Previously on Grimm: Sexenbiest! There's a lot of Renard and Adalind and the love potion subplot in these previouslies, for as little of it as we see in this episode. Makes us wonder, among other reasons, what the hell they cut out of the original script.
Tonight on Grimm: BUG WESEN. And we have to warn you in advance, we have been tabletop roleplayers for a long time. We started this recapalypse out in a roleplaying frame of mind due to one of the Big Bads of one of the major roleplaying games being insect spirits. There will be some tabletop roleplaying references. If you can't pick them up from context, please feel free to ask.
We open with a nicely creepy quote from The Sandman, but not the Gaiman variety, the ETA Hoffmann story. Alright, we're warned. Also an angel statue that looks like it might be weeping (or that might be Portland precipitation) and a very loud red 50s car whose driver looks to be in some distress. Mr. Sandman plays on the radio, I run around dodging anvils for a second, and the Wesen of the week chugs some pills of some kind and looks like he's got a massive headache. I'd feel sorrier for him if he weren't a classic serial offender. Turns out he's parked outside a church, which is not, I'm sad to say, the same church as the one Renard visited with the pet priest that ate Leo Taymor. Yes, we checked. Yes, we wanted that callback to happen. Nor is it the Seelengute-Blutbad church from earlier this season, though the architecture is closer. (If I had to guess from architecture alone, I would assume Episcopalian or Catholic as a first likelihood, with maybe... Presbyterian as a second? Look, I do this for fun, not profit.) We don't get to see that right now anyway, because it's into the church basement where there's a support group meeting! Grief support/counseling, as it turns out, rather than the even less happy kind we dealt with recently over on Person of Interest. Our unsub has a really creepy ooh-gimme look at the woman crying over her brother and I already want to punch him in the face. Target fixed. Then the group leader calls on our unsub, who introduces himself as Andre and that may be the only lie he doesn't tell, to share with the group! Oh goodie. One long-spun story full of tells later about his wife who died of bone cancer and -- dude, you're not only a bad liar, you are boring me, and that's a lethal offense -- he's Made A Connection with the crying woman. Everyone here is in too vulnerable a state to recognize the lies for what they are, probably passing off the awkward pauses and twitchy physicality as being uncomfortable sharing anything about his wife/never having been to a support group before.
I slam my head into the desk a few times, because you just KNOW the refrain of "get yourselves a goddamn profiler" is going to come up repeatedly this episode if they're starting off with someone who does rapid target fixation and lying through his teeth and who will undoubtedly be a serial offender, and hey look, it's on to coffee hour after the main baring of souls at support group. Which means it's time for us to see Andre and his soon-to-be victim bonding over coffee! Not that we see the initial setup, no, we're intended to get the information about him being South African as the opening point of interest. Guys, I love you, but that's not a South African accent. (THIS is a South-African accent.) Insufficient Dutch, the vowels are too rounded, and as he chatters on about people thinking he's Australian we go to the actor's IMDB page after thinking "why yes, you DO sound a bit like an Aussie" and discover he's from New Zealand. SIGH. Also, it would have been better if he were lying - not that he's an accomplished enough liar to make me believe this, but it would have improved the character as an unsub. Blah blah his supposedly dead wife, blah blah easy to talk to, this is all very generic setup for our first vic to try and get away and Andre the bug to press the point and offer her a ride. Complete with immediately backing away in order to make her think it was all her idea, because this is a woman who does desperately need some kind of connection with somebody. Honey, I feel for you, and I even think that in normal circumstances this wouldn't be an issue, but right now this is a terrible fucking idea and I want to haul you out of there.
Speaking of people who could use somebody to talk to, or more specifically people to TELL HER THINGS, hi Juliette! Who has apparently just come home from work with a tote bag of groceries, aww, Portland and your green ethics, I do love that they toss these things in as a matter of course. She gets as far as box o' salad on the counter and digging around in the drawers and OH NO OMINOUS FOOTSTEPS. That hole in her mind is developing language skills. Also, I personally would have grabbed a knife from the butcher block or something heavy and suitable for smacking people in the head, even if I suspected that the weird sounds were all in my head. But then I'm the kind of woman comforted by a KA-bar strapped to her thigh and a machete by the bedside. Juliette has a great pissed off attitude here; she is clearly fed the fuck up with this and inclined to... not so much punch something as defend herself if she has to. Oh, hey, a ghostly not-quite-figure in a chair. Because we know what's going on, I'm going to assume that's traditionally Nick's chair. Also I will note here that I'm amused the writers are using #thehauntingofjuliette as the Twitter tag for this subplot, given that there's a lot of possible meanings to "being haunted." In this case, it's haunted by memories that she doesn't quite have back yet. Poor baby.
Back at the first vic's apartment (note that we still don't have a name, because we're seeing this mostly from Andre's perspective and he doesn't give a shit who they are), she's somehow been talked around to crying again. This time in private. On the one hand I kind of wish we'd seen the manipulation that led up to this, because that's often an interesting bit of criminal behavior; on the other hand this is a genre show rather than Criminal Minds and it's one of those things that can be left to our imaginations. (Most people have, after all, experienced the kind of "friendship" where one person wants the other to be in just as much crisis as they are, and this is a little bit like that.) Hey look, creepy red dust! Cue staggering around and screaming that it stings and some remarkably flat-affected villain dialogue. I can't decide if this is poor acting or a deliberate choice. Fucking insect spirits. Where's my tac-nuke flyswatter. So, yes, he drinks her tears with his creepy fly proboscis, then runs off and leaves. Then, the most implausible death scene ever! I think I would buy this if they gave us a little longer to make the disorientation from the red dusty parasites clear, because this is her home and she should have an idea where the big heavy bookcases are and how not to pull the down over top of her? No? For the record, that doesn't even look like a plausibly heavy bookcase, that looks like those flatpack bookcases you assemble with an allen wrench that are, yes, bulky and would probably break some wrist bones or something, but wouldn't kill you. I would accept glass shards in deadly areas which would have the side benefit of calling back to the death of Catherine Schade, but, no. Death by cheap composite bookcase it is. Mr. Sandman continues to play as she dies, and maybe we're missing something but I'm just not seeing the dream connection here. The most I'm seeing is a bad knockoff of the Corinthian from that Sandman, and even that's somewhat tenuous. We have half an explanation, or maybe a whole half-assed explanation, but that comes later.
