“Dyin’ on a Prayer,” the fourth episode of Grimm’s fourth season might be the season’s most brilliant episode yet. Continuing this season’s trend of seamlessly shifting from the end of one episode into the start of the next, we are once again greeted by questionable characters in masks outside Rosalee’s spice shop. As they approach, the perspective shifts inside, where Monrosalee are still working with Elizabeth on that much needed Grimm cure. What follows is Elizabeth listing all the coincidences that would have to occur to make what happened happen: Adalind would have to be depowered by Nick, then go through the repowering ritual while pregnant. Unfortunately, the stars aligned to make all of that possible. Also unfortunate? Those sketchy dudes fling a marked brick through the window of the shop. Monroe explains that the marking means “wolf trap” in German. The trio quickly realizes that Monsrosalee’s mixed marriage is the motivation. Clearly, there’s more story here, but as Elizabeth insists, they still have to figure out how to reverse Adalind’s whammy. While they’re putting together the brew, we get some great banter between Monroe and Elizabeth. We also get a nice little snippet of Monrosalee romance buried in all the chaos too. We even get some of Monroe’s signature ranting about history. Wouldn’t you hate to go up against him in bar trivia? I know I would. During all this talk, Elizabeth finishes what we hope is Nick’s remedy. She proceeds to woge into one of the most magnificently hideous Hexenbiests I’ve seen on the show—props to the folks doing the visual effects—and stirs it with her finger. The next morning, Monrosalee return to the shop to see… Adalind. In one of the funniest scenes I can recall in the show’s history, Elizabeth as Adalind trolls Monrosalee. Rosalee catches on quickly, but Monroe wants to go in for the kill at first. Once her true identity is revealed, she throws a diss Adalind’s way and returns to normal. Elizabeth says they need one more ingredient, but acquiring won’t be up to any of them. Pretty mysterious, right?
While Nick has lost his impressive Wesen spotting powers, he’s still more than capable in the kitchen, where he’s whipping up a stir-fry for Juliette and Trubel. The moment is adorably domestic and altogether normal, but Trubel’s disappearance sets everything askew. Nick is somewhat frantic, but Juliette spots Trubel’s signature chess piece, the black knight. They realize she left it there on purpose. Nick ends up at the trailer, where he finds Trubel. You can feel Nick’s concern for his protégé in the way he talks and in the faces he makes. Although it’s been frustrating to see him sidelined lately, his connection to Trubel is truly something. Once they’re alone together, she spills the beans about that shady Steinadler FBI Agent Chavez: she’s a Wesen, she kidnapped Trubel, she’s part of some sort of Wesen monitoring organization, and she told Trubel to keep it all hush-hush, lest something bad happen. The two of them put all the pieces together about their encounters with Chavez and agree that Trubel should return home. While her disappearance felt a little contrived at first, these scenes are great. Nick, Juliette, and Trubel are creating a unique little family unit. I’m crossing my fingers that it will become status quo.
With most of our beloved Scooby Gang on canvas for the week, we get our first glimpse into this week’s case. Sara Fisher and her young son David are home together, when there’s a knock on the door. Outside is the woman’s belligerent drunk of an ex-husband, Keith, who proceeds to assault her and his stepson. If domestic violence is an issue for you, you might want to check out here. The scene is an uncomfortable one, but it’s also incredibly effective. The angry drunk woges—which could easily turn this episode into a cliché narrative about how abusers have a beast inside—but that’s not what happens here. Sara manages to one up her abuser and escape the situation with her child. Moments later, you see Ben, her brother, rushing to visit his family at the hospital. Ben is pissed off, for both his sister and his nephew. A little bit later, we see Ben at the Jewish temple he serves as rabbi. He sends up a rather ominous prayer and the scene shifts. Keith, bottle in hand, wanders outside and is trapped by a red puddle of goop. Soon it takes an almost human form and this Siegbarste is toast. Looks like we’ve officially got a crime for Nick to solve!
In the morning, Sergeant Wu guides Nick and Hank to the dead guy. Nick remarks that it seems like there’s “something coming out of every orifice.” Gross, huh? Keith’s dead body is covered in red clay and our favorite police officers have no clue what to make of it. Before they can gather themselves, Keith’s equally unpleasant brother Nate appears on the scene. He rants on and on blaming Sara for his brother’s demise, before being escorted away. After the little drama, we’re back at the hospital with the Fishers. We get some too- on-the-nose chatter about what a monster Keith is between Ben and Sara, before Nick walks in backed by Hank and Trubel. They had decided to look into Wesen possibilities, but nobody here is a Wesen. While David talks to Trubel in the hallway, we get some really fantastic moments where Trubel bonds with the kid over seeing monsters. Jacqueline Toboni brilliantly plays the scene here.
