‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Red Menace’

Scott Green/NBC

It’s a familiar scene. A girl wearing a red hoodie is running through the woods with music playing in her headphones. Are the folks at Grimm redoing the pilot episode? Nope. False alarm! Here comes Nick running up behind to open “Red Menace”—the first new episode of 2014!

This isn’t quite Shirtless Running on a Treadmill Nick, but when we get back to his and Juliette’s place, a reference to the weird after effects of his zombie situation is quickly made. Juliette, who was on the phone setting up her story for this and the next episode, makes a comment that he’s not even sweating. I can’t tell if Nick is being snarky, but he’s like “I know… weird, isn’t it?”

Speaking of Juliette and her storyline, she was on the phone with Alicia, a friend with an abusive husband named Joe.  Juliette pleads to her friend to come to Portland and leave the guy behind. Nick refers to Joe as “that idiot” and gives his full blessing to giving Alicia a place to stay. He’s a good guy, our Nick.

Renard! Adalind! Picking up from the last episode, the two finally meet at a café. Renard kisses her on her cheeks and says, “Just pretending we like each other.” Adalind quickly replies, “I like pretending” and kisses him on the lips. This scene is probably my favorite with Adalind since she went through with all the messy stuff involved with reclaiming her Hexenbiest powers. Sasha Roiz and Claire Coffee have fantastic chemistry. Renard is all swagger here and it’s a great little scene.

Once most of the show’s regular players have begun settling into the episode, we’re introduced to our Wesen of the week. A Russian man with glowing hands and eyes named Boris is healing a young girl with cancer. When she asks him what he wants in repayment, Boris demands that she simply live a long and healthy life. I don’t know about you, but when I hear statements like this on either a genre show or a procedural, it seems a little fishy. But on a show that combines the two together? Yep. Something is definitely up with Boris.

Cue a scene with some ominous character with designs on Boris. The scene shifts to a party at a Russian restaurant, where Boris is being honored alongside his wife Olga. Feeling ill, Boris wanders off, where he is attacked by that ominous character. The fight is intense, but it ends when Boris grabs him and… does the exact opposite of healing him. Can you say radiation burns?

Juliette is really nervous for her friend Alicia. Nick tries to keep her calm about why she’s so late, but she soon shows up and the two of them provide her with support. Alicia begins to cry and to our, and Nick’s surprise, she’s woges. Alicia is a Fuchsbau! Nick keeps it hush hush though. I imagine springing a Grimm on a woman escaping her abusive husband would be a bad move.

The episode soon shifts to something even more surprising: Hank! He’s at his next to last physical therapist’s appointment following his injury last season. Hank asks her out, though she shoots him down, I see sparks flying for the future. In my midseason review, I mentioned my hopes for the supporting cast to get more stories for themselves and here we go. You go, Hank! You date that hot physical therapist!

Elsewhere, there’s a body in a freezer at that Russian restaurant; a day player finds it and screams. Oh no! At the precinct, no one knows about the body, so Nick gets the chance to celebrate Renard’s return. Despite my love of the Renard and Adalind scene from earlier in the episode, I missed Renard and Nick. The characters have a complicated dynamic. They kind of like each other, but can they trust each other? Do they have handsome offs and behead unruly Wesen together?

My favorite part is when Nick laments the missed opportunity for meeting Renard’s brother, Eric, and Renard shares a similar feeling. Awww, you guys. You bond over the shared loathing of a common enemy. You do that! Before the two can full commit to being bros, Hank comes in with news of that body. Looks like it’s time for some crime solving.

Reggie Lee’s Wu is on the scene and armed with snark. He leads Nick and Hank to the freezer, where we find the body. The guy was apparently killed for his uniform, no doubt at the hands of that dude who attacked Boris earlier. Poor dead guy. Your uniform wasn’t even that nice! Wu leads them to the store room, where evidence of the conflict from earlier is everywhere. Broken glass. Blood splatter. The usual.

Back at the precinct, Nick, Renard, and Hank congregate around a computer for an info dump.  Boris is a Russian healer, his wife is named Olga, and he has groupies. Meanwhile, that attacker dude is looking seriously messed up. He’s covered in boils and pulling out his own teeth. Things are not looking good for him. The scene shifts to Olga and a hot maid, whom Olga doesn’t seem to be a big fan of. It might be because of that whole magic healer groupie thing. Or it’s because she’s a Malin Fatal, a boar-like Wesen. This episode is full of surprise woges!

After a brief commercial break, Nick, Renard, and Hank are doing their whole police thing and show up at the house where Boris is staying. The healer is in the middle of a session with a young man who has a wound on in his face that never heals. It takes a lot out of Boris, but he does it. Meanwhile, Nick is scoping out his glowing Wesen hands. When the patient leaves, Renard questions Boris about the attack he suffered the night before. Olga, in Russian, tries to shut her husband down, but Renard, also in Russian, inserts himself into the conversation.

