‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Hibernaculum’


“Hibernaculum” opens with Nick being the mopiest mope the world has ever seen. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but David Giuntoli is serving up his best wounded and brooding in the first few moments of the latest episode of Grimm. He even goes as far as to flip a picture of him and Juliette over while eating his dinner. While Nick seriously needs a hug, it’s Renard who ends up on the receiving end of some inappropriate comfort. Though, to be honest, “comfort” might be the wrong word here. Having had the crap kicked out of him last week, this episode finds him hobbling into his bedroom, only to find an irate Juliette waiting for him. She immediately wants to know where Adalind so she can kill her, which Renard agrees is a good idea, after telling her—and reminding us—that there’s a new Royal in town. Things get really weird from here though. Juliette takes her top off and then she and Renard start kissing. I can’t say I’m a fan of Juliard as a romantic pairing, though I love when the actors share scenes. Although the Nick and Juliette relationship has faced plenty of trouble, there have been very few legitimate challenges from other love interests on screen. To me, there’s something appealing about the conflicts between two people sans a love triangle. I’m so used to ships being at war on almost every other show, but it looks like shots have officially been fired on this one.

While all this heavy stuff is going on, a pale blond guy’s truck breaks down on the side of the road. He’s got that whole “so cold you can see his breath in front of him” thing going on, which seems a little odd, since the weather in Portland looks really rather lovely. Flash a moment later, and we’re eavesdropping on a phone call between a mother, Esther, and her grown daughter, Jenna. The mother is giving her daughter advice about her own child, but is resistant. The usual intergenerational parenting squabbles. The guy ends up knocking on Esther’s door after wandering onto her property. At first he’s mostly passive, but Jenna tells her mom to not let him in and that they’ll call a tow truck. The guy flips out about being cold and becomes aggressive. He breaks into the house and woges, revealing himself to be what we’ll later learn is a Varme Tyv. Moments later, he bites into her neck and drains her body heat. She’s now a frigid corpse. Did I mention her daughter was still on the line? Yeah. Messed up, huh?

It isn’t long before Nick and company arrive at the scene to find out what happens. Wu rattles off the details with his usual panache, but things hit an iceberg when he shows them Esther’s body. She’s frozen solid. It’s kind of like full body frostbite. Nick finds the bite near her neck and pretty soon Portland’s finest are clued in on the fact that this is more Wesen related foolishness. Wu snarks about how this probably isn’t going to be the usual suspect, but really, when have they ever dealt with a usual suspect? Nick goes to talk to Jenna and get some basic background on her mom. Pretty soon, they depart to work the case, with Wu setting up a search for broken down vehicles and Esther’s stolen car. Later that night, they check in with Wu and find out the stolen car has been spotted. Sounds like we might get one of those chase scenes that action movies always do in a few.

However, before we can resume the action, we get to check in on Monrosalee. It’s pretty nice that we’re getting a scene within their context as a couple. They’re not just the spice shop, folks! We find Monroe working on repairing a clock mechanism when his hands start shaking. Pretty soon, he’s confronted with flashbacks from his nightmarish experience with the Wesenrein. Although an arm chair diagnosis of PTSD could be pushing the limits, he certainly has a case for the disorder. I’m honestly surprised it took the show this long to address it, but I’m glad it’s being brought forward now. When Rosalee gets home, Monroe is still caught up and woges out of fear, in turn scaring her. He explains to her he’s concerned about time and how much we really have, which leads to a sweet moment between him and his wife. However, it’s also not the exact truth.

Cutting away from that emotional moment, we’re hot on the heels of the Varme Tyv. He meets up with a police blockade, does a pretty impressive turn and heads in the direction from whence he came. The police follow and pretty soon he’s sandwiched between the Scoobies on the force and the regular police. He gets out of the stolen car and runs into the woods, where Nick, Hank, and Wu follow after. This isn’t the first forest chase scene this show has done, but it’s always a favorite when they do one. There’s something about the Portland scenery mixed with the fairy tale significance of the forest that makes it fun for me. Nick, using his super-hearing, directs Hank and Wu towards the fleeing criminal, but they still can’t find him. I’d venture a guess that it’s because he’s shivering under the cover of some trees. Nick creeps closer and in true horror movie fashion, the music amps up and the guy woges into his scaly snake face. However, when Nick spots him, the guy just gasps “Grimmmm!” and falls over. So much for being all threatening with your snake face, huh, Mr. Varme Tyv?

