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‘Grimm’ Review: ‘Clear and Wesen Danger’

GRIMM -- "Clear and Wesen Danger" Episode 502-- Pictured: (l-r) Paul Wemlinger as Quijada Vil, Susan Ruttan as Betty Frame-- (Photo by: Scott Green/NBC)

Now that Grimm has returned, there’s no stopping it from raging ahead, as evidenced by this season’s second episode “Clear and Wesen Danger.” The Wesen of the Week format is back with some interesting tweaks. Of course, this episode doesn’t exist in a bubble. It picks up from the last episode and tugs ever so lightly at both past and developing plot strands. We also begin to see the building of what might become a new status quo for Nick and company.

However, before our hero and his buddies can get used to life in season five, somebody has to die. So, in true procedural fashion, the episode opens someplace unfamiliar. We’re introduced to a bespectacled gentleman surnamed Childs. He’s frantically checking his company’s finances, when he finds a massive error; almost half a million dollars is missing. Childs anxiously spills the beans to his weaselly looking employee Wemlinger. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds like a bad idea.” Turns out we’re all right, because Wemlinger interrupts Childs’ call to the Portland Police Department. Surprisingly, Wemlinger isn’t a weasel, but a ferocious lizard-like Quijada Vil. In his Wesen form, Wemlinger slaughters poor Childs, after which he gives the police a call himself about the messy murder.

Unaware of the bloodbath, Nick is catching up on what I imagine to be some much needed sleep. He’s at Adalind’s bedside at the hospital, but Rosalee comes knocking and soon the whole gang is asking for a progress report. Nick explains two important things: his newborn son Kelly is fine and Agent Chavez is dead. While the gang appreciates the meaning of the baby’s newfound name, they’re a little more concerned with Chavez and the four people she and Nick were supposed to meet being dead. Rosalee stays at the hospital with Adalind while everybody else departs to check out what happened with Nick and Chavez. I wish Rosalee could go play with the boys, but someone does need to stay behind, just in case. When the guys arrive at the abandoned warehouse, it’s empty. Not a bloodied corpse is in sight, but we do get the chance for Nick to share vague information about an uprising. Nick acknowledges the parallels to what happened at his own home with Juliette. When they head outside, Nick notices that the four black lines—they look more like claw marks to me—were poorly painted over on the side of the building. When Wu says “conspiracy theory” I want to cheer, because there’s certainly nefarious going on.  The fact Meisner emerges from the shadows to look handsome and menacing once the gang leaves doesn’t really help matters on the “conspiracy theory” front either. Interestingly, before they departed, Nick decides they shouldn’t tell Renard about what’s happened, which should have some repercussions on their relationship with the exiled Royal.

Back at the hospital, Adalind wakes up with a start, horrified that Kelly is missing. Fortunately, Rosalee’s presence, and more importantly the Fuchsbau’s knowledge of where Kelly is, calms her nerves. Moments later Nick arrives to check in on Adalind and relieve Rosalee of her duties. They swap info, with Rosalee explaining that Adalind will be coming home the next day.  At the precinct, Hank arrives to tell Renard the news about Adalind giving birth; Renard questions whether anyone will ever tell the kid about his messed up origins. Pleasantries, as they are, aside, Renard drops a pretty big bombshell on Hank: while Nick is on leave and Meacham is on vacation, Hank is going to be partnered with Pogue. I share Hank’s enthusiasm for the partnership, but as Renard says, they have to make it work. In one of my favorite moments of the episode, Russell Hornsby’s Hank delivers some withering side eye to Renard before heading off the scene of the crime that started the episode.

When they arrive, Wu fills Portland’s new Odd Couple in on what happened, at least according to Wemlinger. Two unknown assailants killed Childs and Wemlinger tried to save his life before calling Childs’ assistant Betty to the office. Wemlinger delivers his “witness” account of the murder to Hank and Pogue, but while Hank is skeptical, Pogue, our resident know nothing, seems persuaded. They move on to Betty, who is clearly emotional over what happened. Hank interrupts his sit-down with her when Wu reveals that she’s the only folks seen coming or going in the last three-and-a-half hours are the police and Betty, which leaves Wemlinger alone with Childs. Hank and Wu realize it has to be Wesen, but with Pogue filling in for Nick, Portland’s finest can’t get the confirmation they need. It’s an interesting twist to the show’s typical procedural format. It also follows their pattern of developing creative ways to disrupt the show’s normal patterns, especially at the start of the season.