Post-credits, we have the scene from the promo that had everyone in our corner of fandom squeeing for a couple days on Twitter. BEST FAMILY DINNER IS BEST. Now go fucking tell Juliette and bring her in on this. So we've got Nick, Hank, Monroe, and Rosalee all discussing the metaplot infodump from the last couple episodes, which has the benefit of catching up new viewers while giving us some new data. One, they're all communicating and sharing information now. NICK ISN'T THIS BETTER? THIS IS AWESOME, RIGHT? Do this all the time and maybe we'll stop yelling at you for being a moron. (Lies. He'll find new ways to cock it up, but at least we'll have the benefit of a new refrain. This week's, just so you're prepared, is "your procedure is bad and you should feel bad.") Also we get to FINALLY know that Renard is not a sexenbiest, he's a zauberbiest. At least, officially. In our hearts he'll always be our favorite sexenbiest. Monroe plays Voice of Exposition again, poor guy, that hat must be getting annoying to wear all the time. I do appreciate all the confirmation from Monroe and Rosalee about yes, indeed, a bastard half-Hexenbiest half-Royal would not be accepted by his other Royal family members and would be of the work smarter and harder and prove them all wrong MUAHAHAHAHA school. So a Grimm on his side would be extremely useful! About TIME you all caught up with the rest of the audience. Hank being the protective partner and also The Best calls it out as Nick being of use to Renard, which, yes. Duh. Though the part they're all missing is that Renard prefers not to break his tools as long as they're still being useful. Commentary about Renard's sides and how many he has, leading to the requisite joke of "lots, and they're all hot." That was a gimme, you guys. Not that we don't appreciate it as bloggers, but it was totally a gimme. I also really like everyone's reaction to Monroe getting up to get the wine bottle: YES PLEASE POLITICS HARD BOOZE ME. I so totally agree. Our murderboards make more sense with booze involved. Or at least they stop my head from pounding quite so hard.
The next morning bright and early they have a potential murder scene! So, probably just one more glass, then. I'm a little surprised they didn't get called out the night before with all the sounds of a struggle, and bookshelves falling tend to make a really loud noise, but hey, maybe the neighbors are deaf or prone to ignoring loud noises. A co-worker called in to the cop shop to check on her and lo, there was a body under the bookshelf. Haven't moved the bookshelf yet, which I approve of, integrity of the crime scene and all and there isn't much to be done for a dead person so no need to disturb the evidence! We also get some interesting exposition from Wu about the co-worker being "worried about Molly because her brother had recently been killed by a drunk driver." Which is a nice, subtle way of saying that the now-dead person was in danger of doing harm to herself, in a way that people will recognize without either beating us over the head with it or getting into potentially triggering dialogue. I approve. Some further exposition and detective procedure, two glasses and one with lipstick indicate two people drinking a beverage, cell phone provides contact info as well as, these days, potentially much more. In this case it provides an account of at least two of her whereabouts yesterday; the one we're interested is the grief counseling at First Methodist (so that's what that church is. The Methodist church from my childhood down the street looked vaguely like a school, or maybe a juvie center; I like this one better). Nick and Hank clear the detectives to lift the bookshelf, and in better lighting it looks less like generic flatpack but it still neither sounds nor moves like a bookshelf of the kind of weight that would kill someone by falling on them. We're going to go ahead and chalk that up to it has to be prop weight anyway, and ignore the fact that most likely a bookshelf heavy enough to kill someone by falling on them is also heavy enough to make you work to topple it when it's leaned against the wall. Ahem. Yes, this is a Thing.
Ultimately they do conclude that they need to get the ME in there, thank you, Hank. And Nick spots the bruising on her wrist, good job, so we do have at least indication of assault if not homicide, and the investigation will now proceed. Even if it was, as Wu says, a bookicide (I love you, Wu, even if bookicide would mean the slaughter of books and not books slaughtering people.) an assault took place because there's nothing to indicate she bruised her own wrists and throat. Still not sure, in the show, where the throat bruising happened, but possibly that was a side effect/stray hit from the tongue of ew. Their next avenue of investigation is the last place she was known to be before her tea date with death, which is the support group, and just to emphasize the grief support part we get a close up on the picture of her and her brother in happier times. Jesus fuck her brother has scary eyes. And itty bitty fangs. I haven't seen fangs like that since Robert Carlyle.
Anyway, over to the church, where they interview the priest who ran the grief counseling group and learn that the meeting broke up around 7:30, with coffee and cookies after, so that gives our boys at least a very rough timeline they can refine later. We also get the news that she was hanging around a new member called Andre. Hey, new members are good, new members are suspicious when old members turn up dead. And again the Australian/South African confusion, though in this case with it being in character it's much less aggravating; to people who aren't used to nitpicking details it's hard to tell the difference. Even I couldn't tell the difference, years ago, before I started picking up languages and picking on voices. I do question the leap to South African, since I bet if you ask any ten people on the street what countries sound like that South Africa will be three or four down on the list, if it comes up at all. It's just not a country that's very often noticed in terms of melodic accents, if the poor bastards get lumped in with any British derived accent it's usually Australian or Cockney. BUT I digress. So, the priest saw a new guy who seems like a viable suspect, and they'll take him over to get a sketch of the new guy and we'll go over to the metaplot a-knocking on the door.