It was another great Renard moment. Hank turns to Nick and discloses his lack of surprise. Boris proceeds to fill Portland’s finest in on what happened and Olga gives everybody the stink eye. As they leave, the hot maid and Renard have a brief exchange. He totally could have gotten some if he wanted. Outside, Nick explains what he saw to Renard who says the transparent skin belongs to a Wesen called a Koschie. It’s a nice change of pace to have Renard be the source of knowledge, though it does remind me that Monrosalee have been MIA so far this week.

Now that our Wesen of the week has been categorized, it’s time for another day player to scream bloody murder. That failed assassin guy left a bloody mess all over the sheets of his hotel room and then decided to kick the bucket in the bathtub. He’s covered in boils and sores. It’s foul, to say the least. It was so nice of the writers to schedule this right before a commercial break.

When the show comes back, Nick and Hank are in the trailer with Monroe to scour the journals for more info about the Koschie. They have stacks of papers, in Russian, which none of them speak. Hank suggests that they should’ve brought Renard, which cues one of Nick’s best faces in the whole episode. (Don’t worry, Grimmsters. Every face he makes is one of his best faces.) They eventually find information in English, which reveals that Rasputin was a Koschie. While they try to explain the history, I can’t help but let the Boney M. disco classic about the mad monk run through my brain a time or two.

Nick and Hank soon depart. You know, because a disgusting corpse was just found in a hotel bathtub. While Nick and Hank are on their way, Renard calls one of his connections in Moscow to ask about Boris. He soon finds out a tidbit the healing Wesen hadn’t shared earlier: Boris was once an assassin. Reasons for killing the guy just sky rocketed.

Once they get to the hotel, Wu is there to guide them through the grotesque scene. They soon find the murdered waiter’s uniform and the dead guy’s name, piecing together the chain of events that lead to them to their current situation. Hurrah! Detective work.

While they’re picking up a bunch of evidence, the seemingly dead guy wobbles in and goes splat right on Hank. I’m not even sure how that disgusting three-quarters dead guy managed it, but it leads to the second best bit of fan service so far this season: Nick, Hank, and Wu have to take a Silkwood shower. The three men wash away the radiation while bantering and doing detective work. Who says fan service is useless? They send a crew to investigate the store room where the original fight took place. It’s a radioactive hot zone.

After being cleared to return to the precinct, Nick and Renard exchange info on the failed assassin and the former assassin turned healer. So many assassins! Fortunately, we have Juliette and some feline surgery to switch things up. Juliette talks about fixing the cat, when Alicia wanders in and reflects about how she wishes she could do the same to Joe. I’ll just call this foreshadowing.

In the interrogation room, Nic k, Renard, and Hank confront Boris about everything that’s happened. Boris woges, which allows him to see Nick as a Grimm. They persuade Boris to leave the country with his wife to escape further assassination attempts. Meanwhile, we flash to someone poisoning his vodka. I mean… why poison a good bottle of vodka? Nick, Renard, and Hank drop into the hospital to ask Alex the boiled covered assassin guy about what’s going on.

They soon find out he has a female associate in Boris’s presence. At the same time, Boris tells his wife they’re going to leave. He then runs up the stairs with Larissa the hot maid and the poisoned vodka. Olga is pissed. You can tell cause her eyes go yellow and she serves up some pretty major bitch face.

After a break commercial break, Larissa is pouring some major vodka down the horny healer’s throat. I’m pretty sure this gives away who Alex was talking about. Then it gets really weird. Boris begs Larissa for forgiveness on his knees. While Nick and company arrive on the scene, Larissa has planted a pair of scissors in her chest. Olga, not at all pleased, woges and slits Larissa’s throat. However, before she can die, Boris uses the last of his energy to heal her. He succeeds in saving her life, but he dies and Olga is left alone without her husband.

After an exhausting day, Nick arrives home. Juliette and Alicia share how their day at the vet went with him, but are interrupted by a phone call from Joe. An irate Joe yells at Nick and sounds pretty damned crazy. Alicia warns Nick that Joe isn’t normal, not knowing he knows she’s a Wesen. Outside Nick and Juliette’s house, you can see Joe is parked outside. Joe woges, revealing he is the cat-like Wesen known as a Klaustreich. Makes that crack about having cats fixed earlier make so much more sense. Kudos on that one, Grimm writers. I had to watch the episode twice to get it.

On that note, the episode wraps up. While I enjoyed a lot of it, I have to say it isn’t one of my favorite episodes. I’m thrilled Hank and Juliette have some side stories going on, Renard was awesome, and David Giuntoli, as always, knocked it out of the park as Nick. However, the story of the week just didn’t grab me. Plus, I missed Rosalee. I am really excited for next week though. If this week’s episode builds up to something great, then I’ll be more than happy.

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.

Ratings: ‘Days of our Lives’ Matches Biggest 4th-Quarter Women 18-49 Audience in 3 Years; Most Total Viewers since 2009

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