Grimm - Season 5At Nick’s, Monrosalee are trying to get the house prepped for Adalind and Kelly’s arrival. Monroe’s struggle with putting together a mobile gives us some much missed clock trivia. It’s an all too brief Monrosalee moment, which is still a relief in the world of chaos that is Grimm. Moments later, Adalind and Nick arrive home with Kelly. Part of me feels like the timeline is really murky here, but I get why they’re moving things along. Adalind is genuinely touched by the kindness everyone is showing her, which is an interesting contrast to the character’s past behavior. When Rosalee shows Adalind around, Monroe confronts Nick about having a bad feeling, but it’s not what any of us or Nick would suspect. Monroe thinks Nick should move. As with before, it’s a brief moment, but it’s nice to see the Nickroe bromance up front, even for just a little bit. I’m also interested in the direction this story might take, because I firmly agree with Monroe. The house has seen so many awful things, that Nick is due a change of venue. I’m curious how quickly a house would sell though. Likely, as with Adalind’s return home, we’ll face some sort of accelerated storytelling, unless we get a “Million Dollar Listing: Portland” episode.

After Monrosalee leave, we get some really interesting developments between Nick and Adalind. I have a hard time shipping them as a couple, as much as I love both characters and their actors, due to the way they’ve been written in the past. It’s not just sexy hero/sexy villain tension, but the very manner of which their son was conceived and what it ultimately meant to Juliette. Of course, there are reversed depowerings and attempted murders to consider here too. The writers are handling it though and I’m surprised by how much I enjoy their scenes. For example, in the subsequent scene, Nick brings Kelly to the crib in the guest room where Adalind is staying. She recalls the last time she was there, so was Diana. It’s tense, because a lot went down regarding that magical baby. The shift in subject when Adalind asks about Juliette doesn’t help matters either. They both handle their respective losses with measured emotions and surprising grace. It’s a good foundation for whatever happens between them later. Giuntoli goes from strength to strength, because Nick returns to his own bedroom haunted by a memory of Juliette and we share in a flashback scene from better times. His face is stone, but his silence and his eyes do all the work they need. There’s a different sort of chaos in these moments. It’s very good work.

At the precinct, a different kind of work is being done: Hank solving a murder when his new partner is clueless. Pogue doesn’t get why Wemlinger would even be a viable option, but Hank knows better. Hank deconstructs a lot of Pogue’s opposing arguments, but the fact Wemlinger chewed and slashed the victim to death is pretty hard to prove. As a viewer, it’s frustrating. It’s also an interesting change. As when Trubel had to help identify Wesen for the police early last season, I’m here for it, at least for a little while. While Hank tries to make it work with Pogue, Nick is finding purpose as a maker of ham and cheese sandwiches. These moments where he gets to be a person are rather nice. Adalind, feeling restless, joins Nick in the kitchen and the second major scene between the two follows. Unlike the previous scene though, this one has nothing to do with missing children or dead exes.  Instead, Adalind and Nick get to interact like human beings, or, in this case, a human being making a sandwich for another human being with a raw tomato allergy. It doesn’t seem like much, but this exchange might be my actual favorite of the episode. The insanity is mostly stripped away and it works. Nick proposes the big move to Adalind, which is interrupted by a call from Hank. I guess regular person Nick has had his moment. Time for Nick to slip his Grimm pants back on and sneak over to the precinct.