Our building is familiar and our caption reads "Vienna, Austria", and our first digression for the evening (we have many for this scene) will be noting that neither of those flags appear to be the Austrian flag. The Austrian flag is three equal horizontal bands of red, white, and red, with the coat of arms surmounted. Neither of those is that. Now, one of those is the EU's flag (European Union), dark blue field with twelve gold stars, so that's all right. The other one appears to be a Czech flag, which almost makes sense if that's an international hotel and we're only seeing a segment of the exterior, but as near as I can tell the Czech flag has the white bar over the red one, whereas the one in the show has the red bar over the white (assuming the blue triangle points dexter). A Google search indicates that the vertical flag does put the red bar in that position, but other than that we've got nothing. If anyone from the Czech Republic would like to weigh in and clarify this for our information hungry minds, please do so. At any rate, this seems to be an international building, and the EU is represented outside. There's a knock at the door. And the blocking on this scene is interesting; while we usually would start with the regular character's point of view, in this case, Adalind's, as the door opens, in this scene we start off from the point of view of this new woman, over her shoulder and making her the point of view character if only for a second, and it's incredibly jarring. On the other hand, it also serves to put us off our game and emphasize the aspect of this encounter in which Adalind is nervous, so that's pretty effective. We do see even in the first exchange of words that the older woman is clearly more assured of herself here, speaking "Fraulein Schade" as a statement rather than Adalind's "Frau Pech" as an interrogative. Note also that she pronounces Schade in the German manner rather than the English, which gives us a clue as to what at least one of her more commonly spoken languages is. In addition her demeanor is calm whereas Adalind's eyes are initially slightly widened and her mouth initially neutral for a full line and a half before she smiles. Incidentally, we're going with Pech because a) the pronunciation is right and b) among other things, Pech means 'bad luck.' Which seems appropriate out of character. In character it's a bit like calling someone "Mrs. Foul Old Hag." So, eh.
Inside the room, Adalind pours some tea, like you do, and Frau Pech tells Adalind she knew her mother. And Adalind replies, not with a standard pleasantry, but with "Me too." Which makes me deeply curious as to what that implies, though a few off the cuff guesses might be that it's a warning to Frau Pech that Adalind is well versed in the backstabbing tendencies of hexenbiests/certain hexenbiests, or that she knew her mother well enough not to mourn at her passing, or that she knew Frau Pech's mother although the implied age gap makes that highly unlikely. Hey, speaking of ambiguous statements, here comes another one! What the everloving mother of fuck does this woman mean by "It was a great loss for all of us"? Is she applying formal phrasing, or describing this in terms of loss of a valuable resource, or speaking genuinely and from real friendship with Catherine? And exactly who is included in this 'us'? A society of hexenbiest? A society of magic practitioners? (What's the difference between the two, or the overlap, as the case may be?) Insert standard ranting of all the murderboards give them to us, now in English and German for your reading pleasure. Something much less ambiguous for a change, Frau Pech adds that she is sorry "for what the Grimm did to you," which indicates either that someone's told her or that she smelled it on Adalind. Remember how back in season one there were a few subtle indications that sense of smell was a thing for the hexenbieste? It's entirely possible that that, or some other preternatural sign, indicated to Frau Pech that Adalind had been de-powered, at which point a Grimm doing it to her would be the logical conclusion by default and biology. Adalind's face falls and she seems surprised that Frau Pech knows this, cueing more headdesking and deeper convictions that Adalind is swimming in sharks deeper than she can survive. Oh honey. You should have left town and moved to Hawaii instead of Austria while you had the chance. (Best case scenario, Adalind's using vulnerability to allow herself to be underestimated, which is a trick she's familiar with but is more capable of utilizing in combination with femme fatale tactics.) Of course the creepy old witch knew, and while Adalind seems chagrined that it's that obvious, Frau Pech will now whip out her hexen side and beat Adalind in the face with it and the reminder that, yes, to her (and maybe other hexens, too?) it is. Again, the smell or other sense conveyed onscreen by sniffing, or what have you. This also, actually, gives rise to an interesting question going all the way back to Love Sick, of whether Renard knew Adalind was depowered because he'd eavesdropped or because he, too, could sense it via his half-Wesen side. The world may never know. I do note, however, that Frau Pech seems to have the same weird one-eye-weird thing going on that Renard did, whereas Adalind and Catherine have no eyes in hexenform. I'm not sure if this is just a design choice or meant to indicate relationship. Certainly there's a theory going around that this particular hexenbiest is Renard's mother, but there doesn't seem to be any proof one way or another on that. She's potentially of the right age and has similar hexen features, but that's about all we've got to go on in that regard. We do also have a fair bit of visual indication that Frau Pech is tied to the Rom in some way, with the giant earrings and rings on her fingers (which are notably nothing like any of the rings of significance so far) and the fact that they've cast a Queen of the Gypsies figure. We are, however, extremely wary of this aspect of Adalind's Vienna machinations, so we'll leave that there and move along for the moment.
