‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Iron Hans’

GRIMM -- "Iron Hans" Episode 419 -- Pictured: (l-r) Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin, Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe, David Giuntoli as Nick Burkhardt -- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

If you weren’t aware that Grimm was moving towards its fourth season finale, “Iron Hans” should be a dead giveaway. So much stuff happens that it’s hard to believe the episode opens on a bunch of suburban dads hauling their sons off on a technology free weekend camping expedition on a ranch owned by the Bowden family. Of course, these seemingly normal folk are only Grimm’s version of normal – they’re Wesen. The families ride off into the woods, while Maggie, the lone woman and daughter of the camp instructor, Albert, keeps the fire burning at home. In the woods, the father and son pairs are told how important their true natures are and how they need to reconnect with the natural world. The men and boys proceed to frantically chase after a rabbit. It’s certainly a much more subdued version of the hunt than you’d expect, but I guess for New Age Wesen, it’ll do. One of the boys catches the rabbit and that night they cook it over the fire. After a lecture on the power of woging, the men all woge and they proceed to pass the rabbit around. One of the boys, kind of, sort of, woges. Not quite. But it’s exciting enough for the men to cheer. Later, Albert is seen tending the fire alone, before we shift to a hitchhiker trying to get to Salem. He doesn’t make it, as some unseen Wesen mauls him to death offscreen.

At the spice shop, the Scoobies are grappling with Juliette’s nasty new status quo. Monroe can’t believe that she’s in jail after attacking some stranger in a bar willy-nilly. Nick doesn’t plan on bailing her out anytime soon. An understandable move, though I don’t think Juliette needs to build up her resentment any further or her own head will be the one exploding. Monrosalee explain their struggle with finding a fix for the situation, going as far as to assert this has literally never happened before. Rosalee suggests finding Adalind and pumping her for information. Meanwhile, Renard is still dealing with those intense chest pains. He drinks a glass of water and a moment later he’s spellbound. Soon enough, he’s outside in his pajamas. Here’s hoping we get an explanation for what’s happening to the Captain soon. He’s not the kind of man who can rock his jammies in public.

The next day, Rosalee makes a surprise visit to Juliette at the jail. Rosalee is full of positivity and optimism, which goes down like a lead balloon once she sits with her erstwhile bestie. Juliette fakes nice for a minute, but it gets nasty pretty quickly. Juliette tells Rosalee to can the love stuff when talking about Nick and they discuss how Monrosalee would give up being Wesen if they had to in order to be with each other. Juliette says Nick wouldn’t give up being a Grimm. Considering he was gung ho about being powerless until she gave him permission when the Wesenrein were tormenting Rosalee, I’d say her Hexenbrain is (more than a little) wobbly right now. Juliette unconvincingly claims she’s on top of the world and everyone got what they wanted, but Rosalee hits right on target when she says she’s bitter and vengeful. When Rosalee says she knows Juliette still loves Nick, the Hexenbiest leaves. I guess someone can’t handle real talk from their best friend.

While that uncomfortable meeting goes down, Nick and company are at the scene of that hitchhiker’s grisly death.  They don’t stay there for long though. After Wu fills everyone in, Nick takes a photo of a clearly Wesen footprint and they all agree they need Monroe. They’re pretty much a well oiled machine at this point. Less steady, however, is the Captain. At the precinct, he had one of the officers bring him the file on incidents the night before. I guess Renard is checking in on himself. Can you imagine getting clobbered by a dude in his pajamas? To be fair, he cuts an intimidating figure regardless of what he’s wearing, but still. Back at the spice shop, Rosalee fills Monroe in on Juliette’s bitchcraft during the jail visit. Monroe continues to be shocked, but Rosalee’s steadiness balances him out. Nick arrives with Hank moments later. Monroe identifies the footprint as Löwen, though there’s some cute banter back and forth when Rosalee suggests it could be a Blutbad too. Regardless, Wesen status is confirmed. Monroe agrees to go with them to the scene of the crime, while Renard gets information about the guy he apparently beat the crap out of the night before. Wouldn’t it be fun if these stories arbitrarily interconnected? No? Good news! They don’t. People are just getting the stuffing knocked out of them all over Portland.

