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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘The Show Must Go On’

Scott Green/NBC

When I initially watched Grimm’s latest episode, “The Show Must Go On,” I wasn’t thinking about how the show was taking a week off. Maybe it was the lingering high from its fourth season renewal announcement? However, as I rewatch the episode with the intention of recapping and reviewing, I have a major question in mind. Does this episode give me everything I need to withstand a week without the show?

The opening scene involves a series of scattered shots at a carnival, with the closing monologue of the traveling show’s signature performance sounding over a variety of images, before bringing us into the tent. Inside, a growling beast is about to attack and a couple of women are screaming, when the man who did the narrating shoots said beast “dead.” The two women are super into it; the emphasis on their excitement tells me they’re going to be dead—and not the in quotes kind—pretty soon. After the show, we are introduced to Max, an alcoholic Blutbad carnival performer, and his girlfriend, Genvieve, a Fuchsbau also in the show. Shades of Monrosalee! That is, if Monroe was an alcoholic carnival performer who leaves with pairs of women who are super into his performances. Did I mention Max leaves with those two ladies? Yeah. Hedig, the gun shooting ringmaster watches Max leave with the women. The two women want to party with Max, but he’s a total mess and so are they. One of them slaps him across the face and tells him to make them scream. He woges and things go south from there.

While Max and the two women are making bad decisions, our favorite Scooby Gang couples, Nick and Juliette and Monroe and Rosalee, are having a special dinner. As they drink their wine, Monroe drops the question on Nick: will you be my best man? Rosalee also extends the title of “maid of honor” to Juliette. The scene is very warm and fuzzy. It almost makes up the massacre that’s taking place simultaneously elsewhere. Of course, all this sweetness and sentimentality doesn’t last for long. The screen closes in on a cake topper featuring a Fuchsbau bride and a Blutbad groom. The sounds of a wedding commence. A really gory violent wedding complete with screams and blood splatter. The cake topper is ruined. Fortunately, the sounds of violence are a figment of Nick’s late night imagination. Juliette wakes him from his nightmare and he explains how he ruins the Monrosalee wedding by being a Grimm. Also, chopping off Monroe’s grandma’s head is a part of it too. His fears about scaring—and beheading—a wedding full of Wesen seems justified. I look forward to where they take this, but talk of premonitions of future disasters will have to wait. There are more stories to unravel elsewhere—and certainly more stuff to deal with here in a future episode.

That elsewhere I’m talking about happens to be Austria. Adalind and Meisner are on the run and hiding in the woods. They head back to where Sebastien had left them previously, only to find their friend in a physically devastated state. Torture will do that to a guy. A Verrat enforcer finds Meisner inspecting his friend, but the guy proceeds to shoot himself in the head, courtesy of Adalind’s returned Hexenbiest mojo. Hey, it’s better that than a pencil in the eye; am I right? Adalind questions Sebastien about what Viktor did to him; before they can all leave, Sebastien decides to stay behind and make a stand. He patiently waits until dark, when the Verrat circle back with Viktor. Sebastien proceeds to shoot all comers, but runs out of bullets before he can dispatch Viktor. I’d like to take a moment of silence now for poor Sebastien. I’ll pick up this thread a little later on in my review.

“Homicide. It just ain’t the same without you,” greets Hank. You can guess that means Wu is back at the scene of the crime. While Wu’s snark is welcome at the scene of any murder, we still need the details of the crime. As you might have guessed, the roommates who clearly make bad decision are toast. Nick and Hank find tickets to the Carnival Metamorphosia among the dead girls’ belongings so they head there to check it out. Slipping past a mouthy carnival barker, they arrive in time for the latest showing of the carnival’s main draw. Hedig announces a variety of Wesen one by one—a Dämonfeuer named Damien playing fire-breather, a Siegbarste named Ivan playing strong man, and the aforementioned Genvieve playing bearded lady. Max plays the dangerous wolf man who takes a fake bullet from Hedwig at every show. Nick and Hank, being in the know, are completely bewildered by the Wesen carnival.

After the spectacle, we get some behind the curtain style insight into the internal squabbles at the carnival. This is brief though, because Nick and Hank arrive to ask about the two dead girls. Hedig has nothing to say and offers a hollow explanation to how they do the performances. Although I love the shock of the Grimm reveal to the Wesen of the week, I appreciate that the show has moved away from the immediacy of the formula. It makes the tension even better, I think. Nick and Hank further question the slimy ringmaster and get a list of current employees. Meanwhile, Genvieve goes to check on Max. The two argue, which soon escalates into the Blutbad woging and his girlfriend ending up injured. Sam Witwer, who starred on the recently canceled American version of Being Human, does a fantastic job opposite Chryssie Whitehead here.  One of the things Grimm often excels at is introducing single episode characters with development worthy of continued appearances. While that wasn’t on display last week, it certainly is here.

