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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘A Dish Best Served Cold’ is a Return to a Familiar Formula

GRIMM -- "A Dish Best Served Cold" Episode 303 -- Pictured: (l-r) David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

After two weeks of Zombie Nick, this week’s episode of Grimm, “A Dish Best Served Cold” starts us off with something entirely different: Shirtless Running on a Treadmill Nick.

The related squeals of delight from fan girls (and boys) have already fueled a gif set or two on Tumblr. Why is Nick running with his shirt off? Well, following the strange death state Juliette found him in towards the end of last week’s episode, he’s getting a checkup. Of course, no real conclusions are made, though the doctor says that if the results are accurate, Nick’s in really great shape. We can see that, doctor. We can also see flashbacks to Zombie Nick whooping some tail during the bar fight from the season premiere. Although I get their importance, I’m hoping the flashbacks don’t saturate the show too much going forward. I want more teasing the future of this storyline, less seeing what I saw two weeks ago.

The episode quickly shifts gears to Monrosalee enjoying a nice dinner out at a fancy restaurant. I’m glad we’re actually seeing them together outside of some Grimm-and-Wesen-induced calamity, as the first couple of episodes this season have only provided snippets of their relationship so far. I find the dynamic between to the two characters and the actors who portray them to be very authentic and engaging. There’s a cute moment where Rosalee prevents Monroe from eating a mushroom and beef tartlet, because, as you may or may not know, Monroe is a vegan Blutbad. Although this scene seems inconsequential, it actually plays an important part in the show’s plot, which I really appreciate. The Monrosalee date also offers some much more obvious plot developments when he asks her to move in with him. They even swap “I love you’s.” However, before things get too saccharine and the contingent of Grimmsters who aren’t on board the SS Monrosalee start a mutiny, a client and friend of Monroe’s shows up at the restaurant for a brief conversation that does away with all that romantic tension.

If that interruption wasn’t enough for you, the subsequent scene should more than cleanse your palate. A frantic man in business attire appears running through the woods. Clearly there’s something wrong with the guy; when he tears his shirt open, this “something wrong “is revealed. His stomach is pulsating—bloated even—and making noises. The visual of his stomach is especially gruesome. Before viewers can adjust, the scene jumps to Nick and Juliette talking about that doctor visit at the start of the episode. Juliette plays the role of “concerned girlfriend” in a way that isn’t nearly as insufferable as is often the case with such roles in genre shows. Once again though, the scene shifts. The man in the woods is, in fact, a blutbad. In an especially gruesome scene, his stomach bursts as he mounts the branch of a tree. Cue the opening credits.

Nick, now at the precinct, is greeted by Hank with news that a body was found in a tree. Our hero’s disbelief about a body in a tree is almost quaint, considering he was just a zombie a week before our time. At the scene, Nick, Hank, and Sergeant Wu theorize the nature of the situation, while Renard, back at the precinct, engages in a phone conversation with his agent Sebastian in Austria. The two men talk about Frau Pech, not knowing the withered old Hexenbiest bit it at the end of last season and had her organs harvested only a n episode or two ago. Their call is cut short though, when Adalind appears dressed in black asking about Eric’s surprising death. I’m glad her story is being more closely woven into the obvious picture again, even if I enjoyed her appearances in the past couple of episodes. The plotline with Sebastian and Adalind recurs throughout the remainder of the episode, culminating with him finding her in the hotel room marked on a piece of paper in the missing Frau Pech’s home.

Back in Portland, we’re greeted with a close up of the recently deceased Wesen . Fortunately, Reggie Lee’s Wu is there to lighten the mood with some appropriately inappropriate snark.  The scene quickly shifts back to the precinct and the Blutbad’s distraught widow giving her statement before making another quick change to a young couple making out against a tree. Evoking some familiar horror movie imagery, blood from another tree bound corpse drips down on the couple and ruins their PDA session. This time the dead body is that of a woman. Cue both horror movie screams from the nameless young lady who was just making out with her boyfriend and a commercial break.

Nick—still annoyingly gripped by guilt for the death after the rage zombie bar fight—sits at his desk while looking up the guy’s criminal history. Honestly, I don’t care about Mitchell Zinc. I mean, I get the idea of heroic guilt and a moral struggle, but given Nick’s zombie status at the time, I find it hard to be invested as much as I would like. That said, David Giuntoli plays his character’s distress very well and makes it not so bad. When Nick goes to Renard to express his guilt, the captain does what some may call “spilling the tea.” He calls Nick out on the fact he has killed Wesen before and felt no guilt. Why should this accidental zombie murder be any different? Giuntoli and Sasha Roiz really work this particular scene.

Jumping back to the week’s case du jour. Nick and Hank arrive on the scene of the latest “tree hugger.” Wu, as always, drops some expert level snark, before things get serious again. Who knew keeping it light and fresh was so hard at a crime scene? After finding a collection of receipts, Hank pieces together a connection between the gourmet restaurant Raven and Rose and the bodies turning up. Of course, the connection is a little weak. As Nick says, “All we have is two people who ate there, climbed trees, and blew up.” Nonetheless, they head that way. Once they get there, Nick’s Grimm powers kick in on head chef Graydon Ostler and his staff, seeing their true selves as Bauerschwein. I had forgotten how much I love when Nick “sees” the Wesen as they actually are. Of course, Bauerschwein have a notorious feud with Blutbaden. We all know the story of “Three Little Pigs.”

GRIMM -- "A Dish Best Served Cold" Episode 303 -- Pictured: (l-r) David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

GRIMM — “A Dish Best Served Cold” Episode 303 — Pictured: (l-r) David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt, Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin — (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

A while after talking to the insufferable Ostler, Nick is talking about the case with Juliette. Once again, much respect for Bitsie Tulloch in this scene as she has to throw around “gastric dilatation volvulus.” Juliette’s vet knowledge is proving rather useful now and she’s more than capable of dealing with Nick’s Grimm life. After a rough second season, her character is really making strong steps forward now. Speaking of the second season, with Monrosalee moving in together, Nick has to move out of Monroe’s place where he had moved during the overlong magical amnesia storyline.

At the Blutbad’s pad, we get some nice back and forth between Nick and Monroe; the scene is charmingly awkward and should make fans of their bromance happy. However, the guy time is cut short when Monroe springs a surprise “you’re moving out” party on Nick. The whole gang is there, including fan favorite Bud the Eisbiber. While they begin to cut an elaborately decorated cake that Bud’s wife made, Monroe gets some horrible news. Sam, the friend who dropped in on him and Rosalee at Raven and Rose earlier in the episode is missing. With this news broken, the party is pretty much over.  Our little Scooby gang disperses to track down Monroe’s friend and figure out what exactly Ostler is doing to the Blutbaden.

Would you buy murder by amuse-bouche? Back at Rosalee’s shop, she quickly does the research that correlates something called the black despair mushroom to the gastric condition that Juliette mentioned earlier. This mushroom only hurts Blutbaden. Fortunately for Monroe, his girlfriend’s desire to see him stay on the meatless straight and narrow prevented him from ingesting that tartlet at the start of the episode.

Despite their best efforts to find him, Nick, Hank, and Monroe only arrive to see Sam howl as his stomach explodes. After this, and knowing that one of the other victims was also a friend of his, Monroe lays down a vigilante ultimatum on Nick and Hank. Not wanting to see his friend do something he could go to jail for, Nick sits down with Ostler. I love this scene, because Giuntoli usually shines when he does Grimm-on-Wesen confrontations and this was no exception.  Like Renard earlier, Ostler throws out some sobering truths about the lethal nature of being Grimm; however, unlike Renard, Ostler is unconvincing and irritating.

As the episode inches towards the climax, Nick slips into his “death state” yet again, much to Juliette’s concern. Rosalee is similarly concerned about Monroe, who is enraged and wants to kill some pigs. Monroe, having assembled a pack of Blutbaden, pursues Ostler after he leaves his restaurant. Monroe, delivering some pretty horrible lines like “I like it when dinner talks back,” goes after Ostler, but is stopped by Nick and Hank. Nick goes so far as to seemingly shoot his best friend, while the insufferable Ostler snivels in the background. It’s quite apparent that this whole situation is a set up, especially when a “shot” Monroe raises up to menacingly declare they can’t be stopped. However, Nick’s raised eyebrow and sideways stare seals the deal. I have to say, that that moment is one of my favorites shared by the two characters in some time. The subsequent banter that follows after Ostler confesses out of fear for his life is also top notch stuff. In an almost Law and Order-esque conclusion, the episode fades to black after the confession is signed and delivered to Renard.

I’m pleased to see Grimm returning to its familiar formula of procedural drama and genre mythology with this episode. Although I loved the first two episodes of the season, this is the sort of stuff that keeps a series going from week to week; it’s very well done here. I’m left with a few questions though. What’s going on with this bizarre death state Nick keeps slipping in and out of? And will we have to deal with his mopey guilt over accidentally killing that guy for much longer? Also, what is David Giuntoli’s workout routine? The guy is looking good. Oh, and one more thing, when is Rosalee going to get some more spotlight? I feel like she needs some moments of her own.

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.

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