Once Nick and company head out, the scene shifts back to Sara’s house, where Keith’s body was found. Ben does his best Walker, Texas Ranger impersonation and slips his hand into the clay that remains. Something tells me whatever he was praying about didn’t go as planned. (What am I saying? I know it didn’t go as planned.) Back at the trailer, Nick, Hank, and Trubel tear through the Grimm diaries in hopes of finding a Wesen resembling Clayface out of the Batman universe, but they come up dry. Hank offers up the possibility that it could be something else, like La Llorona or Volcanalis. I appreciate Trubel’s surprise here. She’s adjusted to Wesen somewhat, but having something else thrown into the mix levels the playing field quite a bit. While there, they get a call from Ben regarding Keith’s murder. He wants to confess. This is where things get a little weird: Ben confesses to summoning the Golem, a creature out of Jewish folklore. Most representations I’ve seen of the Golem are much more “solid” than the creature represented here. As I mentioned before, the Golem has more than a passing resemblance to Clayface. It’s an interesting shift and one I appreciate. While Ben feels guilty and wants to take the blame, Nick explains prayer isn’t a crime. It’s a fair statement. Even with two believers in the supernatural, you’re not going to see them arresting someone for something so fantastical. Nick takes the jar meant to contain the remnants of the Golem and departs with Hank. Back at the precinct, they get test results linking the jar and the murder, but before anything more than some banter can come of it, we’re greeted with a welcome return. Renard is back! A round of applause ensues and he gives a nice little speech in appreciation of the men and women who serve under him. It’s nice to have Renard out of the hospital. I’m not sure he’s quite in Shirtless Rage shape yet, but with a little healing, he should be back on track soon enough.
At Sara’s house, Ben confronts his sister about his prayer for the Golem, but she dismisses his confession. One can hardly blame her. When they enter the home, they find Nate inside, who proceeds to accost them and accuse them of murder. Nate woges and chases after poor little David, who hides under the dining room table. I guess being an abusive asshole runs in the family when you’re a Siegbarste. The attack is reported to the police; Nick and Hank head out, but Wu heads into Renard’s office to talk Trubel. Wu is definitely hot on the trail of something, but I’m not sure he’s ready to find out what’s going on. Renard agrees to see what he can find out, but it’s essentially the Captain blowing Wu off. I’m interested in seeing how this story will go, but something about it really has me on edge. I can’t explain it, but I’m sure I’ll be able to once everything hits the fan.
It doesn’t take long for Nick and Hank to arrive at the scene, where Ben explains Nate’s theories about what happened to his brother. Ben insists on going with them to find Nate, but before he leaves, Nick has a moment with David. I love these little glimpses into Nick as a person. He leaves, but not before agreeing to send Trubel to check in on David and Sara. Before Nick can get to Nate’s place, the Golem arrives and kills him right in front of everybody. They soon realize that the Golem will go after anyone who makes David feel threatened. They head to the temple to get the scroll to destroy the Golem, while Nick thinks up a plan to make the Golem show up. Meanwhile, Trubel has arrived at the Fishers’ home. She keeps them company while they wait for Nick and company to arrive. Once they do, Nick takes David to talk to Ben outside. The scenes that follow are rough. Nick berates this traumatized kid in order to draw out the Golem, but neither he nor I, as a viewer, are very comfortable. David Giuntoli does get to deliver the immortal line, “You can’t play with toys in jail,” which I’m assuming is the kicker for the Golem to appear. The creature shows and proceeds to attack everybody. During the fight, Trubel is nearly consumed, but David comes to her defense. He repeatedly strikes the Golem and destroys it. Sure, that might be a little cliché, but it’s also incredibly satisfying too.
Meanwhile, while all this stuff is going on, we have the real Adalind and Hofmann trying to escape the castle. They make a strange pair, but stranger still are what Adalind awakens by speaking too loudly. The castle walls are alive and they know things. Hofmann tries to get Adalind to leave, but the walls cry out that they know where baby Diana is and she proceeds to lose it. Pretty soon, so do the faces in the walls. They begin crying and flood the stairs. She demands they stop crying, but they don’t. Whatever was in that brownie she had last week really knocked Adalind for a loop, that’s for sure. The crying walls rank among the most intensely weird things I’ve seen on Grimm and I mean that as a compliment. Adalind ends the episode trapped and potentially drowning. Is it wrong that I kind of enjoy it? Oh well.
Closing out the episode, Trubel is filling Juliette in on all the insanity of the past few days, when Monrosalee and Elizabeth arrive at the door. Here’s where we find out what that last necessary ingredient is: Juliette. Bitsie Tulloch’s puzzled expression and delivery of the episode’s closing line (“What?”) is kind of perfect. Tulloch is something of an unsung player on the show in my opinion, but when she is doing her thing, she’s great. This episode tweaked the usual Wesen of the Week, gave Nick a chance to shine again, and offered some of the weirdest and most hilarious moments I can remember in an episode of Grimm. Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited to see how this picks up in the next episode.