‘Grimm’ Review: Painful Conflict Propels ‘The Good Soldier’

GRIMM -- "The Good Soldier" Episode 311 -- Pictured: David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

Some crazy stuff happens on Grimm, but the scariest stuff in “The Good Soldier” aren’t the scorpion-tailed Manticores that leave a trail of bodies behind them, but the painfully real conflicts that propel the episode.

The main storyline begins with the opening scene of a woman cutting herself in her car. Right away, the show is presenting stuff that might be tough for some viewers. Inside, at a VFW bar, a guy wearing a dressy shirt and tie is bragging about how one of his security system clients clearly wants to sleep with him. Right off the bat, I don’t like the guy. He oozes sleaze. After the man he was talking to makes a crack, he gets up and the woman who was cutting herself takes his seat. The tension is thick. She makes vague comments and he brushes her off. He doesn’t remember her, but then she rolls up her sleeve and exposes her fresh wounds. She proceeds to take a cocktail napkin and stamp whatever she carved into her arm on it with blood. The scene is disturbing and vague.

Breaking the tension, the scene shifts to Monrosalee at the spice shop. They’re busy being adorable, as usual, until Monroe finds a letter from Rosalee’s mother. Rosalee has a distant relationship from her mother – seven years of distance, in fact. Rosalee doesn’t know how to feel, but Monroe encourages her and she asks him to join her for dinner at her mom’s place the next night. This sets up the other major storyline for this week’s episode.

After the Monrosalee exchange, things shift back to that sleazy guy from the bar. He’s on the phone with someone, saying how crazy the woman was at the bar. Clearly, whatever’s going on is bigger than just him and her. She shows up soon after, appearing unhinged and yelling from outside his house. He goes after her and pushes her down to the ground and threatens to call the cops; she asks him what he’s going to tell them. Yep, he’s sketchy as hell. The woman screams that she’s never going away, but when he runs inside for his gun, she’s gone. Or is she? He hears something in his house. Things get a bit like a horror movie, as they have a tendency to do on this show, and pretty soon he’s face-to-face with a very unhappy Wesen. This particular Wesen has a face like a Lowen and a tail like a scorpion; it proceeds to bury its tail in the guy’s chest. Based on what I’ve seen, I’m not even mad about it.

In the light of day, the creep’s house is now a crime scene. Nick, Wu, and Hank swap all the important details—like the guy was named Ron—with the usual air of snark, before making their way inside to the body. There’s a big hole in Ron’s chest that they explain can’t be a bullet or a blade; evidence is collected and witnesses are talked to. This witness, named Troy Dodge, worked with Ron and calls his co-worker Jim McCabe to say that Frankie, the woman who had been cutting herself in the opening of the episode, is in town. Yep, more sketchiness.

Back at Monrosalee’s place, Rosalee is having a rough time dealing with the dinner she and Monroe will be having with her mother. He asks if the confirmation made either of them emotional, but she explains she simply emailed her. I like the play of emotion here—Monroe is more emotional, Rosalee more composed. To Rosalee’s dismay, her sister DeEtta will also be present at the dinner. While Rosalee was making a mess of her life, DeEtta was there with her family—including when their dad died. Bree Turner really makes the most of her character’s familial frustrations in this episode, and this particular scene is a great example of that. My favorite part is when she jokes about bringing alcohol to the dinner as a gift for her mom and sister. It’s almost nice to know Wesen are just people who need to drink to be around their family too.

Back at the precinct, Nick and Hank are researching the recently deceased Ron. They find out that Ron’s last call was to Jim, the same guy Troy was talking to at the crime scene. They head off to check him and the VFW out. Simultaneously, Troy gets home to find his wife Betsy greeting Frankie. Yet again, it’s uncomfortable and the tension smothers everyone in the room. Frankie taunts Troy and shows him how she’s been cutting herself. Before Frankie leaves, she asks him what sex with his wife is like. It’s one of many uncomfortable moments in the episode. The way the story unravels requires viewers to think about things they likely would rather not. However, once they do, you can easily piece together that Frankie was likely the victim of some sort of sexual assault.

Nick and Hank arrive at the VFW just in time for a swing dance class being taught by an older woman who calls them handsome soldiers and requests they join the other dancers. Nick is adorably flustered—another case of David Giuntoli’s mastery of facial expressions. Nick and Hank talk to the bartender and explain what happened to Ron. She helps them find the bloody cocktail napkin that was thrown out in the trash. The blood stamp made it impossible to forget. They collect the evidence and depart.

While Nick and Hank are busy being detectives, a day has passed and it’s time for an awkward family dinner with Monrosalee. Monroe plays supportive boyfriend very well and gets Rosalee going, almost too far, as she nearly storms the door. However, she struggles to actually ring the doorbell without Monroe’s guiding hand. It’s a really sweet character moment.  Rosalee’s mom answers the door sweetly, while DeEtta shows up sporting some fairly major bitchface. I can already tell I won’t like her very much.

Having made their rounds at the bar while Monrosalee were dealing with DeEtta, Nick and Hank meet Jim, the owner of McCabe Security and someone who might even out-creep Ron at the start of the show. Jim offers up a file filled with information about the dead man and then dodges Nick and Hank’s questions about Frankie. Hank spots a photo of Ron, Troy, Jim, and a guy named Robert—all of them had known each other from being deployed in Iraq. Nick shows Jim the bloody napkin, who doesn’t know what to make of it and makes a copy of the photo. Back at the precinct, they find out that Robert was killed recently in a home invasion. The plot of the episode is starting to feel a little like that old Clint Eastwood movie Sudden Impact—a bunch of men rape a woman and she gets her revenge by killing them all. I’m not sure if that would make Nick into Dirty Harry, but there are definitely some apparent parallels at this point.

Taking a brief detour from murdered rapists and Fuchsbau family drama, the episode pops over to Vienna to catch up with Adalind.  She appears to be doing some sort of paperwork, when she looks over and notices Meisner is watching her. She then suffers from some visible pregnancy pains and then exhibits some sort of telekinetic back-and-forth with her mug. After it flies into her hands, she’s clearly in pain again. The effect is even bigger this time—the lights above her are blown out.  Later, Meisner follows Adalind to her hotel room and calls Renard to tell her what happened. While these scenes move things forward a bit, I’m hoping we get something more impactful soon. Claire Coffee is a fantastic actress, but she can’t do much with what they’re giving her here. In addition, the Vienna storyline feels like it’s dragging on. I know a payoff is coming, but I’d like it to be a little bit sooner.

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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1 Comment

  1. I wasn’t happy to see more of Rosalie’s background. I was surprised she had living family, since she dealt with the aftermath of Freddy’s death all by herself. What? She didn’t call up her mom and sister and tell them their son/brother had been murderedf? Seems even more problematic than missing her father’s funeral.
    I didn’t like this episode, probably because it dealt with real problems, the abuse of female soldiers and the lawless behaviour of military contractors. I prefer Grimm when it sticks to its cartoonish tone, with villains like incentuous coyotes and jealous mermen.

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