Grimm "Red Menace" Review: From Russia With Love
Well, hello there boys and girls! With Krampus Claus safely neutralized for at least another year and 2014 officially upon us, it's time to pick the confetti out of our hair, find our AWOL underpants, and start the slightly nauseated crawl back to the warm glow of the television—our teacher, mother, secret lover and all that (MISSED YOU!). Oh, and if you totes forgot that Grimm returned on Friday until like five minutes ago like moi (thanks, Jen!) it's cool. You really didn't miss much.
Grimm most decidedly went with the "ease 'em into it" approach to drawing its audience back in with what basically amounted to a filler episode. "Red Menace" wasn't a terrible filler episode by any means; it actually felt a bit like a Season 1 episode with its general apathy toward everything that was happening on the screen at a given time. Another day, another Wesen—this time in Russian. You could tell they were Russian because of the word "red" in the episode title and also the copious amounts of vodka that made an appearance. It was like staring into my own liquor cabinet, except this gang was supposed to be wealthy, so I guess they weren't indulging in $8 bottles of raspberry Burnett's.
The Grigori Rasputin parallels were a nice touch, and is it sad that as soon as a "Russian healer Wesen" was confirmed to be a thing I just knew Rasputin was going to get a mention? Predictable, Grimm, like a lot of this episode. I don't think I would have minded the lack of excitement and progress that we enjoyed in the mid-season finale if the first half of the season hadn't been so freaking great. (It even made my list of 2013 awesomeness!) I've got all appendages crossed that things pick up again next week. Everyone gets an off-week now and then—it just blows when it coincides with the mid-season premiere.
However, all was not lost! Grimm remembered Nick's weirdo zombie superpowers and gave 'em a nod. Renard's super-secret trip to the old country culminated with a tense chat in a cafe with Preggo Adalind and her (probably evil) monster fetus. Renard was all "YOU IN DANGER GIRL," and Adalind was like, "Meh," but also kind of surprised that the Royals probably weren't just keeping her around and housing her in a swank hotel with all the room service she could ever want out of the goodness of their hearts. I was bummed that Renard didn't stick around and Grimm didn't treat us to epic, snarky, hate-sex-filled adventures for him and Adalind, but I guess Renard had to go back to Portland for reasons—maybe to conveniently translate some of the Russian for Hank and Nick and cut down on the subtitle abuse.
However, the subtitle abuse pales in comparison to the abuse of my soul in the form of a lack of Monroe and Rosalie action. WHAT THE H WAS THAT, GRIMM?
I don't want to talk about it. I expect an entire episode dedicated to Rosalie and Monroe going toaster shopping at some point this season to make up for the absence of their perfection in "Red Menace."
If there was one great constant tying "Red Menace" to the exceptional first half of the season, though, I gotta hand it to the Grimm Powers That Be for the total revamp of Juliette. We got to see her at work! We got to see her being the sort of sassy vet who makes pet owners feel bad for sucking at pet care! We got to see her take in an old friend in a tough spot who... happens to be a Wesen married to another Wesen, a couple who managed to keep their identities under wraps from Nick for however long they've known one another? Okay.
That nitpick aside, the Alicia-and-Joe storyline has the potential to be pretty great and build on the culture/world-clash that the back half of Season 2 and first half of Season 3 embraced so well. Grimm has, over time, made its non-human characters increasingly human. Alicia and Joe are trapped in a particularly human predicament. I'm not sure what Grimm's angle is in making them into a Wesen couple struggling with domestic abuse, but I honestly think that the best thing the show could do now that the (literal) cat is out of the bag is to make the Wesen aspect irrelevant. Unless we're talking about something inherently Wesen that's feeding into the turmoil in their relationship—like the fundamentalist issues plaguing the Naiads in "One Night Stand"—then why would the biology of the characters even matter in this situation?
As the Wesen become more human, Nick's zombie powers have decidedly made him a little bit monstrous—at least in the eyes of Juliette—who was especially freaked out about Nick's lack of sweating after a vigorous jog. I like where this is going, Grimm. (Can we not have another Juliette/Nick break-up-over-Grimm-stuff though? Please?)
All in all, Grimm's post-holiday return wasn't bad—it was just sort of rudimentary. We had our Wesen-of-the-week and the attached minor lesson about forgiveness. We hit, however briefly, on the strings left dangling at the end of the mid-season finale: Nick still has zombie powers, Adalind is still in Vienna; it's like someone ticked the plot points off of a checklist. I wanted more, but there's still a whole bunch of episodes left in this season to give us more. It's okay—I'll wait.
ALL ABOARD AUNT MARIE'S BOOKMOBILE OF CRAZY
– Hank asked out his massage therapist. She turned him down. Womp womp.
– "I'll make you something to eat... and then get you a glass of wine." Attagirl, Juliette.
– Irradiated hives-man in the bathtub was a bit much.
– What did you think of "Red Menace?"
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