TV Recaps

‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Highway of Tears’

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but this is the episode of Grimm we’ve been waiting for since last season’s finale. Sure, we’ve had some stuff in between—some really great stuff in the last couple episodes especially—but “Highway of Tears” is a major turning point. Picking up from the hate crime at Monrosalee’s door, Juliette commits to the cure and Nick’s quest to regain his powers. Inside the house, Monroe is understandably enraged and doesn’t have much hope that Nick and Hank could even really do anything. The burning wolfsangel on their lawn—equivalent to a burning cross—is a symbol of a Wesen purity organization. Think the Klan, but even more on the nose with the monsters inside. The organization actively opposes Wesen intermarriage, which puts Monrosalee in a very bad place. A frustrated Monroe lashes out a bit, explaining the situation doesn’t even involve Nick since he can’t see Wesen anymore. This is when Juliette drops the bombshell: she agreed to the cure. Although the episode turns from this blood purity hate crime to the cure relatively quickly, the seeds of major conflict are germinating.

While the aforementioned drama is going on, we get a visit with an attractive young couple on the Portland road at night. I’m sure as you read that statement, you realized this pair is in for a rough go of it. And they are, thanks to a cult of komodo dragon-like Wesen called Phansigars. The couple, who are kissing as attractive young lovers are want to do, drive over spikes planted by the Wesen and go off road. The Phansigar approach and while the young woman is trapped, they use their disturbingly long tongues to choke out her husband and take him away. Hello, Wesen of the Week!

Once the decision has been made, Elizabeth returns to Nick and Juliette’s place where the cure can be put together and implemented. Once the witch’s hat is erect, Juliette inhales the smoke coming from the tip and transforms into Adalind. It’s a little unsettling to watch her transform while the Scooby Gang looks on. The transformation sequence is kind of awesome actually. Elizabeth cues everyone to leave, with Monrosalee taking Trubel to their place while Nick and Juliette-as-Adalind can reverse the curse in the bedroom. The scene is tense—at once uncomfortable, romantic, disturbing, and sexy—but David Giuntoli and Claire Coffee play that tension brilliantly. I’ve watched this episode few times now, and the uneasy feeling remains.  Fortunately, we have Monrosalee and Trubel to cut some of that tension with awkwardness and booze. The detour with the rest of the gang gives plenty of time for the deed in between and we get some Nick and Juliette-as-Adalind banter in the afterglow. Seeing “Adalind” curled up to a shirtless Nick is bizarre, but certainly not the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in an episode of Grimm. “Adalind” gets out of bed and proceeds to have intense stomach cramps. Am I the only one thinking some magical shenanigans are afoot? Nick helps Juliette up off the bathroom floor and after a brief shockwave of further pain, she returns to her real self, much to their shared relief.

The next morning sees Nick and Juliette in good spirits, complete with cute couple banter and a little grab ass. I have to say, I’m incredibly relieved that their relationship is seemingly on track after what happened in the finale. Bitsie Tulloch’s portrayal of the character blossomed once the character became in the know and started helping out. After their cute couple moment, Trubel and Monrosalee come knocking, giving Nick his first chance to see if the cure works. Unfortunately, it’s not immediate. A call from work gets Nick out of the house, but we linger a little bit longer for a great moment between Juliette and Trubel.  Oh, and have I mentioned the great digs Juliette gets in at Adalind’s expense throughout the episode? The scene is punctuated with one of those.

Nick arrives at the scene of the aforementioned car crash and is filled in by Sergeant Sass himself, Wu. A couple of important things occur here: Nick realizes this case resembles one of his earliest and Wu introduces the detectives to Deputy Sherriff Farris. There are some immediate sparks between Farris and Hank, which already has me crossing my fingers for recurring appearances. Back at the precinct, Nick and Hank review the information on the previous case. I dig the story beats here; tying a case from before Nick’s life as a Grimm to one taking place right as he is trying to reclaim his powers makes for some really nice parallels. In between the reflection and finding a creepy little Phansigar figurine, we get the first glimpse at Nick’s returning powers. He spots a criminal who kind of woges. It’s a very brief moment, but this also calls back to when Nick first gained his powers and a similar scene took place.

