Sure, this article title is true only from a very certain point of view. But shouldn’t any episode of anything that you can even possibly summarize as “glowing leprechaun aliens feast on cow ovaries” also never be able to be described as “low-key”?
Going into this episode, all I was hearing that aliens were coming to Grimm. “Piffle and poppycock,” said I, adjusting my monocle. “It’s obviously going to be a Wesen who looks like an alien for some reason.” I was right, but still, I had hoped that this would be used to shed some new light onto the world of Grimm and the characters: who would believe in aliens? Could or would Nick dismiss aliens, even after becoming a Grimm? What would a Wesen think about the possibility of extraterrestrial life?
If you’ve seen “Endangered,” you know this didn’t happen; instead, it was another Wesen o’ the Week story, except that instead of hunting down a new Wesen and killing it, Nick has to hunt down a new Wesen and help it (although it still murdered a dude; more on that in a sec). The aliens are in fact Gluhenvolk, who look like if the Engineers from Prometheus had a baby they didn’t like and kept it in the basement for 20 years. They glow, and they do look alien-like; while most Wesen seem to be directly related to a specific animal, the Gluhenvolk are just glowy lizard people. Wesen think seeing them is lucky, like when humans see leprechauns.
Anyways, Pops Gluhenvolk (you don’t need to learn their actual names) is busy mutilating cows when a farmer stumbles upon him. Between the huge glowing-blue head and the stack of dead cows nearby, the farmer reaches for his gun, but Pops manages to kill the farmer (semi-accidentally) and run off.
Rather than keep us guessing if Pops is indeed some kind of alien, they kill the mystery pretty quick by showing Moms Gluhenvolk, Pops’ very pregnant wife. They’re hiding in some abandoned cabin somewhere, and whatever Pops was taking out of those cows, it was for Moms to eat.
Cut to: Juliette remembering the first time she and Nick said “I love you” to each other. Cut immediately back, because that’s super boring. Cut to: Nick storming into Captain Renard’s office, and demanding info on his mysterious key, the Royals, and all that good stuff. What we get is a like a 5-minute infodump between two characters who have no idea whether they can trust one another, and it’s great on every single level. I’m serious. If every episode of Grimm had a 5-minute spot where Nick burst into Captain Renard’s office, slammed the door, and demanded “TELL ME THE SHIT I NEED TO KNOW” and then Renard told him, Grimm would be immensely improved. Actually, every scene with Nick and Renard is great, partially because the writers use it as an infodump, but also because these two characters actually have tension between them. More scenes of Nick and Renard, please!
Here’s the info you need to know: The Royals have four of the seven keys, Nick has one, two are missing. The Crusaders who locked the “thing” away were the forefathers of the Grimm’s. Renard doesn’t know what the keys hide, although legends have it that it’s: 1) the scret of alchemy, 2) the secret of immortality, 3) the sword of Mohammad or 4) the nails that fastened Jesus to the cross, so HOLY SHIT WHY IS NICK NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY SURPRISED THAT HIS WORLD OF REAL-LIFE FAIRY TALES NOW SEEMINGLY INCLUDES JUDEO-CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
This is my new biggest problem with Grimm — it’s that these potentially massive changes to the setting aren’t commented upon by the characters at all. There’s so much potential here for storytelling, for character development, for drama. I would love to see a scene where Nick tries to reconcile his personal choice of religion — or atheism — with the fact that in some way, the artifacts that touched Jesus are both real and powerful. It’s like the aliens — there seems to be a massive supernatural world out there that Nick, as a Grimm, has only experienced part of. We keep getting these glimpses — previously of ghosts, last week of demons, this week of aliens (that turn out not to be aliens, but whatever) and the potential validity of religion — and no one ever talks about it!
In fact, Nick doesn’t bat an eye — not even a “Huh!” — and then finally gets called in on the farmer/murder case from the beginning (seriously, news of the murder doesn’t arrive until 24 minutes in; that’s how little everyone cares about it). You know how this works out; Nick eventually does some Grimm research he should have done as soon as he heard about the mysterious circumstances of the crime, Wu gets the non-supernatural facts, Rosalee reveals crucial info the Introduction to Advanced Grimm books don’t have, namely that Gluhenvolk were hunting for their glowy skin and thought to be extinct, etc. Oh, they also meet a wacky “UFO-ologist” who’s looking for the find of a lifetime!
Because Pops and Mom have been travelling in a straight line from their origin in Lincoln, Nebraska, and mutilating cows all the way — turns out that cow ovaries are the Gluhenvolk version of “pickles and ice cream,” so it’s nice to know that the Gluhenvolk are as enamored of ridiculous clichés as regular humans — Nick finds them pretty quick. He, Monroe and Juliette arrive just as Moms is giving birth, while Pops is being hunted by the aforementioned UFO-ologist, who is not a UFO-ologist at all but very definitely a Raub-Kondor hunter (or, to be more clear, a condor-dude).He knows full well that he’s chasing Gluhenvolk, because he wants that sweet, sweet glowy skin to sell on eBay.
