Grimm, Episode 2.14 “Natural Born Wesen”
Written by: Thomas Ian Griffith & Mary Page Keller
Directed by: Michael Watkins
Airs Friday 9.00pm EST on NBC
After a block of episodes devoted to the Nick/Juliette/Renard love triangle, this week’s show sees a welcome return to more general Wesen issues, specifically a series of bank robberies carried out by Blutbads who have decided to expand beyond their traditional profession of munching little girls and into more lucrative territory, giving Hank and Nick the familiar, but always intriguing crime-with-a-hint-of-Wesen to solve. The fly in the ointment plotwise (there’s always one of those with Grimm) is not that Blutbads might stray across certain moral boundaries – only daily yoga exercises and a strict vegan diet allow Munroe to suppress his darker impulses – but that the robbers don’t bother with masks to hide their identities, they just put on their wolf faces instead. This feels all wrong, because one of the founding principles of the show has been that only Grimms, like Nick, can see the Wesen change – this is how the whole story starts, with Nick being able to see things that no one else can. It seems more a little sneaky on the part of the writers that all of a sudden we now discover that humans can see Wesen but only if the Wesen allow it.
No matter – regular Grimm viewers have to accept these inconsistencies as part of the show’s charm. It’s that or throw cushions at the screen.
The three bank robbers are messing with the Wesen code, a set of laws composed years ago which govern how Wesen are allowed to behave in front of humans. Eating people is apparently not covered by the code, because Wesens do that all the time, but sporting hair and fangs in public is verboten. This breaking of the law inspires much Wesen panic and a nice little story-twist in which it transpires that Rosalee – spice shop proprietor and girlfriend of Monroe – has traditional ties with the Wesen Council and must take the decision to out the lawbreakers and let justice take its course. This is an interesting deepening of Rosalee’s character and gives Bree Turner, who has a nice air of grave mischief, a welcome chance to spend more time on screen. Although the conflict between human-law and Wesen-law in dealing with the robbers is not made explicit (human law = arrest, evidence, trial etc; Wesen law = off with their heads) the fact that Renard, who just like Nick is a cop, emails photos of the errant Bludbats to the Council, creates promising tension for future shows. It would have been nice if Nick had been forced to choose whether to deal with the lawbreakers as a cop or a Grimm and gone with staying on the right side of the law, thus making Renard’s position even more murky, but we can assume from Nick’s expression when the two suspects are gunned down that he is not impressed by his chief’s way of doing things.
The other element to the story comes along nicely after a moderately dodgy start. Rosalee creates a potion designed to break the enchantment between Juliette and Renard. There then follows much dark hinting about what bad things might follow from the doses which the three of them imbibe, but the usual Grimm tactic of making everyone forget stuff they should logically know means we are none the wiser about 1) whether the potion will work or 2) if anyone is going to die/turn a strange color/grow scales as a result. This fudging is forgiveable when the effects on Juliette begin to become apparent. There’s a surreally sinister segment which sees her trapped for hours behind her front door, with a gaping hole where her floor used to be and a staircase leading to infinity. It’s reminiscent of the Twilight Zone at its scary best as gradually we realize that the hole in the floor is meant to represent Juliette’s missing memories of Nick. The resolution of this part of the story can’t be far off, but remember what Aunt Marie told Nick right at the beginning – that he should let Juliette go for her own safety. Even if she does remember him, getting married to Nick, like he wants, might well be the biggest mistake Juliette can make.
Questions for future shows: does Renard just want to foil his family’s plot, or is he angling for power and glory for himself? Will Nick’s slaying of the three Verrat hitmen in an earlier episode come back to haunt him? If Monroe and Rosalee decide to settle down and start a family, just what kind of a Wesen-hybrid would they produce?