Adalind doesn't react with fear to the transformation, incidentally. More with wariness and eagerness, clearly driven by the loss of her powers and how much she misses being a full-on hexenbiest again. And another little sidetrack here, I find it interesting that Adalind hasn't gone into woge again since she was depowered, which puts some more evidence down on the side that woge is more connected with the supernatural magic aspect of the show than the physical, finding biological causes and rooting things in science aspect. If you've seen our Wesen biology series, we've been speculating some on the physical side of things. At any rate, Frau Pech puts her hexen away rather primly and enquires about the something else she's sensed. Adalind is entirely forthcoming about her pregnancy, which makes it the most likely reason why Frau Pech is at her door in the first place, and that the father is one of two people, or rather, brothers, or rather, Alfred half-brothers. Which of course makes Frau Pech leap to everyone's favorite pair of feuding brothers, wouldn't you? It's not like half-brothers are as common as clover on the ground oh, wait, it is. I still don't understand the dialogue leap being taken here, or how it's meant to indicate anything if we take it at face value, but then again this is a) hexenbiests in general and b) the Royal conspiracy plotline in particular, so probably we're not meant to take it at face value. So, in this list of theories and in no particular order we have: Frau Pech is aware of the current political situation and there aren't so many half-brothers involved that she can't narrow it down from what she knows of Adalind, and the sub theory that the Frau has been made aware of the current political situation by Eric himself, which is supported by the fact that Adalind is still being kept in Vienna by someone rich and powerful and the likelihood that Eric would not allow her more independence than he had to, as well as that Frau Pech was summoned to the door by someone most likely not Adalind to judge by Adalind's reactions. On the other hand that theory also implies that Eric is aware of Adalind's pregnancy or at least aware of her intentions to get pregnant, and I'm not sure what that says about Eric except that he's a convoluted little shit and I would like to know what his games are. Yes, plural. Yet another theory is that she is aware of Adalind's situation in specific because she arranged such things, which would tie in with Catherine Schade and the alleged secret society of Bene Gesserit hexenbieste, which might also tie in to Renard's mother albeit not in the direct way mentioned above. There are a few more, but they're much less coherent and more in the manner of predicting if this happens then this will likely happen and, in short, needs moar data and cannot make bricks without clay. Let alone a castle of them. Frau Pech seems very pleased and proud that Adalind has gotten herself knocked up by the boys Renard, so, what the hell there, and points out how much a child like that would be worth as though it were a side of beef at market. Ew. And Adalind gets her "everything is proceeding as I have foreseen" smile and says she was hoping the Frau would help her with that. And Frau Biest says it would be her honor, which makes me question quite a bit what's going on here, who's doing what at the behest of whom, and how many Royals have their dirty hands all over these women. I'm just saying.
And with that complete lack of answers, we come back to the MotW! Who is once again in distress in his car, and while I appreciate that they're trying to emphasize that this is a case of Andre not having a choice in his paranatural biology, if they wanted to make him actually sympathetic they could have done so. They really, really didn't. This ep is as much like putting down a rabid wild animal as anything we've ever seen out of the general Wesen community - hell, even in Tarantella there were options. Shitty options! But options that didn't involve killing a bunch of people. (DiFiore does seem to have a thing for Wesen eps that involve lack of control either from Wesen causes or psychological causes: Tarantella, Plumed Serpent, Big Feet, and The Bottle Imp are his other credits on Grimm.) So, Andre takes more unknown pills in classic TV-addict fashion and staggers on up to the community center where there's yet another grief support group! Yay. Oh wait, the other thing. Meantime, let's find out what ME Lady has to say! Hey, cause of death is suffocation due to a crushed windpipe, which is just barely plausible from the bookshelf although something would have to protrude the depth of her chin considering that when you're lying back, your throat is lower than your chin. I guess it works and would also have prevented her from calling for help afterwards. While this is the kind of shit that happens in real life, I would like to take a moment to remind you all that fiction has to make sense. Doubly so when you're asking us to suspend disbelief for a genre show already. Get your damn procedure right. I would have bought head injury over crushed windpipe, honestly; head injuries are notably tricky. But alright, the most interesting facet of the case is the one where poor Molly was blinded before she died. ME Lady gets some line reference characterization! Now let's hope that they a) settle on a name and b) don't forget about this. See, guys, line references aren't THAT hard to drop in when they give us explanations for how the fuck someone knows details of how river blindness works! Which, yes, would put us in sub-Saharan Africa for the moment. Cue ominous noises about how the nematodes are dying off because their host is dead too, and how they're just babies, and well this is going to be ever so pleasant!
Back over to the second vic's house where Andre's car is parked outside and hey, those are a lot of distressed noises! Well, fuck. This time the vic is crawling around on the floor and we get a shot of Andre's hand in woge before going to a deliberate gross-out shot of that proboscis coming at us just before ad break. I thought we were nearly immune to bad CGI on this show, but I guess not, because that was more of the SIGH variety of gross-out than anything that made me run for my machetes. Or the flamethrower. Or the flyswatter. Anyway, this one breaks pattern! Kelly's friend/coworker/something is beating down the door after ads to get her up and at 'em and encounters Andre being a creepy fuck! Yay! So we get a bit of dodging around conveniently placed pillars in the living room and some minor agency from the victim, thank you for THAT at least, who tries to stop him from going. Kelly's friend is much more concerned with taking care of her than with trying to attack a stranger, which is sensible given she doesn't know anything about the guy and he could well be armed. (Is, but not in the conventional sense.) I just want to note that if this plus the next vic's physical appearance says what we think it does, you people are not subtle AT ALL dear god. Kelly? Really? You couldn't have picked any other name? And all of them with darkish brown long hair. I don't think Mr. Insect Spirit actually knows Kelly Burkhardt, I think this is purely Doylist callbacks, but fucking hell, you guys. So, the very identifiable very red car peels out, and we cut over to the precinct. By the way, this would be a great time for some Renard; with a case like this once they confirm Wesen involvement they could use his help maintaining the Masquerade. No? No. Alright, then. Nick's confirmed the first vic was never in Africa, Hank's talked to the CDC to check for weird isolated cases of river blindness anywhere in Oregon, they're coming up nada on the mundane explanations. I do like how they've developed a code for "I bet this is Wesen" without missing a beat, which is some nice partnership affirmation. And hey, now they have a second case! I'd question the uniforms' ability to associate the two cases immediately, but between the car, a rough physical description, and the weird histamine inflammation around the eyes, assuming they had all three, I'll give it to them.
