Grimm, Ep 1.20, “Happily Ever Aftermath”: Barbie Gone Bad

Grimm Review, Season 1, Episode 20, “Happily Ever Aftermath”
Written by David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Airs Friday at 9pm ET on NBC

An important issue distracted me during this week’s Grimm episode and it was this: why is Captain Renard’s tie so red? In a show which devotes itself to an organic farmer’s market palette of blues and alfalfa-sprout greens, Renard’s tie stands out like an unrolled tongue. If the designer picked the tie to make it clear that Renard is the leader and Nick and Hank his loyal subordinates, it’s hardly needed as Sasha Roiz is huge – easily a head taller than the other two actors – or maybe (perish the thought) David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby are a lot shorter than my fevered imagination wants them to be. Anyway, the tie distracted me from the rest of the action, which had to do with Nick finding out which Wesen villains were behind the deaths of his mother and father, but perhaps a distraction is necessary, because the information is relayed to Nick by a series of improbabilities the likes of which make the odds of getting a straight flush in the first hand of a high stakes poker game seem comfortingly high.

First, with what appears to be a single phone call, Juliette finds the cop who ran the case 20+ years ago. Second, the cop happens to be one of that rare (read: non-existent) breed who have no problem chatting to a total stranger about an unsolved homicide. Third, the cop discovers that they have in fact identified four suspects for the killing, have up to date photos of all four, and have managed to arrest and question exactly none of them. Fourth, Nick has already encountered three of the Wesen when they tried to get hold of the coins of Zakynthos, an attempt which left all three dead. Leaving, fifth and most conveniently, one Wesen responsible for killing Nick’s parents still alive.

Putting the coincidences aside however, the story works this week. I can get fractious about “Wesen of the Week” episodes, but only when the Wesen is a rat or a mouse or yet another big hairy thing with teeth. This Wesen resembles a vampire bat and comes from South America, according to what Monroe reads out of Aunt Marie’s Big Book of Wesens (though this did make me wonder why the illustrations shows the Wesen clad in a dapper three piece suit – is that what they wore in medieval South America?), and it wreaks its havoc by emitting a piercing shriek, akin to a siren on steroids. This thing could shatter glass like a soprano with her truss tightened. Strap it to a fire engine and it wouldn’t clear traffic, it would reduce it to a powder.

The story is a cheerfully subversive take on Cinderella, with a “happily ever after” couple who embody all one’s suspicions about what married life for Ken and Barbie must really be like. The writers lead us up the garden path with aplomb, using the actors (David Clayton Rogers and Amanda Schull, both enjoying themselves like crazy) to hint that all is not quite how it seems, rather than spelling it out for us. The resolution allows for some nifty footwork by Nick to prevent Hank’s penny from finally dropping – how many ordinary bad guys kill their victims by making their eyeballs explode? – but once again, when Nick presents his explanation back at the station, Renard acts the part of bemused bystander all too well; he never gives himself away with even the slightest quiver of an eyelash. I want Nick to start suspecting Renard is not as human as he seems, the same way I want Juliette to stop saying she’s a vet and actually treat an animal. I also want to see more of that red tie. It means something, I’m sure of it.

Cath Murphy

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