Last week’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine transported us back to the 80s with the origin story of Hitchcock and Scully. And this week’s episode takes us up one decade to the 90s as Peralta and Gina get prepped for their 90s-themed high school reunion by donning their “super fresh” high school attire: denim sweatshirts and JNCO jeans. However, all the reminiscing brings back an unpleasant memory for Peralta – his rejection by the coolest guy in school, Brandon Bliss, for tattling on him about his plan to steal a school van to go buy some booze. This earned Peralta the nickname of “The Tattler,” despite Peralta maintaining that he was not the one who ratted out Bliss.
Holt walks in on Terry, Hitchcock, and Scully listening to an FM radio competition, where listeners have to call in and guess what makes the crinkling sound the radio hosts played. Holt initially judges them for their lack of productivity while they crinkle everything in the breakroom trying to match the sound, but his competitive nature takes over and draws him in to the game.
Meanwhile, Rosa seeks out Boyle’s help with a relationship problem. Boyle is overjoyed (or “so juiced he’s drowning in it”) to learn more details about Rosa’s personal life. Rosa explains that she has been dating two people who recently learned about the existence of each other when they both tagged her in photos on social media. (We also learn through this exchange that Rosa regularly goes to brunch and has her own handmade jewelry business.) Her romantic partners are forcing her to choose, and her normally decisive nature is failing her and she cannot choose. Boyle is eager to help, claiming that because Boyles are “an indecisive people,” they have developed a foolproof series of questions that can help make any decision.
At the high school reunion, Peralta, Santiago, and Gina run into Peralta and Gina’s old band member (played by Paul Rust) from their high school ska band “Skalvester Skallone.” (Their one song was “Stop or My Mom Will Ska.”) They catch up, learning that their old friend is still trying to “make it” in the music industry, but ultimately it comes back around to “The Tattler” incident, with Peralta proclaiming his innocence and his high school friend claiming otherwise. More and more people get involved, with Peralta growing louder and more insistent, until he realizes he’s not as over it as he’s claimed to be. Santiago and Peralta decide that they have to get to the bottom of this and solve the mystery of who was really “The Tattler.”
While they go off to investigate, Gina has been wandering around the reunion, making wild claims about her successful life. (She wrote all the Thor movies, she was the architect of the Freedom Tower, etc.) She eventually runs into an old classmate-turned-tech investor named Quentin (played by Yassir Lester). She pitches him an app called Todddddler (“How many ‘d’s are in the spelling?” asks Quentin. “………five,” replies Gina), which is, according to Gina, “Tinder for Toddlers,” so that parents can set their kids up on playdates with kids that meet their desired coolness. Quentin loves the idea and offers to fund it, and Gina finds herself in over her head.
Back at the precinct, Holt is fully invested in the crinkle game. They have decided that the sound must be a yogurt being opened, and Terry is on the phone waiting to give his answer. Unfortunately, they are wrong. It turned out to be a bag of potato chips being opened (which was Hitchcock’s first guess). Holt is disappointed but admits, “I enjoyed myself. I can’t wait to go home and tell Kevin, ‘You can have fun, without being productive.’”
Rosa answered all three hundred and nine of Boyle’s questions but her two partners (dubbed “Couscous” and “Quinoa”) are still dead even. So Boyle hoists her upside down so that “all the blood can rush to her decision center,” in a pose that his family calls “the upside down coward.” This doesn’t work either, but the long process and Rosa’s refusal to choose has left one of her partners so frustrated that they break up with her, making the choice for her. Boyle claims this as a victory for his method.
At the reunion, Peralta and Santiago have broken into the administrative offices of the school and are digging through the old attendance files on the school computer, in an attempt to find which football player had class with Bliss and told him that Peralta was the snitch. (Peralta’s perfect attendance gets Santiago very……excited.) Once they find him, they drag him into a classroom full of science projects and interrogate him. He claims that he witnessed Peralta tell the principal and describes the exact outfit that Peralta was wearing. Peralta then realizes who the real “Tattler” is — it’s Gina. (After all, Peralta “stole” Gina’s whole look junior year, right down to the long hair and earring.)
Peralta confronts Gina just as she has made an agreement with Quentin, sabotaging her newfound success. She tells him that she told on Bliss to save Peralta’s future, because he was becoming close with a bad group of guys, and if she hadn’t intervened and they had gotten caught stealing a school van, Peralta would not be a cop today. She says that she is responsible for his “origin story” and that the only reason she did not confess sooner was because she did not want her best friend to be mad at her. (And she did not want everyone at school to call her a “Tattler.”)
Peralta and Gina make up, and then Peralta goes to Quentin to convince him to still work with Gina. Unfortunately, it turns out that Quentin was also lying like Gina was, and he cannot actually invest in her app. Peralta tells Gina that it is now his turn to be her “origin story” and that she has outgrown the Nine-Nine — she needs to quit, so that she can pursue her larger dreams and ideas. She decides that she will.
And so we must begin saying our heartfelt goodbyes to “one of the greats,” Gina Linetti!
(Chelsea Peretti announced in October of 2018 that she would be leaving the show after six episodes in the sixth season but that she would be back occasionally for guest appearances.)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.