The boys go off to the crime scene, and we go off to the spice shop! Where an unknown female hand is ringing the bell. Rosalee comes out and nearly stops dead because oh shit, hi Juliette! This is going to be fun. I mean that in the oh-shit way and also in the YES PLEASE I WANT THIS TEAM-UP GO BE BADASSES TOGETHER way. Rosalee is nervous, probably mostly on account of keeping the Masquerade what with what happened last week. Also because I would not want to be in the position of trying to keep Wesen existence secret from a Grimm's ex-girlfriend. That way lies explosions. Juliette, notably, doesn't press the point on the matter of what was in the potion Rosalee gave her, probably because she has stopped having the feelings for Renard so that much it's accomplished. Plus, she's pretty clearly teetering around the edges of accepting that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, and looking at the ingredients list would force her to confront some things sooner. So we get down to the symptoms and can I just say how much I love how matter of fact Rosalee is about all of this? It lets our Science Chicks be science-y together, and these are arguably my favorite bits out of the entire ep. It also lets Juliette ask for emotional support in a way that's unusual for her, but I think she recognizes something of a kindred spirit in Rosalee. Could you two get the reveal over with and then go off and run a secret Wesen clinic? That would be AWESOME.
Alas, we have to go back over to the crime scene for a bit, where we learn that the woman is Kelly's sister (Marie? is that you?) and we get some rather unnecessary bits of exposition where she explains what she saw and did to our detectives. I really, really don't know why half of this is here; the only important piece of data to give them is the make and model of the car and where Kelly was just prior to the assault. The sister goes off to the hospital, the cops go off inside, Wu demonstrates that the setup is similar to the last vic with the coffee and snacks and so on. We spend a few seconds yelling about how blinding victims is a classic serial offender behavior, usually escalating to rape and/or murder but not always, and then Nick gets there. It still doesn't explain why he leapt to sexual assault before ever seeing Molly's body, but we'll give him this one. And then Wu gets a nicely pointed jab in about taking things from them other than their sight? Which, y'know, might be exactly what this guy is after. Sociopaths come in many flavors! Meantime Hank has a brilliant idea of getting the ME who has some specialized knowledge to the hospital to confirm the connection! Just in case. I love you Hank. You're still the best.
After this cut, and I still don't know why we had to have it be a cut over to the crime scene, we come back to Juliette and Rosalee, now at the house! Juliette's having a moment where she engages in the kind of torrential babble that's absolutely not normal for Juliette but is definitely normal for someone who's been badly traumatized and is terrified she's going completely insane. Oh honey. Rosalee believes her! Of course, because she has at least half a clue what the fuck is going on. I love all of Juliette's little snarky moments, from earlier about not going any crazier than she already is and now with "scaring the crap out of me." I think Rosalee would laugh if they had a closer relationship, because these are exactly the sort of defense mechanisms that allow you to laugh about scary things and then get down to working the problem. Not that we recognize these in Juliette due to having them ourselves. Or anything. Because she drops the ha-ha games in favor of asking a very blunt and pointed question about what kind of a spice shop is this, and that's a very deer in headlights sort of look. We will now pause to jump up and down about TELL HER, ROSALEE, TELL HER. Especially because frankly, Rosalee's Fuchsbau woge is a lot more reassuring than Monroe's Blutbad woge, as an introduction to "hi, Wesen exist." Instead we get some talking around the actual subject and discussion of alternative remedies to odd problems, alright, at least that's laying some groundwork for an eventual reveal? Hopefully? This keeping shit from characters shtick is getting really old. So, yes, Rosalee will totally help with what Juliette currently has, once they know what that is! The then-what is interrupted by convenient auditory hallucinations, sounds like echo-y footsteps. And a nice sequence that showcases how absolutely creeptastic this is for someone without any information about the Wesen world and how calmly Rosalee is taking all of this because she's seen plenty of weird shit go down. Though with a fair bit of exasperated I-am-not-cut-out-for-this expressions, which is only reasonable to give her. She's not. She's cut out for handling internal Wesen politics and running a spice shop where everyone knows what's going on when they walk in the door, not walking the fine line between enough information to be reassuring and too much information to process. Rosalee also cannot see a damn thing, because it's all Juliette's memories coming back to her wheefun, which leaves poor Juliette convinced she's losing her mind. I would love to see more of the reassurance scene, complete with friendship bonding time? Maybe? Hopefully?
No, instead we cut over to a very blue-filtered version of Renard's bedroom, with rings and watch so we know it's his place. He's dreaming! Having a nightmare, more like. About Juliette, and also he's shirtless. Riiiight. Which is a) fanservice and b) contradicts what we've already established about his sleeping habits, which is that (when not passed out drunk) he sleeps in full pajamas. Though given the amount of trauma he's been through, that could have changed. The blue filter and the slight echo on the speech indicates that this is still a nightmare or at most a hallucination, and I'm personally voting for nightmare for reasons I will explicate in a second. He tries to get the image of Juliette to leave, like you do when you're recovering from serious mind-whammy, and she doesn't reply for a bit while her arms go all wrinkled and not quite hexened out? And then it's sort of a weird combination of putrefaction and hexen face and a screaming Renard trying to get away. Frankly, to me this does not indicate potion aftereffects or hallucinations. This indicates PTSD or similar trauma reaction, and that would be a most welcome change in the assorted brainfuckery they've been dumping us with. Even if it's a somewhat Hollywoodized version of PTSD nightmares, it's better than assuming all brainfuckery has a magical component to it. For the record, we can't quite tell for sure what bedroom this is; it looks like it might still be the new one from this season but the furniture seems different. The lighting's for shit and the camera work is all in close-ups, as we would expect, so there's not a lot to parse there. Though I am kind of morbidly amused that the last time we had a close-up of Renard's bedside table was in the coins ep, and now he's recovering from a different sort of whammy. And that, ladies and gentlefolk, is all the Renard we get this episode. It's tragic, really, because they could have used him as the Captain to handle the massive Masquerade breach that this idiot flyman is causing, but no, not so much.
We get some passage of time shots over Portland, and then hey presto, next morning at the trailer of infinite knowledge! Once, just once I would like there to be a scene at the trailer where everyone reads a bit from a book and then, all together, they conclude that they got nothing. Please? No? Sigh. Monroe sums up the entire episode in five words and then they both hear a sound outside. Oh noes! Someone's coming! As we might expect from an episode which contains no one coming after Nick at the speed of metaplot, that someone is an ally. In this case, Hank, with coffee. Hank, never stop being the best. Anyway, apart from a bad case of the heebie jeebies Monroe thinks they've got something useful, and again, Kenya is namechecked. Sadly, no lions and tigers, only bugs. And bugs which, I might add, are not actually native to Africa? Guys? The botfly is native to South Fucking America and, okay, we're going to digress yet again to give you all a study on how the entire southern hemisphere is trying to kill you. The botfly, which is also known around the internet as that horrible nasty fly that comes out of someone's eyeball in that picture that's all over the place, is actually native to South America. It does, in fact, lay its eggs in humans, they hatch and grow larvae under your skin and you don't want to hear the rest of this because gross. Africa does apparently have a creature called the Putzi or Tumbu fly, which is much less infamous and much easier to get rid of; apparently all you have to do is iron your clothes and kill the eggs. However! More relevant to the concept of Sandman (though not, oddly, necessarily more relevant to the ETA Hoffman story from whence the opening quote comes) is the tsetse fly, which carries/causes African sleeping sickness in humans. So, yes, basically Grimm just gave us an episode where the Wesen supposedly from Africa embodies an insect not actually found in Africa, with a few superficial thematic notes that apply much more easily to an actual African insect. You're welcome. As near as we can guess this all sloshed around in editing, got garbled, and came out like this, but we will continue to be pissed off by the resultant shabby crap we are expected to swallow this episode. You guys are capable of better than that.
Ahem. Back to the show. The Wesen of the Week is apparently called a Jinnamuru Xunte, which sounds Swahili to me but neither of us is versed in any languages native to that entire part of the world so that's a very, very rough guess. The name allegedly translates to tear-stealing evil spirit and the culprit in the historical account is the parish priest, and for possibly the first time on this show we will take that translation as accurate without question. Mostly because we have no resources with which to question it. Which cues another record scratch because, in colonial times, weren't the parish priests usually immigrants? In which case, why was an immigrant priest a native Wesen? (We're not touching the recent Bug Spirit because interbreeding.) Argh whatever, we'll go with it, maybe he was a convert who became a priest or just posing as a priest, either way, the historical Bug Spirit has been terrorizing the village in much the same way and Monroe draws some good conclusions about confession, remorse, and the resultant upset causing tears, thus feast for the Jinnamuru Xunte, thus priest. Fair enough! The historical Grimm kills and beheads the murderer, like you do and in this case I am fully behind the historical Grimm, and finds that the brain is "swollen, blackish, and full of worms." That's fairly disgusting all right, and also explains the convulsive twitching and compulsive pill-popping of our present JX! HE HAS THE BRAINWORMS. And now Nick will take over because Monroe is questioning his life choices or at least his choice of reading this after lunch. Entertainingly, this is reminiscent of us during these recap processes, the making faces and "you want to take over" and the somewhat seamless transition. Sadly this is not reminiscent of us in that the discovery that the JX goes back to the crime scene to finish off the family members as they're sobbing in grief is not immediately followed up by "Shit. Quick. Find out if any victims have family members." Like, oh, the one you just left in the hospital. Hank, you are not being the best here. Come on. I will forgive Nick because he gets interrupted by a phone call from the ME lady! Who will now tell us and Nick that the parasites infecting the eyes of the victims grow at a disgusting rate of knots. Yeah, we see what this is leading up to. Pun not intended.
So, over to the hospital, which we will hope is a result of checking into family members and learning that the sister is at the hospital with the victim, yes? Please? Probably not. They're here to talk to the sister, and we're here to backseat detect. The status update on the sister is the's in a lot of pain, they're hoping that she doesn't lose her sight (too late), and she's sedated. Our dynamic duo get a name and an accent, so, nothing that we and they didn't have before, but then we also get one freaked-the-fuck-out young woman with worms where her eyeballs used to be! Yeah, I'd scream too. The concept is very Clive-Barker-esque, the execution is fairly unnecessary, a waste of CGI. We literally did not learn anything in this sequence that we didn't know already, that the detectives didn't know already, and that we needed to know to further the episode. Not a goddamn thing. As far as I can tell this exists purely to up the stakes (which it doesn't very well) and the gross factor (which it does, but that's not really the innovative and intriguing Grimmtertainment we've come to know and love). Chopping this out and throwing in some more of Renard being Prince Captain or even some more of Rosalee and Juliette bonding would have been much more productive and would have forced the rest of the plot to tighten up. For a transition that is as blatantly obvious as the JX's villainy (another peeve, this guy exists to do nothing but be evil) Hank will now get a phone call that tells us the bright red caddy's been sighted at a school. Well, fuck.
We have a car, a lack of sighting of the JX, and a grief support meeting on the first floor. Which confuses me at first until I realize the building they're standing in front of isn't the building they're talking about, again with the wackyass blocking. Hank distributes the resources, the meeting breaks up and the JX comes out, and while Hank is more tentative about identifying the JX at first Nick nods, and then something happens that we don't see and in the next second Nick's charging at the guy. Out of all the things wrong with this episode this is actually something I'd buy, and be relieved to have, because it seems like it might be a taking-as-given version of Nick seeing someone's morph form. Perhaps the JX was hungry and his mask was slipping, we don't know. But Nick's Grimmstincts are in full overdrive, so here we go into combat. The JX runs back into the building, the boys disperse. Of course Nick is the one who finds the JX, because, well, reasons? Honestly, though, I don't mind that Nick is the one to be blinded, Hank and Wu have already suffered enough at the hands of Wesen whammies, poor babies. It's Nick's turn. But there is nothing spectacular or even noteworthy about this. Nick gives chase, they go through the school, Nick's squint is the first sign we get that he's developing more super anything, but in this case it's not probative. He goes over to the door, hey, there's the fly guy, moving in superfly fast motion, looking for a way out. (Which, by the way, is the first time we've had ANY indication he can do this, when realistically he should have been doing it at Kelly's place, too.) Combat combat combat, red larvae cloud to the face, and the JX escapes with a brief Nick's infected eyes view of a humanoid black silhouette against a red field. I will say, having Hank in on the secret makes it a lot easier to say "no hospitals, call Monroe." And at the same time, "call Monroe?" Call Rosalee you idiot. Oh, and Wu calls an officer down and goes puts out an APB or something. I do love you, Wu, and you are tragically underused.
We'll have a brief interlude with the JX running running running, getting hit by a car as you do when you're running across the street in a TV show, and then stealing said car! As you do when you're running from the cops in a TV show. After the break Monroe will proceed to be grossed out by this Wesen some more, as Rosalee reads about the worms and their little barbs that hook into the victim's eyeballs. Tasty. While Rosalee's trying to come up with the solution she will start relaying to Monroe about what happened with Juliette last night, sounding almost bitchy about it and my personal feeling is that she's bitchy that no one (Nick) will tell Juliette what's going on, leaving her feeling like she should but it's not her place to spill other people's secrets, at a guess? Or break the Masq when the Wesen Juliette's most familiar with is Monroe. Rosalee, I love you and your habit of actually communicating with people. Never, ever change. Please. The only useful thing we get from that bit of conversation is that Rosalee doesn't know what's causing the hallucinations. Hopefully it's in one of her books, though. She doesn't have time to look it up right now, Blindy McBlindgrimm has arrived! Monroe will now proceed to panic and babble, as he does, and review everything we just learned until Rosalee yells at him to stop talking. Which he realizes he should do a second later. Monroe, I love you, but if you're going to be in the thick of things you need to develop better emergency management skills. Or at least the ability to not babble hysterically. And then some more useful exposition about how the worms are light sensitive and really? why the hell did you evolve to go into people's eyeballs then? No, that probably has something to do with whatever property in human tears .... I literally have no connection between the tear-drinking and the worm-larvae spitting, you guys. No connection. At all. I feel like we're not supposed to notice there isn't one there. WELL WE NOTICED. I'm not as cranky about this as I could be because, biologically speaking, it's entirely possible that there's a protein in human tears that does something beneficial to the JX's brain, I'm just saying, a line or two of dialogue could have fixed this gap in your episode instead of repeating five times over, brain worms, eye worms, eyeballs pop, yuck. Oh, and Nick just took the feat Blind Fighting. This makes only slightly less sense than what happens in the show because, again, it is scientifically proven that the brain will restructure itself to compensate for injury, humans will adjust their other senses to compensate for a lost one, etc. It just doesn't usually happen between, pardon me, one blink and the next. Clearly, Nick took the feat Blind Fighting on his character sheet. This allows him to effectively swap out hearing for seeing which means he can hear the other end of a phone conversation, hear anyone in the store murmuring under her breath, recognize Rosalee from the cadence of her step (and I will not bitch about how that's a recognition trait and not a simple sharp hearing trait, will not) etc. They buy time by shining a light in Nick's eyes so the worms don't grow as fast and then Rosalee will look through her books while Hank and Monroe go over yet again how gross this is. Guys. We get it. We know. Can we have a little tighter writing and a little less repetition please? Ooh, Rosalee has a cure. That involves, not taking out ocular fluid from the Wesen with a needle like you do in normal people hospitals, oh no. It involves pulling the Wesen's eye out with a spoon. Why a spoon, cousin? Well, now you know the answer to the title of the recaplysis.
Oh, and for bonus sloppy writing points, Monroe's full woge comment is not accompanied by any sign of why "full form" is different from what we see Wesen doing every episode. (The only, ONLY difference involves the red-eye that Monroe goes into occasionally, but I suspect that limited woge requires more control than Insect Spirit Dude has.) I'm just saying. If you're going to emphasize that and not follow it up with a new and informative reason, at least give us some dialogue on "how the hell are we going to get him to woge so we can pop his eye out with a spoon". Because that would make sense. But we can't have that. Nick wants to know, and rightfully so, how long he has until his eyeballs are worm food. Rosalee thinks three to four hours and get your ass back on that sofabedthing and face the lamp, mister. So, calling Wu to find out if they've got the JX yet! Not yet, and he jacked a car to further his escape, so he's kind of in the wind right now. Wu will call as soon as he gets anything, and upon further demonstration of Nick's shiny new feat we go over to the house of the last victim! Poor Kelly. Her sister Casey, apart from making me wonder what's with the alliterative names, looks exhausted and worried as she comes in, puts a few things to rights, then starts crying over a picture of her, her sister, and their mother. But wait! What's that over at the top of the stairs? Gee, he looks pretty fly for a white guy. (WHAT. You had to know that was coming.) Actually the lighting makes him look like an advertisement for some juicy cherry candy that turns you into a cartoon person with your head exploding with juice. I'm serious, that was a thing for a while on candy commercials. Anyway.