At Rosalee’s spice shop, Nick and Hank have questions about Wesen carnivals. Apparently, they’re frowned upon by the Wesen community, but skirt their laws just enough to continue on. Rosalee explains that the Wesen Council does suggest local Wesen perform an intervention on the performers to avoid a condition caused by frequent at will woging. The constant performance of their Wesen selves erases the lines between their human and animal natures, which can cause major problems. This is clearly seen with Max. Nick and Hank head back to the precinct, where they do background checks on the carnival employees, research similar murders in conjunction with the carnival’s tour, and fill Renard in on the case so far. Meanwhile, Rosalee hatches a plan to play detective at the Carnival Metamorphosia. Monroe is reluctant, but the fact that she’s so gung ho is pretty fun. The writers have done a fantastic job in developing her character this season.  Initially, Rosalee’s plan to get her Veronica Mars on falls a little flat, but fortunately she ‘s there at the same time as audition for Genvieve’s replacement. In an unsettling sequence, she’s made to woge for Hedig and he has her slowly turn around. The spotlight is on Rosalee and she is unable to see the bald creep directing her movements; neither can the audience. The creep factor is high here and they shift scenes quickly to keep that feeling there just that little bit longer.

Now that the moment of silence for Sebastien has passed, we can continue on with Adalind and Meisner. The two talk about how Adalind got rid of the Verrat agent, but before their conversation can continue, Renard calls. After the call, Meisner fills Adalind in about how they have an agent who will get her and the baby out of there. Cue Adalind—and myself—being rather disappointed. I’ve grown to really enjoy Meisner and so, clearly, has she. I’m going to cross my fingers that they aren’t a sinking ship and hope for the best.

Back in Portland, Rosalee is introduced to Genvieve. The carnival’s resident Fuchsbau is not pleased by our girl. However, Rosalee manages to cut through the bitchiness a little bit with all the questions she has to ask. Sure, her detective skills could use some sharpening, but the questions make Genvieve sympathetic to Rosalee—and also cautious. She sends her to put on her costume, which is when Monroe sneaks around and finds her to take her away. Much to his chagrin, she’s a part of the show now and Max is confirmed as the afflicted Wesen. At the precinct, Hank and Nick put their heads together, realizing that the carnival’s ten year history of adjacent unsolved murders predates Max. The only one who has been with the touring act for that long as Hedig. They leave for the carnival. While they’re on their way, the scene shifts back to the tents, where we learn that Hedig not only killed the girls, but he’s also a Lowen. This guy is the actual worst.

While Nick and Hank head to the show, Monroe gives them a call to catch them up on the whole mess. He then gets a seat for the show. The show falters a bit when Rosalee doesn’t woge and Max freaks out. He ignores Hedig’s fake gunshot and flings him to the ground. He almost attacks Rosalee, but Monroe takes him out with a flying tackle. Nick and Hank arrive and Hedig woges. I kind of love his terrified Lowen-voiced “Grimm!” as he runs away. Rosalee stops the Blutbaden battle, while Hedig tries to hide in the hall of mirrors. His Wesen performers followed him there and proceed to psychologically torment him. They all woge, but Damien is the one who actually does something: he barbecues Hedig, which leaves a toasty corpse in the hall of mirrors. The visual is a little cheesy horror movie, but I can’t say I don’t love it. It’s one of the most satisfying case conclusions I’ve seen in a long time.

Though, to be fair, the case isn’t quite over yet. Before things wrap up, we see that Max is going for treatment and Genvieve is going with him. They’re two of my favorite guest characters this season, so I’d be lying if I don’t say I hope they resurface again, if only to go on Wesen double dates with Monrosalee. Speaking of those two, we get one last tease into their relationship: Rosalee brought her sexy carnival costume home with her. Well, you can imagine what happens after. Although I’m upset about the death of Sebastien, I honestly have no actual complaints about the episode.  His death serviced the story and he went out killing bad guys. The carnival story is one of my favorites in a long time as well. When Grimm really tries to make you care about the lives of these one shot characters and they succeed, it makes the viewing experience incredibly rewarding. So, to answer my question: I’ll miss the hell out of the show next week, but this episode was so good that it’ll keep me going until the next one in April. I’ll be with you guys here again then!

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.