At the fancy schmancy hotel where Kenneth is staying, he’s bragging about his seeming success with Renard. Of all the Royals, I find Kenneth the most painfully smug. When Adalind walks in, he gives her a hard time about being worried about the father of one of her children, before disclosing he knows Nick is the father of the one she’s currently carrying. Adalind provides some much needed snark to cut through Kenneth’s smugness, but he still has all the power here. Kenneth announces his plan to leverage knowledge of Adalind’s pregnancy with Nick’s child for Juliette’s knowledge of Nick’s mom’s whereabouts. Nico Evers-Swindell is doing a fantastic job with Kenneth, insomuch that I absolutely hate the character and want him dead. That means Evers-Swindell is really selling what the writers are putting out there. He struts off to get Juliette out of jail. Adalind struts off to do anything to save her ass.

At the scene of the mauling, Monroe uses his flawless tracking skills to pinpoint that the murder was part of a Wesen hunt. Although the scent was weak, he’s able to follow a blood trail to the Iron Hans Ranch. Monroe explains it’s like a Wesen Boy Scouts/men’s movement kind of deal. They had fallen out of fashion for a while, but now things are apparently in full swing again. Nick and company soon meet Albert and his son, Todd. Hank explains they’re investigating a murder, but Todd gets sassy about what that has to do with them and how none of them look like trackers. Cue Monroe woging and the Bowdens woging too. Todd gets snippy with Nick about being a Grimm, but Hank defuses it relatively quickly. Monroe and Albert connect. It seems both he and Nick have a reputation. Albert offers to take the guys to the campsite and they head off. When they get there, he explains that their camp provides the Wesen fathers and sons what might be their first connection to nature and how it prepares the boys for woging. Heavy duty Wesen coming of age stuff. Todd pushes at Monroe about being friends with a  Grimm, but the discussion quickly shifts to the rabbit that was hunted the night before and how the hunt isn’t the same as it once was, despite what some Wesen want and what that dead hitchhiker’s body suggests. Albert pushes Monroe to come speak at that night’s campout.

While there’s a case to be solved, Juliette continues to languish in her jail cell. Don’t worry though, her memories of all the horrible things Adalind has done to her to keep her company. Also incredible telekinetic powers. Don’t forget those. Before she can blast the roof off the sucker, she gets news that someone posted bail. She heads out, only to be met by the man who paid her bail: Kenneth.  The smug Royal bad mouths Nick and drops the news of Adalind’s pregnancy on her. Instead of using her Hexenbiest powers for good and killing the schmuck like she threatened, she heads off to confirm if the gossip bomb he just dropped is legitimate. Yeah, this is going to get a lot worse, folks.

At the precinct, Nick and Hank question a stream of the doughiest suburban dads you can imagine. Before we all slip into a coma, Adalind shows up in Renard’s office to make things exciting. She insists on seeing Nick, and although Renard has a point when it comes to the “If I were you, I would leave before Nick sees you” bit, her counter argument of “I’m pregnant with his baby” is pretty solid. Renard tosses some barbed words her way, but you can see he knows Nick will have to see her. Fortunately, the tedious questioning of the Weekend Wesen concludes, but without a clear culprit. Their excitement over hunting the rabbit is almost naïve; Monroe picks up zero killer instinct. Nick persuades Monroe to take the offer and go to the camp that night. He agrees just as the Captain swoops in to whisk Nick away to his office and the big news. Nick’s reaction to seeing Adalind is justified as is the almost comical direction of paternity towards Renard. Of course, Adalind reminds Nick of their encounter when she had become Juliette to sleep with him and take away his powers. Part of me was like, “Really, Nick? This whole season has been about coping with the fall out of you essentially being raped. Do you need a reminder?” However, another part acknowledges what is likely a huge desire to bury all of that as deep as possible. Adalind begs Nick to protect her from Juliette and offers up the possibility of suppressing Juliette’s Hexenbiest nature with another spell. The only ingredient that’s hard to come by is a dead Hexenbiest, and though Nick offers to make one then and there, Adalind asserts it can’t be “fresh.” However, Nick’s mom killed Adalind’s mom, so they have that secret ingredient on lock. The only other person they need is Rosalee, which will require some persuasion on Nick’s part.