Although Nick and Monroe are shushed away the minute Pops returns to meet his baby, preventing too much birthing shenanigans, Pops is followed by the hunter who is thrilled to see he now has three Gluhenvolk for the skinning, and then very confused that there’s also a Fuchsbau and a Blutbad there. He’s most surprised at the Grimm, which is when Monroe kicks the shit out of him, and Nick shoots him with hunter with his own gun, and its weird, skin-preserving bullets. This means the hunter stays in his Wesen form until after the National Guard or whatever finds him… but then he turns back into a human. Nick frames the hunter for the crime of murdering the farmer and then sends Pops, Moms and Baby Gluhenvolk on their way with a stern admonition to stop eating all those cow ovaries.
In a better show, this would be a game-changer, a moment that would blow fans minds, that several normal humans saw — and the armed fores, no less — for not a small amount of time, a Wesen in its true form. They could have taken cellphone pics. It could be the first step to potentially revealing the Wesen to the entire world. But chances are this is only the bow that ties up all the loose ends of the episode.
And also in a better show, Nick would actually have a moral dilemma what to do with the Gluhenvolk. Should he let a murderer go free, Is it really right to blame the farmer’s death on another guy who didn’t actually commit any murder (although he certainly planned to)? That’s some hardcore shit, and Nick — and we, as viewers — deserves an actual moment of thought, or indecision, of moral anguish. Honestly, a better, more thorough look at these characters’ conflicts — and I mean actual moral and philosophical conflicts, not just Juliette’s Vs. the Nick in Her Head for half the damn season — then Grimm could seriously start to approach Buffy levels.
The potential is there. This episode technically featured glowing leprechaun aliens that stole ovaries out of cows and then ate them. The characters of Grimm should be more affected by this, and frankly, so should the audience.
• Kudos to whoever made the “Previously on Grimm” trailer in front of this episode. I was wondering if NBC might do something like this in order to bring the potential new viewers up to speed (seeing as many, many more people are at home watching TV on Tuesdays at 10pm as opposed to Fridays at 9pm) and not only did the promo quickly and elegantly hit everything a new viewer would need to know, it did make Grimm look pretty badass, too. Someone give that boy/girl a raise.
• Most contrived moment of the night, by far: Nick finally shows his best Wesen friend Monroe his key, and explains how it’s a map. Monroe recognizes it, because 1) his great-great-great-grandfather was a cartographer, 2) he passed down his maps in sterling condition to his descendant Monroe; 3) Monroe spent a scintillating afternoon looking through all of them, 4) Monroe recognizes something in the key that leads them to one specific maps out of the hundreds of fresh off-the-printers-at The UPS Store’s maps, because 5) they have the same style. Yes, either they people who made this key inspired Monroe’s great-great-great-grandfather to draw entire maps in their likeness, or there was just a just agreed upon period between 1200 and 1800 or so where everybody on the planet decided to draw all maps in the exact same style.
• You know, there’s something super-creepy about one member of a species hunting another members of its species purely for its skin, for decorative value. It shows the worst of the Wesen’s dual human/animal-monster roles. Of course, it would have been nice if someone brought this up at any point during the episode, too.
• Speaking of the skin, another day, another completely baffling biological phenomenon never before seen in science or nature that the medial examiner could not be less interested in.
• Juliette does ask what a Grimm is, and Monroe manages to give an answer that imparts absolutely no information on what a Grimm actually is. So… yeah.
• Wu-ism of the Week: Wu tracks down all the recent UFO sighting and cow mutilations, and shows Nick. Wu mutters, “What is it about aliens and cows?” Nick replies, “I have no idea” and walks off. The Wu gives his computer a look that screams, “Of course you don’t, because I’m the only person that does any real police work in this whole goddamned department.”
• Hey, George the fake UFO-ologist. You know why you missed your shot? BECAUSE YOU WENT OUT OF HAWK MODE TO SHOOT. YOU’RE A HAWK. LONG-RANGLE SHOOTING IS A SKILL THAT EXCELLENT EYESIGHT HELPS TO A CONSIDERABLE DEGREE. JESUS.
• So… Grimm is basically a world where fairy tales —or inspirations for fairy tales — are true. And now Renard says that Judeo-Christrian religion may also be true in the sense that the artifacts connected with it have some kind of actual power. I would love love LOVE if Grimm was leading to a place where they posited Christianity as another kind of fairy tale, or even just the much less divisive thought that everything people believe in is true, one way or another. That would be brilliant.
• Can anyone tell me why Rosalee, a regular old Fuchsbau, would be worth more than three night-extinct glowy blue people? I was totally confused when she revealed herself and the hunter’s eyes lit up>
• Spoiler from the “Next time on Grimm” preview which means it’s totally not a spoiler #1: Nick seems to have the same problem that Juliette had, in that he gets a magical and quite sexual fixation on some random witch. I dearly, dearly hope the characters of Grimm are aware enough to note the similarities here.
• Spoiler from the “Next time on Grimm” preview which means it’s totally not a spoiler #2: Obviously, to fix Nick they need someone who loves him, i.e. Juliette, who actually had a pretty good scene about not being sure she wanted to love Nick — that she’s a different person now. At any rate, I just wanted to point out that I’m sure this will not impact Juliette’s incrementally slow recovery in any way. Whee!