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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘A Reptile Dysfunction’

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GRIMM -- "A Reptile Dysfunction" Episode 508 -- Pictured: (l-r) David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin, Jacqueline Toboni as Trubel -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

Last week’s Grimm managed to alter the show’s already shifting landscape quite drastically.  Eve truly revealed herself, Nick and Adalind kissed, and Black Claw slaughtered the Wesen Council. How does a show recover from such major moments? Well, if “A Reptile Dysfunction” is any clue, it goes in a somewhat different direction and riffs on the Loch Ness Monster. In many ways, this episode is doing what the show does best: interweaving its ongoing mythology with a Wesen of the Week procedural format. Unfortunately for Adalind fans and Nadalind shippers, Ms. Schade is M.I.A. this week, but I imagine she’s keep busy with little Kelly as Nick and company deal with the monster at Diamond Lake.

The episode opens on a couple driving out to Diamond Lake. We see a sign advertising the monster, which really owes more to the Creature from the Black Lagoon than the Loch Ness Monster. They’re a cute enough couple, but you can tell from the moment they step into their fishing boat that one or both of them are not long for this world. While our opening scene victims head out to see what’s biting, Nick is filling in his Scooby buddies at the precinct about what Eve did the night before. I like how the info dump is confusing for everyone involved. I saw it happen last week, but I’m still perplexed with what really happened to Juliette. While discussing who they’re pinning the assassination on, Nick mentions Meisner. It’s not a name Renard was expecting, but I’m hoping this is a precursor to some interaction between the two. Nick soon departs Renard’s office with Hank and Wu planning to figure out how to pin the death on the also deceased bodyguards.

At the spice shop, Monroe and Rosalee are curious about the potential drama between Nick and the Hexenbiest formerly known as Juliette, but they have some issues of their own. Namely, Rosalee has received another letter from a man from her past in Seattle. She’s reluctant to reconnect with that time, but Monroe pushes her to open it. This is the only real moment in the episode where they tug at this plot thread, but the letter writer explains he’s coming to visit soon. Neither half of Monrosalee are thrilled by the prospect, but I’m curious where this will go. Rosalee has a pretty dark past, but we’ve seen very little of it. Knowing the writers at Grimm, it’s going to play out in some unexpected ways. That having been said, things aren’t always surprising.

Back at the lake, the couple, Allan and Elizabeth, is having a successful fishing trip. Unfortunately for Allan, and unsurprisingly for us, the couple is confronted by that Diamond Lake monster. He falls in the water and is killed by the creature. While Elizabeth is making a lot of noise about her now dead husband, Wayne and Oliver, the brothers who run the shop on the lake run outside. They’re greeted by a scary looking lizard monster. I’m not sure what’s scarier about this Wesen of the Week: his ability to casually murder a guy or his CGI speedo. The shop owners are shocked when he admits to murdering the guy, but I’m not sure what they expected when they hired a Wasser Zahne to play Nessie for them. The brothers pay him and send him on his way, but they have very different reactions to poor dead Allan. One brother, Oliver, is freaking out over the murder while the other, Wayne, says they’ll just call 911, because nothing could ever tie them to it. I’m pretty sure Wayne is a sociopath.

However, before I can further my degree in armchair psychology, we’re back at the precinct. Nick and company still have no clue about the identities of the two men Nick had to kill the night before. Fortunately, Trubel shows up right when we need her. She identifies them with ease and gives a pretty in-depth profile on Samuel Rankin to boot. I have to say, I love the way they write Trubel. Sure, she’s working with Meisner, but her loyalties are with Nick, which generates some really interesting tensions between all of the characters. Plus, she’s so nonchalant about everything. She just slips right in and tells Nick he has a meeting with Meisner and off they go. The pair of Grimms arrives practically moments later at the Hadrian’s Wall base. Like the most awkward episode of MTV Cribs, Meisner and Trubel proceed to give Nick a tour of their rather minimal digs. Meisner soon reminds us that Hadrian’s Wall operates under the authority of a branch of the federal government so secretive that it doesn’t exist.  While neither he nor Trubel can answer questions about that or the way they’re funded, they can show Nick where Eve stays. Meisner leaves Nick with Eve and we get to continue the fun not-quite-an-actual reunion from last week. This meeting is perhaps an even more uncomfortable encounter than last week, because Eve is almost robotic in her intentions. Essentially, the organization wants to make sure Nick is level headed enough to be exploited by them in their fight against Black Claw. I continue to be impressed by what David Giuntoli and Bitsie Tulloch bring to their scenes together in this new arrangement. His bewilderment and her detachment correspond in a really compelling way.  The dynamic is uncomfortable, but when Eve walks away after telling Nick her only regret is that he didn’t have a chance to bury Juliette, it’s kind of heartbreaking.

