Rare coins give Nick a link to his past and reveal a sinister Wesen influence on human history.
Grimm Review, Season 1, Episode 13: “Three Coins in a Fuchsbau”
Written by David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf
Directed by Norberto Barba
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC
High points this week: Renard speaking fluent French. Renard with his shirt off. Renard in full dress uniform (including hat). Renard in silk pajamas, looking moody.
Am I getting a little one-note here? Sorry. The latest Grimm episode did nothing to dampen down my Captain Renard obsession. Not only did I get to see my hero acting mysterious (he does that all the time), but also tortured and threatened, just the way I like them- which probably says something about me (that I’m weird? Probably). That wasn’t the only reason this week’s show was the best so far. The story taps deep into the legend bank, with coins minted by the Ancient Greeks influencing the course of human events right up to the time of the Nazis, when they disappear…
…and reappear in Portland, naturally, where an uneasy partnership of Wesens is hunting them down. In this story, the stakes for Nick couldn’t be higher. Finding these coins and making sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands isn’t on the same level as rescuing someone from an ogre’s stew or working out which Wesen chewed off a camper’s face. These coins have the power to make the holder irresistible – a charismatic powerhouse – and the last time they came into play, the whole world ended up at war.
The holes in the plot, such as how the coins ended up in a small jewelry store in Portland when they were supposed to be in the care of the CIA, or how the Wesen discovered their whereabouts, don’t really matter. What matters is that the Wesen world is capable of influencing its human counterpart in profound ways and that the Grimms play a crucial part in making sure it all doesn’t go horribly wrong. No wonder plenty of Wesen want them out of the way. The story shifts from the general to the specific when Nick discovers that his own parents were involved in keeping the coins safe and that this might be the reason they died.
The backstory provides Nick’s character with much needed motivation at a mid-season point when the series is in danger of lapsing into “creature of the week” mode. We know this revelation is going to make Nick grow into his Grimm role in a way that acting as a Wesen-cop won’t. It’s also a storyline with a series of neat hooks- not only expanding Renard’s role, but giving Russell Hornsby some great acting moments when Hank falls under the coins’ spell. He almost goes over the top, but just manages to stay this side of overacting, making the most of the opportunity. This also allows Juliette to once again get involved in Nick’s job. She, along with Hank and Monroe, are becoming Nick’s impromptu Wesen wrangling team and with some careful positioning, this could be the way forward for future seasons: a Grimm squad – similar to Buffy and her cast of regular helpers.
This upping of the stakes fits with the move to the darker tone evident in recent episodes. Sergeant Wu is back, but the lack of wisecracks signals that the writers have made a decision to downplay the humor and keep the wit dry but incidental. I’ll miss it, but also think the choice is wise: it positions the show in the right territory – dark, scary, disturbing. Yet more ways I like my heroes.