While Hank talks to Pogue, Nick, in record time, slips by. At the same time, Wu has an important find: Wemlinger is also a wanted embezzler named Simon Kincaid. With that information in hand, Hank and Pogue interrogate Wemlinger while Nick watches for the tell-tale woge. Wemlinger stays shady and Hank proceeds to get pretty rough with him, confronting him as both Kincaid and a Wesen. Wemlinger woges in the two-way glass and Nick catches his transformation. I kind of wonder what Pogue is thinking this whole time, though that whole Wesen thing was more a whispered sweet nothing than a pronounced declaration. In the other room, Hank and Nick talk about the Wesen side of the case, but unfortunately, Pogue pops in and his hurt feelings are apparent.  Before they can push the Wemlinger case further, U.S. Marshals arrived with a warrant for Kincaid. Apparently that trumps a murder investigation. Nick tries to warn the two marshals about how dangerous Wemlinger is, but they think he’s joking. I’m pretty sure they’re gonna die. On top of that, Renard spots Nick and reams him over becoming involved. I understand on some level that the captain is just covering the department, but it’s still the least likable he’s ever been and that includes his general shadiness in the first season. Nick isn’t going to stop being a Grimm. It seems ludicrous to keep your most effective weapon against this kind of crime on the bench, which means I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting a lot more of Nick playing a fully fledged vigilante.

In contrast with the seeming breakdown between Renard and the rest of the gang, the friendship between Rosalee and Adalind continues to blossom. It furthers my position that Rosalee is the heart of the gang at this point, because her ability to defend Juliette last episode and welcome Adalind in this one speak volumes. The development of Adalind’s relationships with Nick and Rosalee are really working for me, although her history should make me skeptical. In fact, Adalind acknowledges it in a surprising admission to Rosalee: she doesn’t want to be a Hexenbiest again. Of course, she’s powerless now, but she emphasizes that the suppression spell is unpredictable. It’s a huge turn, considering the lengths she went to regain her powers the last time. I don’t think this will be the last time the issue is raised, however, when the discussion turns to Juliette and Trubel, the conversation is disrupted. The FBI is at the door looking for Nick.

Before we can find out what they want though, we revisit those U.S. marshals, who are busy getting slaughtered in a gas station rest room. They’re basically living the dream, right? I guess they should have listened to Nick about Wemlinger. Never let a Quijada Vil take a potty break in police custody. Back at the precinct, Hank and Pogue are explaining to Renard the situation with Wemlinger. Am I wrong or does Renard roll his eyes at the mention of a gardening tool as the murder weapon? At least he knows what a farce this is too. Moments later, Wu busts in with the news about the U.S. Marshals and the detectives depart for the gas station. Meanwhile, Nick gets home to those pesky FBI agents, who are asking about the missing—and dead—Agent Chavez. It’s an uncomfortable moment. I’m not sure I like the idea of Nick having to tangle with the FBI, but he handles it pretty well, for now.  It’s a mild disruption for now, though it does affect Adalind. She breaks down after they leave, because her future and that of her newborn son is on such shaky ground. I feel like her worries are justified, but I do hope that she can branch out and reestablish herself. She is a lawyer, after all. Kelly’s messed up family tree should provide fodder for the season as it progresses though. As earlier, Hank interrupts the moment with a call and a startling image from the crime scene: the same marks left after the previous episode’s Wesen attack, but this time in blood.

Nick heads out to help Hank while Pogue is stuck at the latest crime scene. A little forensic accountancy plus some call triangulation later and our heroes have figured out that Wemlinger is actually working with Betty, the teary-eyed assistant of nearly twenty years. When they arrive, Wemlinger uses Betty as a human shield and slips away. A chase sequence and a fight scene later, Wemlinger is dead on the hood of Wu’s police car. It’s a pretty intense few minutes. I was especially surprised that he was able to keep pace with both Nick and Hank. When they head back up to check on Betty, she’s deleting everything—including a picture of Renard—from the computers. She proceeds to woge, say something in Latin, and jumps out the window to her death. After the gang tries to figure things out at the spice shop, Hank ends up persuading Pogue that Wemlinger and Betty were having an affair.

While you think the episode’s going to close on Nick checking in on Adalind and Kelly, we get one more layer of mystery added on top: the sounds of groaning and fighting. They are punctuated with a bloody but confident Meisner strutting out of the same mysterious room that we saw last episode. Way to end things on a confusing note, Grimm. All kidding aside, I’m hoping the next couple of episodes delve deeper into whatever Meisner is doing in Portland. Between that and the Wesen uprising, I feel as in the dark as our heroes. I can’t wait to find out more next week.

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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