Grimm returns from its mid-season break, with a perfect blend of monster-of-the-week and mythology ark, as Hank and Nick investigate a missing foot, Juliette continues to break down, while Adalind continues to poke hornets’ nests in Portland.
The Friday night slot on NBC has been the kiss of death for numerous works of dark fantasy and horror, which makes it that much more respectable that Grimm has managed to find a foothold and prosper, winning a victory for lovers of the dark arts’ everywhere.
Bad Luck, the first episode since the harrowing Trial By Fire on February 13, plays to all of Grimm’s strong points, reminding us why we loved it in the first place. In fact, it seems, with the fourth season, that Grimm has really hit its stride, and is standing on the precipice of greatness.
<the following re-cap may contain spoilers, so if you don’t want that, stop reading now>
Bad Luck was grittier and more horrific than usual, opening up with a family of rabbit Wesen, known as Villehara, whose feet are thought to cure infertility for Wesen couples who are having a hard time conceiving, fetching a hefty sum on the black market. The son of the Villehara family, Peter (Rabbit, you dig? Grimms’ writer’s are suckers for wordplay), sneaks out for a moonlight tryst with his girlfriend, only to be stalked by a hunter with a squeezebox accordion and “a big ass ax”, to quote Wu.
Things end badly for young Peter, and Burkhardt and Griffin, played by David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby, are called in to investigate a homicide.
The mother, in her grief, woges, and Hank and Nick are thrust into another Wesen mystery.
Rosallee and Monroe, played by Bree Turner and Silas Mitchell, volunteer to visit one of three Wesen fertility clinics in Portland, to find out who’s contracting the killer. They are thrown out of the office, only to find out it’s the nurse that’s been “helping” the infertile couples, at the expense of some rabbits’ feet.
Burkhardt, Griffin, and now Wu dig deeper into the Wesen family’s past, to find out the father was killed, years prior, in an unsolved hit and run accident, that severed his left leg, which was never found. It appears the family has a stalker.
All the while, the central mythology continues, as Juliet tries to come to grips with this season’s biggest shake up – her sudden transformation into a Hexenbiest! And Adalind, played by Claire Coffee, will stop at nothing to get her baby back, and tries to recruit Captain Sean Renard, played by Sasha Roiz, to her side.
Nick is also coming to terms with Juliette’s transformation – seemingly blaming himself for their lack of a peaceful, “normal” life. The show’s most powerful moment – outside of the adrenalized, axe-wielding action – is when Juliette transforms into her Hexenbiest self, claiming, “If I’m the girl of your dreams, at least you could do is give me a kiss! You can’t even look at me!”
Nick realizes that Juliette has put up with his crazy life, and all the craziness it brings, and offers to do the same for her. It is little touches like this that make Grimm not just an excellent dark fantasy/supernatural detective show, but just good television, period.
Meanwhile, the Villehara family has bolted, to try and shake the hunter, but they don’t run fast enough, as the young daughter is snatched from a motor court hotel. The clock is now ticking, as Hank, Nick, and Wu try to unravel the mystery, before it’s too late for the girl.
They eventually track down the hunter, who turns out to be a Wesen known as a Vulpesmyrca, to a remote cabin in the woods, and a desperate game of hide and axe begins. The action in this episode is particularly high-octane, as Burkhardt unleashes his signature Grimm-fu, against a hairy-head, axe-wielding maniac. It’s moments like these when I am reminded why I love this show so dang much in the first place.
Grimm has never tried to be what it’s not. It’s played to its strengths from day one – outstanding action; deep, relatable characters; plenty of local color from its home town of Portland, Or.; and a compelling central mythology, which some find confusing, but doesn’t trouble me a bit.
So, rather than winding down and crumbling into dust as almost all television series do (especially after four seasons), Grimm has been winding UP, getting better and stronger with each passing episode, each subsequent season.
The relationships between characters is my favorite aspect of the show. Rosalee and Monroe are the best, most honest and realistic couple on TV (even though they are a were-fox and wolf, respectively), and they frequently do and say things that real couples do, like making a game of who can pack luggage the fastest.
And the look in Nick’s eyes, as he walks away from his and Juliette’s home, having flashbacks of every crazy, mysterious, life-threatening thing that has happened due to his Grimm-ness, speaks volumes. He is clearly hurting, and portraying it well.
That’s something that not enough critics’ mention: the excellent performances. Grimm may come off as a CGI/Practical FX soap opera at times (lord knows I’ve earned my fair share of pitying looks from friends, when sharing my passion), but the central cast, who have been with the show from the beginning, really embody their roles, and bring personality quirks and back story to the characters. They are real people, real creatures, a real family, navigating a complicated skein of politics, magick, ignorance, and tradition.
Season 4 has been the best season of Grimm so far, and Bad Luck may be my favorite. If you’re looking to add some supernatural thrills and drama to your Friday night (or any other night, if you want to watch re-runs), this is a good chance to hop on board!
- Capt. Sean Renard enjoys breakfast at Stepping Stone, on NW Quimby, in the Pearl District, known for their banana nut bread french toast.
- The Villehara family hid out from their pursuer at the Palms Motor Hotel.
Grimm airs on NBC on Fridays at 8/7 Central.
You can watch Bad Luck in full at the NBC website.