Skip to Content

Grimm, Ep. 3.09, “Red Menace” struggles to balance serial and standalone

Grimm, Ep. 3.09, “Red Menace” struggles to balance serial and standalone

Grimm S03E09 promo pic

Grimm, Season 3, Episode 9, “Red Menace”
Written by Alan DiFiore
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC

This week, on Grimm: Nick doesn’t sweat, Capt. Renard returns, and a Russian healer comes to town

Grimm has always balanced its usual procedural format with serialized elements, from Nick’s growing awareness of his Grimm heritage to the various character relationships, but for the most part the series has focused primarily on cases of the week with a few arc-specific episodes each year. This has changed with season three, which has followed Adalind’s European-set journey to reclaim her Hexenbeist abilities. At the same time, Nick’s physiology has changed dramatically, either as a side effect of his anti-zombie meds in the two-part season premiere or as a natural progression of his Grimm abilities. Then there are the Royals and the anti-Royal rebellion Capt. Renard has joined, with both parties jostling for control. This week, two new elements are added in- Hank’s struggling love life and Nick and Juliette’s friend Alicia and her abusive husband. It’s a lot to handle and were that all that “Red Menace” tries to juggle, it might have been able to pull it off. Instead, they also throw in a case of the week which, while entertaining, only serves to fracture the episode’s focus further. It’s great to see Grimm trying new things in its third season, but if it wants to experiment with increased serialization, it needs to dial back the police work or resolve a few of these lingering storylines.

The case this week, that of a purported healer from Russia who turns out to be Wesen and a former assassin, is interesting and features some absolutely gruesome makeup and prosthetics work, as well as a solid premise and creative new Wesen. The characters remain underdeveloped though, so not only is the twist at the end unsurprising, it isn’t particularly effective. We don’t know or care about these people, so why should we care what happens to them? The revelation that Juliette is friends with a Fuchsbau (or perhaps another kind of Wesen? She woged back pretty quickly) is far more intriguing than anything we get with the Russians, particularly for the moral quandry it poses to Nick, one unspoken in the episode but seemingly on his mind. Does he stay silent about Alicia being a Wesen, as it’s her secret to share, or does he tell Juliette, who would want to know and deserves honesty from him? For now Nick is keeping quiet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Ali’s introduction also allows us to spend a bit more time with Juliette this week; it’s always nice when the show remembers she’s a vet and lets her use her skills.

As for Hank, the scene with his physical therapist sticks out like a sore thumb. The scene itself is fine, but it’s completely disconnected from the rest of the episode. Contextualized as part of Hank’s journey or a demonstration of the dangers of life on the periphery of a Grimm, it would work. Thrown in to introduce a love interest (or perhaps kick off a new arc about Adalind’s ex’s love life), it’s far less effective. Even less compelling than this however is the former Hexenbiest herself, who continues to do very little in Vienna. It’s hard to shake the notion that all of her scenes could’ve been boiled down to one Adalind-focused episode partway through the season, rather than being meted out in this way. We’ll see if things change with Capt. Renard in on the loop and Adalind potentially more motivated, but for now, the handling of this arc is a significant disappointment.

Overall, Grimm is balancing its many storylines surprisingly well, but that’s not enough to distract from the fractured, difficult-to-follow episode we get this week. Hopefully the show will be back on top form again next week.

What did you think of this episode? Which recurring arc interests you the most? Anyone else have a hard time looking at the radiated would-be assassin? Do you think Nick and co. should show Capt. Renard the trailer? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick