Look at Grimm! Continuing to shake up its patented, very familiar formula two weeks in a row! The changes still aren't major, and the stakes aren't any higher, but I feel like I'm getting so much more character in these last two episodes, and it's getting me invested in a way i hadn't managed before.
Okay. So instead of a new Wesen appearancing along with the accompanying crime Nick has to solve, "Eyes of the Beholder" has three stories, all of which have equal prominence, and two of which are directly connected. Remember the "Wesen Street Gang" the "Next week on Grimm" preview from last week? They're not the threat, they're the victim, and after a regular human gang murders one of the "North End Crew" they barely figure in.
That's right, this time it's regular humans that are the bad guys, murdering a leopard Wesen called a Yaguarate for the sole reason that they're from Seattle and want to move in on Portland's turf. A young boy, visiting his girlfriend in a shitty diner, sees the murder of the Wesen gang member and runs. Turns out the boy is Jared, the young brother of Zuri, Hank's physical therapist! You know, the one that shot him down last week? He's gets a second chance when he and Nick have to protect Jared while they track down the gangbangers who know his face, know he's a witness to the murder they committed, and want him dead.
So while Hank gets some bonding time with Zuri, Nick investigates; don't worry, it's not for long, because the gang are the ones who find Jared's girlfriend, capture her, and force him to come to them so they can kill him. On the plus side, Nick seems as baffled as anybody that the only role a Wesen plays in this crime is as the murder victim. Of course, that's not at all true, because it turns out Zuri and Jared are also Wesen — Yaguarate, possibly not coincidentally. Jared uses his powers to escape with his gal pal just as Nick and Hank and Zuri arrive; there's some shooting and confusion but it all ends with Zuri tearing out the throat of the last guy in order to save her brother. Hank leads her away, and Nick stays behind to take care of the mess (although the chances of it having any kind of impact on the next episode is pretty much nil).
And while all this is going on, the Alicia situation is coming to a head, AlicIa being Juliette's friend who has run off from her abusive husband, and who Nick noticed was a Klaustreich Wesen last ep. Nick tells Juliette that her longtime friend is a Wesen, and Juliette, well-meaning but not brimming with tact, tries to confront Alicia about it. Things are weird. So Juliette seeks Rosalee's advice, who tells her that a Wesen just accepting herself is hardcore, so she should give her friend time to "come out," as it were (Grimm's joke, not mine).
Juliette almost immediately ignores that advice and tries again to tell Alicia she knows the deal, because Nick is a Grimm; Alicia immediately freaks the fuck out (exactly as Nick predicted earlier in the episode), things are crazy, and that's when Alicia's shitty Wesen husband shows up, floors Nick with one punch, and tries to drag Alicia away.
And this is when Juliette goes into fucking berserker mode.
Actress Bitsie Tulloch looks like a stiff breeze could knock her over, but that just made her incredible beatdown of the shitty husband all the more satisfying. This dude knocks her around — I swear she gets far worse than a punch to the face, a la Nick — but she holds her own and she doesn't stop kicking this dude's ass until Nick wakes up and draws his gun. The husband, realizing Nick is a Grimm, basically wets his pants and promises never to bother Alicia again; Alicia is touched by Nick's not killing anybody and by Juliette's thorough destruction of her husband, too.
Remember, two of these three stories — Hank's relationship with his therapist, the whole Alicia deal — started last episode. They're so utilized so much better one episode later than they would be if Grimm had introduced both in this same episode. One episode earlier isn't much, but it's enough to show that not everything that happens in Grimm directly related to the plot of the week, and that makes both the world and the characters so much richer, because they have a chance to react to things that seem, at the moment, inconsequential.
Now, if Grimm can make start having its characters all make smart decisions — e.g., Juliette not confronting Alicia about her Wesen-ness immediately after asking for Rosalee's advice, who told her specifically not to sat anything, or, Jared, who needlessly tried to rescue his girlfriend from armed thugs by himself when he's kind of a spaz and there's a cop literally in the next room — then Grimm will be firing on all cylinders, as far as I'm concerned.
Look, I don't want to sound bitchy; these last two episodes, Grimm has felt more Buffy-like than it has since I started reviewing it — characters we like and understand, storytelling that isn't one threat per episode (along with one threat per whole season). By shaking off its regular formula, Grimm has blossomed, and I find myself looking forward to next week's episode more than I ever have before — although next week's episode does look a lot like a Wesen o' the Week episode. But even if it is I'll still give it a pass for Juliette's as-kickery this week alone.
- SERIOUSLY, IF YOU ARE IN PORTLAND, RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU'RE NOT A WESEN. Eight people? That's what I thought.
- Juliette's "Wha…?" when Nick tells her Alicia is a Wesen was perfect.
- Another thing I loved: Instead of the normal research combing-through-dusty tomes books, Nick asks about this gang, and Rosalee, replies, "Oh, yeah, that's who I used to buy drugs from." That, my friends, was refreshing.
- And yet anoter thing I loved: Hank and Zuri not working out, not because Hank has a problem with Wesen, but because Zuri has a problem dating humans. A very nice, interesting touch. Well done, Grimm.
- "I'm glad you're not perfect. I'm glad you had a crippling drug addiction."
- When Nick keeps his pistol drawn on Zuri, with blood dripping from her mouth, Hank yells, "She didn't have a choice!" I feel like she could have chosen not tear out his throat after pushing him to the ground, which rendered her brother safe from gunfire, but I enjoyed this episode so much I won't quibble.