his mum? You get that mic and drop it, Gina. You’ve earned it.

Finally: Diaz has been offered a job as police captain, and Santiago is not. Handling. It well. At all. Finally, sick of the passive aggression, Diaz takes her out to Boringville PD where she was offered the captainship, and challenges Santiago on her prissiness. Santiago confesses to the competitiveness borne of a lifetime of jostling with her brothers, and Diaz issues her a very timely reminder: she is not the only woman at the table anymore. However, they are in the minority in a precinct full of men. If they don’t look out for each other, who will? It’s a lovely moment, delivered with Diaz’s trademark gruffness. And well well well, lookie here – Bechdel Test Pass!

Could’ve done with more Holt (though Braugher kills any scene he’s in), but a delightful episode and this better not be the last we hear about Charles Boyle’s Pizza Rankings.

Odds and sods

  • ‘Scully searched for ‘how much fudge is in a calorie?’ Scully [shaking powder over his feet, ewwwwww]: ‘I never found the answer, but it was a good question.’
  • God, I love how much Peralta and Boyle love high-fiving each other.
  • ‘New York’s finest, which sounds like my mother’s dishware – and she’s dead, so let’s tread lightly on the response.’ ‘That’s not fair.’ No, it’s not, Fire Marshall Boone. Dirty trick.
  • Melissa Fumero continues to kill it with her physical comedy. Watch her try to nonchalantly zoom her chair back to her desk…only to have to humiliatingly push herself along one squeaky inch at a time.
  • ‘[The inside of your mouth] is like the inside of your thighs. But with a tongue.’ Peralta’s revolted ‘Ugh, GOD!’ says it all, really.
  • Fire Marshall Boone [looking at a stain]: ‘Gasoline? Eh, it’s probably water. Only one way to tell’. [throws match on stain, which of course lights up]. Peralta : ‘THERE WERE MORE WAYS TO TELL!’
  • Gotta love how Peralta immediately gives Boyle an insanely detailed cover story with the tiniest bit of prodding.
  • But hey man – let Boyle take the pole down at the fire brigade!
  • Oh man, words cannot describe the joy I felt when Captain Holt said he a ) reads Boyle’s pizza ranking email blast, because b ) it’s the only one that mentions mouth-feel.

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