Soon, Nick is the war room at the Hadrian’s Wall base surrounded by Eve, Meisner, and Trubel.  I can easily see this set up recurring in future episodes, especially with this war Black Claw is waging on the world. According to Eve, their end goal is a world ruled by Wesen. Hitler also comes up, but the less said about that clumsy bit of alternate history the better. Beyond the minimalistic living quarters, cool war room, and emotionally removed ex, Nick has one more thing to see on his tour. Meisner takes him to the Hadrian’s Wall graveyard where he reveals Chavez and their murdered associates are buried. While that might seem like a big morbid “Who cares?” at first, Meisner also reveals that Kelly, Nick’s mom, is also buried there after they found where that douchebag Kenneth had disposed of her body. It’s a weird moment. Although Nick reacted to the losses of Juliette and his mom, he hasn’t really been heavily engaged in the mourning process. I think he’ll continue to struggle with both. Juliette should be especially difficult to come to terms with given her betrayals and subsequent reinvention as Eve. After all that, Meisner makes a plea for Nick’s help before going back inside to leave our Grimm with his thoughts.

The next morning, Elizabeth is explaining to the cops what happened with Allan. Meanwhile, the brothers who run the tourist trap are bickering over who is responsible for the man’s death. Wayne just blames Logan, the guy playing sea monster of Diamond Lake, but Oliver blames himself, his brother, and Logan. He wouldn’t be wrong. A couple of journalists interrupt their argument to rent a boat. It’s a moment that suggests interest in the lake monster might bring in some money real soon, especially when her cameraman buys some monster merch. Wayne’s smirk when they successfully push their tourist trash says it all. He’s a sociopath.

Nick gets back to the precinct still overwhelmed from his visit to Hadrian’s Wall, but before he can settle in, Renard pulls him and Hank into his office. The journalist is on TV explaining the gruesome attack on Allan and giving Wayne and Oliver great free advertising. Renard explains the sheriff called for some people due to their familiarity with strange cases. Hank questions the likelihood of a Wesen attack and Renard delivers one of his best lines in all of five seasons: “I don’t believe in monsters unless they’re people.” Preach. Moments later, Nick and Hank are at the lake with the sheriff, who has all the stories about the so-called lake monster to share. Nick and Hank split off to question Elizabeth, but nothing really comes from it. As Nick and Hank wander off, Logan appears and offers his condolences to Elizabeth in one of the creepiest scenes in the whole episode. The writers get kudos for that one.

Inside the boat rental shop, Nick and Hank meet the brothers and start questioning Wayne about what happened. Of course, he’s completely nonchalant about the whole thing. He feeds the detectives a line of bull about what he heard and goes on to say the tourists coming into catch sight of the Diamond Lake monster are macabre. Well, yeah. You know what’s also macabre? Paying a Wasser Zahne to attack people to drum up business is pretty damn macabre. While Wayne is batting off the questions, Oliver accidentally drops a monster mug which startles him, revealing him to be a Luisant-Pêcheur. The woge makes Nick and Hank cautious, especially with the brisk business the brothers are now turning, and they agree to check them out.

At the spice shop, Rosalee finishes handling a customer when Trubel shows up. Both Rosalee and Monroe are thrilled to see her and a group hug commences. Unfortunately, she has some pretty serious stuff to talk about, so the moment of warmth is brief. Trubel has a lesson in Black Claw 101 to teach. Meanwhile, Nick and Hank are still trying to figure out the monster in the lake. Hank’s suggestion of a Wesen for hire is on the mark though. At the lake shop, Wayne is gloating about the money they’ve raked in because of that Wesen for hire, but Oliver remains displeased with the fact a man had to die. Wayne, however, heads down to the bar where he asks a drunken Logan to put on his scary monster face and torment the waters of Diamond Lake one more time. In true horror movie fashion, a bunch of young people are partying down by the water. You have the flirty young woman and the young guy eager to prove himself, so you know one of them is going to end up dead. Before you can start placing bets, I have a spoiler alert: it’s the guy. The situation is almost Friday the 13th by way of Jaws. I’m not even sure why Logan killed this time. It’s not like he was being shot at like he was with Allan. Oh well.

Nick and Hank, still trying to identify the lake monster, show up at the front door of the spice shop. Trubel is long gone, but I assume she filled Monrosalee in on some heavy duty Black Claw business. The Wesen couple also unearthed an I.D. for the Wesen plaguing the lake. With that aside, Monroe and Rosalee want Nick to spill the real tea about his meeting with Juliette the night before. I appreciate how the gang can act like a surrogate for fans trying to figure out Eve. Nick explains how Juliette is now going by Eve and that she isn’t really Juliette at all, which confuses Rosalee due to the multiple different Juliettes they’ve all encountered at this point already. It is confusing, but by having the characters struggle with this situation, we as viewers can grow in our understanding alongside them. It’s a really smart move on the part of the writers. Before the discussion concludes though, Rosalee brings it back around to Trubel’s visit. Everyone in the spice shop basement agrees that they’re united in whatever decision they end up making about working with Hadrian’s Wall. I’m curious if that unity will hold out in the coming episodes.

While all this major stuff is being talked about and monsters are murdering people in lakes, Renard reappears to continue the slow burning mayoral campaign subplot that’s been moving through the season so far. When I say slow burning, I mean we get a couple minutes max of Renard working with Racahel Wood on another speech for the Dixon campaign. Things seem to have accelerated from the slight flirtationship the previous time Rachel appeared though, because she’s putting the moves on Renard here. I’m looking forward to seeing this story develop further, but it needs to happen soon. It just feels like a distraction otherwise.

Back at the lake, Nick and Hank are with the sherriff as the young man’s body is pulled out of the water. Nick asserts that they need to put the heat on the brothers, but there’s nothing they can do as police. Fortunately, there’s plenty a Grimm can do. In this case, Nick keeps his powers on the down low and sends in Trubel. However, while they’re getting their plan in line, Logan shows up at the brothers’ shop to demand compensation due to the inordinate amount of profit they’re making off of his appearances. He threatens to kill them if they don’t. Wayne initially plans to kill Logan, but then Trubel shows up to put the squeeze on the brothers. The situation becomes more and more of a tangled mess, with Trubel’s bounty hunter act scaring the brothers into a plan; Wayne, the obvious sociopath, then makes a plan with Logan to kill Oliver and Trubel. Logan shows up early to kill Oliver, but because Nick and Hank are staking out the place, they send Trubel in early, where she quickly kills the Wasser Zahne. Wayne tries to get away after Nick reveals himself to also be a Grimm, but instead of swimming to his escape, the people looking to bag the lake monster shoot him to death. It couldn’t happen to a nicer Luisant-Pêcheur. Although there are plenty of holes, Nick manages to effectively cover over them when talking to the sheriff.

While it’s refreshing to get back to the procedural format, I was pleased with how well the show handled the ongoing Hadrian’s Wall and Black Claw plotlines too. I was a little perturbed by the final Eve and Meisner scenes of the episode though. Meisner notes that Nick doesn’t know how important Eve is to the organization as she is now and she questions why they don’t give him the same treatment. This is why Nick and company should be so wary of these guys, even as Black Claw creeps to more and more power. Beyond the lake monster and the Wesen war, we don’t get much on Renard and nothing from Adalind, which is unfortunate but understandable. They packed a lot of story into this episode and I expect them to do just the same next week.

 

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.