Huh. Well that was certainly…unexpected. Eschewing a traditional case of the week formula, ‘The Hour Of Death’ offers a nice touch of mythology, a revelatory character twist and a smidgen of plot advancement on the Renard (Sasha Roiz) / Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) front.
Let’s bitch it out…I’ll admit that when the episode began in medias res, warning bells immediately went off in my head. In this case, Nick (David Giuntoli) is having weird foreshadow-y dreams about a kidnapping case that he’s overly invested in. The problem is that this is all new to us, so his aggression and hyper-sensitivity feels out of character and awkwardly introduced. Yes, he’s still sleeping on the couch and Juliette continues to act like a bitter ex-girlfriend, but why is he so damn angry?
For a moment, when a perp in the kidnapping case is identified and Nick goes rhoid-rage on him, there’s the faintest echo of the most recent developments on Dexter: Nick has responsibilities in two worlds – as a cop and as a Grimm – that no one else, not even Hank (Russell Hornsby), understands. This is the burden of his calling and for a second it seems as though the show will finally explore what happens when his two roles collide (as I thought they might in 2×08 ‘The Other Side’).
But no…instead the episode takes a U-turn as the perp is discovered brutally tortured and murdered, having already confessed to the kidnapping. Say whaaa? Before we can even catch our breath, we learn an important piece of Wessen mythology that cracks the episode wide open. Apparently back in the fourth century, roaming packs of rogue Grimms would pillage the Wessen population, killing indiscriminately and branding their victims with an image not unlike American Horror Story: Asylum‘s Bloody Face meets Castaway‘s Wilson. The reappearance of this image/brand suggests that the group has reappeared, which offers a tantalizing hint that Nick is no longer the only Grimm in town, and that his relationships with the Wessen community and his job in the Portland PD are in jeopardy by a murderous Grimm.
TVAngie and I have had a numbers of conversations recently about how being an avid televsion watcher can affect your enjoyment watching overly familiar plots or recognizing certain actors (specifically in relation to the last two weeks of Elementary). For Grimm, it seemed pretty obvious that the show has been planning something with new character Ryan (Bones‘ Michael Grant Terry), the overly enthusiastic office temp who has some serious hero-worship issues with Nick. Ryan has been used in a very odd way – it’s clear that he doesn’t quite fit in at the precinct, but more importantly there’s been no attempt to give him any kind of development beyond “perky blonde guy”. As a result my Spidey senses go into high alert when it’s clear that someone close to Nick is this rogue Grimm and naturally it’s revealed to be Ryan a few minutes later.
In many ways this is a frustrating development: there’s been very little set-up (Ryan goes from Starbucks-barista happy to homicidal killer in about two seconds flat) and the possibility of a legitimate non-Burkhardt Grimm on a killing spree is cut abruptly short when Ryan is revealed to be a self-hating Wessen (what exactlywas that, anyways? A slug with sharp bitey teeth?). The big reason that I’m not riffing more on ‘The Hour Of Death’? Because it moves like a locomotive. Despite my initial appreciation about beginning in the middle of the case, things move on quickly from there (the kidnapping is resolved before the half-way point) and while every convention from cop and serial killer shows/films are dumped into the pot, the episode somehow proves to be an enjoyable familiar/eccentric mix. I could easily handle more of the “Nick and Hank work a case” episodes if they altered the formula like this more regularly.
- One of the reasons that the later parts of the episode work is because the victim is Bud (Danny Bruno), the adorably frightened Wessen repairman that pops up as a recurring utility player. I appreciate that the show won’t put Nick and co in danger each week, but it certainly helps to generate more investment from viewers
- Silas Weir Mitchell continues to be criminally underused as Monroe. It’s disappointing – and a little strange – that his role is tied to Rosalee’s (an unseen Bree Turner, still on maternity leave) despite the fact that he’s seemingly more than capable of managing the magic shoppe
- Finally, the big B-plot development involves Renard, who finally makes his move on Juliette. After Nick’s uncharacteristically violent take-down of the perp, the police captain calls the unhappy, increasingly shrewish (not) girlfriend. Coffee date 1 leads to a second meeting at the house and the two go for the mouth. Interestingly this triggers Juliette’s memory of the kiss from 2×02 ‘The Kiss’, but she’s not opposed to it; simply frightened by what it means. Clearly this subplot is heating up as the preview for next week shows the two macking accidentally in front of Monroe. That should be interesting!
What’s your take on the Ryan-reveal? Do you, like me, wish it had of been drawn out more like Wu’s compulsive eating/Hank’s slow descent into madness storylines last season? Are you intrigued by the idea of rogue Grimms? And how do you feel about the Renard/Juliette side: excited, apprehensive or eager for the whole amnesia deal to be done with? Sound off below.
Grimm airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC