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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘The Rat King’

GRIMM -- "Rat King" Episode 505 -- Pictured: (l-r) Damien Puckler as Meisner, David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)
GRIMM -- "Rat King" Episode 505 -- Pictured: (l-r) Damien Puckler as Meisner, David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

After taking a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Grimm is back with “The Rat King,” the penultimate installment before the show’s winter finale. The show pulls no punches with one of its most bizarre Wesen of the Week entries in all of its five seasons, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.  This episode isn’t just about a game of cat and mouse, but the return of Trubel, who stumbled back into Nick’s life at the end of last week’s episode after being mostly MIA since the opening scenes of the season premiere. Unfortunately, it’s not the reunion fans might have hoped for, since she’s clearly walking—and then collapsing—wounded. Nick, ever the hero, brings her inside the garage while Adalind comes out to check on them. The moment is brief, because the Grimms are off to the hospital. When they arrive, Nick lies about Trubel being a police officer when the hospital staff make note of her body armor. He can do little else but watch.

Meanwhile, a trio of young male Klaustreichs is looking for a little fun at the local dump. Yeah, I know, hanging out at the dump is pretty weird, but these cat-like Wesen like tormenting the Reinigen who live there. I’ve always found the dynamics of Wesen species interesting. Like the lupine Blutbaden going after the pig-like Bauerschwein, it only makes sense for cats to go after rats. A pretty blonde Klaustreich, Selina, stays behind; the guys are more interested in causing trouble than staying with her. When they get to the dump, they quickly pick up the scent of a Reinigen. They torment the poor guy, and when he fights back, they proceed to kick and punch him. However, a shadow overtakes them all and snarling is heard. One of these jerks, Johnny, runs away, but his two friends end up screaming as they die what I imagine to be gruesome but well deserved deaths. It might be vigilante justice, but those guys suck.

Back at the hospital, Nick nervously paces, before sitting down in the waiting room and checking the contents of Trubel’s jacket. He finds some pretty surprising stuff, including multiple fake forms of identification and a decent amount of money in a variety of currencies. Most importantly, there’s a phone just like the one Agent Chavez used. Although we’ve been privy to some idea of what’s been going on with Trubel, it’s been pretty mysterious and this just adds to that confusion. Of course, just as Nick finds that phone, Chavez’s phone starts ringing at the compound. Adalind answers it; the man on the other end of the phone call is Meisner. He asks about Trubel, but they’re both cagey and when they each figure out whom the other is, the call comes to an end. It’s an interesting way for the former travel companions to reconnect. Almost immediately, Adalind calls Nick about the call, but they keep it short. Nick wants to keep this info dump in person only. Another moment passes and a doctor comes in to tell Nick about Trubel; he visits her in her hospital room and the two have an awkward but meaningful moment, until they’re interrupted by a nurse. I have to say, every visit back to the hospital this episode will make you more uncomfortable. You have been warned.

A little bit later, Nick is back at the loft after telling the nurse to contact him if anything happens with “Lauren.” He drags the sweet motorcycle she arrived on into his garage and takes a shot of the license plate before calling Hank about it. Wu, about to head home from a long day at work, doesn’t get out soon enough and pretty soon he’s running plates for our detectives. I feel for you, Wu. Nick heads back inside to touch base with Adalind. He tells her everything about Trubel and she explains it was Meisner on the other end of the earlier call. A moment later, Wu gets back to Nick regarding the motorcycle. It’s registered to Lauren Cole, one of Trubel’s fake identities. With all of this confirmed, we get another brisk info exchange. It can be very easy for this show to get mired down in explanations, but it’s being handled rather capably here. Nick heads back to the garage to check out the motorcycle. If you’re like me, you’re struck by how right Nick looks on the thing. Can we say Grimm-Cycle? Hell, the sucker is already armed like any good ridiculous superhero motorcycle should be.

In Trubel’s hospital room, that nurse from earlier comes in to check on her. She then proceeds to slap the crap out of our already wounded heroine. She gets Trubel awake and proceeds to woge, revealing her ugly mug reflected in Trubel’s black eyes. The nurse calls someone saying how she’s the one and ups the sedative, putting her back out and reinforcing that whole “this hospital is a horrible place to be” vibe. The next morning, Nick and Hank check in on Trubel with her doctor, but she’s still out. Nick asks about her, but he says that it makes sense for her to be asleep still given the trauma. After that, they leave to deal with a case—if you had forgotten, there were douchebag Klaustreichs killed earlier—and walk past that nightmare nurse.

When Nick and Hank arrive at the scene, Wu fills them in not on the bodies, but on Lauren Cole’s apartment. He couldn’t get in, but he definitely thinks whoever set up this identity for Trubel has put in the work to make it seem real. Of course, Wu can’t talk Trubel all the time, since there are two mutilated corpses in the bed of a drunk left in a cornfield. A phone starts to ring on one of the corpses and Nick gropes around before he finds it. It’s Selina. Pretty soon, Nick and Hank are at her place explaining how Robert and Chester, the two Klaustreichs, are dead. Her emotional reaction causes her to woge, which Nick quickly picks up on. Selina blames him for the murders, but Nick remains deadpan and explains he’s just doing his job. Selina relaxes and explains what the guys were doing.  They depart with plans to look for Johnny and check out the dump, where the Reinigen are already plotting vengeance for the murder of their “prince.” Let me note here that I’m not really rooting for either side of this mess. The Klaustreichs are heinous, but the strange dump cult of these rat people hardly cultivates sympathy either. Nonetheless, I find myself feeling totally engaged despite that, which is fine storytelling.

Back at the hospital, Trubel is finally woken up courtesy of a nightmare. The nurse, apparently named Christy, is there to make her feel better. Of course, we know otherwise, but that whole slap-and-woge thing from the night before doesn’t seem to ring any bells for Trubel. Christy promises to tell Nick about her and Dr. Nicholson does too when he comes to check on her, but we can all guess these two are lying liars and their pants should appropriately be on fire. However, before that can happen, the show decides to remind us that Renard is still a crucial component with a political campaign storyline that is slowly ramping up. In Renard’s office, mayoral candidate Andrew Dixon shows Renard his new campaign commercial with the hopes Renard will support Dixon’s run. Something about Dixon has me uneasy, but he makes a big promise to Renard that might assuage the captain’s hesitancy. Dixon plans on making Renard the chief of police. This is a drop the mic moment; that’s all we really see of this story here. It reminds me a bit of how Adalind’s stories used to pop up halfway through an episode and would creep their way into the spotlight over the course of the season. I sense big things here.

Just as Nick and Hank arrive at the dump, Wu calls in with an update on Johnny. He’s still missing, but his trailer and car were ransacked and vandalized. This news doesn’t really help much, but Nick has a plan at the dump. He’s going to piss someone off and get them to woge. Okay, maybe calling that a plan is a stretch, but it’s effective. He gets a Reinigen to woge, confirming their suspicions, though the leave without much else to go on. In the rat’s den, the bearded rat guy tells the Reinigens’ bald guy leader about Nick. There’s the usual “we’ll kill the Grimm too” kind of talk. Sure you will, baldie. While the rats are plotting, Johnny shows up at Selina’s place. He’s frantic and she doesn’t seem to have much time for him, until he reveals that the “legend is true.” If you’re assuming the legend somehow connects to the episode’s title, then you win. Just so you know, there are no prizes other than personal satisfaction for winning this one.

At the spice shop, Nick and Hank get their usual Wesen culture lesson from Monrosalee. It’s nothing we haven’t figured out yet, but Rosalee offers up the Rat King as a possible explanation for the dead Klaustreichs things take a turn. Monroe is dismissive of the idea of a “twenty foot ratzilla” as he calls it, but he goes to check the books to see if there’s anything in there about it. Nick, antsy about Trubel, notes he should have gotten a call from the hospital, which prompts him to spill about her return. Nick’s call is picked up by Nurse Christy, who lies about her being awake. In her hospital room, the doctor tells Trubel that there’s swelling in her brain and she needs an operation. See what I told you about every time we return to this damn hospital? Meanwhile, Monroe finds the Rat King entry in one of the books. The details are pretty gross, but essentially, when Reinigen are under attack, their lack of genetic diversity allows clusters of them to generate cancer-like cells that bond them together as one gigantic rat monster. Kudos to the writers for coming up with the Rat King, because even I’m a little unsettled by that one. Before they can do anything with this information, Selina calls Nick, explaining how the Reinigen have come for Johnny. They take her too, while still on the line, which prompts the whole Scooby Gang to head to the dump.

I always enjoy when the show dips into its bag of tricks for a little horror and the visit to the dump definitely has that monster movie vibe. Monroe sniffs around, but it’s Nick’s Superman-style hearing powers that pick up on some noises and leads them to finding the rats’ den. They have to follow a pretty creepy tunnel, where they find the throne room and Johnny’s corpse. Selina’s upset that they killed him, but I’m pretty sure she’s the only one. When they get out of the nest, the gang is greeted by the bald rat leader and an obnoxious bunch of his followers. Nick plans on arresting the leader for murder, but the Reinigen scatter, much to everyone’s confusion. Well, they’re confused until the Reinigen all merge into the Rat King. It’s as gross as you would imagine a towering rat monster to be. After seeing how useless their weapons are, our heroes scurry off like, well, rats. Nick quickly formulates a plan though. Using a woged Selina as bait, they draw the Rat King closer to the power lines. Hank shoots the power lines and the Rat King gets fried. When they check the end result, Nick and company find a bunch of crispy Reinigen. Cue the sad tuba.

With Grimm’s answer to Tom & Jerry a wrap, we turn to some equally crazy goings on. After Adalind puts Kelly to bed, she hears an alert from the motion detector outside. It’s Meisner. She flashes back to when they last parted ways and immediately lets him back in. The spark between the two remains, which is fun to watch. Meisner calls Nick at the dump asking about Trubel, and after Adalind mediates between the two, they set off to the hospital to save Trubel. Nick arrives, but the crew of creepy medical professionals already has her in their clutches. The hospital is almost like a maze, which adds to how creepy the place is. Before the bad guys can go any further, Meisner stops them and pretty soon he and Nick have rescued Trubel and have a couple of beat up Wesen at their feet to show for it. Meisner goes after Nurse Christy, who drops that old “Occultatum Libera” chestnut, much to his annoyance. We don’t see him off her, but I’m pretty sure the nasty nurse is no longer of this earth. Meanwhile, Nick brings Trubel back to the Fortress of Solitude, where he and Adalind tend to her. I anticipate an information dump of epic proportions in the future, Ms. Cole. Until then though, I’ll be waiting.

About the author

Kenneth Lane

An occasionally ridiculous human being who will talk your ear off if you let him, recently earned his Master of Arts in English. While figuring out what he’s doing next, he’s dealing with his self diagnosed pop culture hoarding problem.

  • Atlantis

    I enjoyed this episode. I loved Danse Macabre season 1 and liked the slight continuation. Glad to see Meisner back. Don’t like the idea of him and Adalind. Feels like the time for that is past and would be boring now. Nick and Adalind are interesting together.