Grimm, Ep. 1.03, “Beeware”: Conflict makes storyline strong
Grimm Review, Season 1 Episode 3, “Beeware”
Written by Cameron Litvack & Thania St. John
Directed by Darnell Martin
Airs Fridays on NBC at 9pm (ET)
Early in the episode, Nick is trying to access a tweet from a cloned phone, but the suspect using the phone is cautious and has found a way to block the signal.
‘Can you get round it?’ Nick asks Sergeant Wu.
‘Of course I can.’ Wu replies, tapping at his keyboard, ‘I’m Asian.’
Grimm has avoided the whimsy trap, but it could still go the way of Person of Interest and become a police procedural with window dressing. The solution is a cast of supporting characters who are worth watching just for themselves (Reggie Lee’s interpretation of Wu is ‘Officer Sulu before his first coffee of the day’) and enough quirky and gruesome detail to make the storylines satisfyingly rich and interesting. My favorite examples this week was finding out that bee-venom carries a signature which tells you where the insect came from, plus the scene where David Giuntoli has to examine a dissected tongue which looks alive enough to hump away like a large pink inchworm.
But back to the story: the tweet is being sent by a Mellifer, supernatural bee-creatures who, in the usual Grimmcombination of the antique and modern, use social media to hatch murder plots. The first person to die is a young lawyer, injected with bee venom while a flash mob performs ‘YMCA’ on a bus. Except the bee who delivered this venom would have to be, as Hank puts it, the size of LeBron. The decoded tweet leads Nick to a deserted paper mill. Armed with some information from Aunt Marie’s Encyclopaedia of Weird Stuff and with the tracking powers of Blutbad Munroe (who agrees to get involved when Nick bribes him with a bottle of Bordeaux), Nick discovers that the Mellifers, like all social insects, have a queen. And, in a cunning move designed to appeal to every StarTrek fanboy on the planet, this Queen Bee is Nana Visitor clad in tight black leather.
In this episode of Grimm, the tensions between Nick’s job and being a Grimm are beginning to show. The Mellifers might appear to be the aggressors, but the two women they have killed are actually Hexenbeists – creatures who are attempting to destroy them. The Mellifers have a crucial role in Grimm world as communicators, but as a cop, Nick is charged with protecting the third of the women the Mellifers are after. Nick has met Adalind Schade before when she attacked him with a syringe full of spider venom, but what he doesn’t know is that his station Captain is also in league with the Hexenbeist, revealing that other links between the human and Grimm world do exist and will probably come into play as the plot develops. In the end Nick is forced to choose between being a cop and being a Grimm – and goes with being a cop – only to discover that this might have been exactly the wrong thing to do.
The conflict gives the show momentum, with the sense that this choice is one that Nick is going to have to make over and over again as the story progresses. And that isn’t the only place where interesting tensions lie: Nick has to keep his powers secret from his girlfriend and partner and Juliette in particular is beginning to show signs of unrest as Nick spends evenings hitting the books in his Aunt’s trailer. Juliette is also one of Nick’s vulnerabilities, as is his partner Hank. They might be the way his supernatural enemies decide to get to him.
In terms of the story, Visitor’s character lobs the plot ball forward in her dying words to Nick: he is coming. Neither Nick nor we know what she means, but we’re guessing he isn’t Santa with a sack of toys, and while the monsters we’ve met so far are fun, the introduction of an anti-hero both ups the stakes and gives the storyline the structure it needs to hold my interest. With all these possibilities opening out, I’m intrigued to see what happens next time.