Back at Monrosalee’s place, Monroe is stirring something that makes me wish I hadn’t skipped lunch today. Rosalee, however, interrupts his culinary activities to press him further on what happened earlier that night. Monroe continues his spiel about time, mentioning how long the clock he was fixing had been running for and how important time is because of it. Rosalee pushes a little further. Monroe finally cracks and Silas Weir Mitchell proceeds to knock his performance out of the park. If the tear in his voice when he confesses his feelings about the Wesenrein induced trauma he’s experienced don’t tug at your heart strings, you’re probably a little dead inside. Rosalee, running with Monroe’s worries about time, delivers a killer clock metaphor in a successful attempt to console her husband. It’s a great scene that will probably rank among the show’s best moments between the two characters when all is said and done.

At the precinct, Nick and company try to figure out how to deal with their criminal when the circumstances of much of his crimes are unexplainable. They can get him for the stolen car, but explaining the murder is an altogether different situation. Nick and Hank make plans to check out the diaries at Marie’s trailer, but Wu comes rushing in with an announcement about the suspect. Knute Gunderson—who should probably be named now if ever—is dead. Frozen stiff, not unlike Esther was when he killed her. Simultaneously, Wu gets an alert that Gunderson’s broken down vehicle has been found. I have to say, with less than half an hour in, I’m really digging all the twists to the usual case format.

Renard, however, doesn’t seem to be digging much right now. Waking up alone, he’s looking rough, which I’m imagining is exactly how he feels. On the plus side for all of you who love your morning afters with a side of beefcake, Renard is once again shirtless. I’m starting to think Sasha Roiz has something written into his contract. In fact, he even goes full Shirtless Rage when he starts to have flashbacks to his shooting and the phantom bleeding commences again. Sorry, Renard. Punching your mirror won’t help you out here.  Wrapped up in flashbacks of what happened, things start to get even weirder. He turns around and his bedroom is split in half. Two terrifying demon hands reach out of a blinding light and he pulls away. Unfortunately, while the hands don’t get him, what appears to be a heart attack does. Gripping his chest, he collapses. They’re definitely amping up the weirdness with Renard’s character. Here’s hoping he survives the experience.

Nick and Hank find the abandoned vehicle and it’s filled with the remains of uneaten fast food. It’s almost tragic. The amount of food is soon a giveaway that there might have been more than just one Varme Tyv on the loose. Also on the loose? The insufferable Prince Kenneth, who wants Nick’s phone and email hacked so they can find Nick’s mom and retrieve Adalind’s baby. Speaking of Adalind and babies, she comes wobbling into the room with a dress that doesn’t quite fit due to baby number two. She wants to buy new clothes, but Kenneth won’t let her go alone. I can’t decide if he thinks that she will do something sneaky while she’s away or if he’s just a controlling dick. Probably both. Book ending Adalind’s battle with the dress that just won’t fit is another scene at the side of the road. A young woman finds a guy who seems to be suffering from hypothermia. She promises to get him to the hospital, but soon he woges and attacks. Unlike poor old Esther, this woman has some fight in her and manages to escape her snake-faced attacker. He’s left crawling after her. I’m pretty sure he’s done for.

You know who probably wishes he was done for? Adalind’s shopping companion. The pair wanders Portland’s streets in the hopes that window shopping will become actual shopping. They stop in front of a boutique. Guess who else is out and about? You guessed it! Juliette’s looking for something in blood red. Like maybe a rival Hexenbiest squashed by a gargoyle statue dropped on her using her own ‘biesty telekinetic powers. Adalind spots Juliette’s reflection right before the gargoyle drops. Her Royal enforcer gets her out of the way, so Adalind doesn’t end up splattered on the sidewalk, but she does know, now more than ever, that Juliette is out to end her. Meanwhile, Juliette, with a look on her face that surprisingly says she’s more upset that she tried to kill Adalind than that she didn’t yet, sneaks off.

