This week, on Grimm: Hank gets shot down, Rosalee reveals her wild past, and Juliette is a badass
Grimm thankfully takes a week off from its European drama with “Eyes of the Beholder”, an entertaining installment that improves significantly upon last week’s “Red Menace” by focusing on only two storylines. This week’s episode wisely moves Adalind offscreen and keeps Capt. Renard and Sgt. Wu on the sidelines, giving them a few entertaining moments, but allowing the audience to spend enough time with its new(ish) characters, like Hank’s love interest, Zuri, and Juliette’s former roommate, Alicia, that we actually care what happens to them.
There are several lingering questions about the world Grimm inhabits, and the audience is reminded of one of the biggest this week- just how many Wesen are there? Nick and Hank are constantly (and randomly) drawing new cases with Wesen involvement, implying a significant population at least in Portland, but this week Rosalee talks about isolation and insecurity coming with discovering one’s Wesen heritage, implying that there isn’t a particularly strong community or support network for Wesen children and teens. Given the procedural nature of the series, the Wesen-of-the-week approach is likely not going anywhere, but three seasons in, we should know if Nick’s constant, random exposure to new Wesen is an anomaly or to be expected.
Putting that aside, both main elements of this week’s episode work well. The case of the week, involving Wesen street gangs, teeters on the edge of being racially troubling (Grimm is far from the most diverse series on network television and all but one of the gang members being African American stands out), but manages to steer away from this, perhaps because the gang members are in so few scenes. Instead we spend our time with Zuri and Jordan, watching Hank become increasingly smitten. He may seem to have Xander Syndrome (where all the women he’s interested in turn out to be non-human, so named for demon-magnet Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but Zuri’s a clear step up from Adalind. Her and Jordan’s Wesen status becomes clear early on, as soon as Zuri starts talking about their father’s anger issues, but the reveal still works, as does Zuri’s lack of interest in dating a human, as great as Hank may be. It’s surprising just how mysterious much of the Wesen world remains, three seasons in. Hopefully with Juliette so interested in everything Grimm, we’ll get a few more answers to the culture surrounding such a significant part of the show.
Speaking of Juliette, we get quite a bit more backstory for her this week, as Alicia is fleshed out as a character and her relationship to Juliette is explored. It’s nice to finally get a better picture of Juliette, as a fun-loving, if lacking-in-(romantic)-taste, student. Her handling of Alicia’s secret also works well. Juliette is adorably terrible and clumsy in her interactions with Alicia- she makes the same mistake as Hank, thinking the significant hurdle of the relationship is the Wesen needing the acceptance of the human to open up. It’s incredibly self-involved, but it comes from a good place and is completely understandable.
The highlight of the episode this week is definitely Juliette’s defense of Alicia. She’s shown herself to be a badass since season one, when she boiling water-ed one of Nick’s attackers, so while it’s completely unbelievable that Juliette has the physical strength to even daze what looks like a fearsome Wesen, it’s such a satisfying moment (and so in line with her personality) that she earns the audience’s suspension of disbelief. The writing and staging of the fight are good, but the performance from Bitsie Tulloch is excellent and crucial in making the scene work. She’s a real asset to the series, and it’s great to see her getting more to work with this season.
Grimm has a fantastic track record with its gender roles and empowering both Alicia and Juliette this week in the fight, not only physically, but emotionally, is another stellar example of what Grimm is getting right that so many other shows get wrong. Having them keep kicking Alicia’s husband right until Nick has his gun out and gets him in cuffs is a nice touch too- these women don’t take chances or get sympathetic when an abusive asshole starts apologizing. Throw in Rosalee’s curveball about her past struggles with drug use (and her clear overcoming of these issues) and Zuri’s dedication and work with Jordan to keep his Wesen-fuelled rage in check, and this episode has four examples of powerful, complicated, fallible, yet admirable women, a rarity in media, let alone the often male-dominated world of genre television.
Grimm is in a somewhat tricky space right now- it has a deep cast of interesting, entertaining characters that it clearly wants to explore, but spending time on them necessitates moving away from either its police procedural format or its increasing number of serialized elements. With the season only now approaching its midpoint, the writers have a lot of room to explore their options- it’ll be interesting to see how the show progresses.
What did you think of this episode? Is anyone else on Team Juliette? What do you think of Rosalee’s shady past? What kind of Wesen will Hank unknowingly make a play for next? Post your thoughts below!