After the break we have a fly running around on someone's stained glass wall/ceiling that is neither symbolic nor CGI at all what are you talking about. Nick is sitting and feeling useless and grumpy. Also exploring the abilities of his shiny new feat. I try not to fall asleep between this and the next exposition coupon where Hank gets a call about the stolen car being found at some place or another that's two blocks away from the sister's place and, gee, no one thought of putting a guard on the sister? Hank, I'm disappointed in you particularly. We will only NOW reach the conclusion of sister, with Nick providing I Am The Protagonist infodump for anyone in the cheap seats who hasn't figured out how to make the connection yet. Sigh. Rosalee has apparently been mixing up the rest of the cure just in case, and now chivvies them all to go investigate the most likely most recent JX attack so that they can pop themselves an eyeball and mix Nick up a cure. This isn't quite on par with the bacteria concoction Renard drank, because at least Nick doesn't have to drink it according to the Potions Mistress, but still ew. I would not want crushed up flyeball on my eyeballs, thank you. Back over to the house where poor Casey is sobbing into the table, then getting up to do... something, we never get a substantial clue as to what because just through the archway she stops, and we get a nicely creepy shot of her framed by the camera and the archway and the fly guy's face in the mirror. Which must be from behind her, as confirmed by the blocking when she turns and bolts for the stairs and he follows her from behind and what might be down a corridor? Hard to say and, frankly, we don't feel like putting the effort into mapping the house to figure it out. This is sufficient for the moment, he's pinning her down, climbing on top of her to spew worms into her eyes, it's about as icky as you think both on the ew fly guy level and on the violently metaphorical level. However in this case not only is the victim fighting back, she's covering her eyes, having already noticed that the guy has a thing for destroying eyes. So, go fucking go Casey! And when she punches him she punches him with what looks like a tiger strike, fingers curled and heel of her hand aiming for something soft on his face, maybe ears or nose. Not that it connects, because we don't want to actually injure the actors, but it looks like she knows what she's doing. Followed by shoving the guy into a cabinet full of glass doors, followed by more running.
The Scooby gang rolls up and disgorges some Scoobies, in this case Monroe and Hank first of all and Hank telling the blind guy to stay the hell in the car. It's cute that you think he'll do that, Hank. It's genuinely cute as opposed to sarcastically that Hank will ask Monroe for backup the way he'd ask another cop. Yeah, Monroe can do that. With all red eyes and everything, though it's even odds whether or not Hank can see that. Hank goes up the stairs, Monroe goes around to the back, the fly guy goes back to assaulting Casey, who continues to fight back, etc. Interestingly, this is shot in a manner that may or may not be a deliberate homage to the stairway scene in History of Violence. Outside, Nick's hearing this! And this one I will give him because cop, it'd be easier for him to interpret signs of a struggle correctly because, more than likely, he hears it a lot both live and on 911 call recordings. Hank, because he is a good cop, announces before he kicks the door down, but the second she screams for help, well, yeah. So now Hank's playing the white knight again and we can take all the Arthurian references for granted, yes? Yes. Meanwhile Nick has decided to stagger up the stairs and into the house against all better judgement and a complete lack of training in his Blind Fighting. While Hank goes out the back. You guys. All that's missing is Yakety Sax.
The AV Club review mentioned, and we have to agree wholeheartedly, that this would have been a great moment for Hank and Monroe to have their partnership cemented with an action scene. Alas, Protagonist-Centered Narrative wins out, and instead we get a bunch of Nick looking like blinded Neo wandering around the house while Hank and Monroe have a moment of flailing around trying to track the nonexistent flyman in the backyard. SIGH, everyone. Sigh. Rosalee would like to note that this is a terrible idea but she's not a cop and not trained for this kind of action, so she will in fact go get Hank and nearly get knifed. Casey? You have officially been elevated to the position of The Best and it's a damn shame we're unlikely to see you again. Even if I do feel for Rosalee getting the crap scared out of her. Nick will proceed to fumble around while we get yet more annoying Foley effects to tell us what Nick's hearing by way of insectoid noises. Yay. This is really like every mediocre blind fighting scene ever. Hey dumb Wesen, your woge means the Grimmja can hear you and engage his Grimmjitsu morebetter. SIGH. At least there's an attempt at distraction via tossing random object! For all the good that does, and then Nick proceeds to perform some ridiculous feat of badassery and lock his legs around the JX for great eyeball-scooping. Based on the way the guy isn't struggling, apparently that thigh-grip o' doom also knocked him out, which Nick confirms. One massive scoop of eye scream later (oh come on, you knew THAT was coming too) and that is really fucking disgusting. I'm with Monroe. Nick doesn't want to see that shit, it seems like feeling it is bad enough and roughly equivalent in pain levels to getting dusted in the first place. Meanwhile Andre the JX wakes up in horrible amounts of pain and staggers around the attic. Like you do when you just lost an eyeball. Cue him falling down the stairs STILL in full woge and getting knifed by Casey. I love you, Casey. I wish we had more time to spend on all the ways in which she kicks ass. Up to and including she doesn't seem perturbed by the woge, I don't know if that means it wasn't the kind vanilla humans can see or if she was just so traumatized already that one more isn't a big deal. Regardless, Hank comes downstairs to be a good cop and take care of the crime scene and also that should help normalize things for Casey. We assume they'll do a self-defense case there, no sweat, and who the fuck knows how they're going to handle the less mundane aspects! Because they couldn't be bothered to use Renard whose JOB this presumably is.
We don't get to know, because it's back over to Juliette! Who is still being haunted by her forgotten past. And as is so often the case with this kind of thing, standing and confronting it gets you more information than chasing it or running away from it or any other kind of thing. The figure, as of course we all surmised by now, solidifies into Nick! Hi Ghost of Nick Past! Grimmja of Nick Present, meanwhile, is blind-whacking fruit with a bat and we will all flash to Fruit Ninja now, yes? Yes. Guys, I appreciate that you needed to test this, but couldn't you at least have used fruit that was going off? Grumble sigh waste of good food. Again, there is no goddamn reason for this scene to be the trailing tag for this episode, it could a) just as easily be the opener for next ep and thereby give us continuity from episode to episode and b) given that we know Nick and Monroe do training montages out there (though not with bad 80s soundtracks), they could have dropped a line reference into a scene in a later ep. But no, they went for the showy effects instead. Guys, sometimes it really is better to tell. Particularly when it leads to not treating your audience like they're idiots.
Next week on Grimm! Rumpelstiltskin ep! Lots of gore! Oh, this is an Akela Cooper ep. Fortunately she's not tackling our childhood terrors, so we should be okay. Unfortunately we get the fun of virtual life taking on a life of its own, potentially! I'll be over here with my machetes, just in case.