Surprisingly, Nick and Hank find nothing of use in identifying this week’s Wesen of the Week in the trailer, so they head down to the spice shop. It doesn’t take very long for Monroe and Rosalee to identify just what they’re dealing with: snake-like heat vampires in search of their Hibernaculum. While they’re figuring things out, a new customer arrives. Monrosalee go out to greet them, only to find it’s Juliette. She’s on edge and starts to spill the beans about what has happened to her after helping cure Nick. Unfortunately, Nick and Hank come out, which makes things even more awkward and tense. Juliette soon realizes Nick told Hank too, which ratchets things up another notch. Tension builds until Juliette finally woges revealing “the new me.” Bitsie Tulloch is handling Juliette’s unraveling quite well, even though I just want to shake some sense into the character. She certainly hasn’t hit rock bottom yet though, despite everything she’s done so far this episode. She leaves after the reveal and Monrosalee pledge to help figure a way out to help, but Nick also shoots down their hopes. Before the conversation can go any further, Nick gets called out on the discovery of another frozen corpse, leaving with Hank and Monroe. Meanwhile, Rosalee delivers the line of the episode once everyone departs. “She’s a freaking Hexenbiest!,” she announces. It’s probably a good thing Rosalee doesn’t know about that whole murder dream from a while back.

Nick and the rest of the gang arrive at the scene, to find another frozen Gunderson. They swap details about their most recent discoveries and make some while there: it finally clicks that they’ve been looking for brothers. Unfortunately for a cabbie in town, that third brother ends up in the back of his cab and he ends up the latest human Popsicle. At the precinct, Nick runs a search for local Gundersons in order to find the Hibernaculum, but soon gets the call about the cabbie and a stolen taxi. Wu, on point as ever, gets information about the third Gunderson, Sven. He’s rocking some pretty cliché snake tattoos, but they’ll be helpful in identifying him. Putting all the info they’ve gathered together, they head to the location of the only local Gunderson to the west.

The Scooby Gang arrives at the house in question, where they spot a bunch of cars. It’s a little spooky, but it feels spookier still when they break in the seemingly empty home and find it feeling like a walk in freezer on the inside. However, once they venture further, they begin to feel a mindboggling amount of heat rising up from the floor. Nick finds a trap door and they pull it open. Our four heroes descend some stairs into the creepy abyss to find a horde of Varme Tyv, as Monroe would say, “hibernaculating.” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think this was the creepiest cuddle puddle I could possibly envision. Furthermore, it makes me wonder if this story wasn’t tangentially inspired by those places people go to cuddle with strangers. It’s a thing and it, even if unintentionally, has a Wesen twist in this week’s episode.

They spot Sven in the pile, which leads to a detangling failure so severe it makes any frustrations of unrolling Christmas lights ever December seem like nothing. All of the Varme Tyv, grumpy from their interrupted nap, proceed to chase after Nick and his buddies, going from creepy cuddle party to almost zombie-esque lynch mob. Our guys escape and then hide in an adjacent barn. It slows down the mob of cold blooded snake people just enough for a satisfying fight scene or two. Nick and Hank beat the stuffing out of a couple of them, but when the rest storm the place, they start collapsing. Before they can all freeze to death, Nick and the rest drag them back to their Hibernaculum. Sven, however, froze to death. Sketchy as it might be, they plant his frozen corpse in the stolen taxi and let things run their course. Sometimes a Grimm has to do what a Grimm has to do, you know?

Back at the hotel, Adalind is long past ready to sign Juliette’s death warrant. Kenneth, however, wants to keep her around and manipulate Juliette’s estrangement from Nick to find Kelly. I’m seeing a lot of bad things happening in the near future. But let’s be honest. There wouldn’t be a show if it was all sunshine and rainbows. After everything has gone down, Nick returns home. There is more moping and more flashbacks. You guessed it. The show ends as it began. Won’t somebody give our hero a damn hug?

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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