Sunday, April 15, 2018

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 5x15 Recap: “The Puzzle Master” (The Fires of Jealousy) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

“The Puzzle Master”
Original Airdate: April 8, 2018

In the latest Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Amy finds out she passed the sergeant’s exam, which means she and Jake only have one case left to work together as fellow detectives. And Jake has the perfect case for them: a string of arsons that seem to be connected to the Saturday crossword puzzle. At each scene, a crossword puzzle was left, along with a note for the crossword puzzle master, Melvin Stermley. Amy, being the huge nerd that she is, is a big fan of Melvin and his puzzles. To surprise her, Jake has asked Melvin (played by Melissa Fumero’s real life husband David Fumero) to come in and consult on the case. She couldn’t be happier. But Boyle’s concerned and pulls Jake aside to ask what he could be thinking, introducing his bride-to-be to her celebrity crush. Jake doesn’t get what the big deal is... until the extremely good-looking Melvin shows up and says to call him Vin. Suddenly this great surprise for Amy seems like a really, really bad idea. Especially when Vin tells them that he splits his time between puzzle making and modeling.

Jake’s jealousy only worsens when Vin and Amy begin to geek out over puzzles together and dive into solving the arsonist’s clues. Jake recognizes that jealousy is an ugly emotion and doesn’t want to be all insecure around the super-hot dude with the brilliant mind who has a lot more in common with Amy than he does, so he tries to play it cool. He suggests that instead of focusing solely on the puzzles, they also look at motive. Maybe there’s a fellow puzzler who wants to take Vin down. Vin says he’s hosting a puzzle party at a regular hangout for puzzlers tonight and Amy and Jake decide to go undercover and see if they can sniff out the arsonist.

Terry has some challenges of his own to deal with. The Nine-Nine has just received a fancy new undercover vehicle with all the bells and whistles. He excitedly shows it to Rosa, Hitchcock, and Scully, and they’re all drooling over it. Terry had planned to take the car himself, since his police-issued vehicle is the oldest and the heater hasn’t worked in two years. But no one else thinks this is fair since they’re all stuck driving junky detective vehicles, too. He says no one is allowed to touch the vehicle until the drawing happens.

Meanwhile, Gina has dug up dirt on Captain Holt’s competition for the commissioner position. There are three other guys in the running. They’re all super old, super white, and super unoriginal with no plans to revitalize the NYPD in the ways it needs. Captain Holt knows he could do a better job than any of them. Now he just has to prove it tonight during a meet-and-greet with the candidates. Unfortunately, there’s a surprise waiting for him and Gina when they show up. One of the candidates dropped out and has been replaced by young, fresh-faced Captain Olivia Crawford, who makes it clear she’s going to overhaul the NYPD in ways Holt never even imagined. Suddenly, he’s feeling pretty old and outdated himself.

While Holt and Gina try to figure out what to do now, Amy and Jake make their way to the puzzle party. As they wait in line, Jake chats with a woman behind them who only confirms his worst fears when she gushes about how hot and brilliant Vin is and that she’s going to marry him. When they finally reach the front of the line, the doorman tells Jake and Amy they have to solve a puzzle to get in. Amy quickly solves it and goes in, but before Jake can follow the doorman tells him they EACH have to solve a puzzle. Jake can’t solve it so he sneaks in through a bathroom window, but as he’s lowering himself down he lands in a toilet. Now his pant leg is soaked in toilet water and he can’t go out and face Vin and Amy looking like that. He makes a panicked call to Boyle, who says it takes exactly 28 minutes for toilet pants to dry.

While Jake’s waiting it out, two guys come into the bathroom talking about how a guy named Sam Jepson got fired from his puzzle gig and replaced by Vin. That’s a clear motive! Jake races out to find Amy and Vin, but they have a hard time believing it could be Sam. Apparently Sam is one of Vin’s best friends. Plus, they think they’ve figured out that the arsonist is spelling his name in his puzzle clues and the first two letters are M-A. Jake tells Amy since it’s her last case, she can decide which lead to follow. Amy decides to ignore what Jake thinks is a clear suspect in Sam and instead go after the potential M-A.