Can I just pause for a moment and recognize how perfectly this show is intertwining procedural and supernatural drama with ridiculous soapy elements? It takes skill to do that, so bravo to everyone who makes it work so well. Now back to your regularly scheduled review.

Nick is visibly shaken by all of this. Like “Juliette is a Hexenbiest” shaken. Adalind defends what she did, but honestly, despite her stolen child, nothing can justify what she has done before and after Diana. Claire Coffee certainly sells it like there could be though. Nick agrees to take her to Rosalee, but unbeknownst to both of them, Juliette is heading their way. When the three meet in the halls of the precinct, I’m not sure things could get any more awkward if the writers tried. (Not that I’m challenging you, writers. Nope, nope, nope.) Juliette proclaims her regret for not finishing Adalind off when she had the chance. Juliette’s in full Hexenbitch mode here. Nick tries to defuse the situation, but Juliette doesn’t like what that means and she head out, leaving every person in the hall feeling really skeeved out.

Monroe arrives at the Iron Hans Ranch and rides out with Maggie, who is strangely fixated on how authentic Monroe is as a hunter. It’s almost as if there’s a one-sided sexual tension there. It’s creepy. While Monroe deals with that, Nick and Adalind arrive at the spice shop. Rosalee is the latest to level some zings Adalind’s way, but she asserts that her association with Diana’s kidnapping makes her as guilty as anyone. What is it with Hexenbiests and their desire to blame everybody? To be fair, regular people often lack self reflection, so why would a super powerful witch monster engage in it? Rosalee agrees to help out, much in the same way Juliette agrees to help Kenneth out after feeling jilted. Although Hexenbiests are supposedly master manipulators, Kenneth has Juliette beat. He propositions giving Juliette a maddening amount of power; he asks her if she wants “to be a pawn or a queen.” Sadly, she’s not perceptive enough to release she’ll always be the former in this situation. Kenneth suggests doing something that will cause Kelly to come support her son.

In the woods, Albert leads another group of campers, this time with the accompaniment of Monroe. Monroe gives a masterful lecture about both his experiences as a Wesen and coping with the dichotomy of man and beast within. While the hunt for another rabbit commences, Monroe spots another Wesen in the woods. Looks like the culprit for the mysterious murders has been found: it’s Maggie! She tackles Monroe and then tries to have him hunt along with her, but he turns her down. She goes on a rant about how soft Monroe is and how they should relish their traditional ways. It’s a nice reminder of a recurring thread of tradition in this show, even if it’s presented in what feels like one of the series most inconsequential done-in-one stories.

Nick and company are already nearby checking out a second body when Monroe tells the Bowdens about Maggie. Pretty soon Monroe gets a ring from Nick and Monroe spills the beans about Maggie being the one who is hunting in the woods. He and the Bowdens try and track her down even as Nick and the other cops converge, but Maggie is far enough ahead to be scoping out her next victim. He’s a fairly nondescript bearded white guy, but unlike previous victims, this guy has a knife. He runs Maggie through in self defense, not realizing the animal was actually a Wesen. Her dying monologue goes on and explains how she had wanted to reject the gender exclusivity of Wesen hunting traditions. Of course, she also wanted to eat people, so it’s hard to be that sympathetic to her plight. She dies with her dad and brother right there.

You know who else is difficult to sympathize with at the end of the episode? Juliette. We find her in Marie’s trailer having taken Kenneth’s advice. In dramatic fashion, we see her immerse herself in flashbacks before tearing page after page out of the Grimm diaries and throwing things left and right. In a moment, every weapon, book, and potion that Nick had in his arsenal is gone. Moments later, she gives Nick a call to tease him about this fact. Yup, Juliette has gone off the deep end. As much as I love the character and love Bitsie Tulloch’s portrayal, I’m not sure there’s much room for her left in the story after this dark turn. Even if she’s restored to normal, I’m not sure it would be easy to swallow her hanging around; in the same way it’s difficult to have Adalind around most of the time. Next week should definitely be interesting.

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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