Back at the scene of the crime, Nick, Hank, and Wu are looking for more of those creepy little lizard totems. Unfortunately, all they’re turning up is smashed up beer cans—until they find another one of those totems. At the same time, Farris shows up to inform them of another similar case that took place in between. They go to the other spot and proceed to dig around there too. Although Farris almost gives up, we get another hint of Nick’s returning powers: his enhanced hearing allows them to find a third totem. They quickly realize they should contact local junkyards if they’re going to find out where these figures are coming from, which Farris agrees to do herself. Anyone else get a bad feeling about that? You should, because the Phansigar are running one of those junkyards and they need to sacrifice a woman. Nick is at the trailer reading up on these Wesen, with a blurb written by none other than Rudyard Kipling. At the precinct, Nick and Hank fill Renard in on the Wesen of the Week and head to JP and Sons, the scrap yard where the male victim and Farris are going to be buried alive.

Nick and Hank head to the spice shop to meet with Monrosalee, Juliette, and Trubel. Monroe’s concerned about leaving Rosalee alone to help the detectives, considering everything that’s happened. However, the ladies are armed and ready to defend the place, so Rosalee sends her husband off to help defeat the Phansigar.  Unfortunately, Farris arrives in between and gets choked out by one of the sons. However, Nick and company arrive before she and the guy they kidnapped earlier are buried alive for Kali. It’s rough going at first, because Nick collapses as his powers returning bring with them that still unexplained zombie state. Hank and Monroe are soon trapped in the holes meant to bury the human sacrifices and things get seriously dicey. Nick is the only left to fight the family of Phansigar, which doesn’t seem great, considering his powers still haven’t kicked in. However, when JP woges and tries to strangle Nick, something fantastic happens: Nick sees it. He grabs the tongue around his neck and uppercuts the Wesen, tearing his tongue right off. It’s like something straight out of Mortal Kombat. Nick, fully repowered, proceeds to unleash the fury on three Wesen. There is an almost unexplainable satisfaction of seeing Nick wail on these guys. After what feels like forever, Nick is a Grimm again. Giuntoli fully embodies the character’s ferocity and excitement in what might be one of the show’s most satisfying scenes to date. The subsequent announcements to Renard at the precinct and the ladies waiting at the spice shop are like the cherry and whipped cream on top.

In Vienna, Viktor is consulting with one of his men about Meisner—who I miss—when Adalind walks in. She’s wearing her sassy pants, even if you can’t see them. The two go back and forth about Meisner and Kelly killing six Verrat to help Adalind escape. There is plenty of nefarious scheming and info dumping to go around. There are even some great Kelly/Adalind flashback scenes prefacing the realization that she’s the one who has baby Diana. Someone call Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. She clearly needs to bring Kelly back on canvas. Speaking of moms, Elizabeth makes her plans to depart Portland, which is disappointing, because she’s been a fantastic addition to the show. I really want to see a Kelly Burkhardt/Elizabeth Lascelles encounter in the future. Before leaving, she has a heart to heart with Renard and leaves the witch’s hat in his care.

Back at Nick and Juliette’s place, Trubel realizes that shady Steinadler Agent Chavez has someone spying on her.  For a professional, he does a pretty bad job of keeping his cover. Trubel whips out a butterfly knife and takes out the tires on the man’s car, before riding away on Juliette’s bicycle with her best “What, bitch?” face on. Once she appears to have left, Trubel circles back and slips into the house through the back door. She sees the spy is talking with a couple of other guys when there’s a knock on the door. It’s Josh! Trubel promptly throws him to the ground, her knife in hand. His reaction, while funny, also reminds me why I don’t care for his character. There’s something so whiny about him. Trubel and Josh fill each other in on their current situations, including Nick being depowered. Later, after the Nick is repowered and the case of the week is over, Nick returns home with Trubel to find Josh there with a machete. Fade to black.

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.