Back at the precinct, Amy’s come up with a list of names that begin with M-A. Jake suggests that maybe it is Sam and he’s just spelling his name backwards in the clues, but Amy dismisses that idea. For his next puzzle, Vin has crafted an epic one that they’re convinced will force the arsonist to reveal himself and lead to his capture. While Jake helps Amy and Vin execute their plan, he secretly has Boyle stake out the apartment of Sam Jepson, hoping to catch him setting his next fire.

While Amy, Vin, and Jake work on the case, Terry holds the drawing for his car. Surprise! His name is drawn. But Rosa, Hitchcock, and Scully all think he cheated. Rosa’s determined to prove it and make that car hers. She vows the battle for the car isn’t over yet. Hitchcock and Scully review the security tapes and catch Terry doing a celebratory butt clench right before he draws the name. He knew his name was on the card he drew! But Rosa’s not convinced that’s enough evidence to get him to confess. Just as they’re mulling it over, Terry bursts into the room with a full confession. He just wanted the car so bad that he cheated to get it, but he’s been wracked with guilt and knows he doesn’t deserve a new car. He hands over the keys and runs out.

Back at the commissioner’s meet-and-greet, Gina encourages Holt to sabotage Olivia and her revolutionary ideas by chatting up the head of the selection committee and talk bad about her. Holt agrees, but before he can even get a full sentence out, the committee head tells him he has nothing to worry about. The nomination of a “girl” was only for PR reasons. There’s no way she’ll actually be chosen as the next commissioner.

During the presentation part of the evening, Holt is up first, but instead of giving his speech, he has a different plan. In front of the audience and the press, he tells them what the head of the selection committee said and that because he knows exactly what it’s like to be denied opportunities because of who he is, he’ll be reserving his presentation for a selection committee that will judge all of the candidates equally. Gina looks both shocked by and proud of this declaration, while the head of the selection committee looks livid.

Things aren’t going great for Jake with the case. Amy and Vin had narrowed it down to three possible locations for the next fire according to their super sleuthing puzzle skills. Jake was supposed to be staking out one of them but abandoned his post to join Boyle in tracking Sam Jepson’s movements. Just when they realize it definitely wasn’t Sam — who, after careful observation, seems like the most harmless person on earth — Jake sees a huge fire erupt in the distance, exactly where he was supposed to be on lookout.

Amy’s furious and Jake finally admits how jealous he’s been. He’s afraid Amy will wake up one day and wish she’d married someone as smart as she is. She tells him she IS marrying someone as smart as she is. Just then, Jake realizes that the arsonist wasn’t spelling out their name, they were spelling out “Marry Me.” The arsonist is the crazy woman who was in line behind them at the puzzle party! They’ve officially solved their last case together as fellow detectives.

Meanwhile, Rosa stops by Terry’s desk to hand over the keys to the new car. He says he doesn’t deserve it but Rosa says he does. She spent some more time reviewing the tapes and saw the way Terry cheated. He froze the slip of paper with his name on it, so when he reached into the bowl to draw a name, he just had to find the cold paper and pull it out. She thinks this was a really cool way to cheat (pun intended), but she admits it’s more than that that impressed her. On those tapes she also saw all the nice things Terry does for his colleagues every single day. He’s constantly going out of his way to make their lives just a little bit better and Rosa says the way he takes care of them means he deserves the new car. He asks what Hitchcock and Scully will think. She says not to worry about them. She got their car washed and told them it was a new one. Naturally, they believed her and are napping in it right now.

Captain Olivia Crawford stops by to see Holt and thank him for what he did. The selection committee has been replaced with one that will be less biased and now she and Holt can resume their fierce competition and newfound mutual admiration, knowing they’re on a level playing field. She declares they’re frenemies, and though he refuses to use such terminology, Holt’s inclined to agree.

Bullets on the Bulletin Board:
  • “Do you want me to spill the beans?” “Why would you ever intentionally spill beans? They are one of nature’s most densely packed protein sources and they remain unsullied by flavor.”
  • “I’ve never felt so abandoned. And I was actually abandoned. They found me in a swamp.”
  • “You can’t wear a coat over a tank. You’re not Ryan Gosling.”


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