Grimm "Red Menace" Review: From Russia With Love

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Jan 04, 2014

Grimm S03E09: "Red Menace"

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. 


– 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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  • anb757 Apr 12, 2014

    only thing that bothered me with this ep - distracted really - was the "russian" people who spoke russian with an english accent... hm....The capt spoke better than most of them. kinda ruined the authenticity for me...

  • nomaveck Jan 15, 2014

    The case of the week had an interesting idea behind it but the execution was less than stellar. I liked the episode overall but most of it was forgettable except for Sasha Roiz speaking Russian (more please) and the rather cool looking design for the Koschei woge.

    I'm not sure what to think of Juliet's friend's plotline. It strikes me as a bit superfluous but I suppose Juliet does need something to do. I mean, when she's not cuddling with Nick. Having seen the episode after this, I'm still not convinced that this subplot has value beyond passing the Bechdel Test.

    Other things I liked: Renard and Adalind's cafe rendezvous was well-acted and had nice character beats, Nick's weirdly happy reaction to seeing Renard back at the office (i mean, wth was up with that? it was odd but i liked it anyway), the ghostbusters moment (even before the music cued up i was snorting), and Hank possibly getting a love interest.

  • nomaveck Jan 15, 2014

    Oh, one spot of bother though:

    How come Renard couldn't see what Nick saw when Mishkin was healing the kid with the injured cheek? Is it because it wasn't a full woge? Or is it just a Grimm thing? Or a Renard being only half-wesen thing? I'm confused.

  • Svanehjerte Jan 07, 2014

    Juliette has gotten better as a character in the third season. I like her not being a crybaby or irrelevant. Her abilities as a vet comes in handy. I never disliked her, but she is not annoying now.

    This episode was perhaps the weakest so far in the third season IMO, but I love this show. It is so underrated. I hope it goes on for many seasons.

  • Whatifnuts Jan 07, 2014

    I really liked the episode. I love that they don't forget Nick's zombie powers and am looking forward to seeing what will happen with that.
    I also liked that Captain Renard came back to Portland. I couldn't care less what will happen to Adalind so Renard coming back to the gang was nice.

    I also loved the fact that as far as I could see it was a human killer this week and not a wesen and that the wesen was trying to atone for his previous murders by killing himself slowly. That was a really nice chance.

    I didn't even realise that Rosalee wasn't even in the episode before it was mentioned in the review so even though I love Rosalee and Monroe the episode more than made up for her not being in it.

    And I really like the way Juliette is at the moment.

  • Katerine_M Jan 07, 2014

    I agree, it was really good to see a murder case where the killer was just a regular person. They nicely found a way around the "how do we keep it 'Grimm' without having every single homicide be because of a Wesen?" problem. Nice work, writers! :)

  • Copioli Jan 07, 2014

    I was surprised by Nick knowing Renard was directly involved in his brother death (one things is having suspicions, but I don't remember he was "in the secret"),
    I liked the Russians storyline, but all the rest sounded quite messy to me. The Red Hood reference to the first episode, Hank and his sudden interest in a therapist we have never seen, Alicia and his husband (personally, I think she will be the dangerous one,Nick) . It was all too much.

  • MichelleHood24 Jan 06, 2014

    This was a great episode, I like the ongoing plot of nicks zombie powers and how he's coming to terms with them and embracing them where Juliette's response to his lack of sweating well look if your that concerned tell rosellee who may be able to tell you something useful. Any way another great episode.

  • OutrSpaceBonobo Jan 06, 2014

    Juliette's glass of wine line made me laugh too. Good to know she has her priorities straight. :)

  • ashtray4241 Jan 06, 2014

    I give this review a thumbs down as you didn't address Juliette as "not-useless-Juliette". I always chuckle when I read that :)

  • KateSullivan Jan 06, 2014 is Nick finally going to pull the whole, hey Renard and Adalind, you killed my aunt who was basically my mother. I keep thinking that every time you think about Adalind's inevitable return to Portland to keep holding onto the revenge factor of her mother's death against Nick when a) he didn't actually do it and b) she had a hand in Marie's death.

    But my other comment besides the other blahness of the episode (which was fine, see my earlier comments) I kind of thought the opening was awesome. It was a throw back to the pilot, the woman was wearing a red hoodie, I was legitimately freaked out for her and preparing that she was this week's victim and then startled when it was our Nick (and concerned that he is giving off freaky vibes) and you know the writers are going to gleefully be teasing us with Nick and his zombie stuff for the whole rest of the season and might not even tell us (I so see them about to figure it out and episode ends and then a snarky, see you next fall). Like, I almost want to start a drinking game, Juliette or Hank notes something odd and Nick acknowledges, yeah, that's weird and then distraction.

  • Copioli Jan 07, 2014

    About the woman running. That is how the very first episode of Grimm began, I think the point was showing us that our Grimm has done a lot of progress and his new powers that allowed him not to sweat doing what took him a lot of effort before.

  • marcusj1973 Jan 06, 2014

    I started off wondering what I was watching. Nick going for a power jog -> Renard and Adalind chatting -> some Russian dude healing (presumably in Russia) -> back to the US -> back to Russia. It wasn't immediately clear that they were just Russian characters and not actually in Eastern Europe...which I don't think is a stretch given the Renard situation. Felt a little yo-yo'like

    Other random thoughts...

    1. Juliette's friend being revealed as vessen...AWESOME! That could be a lot of fun

    2. How many languages to Sasha Roiz speak? His French is exceptional and while I don't speak Russian, that sound pretty good to me.

    3. I was REALLY hoping that when we saw Hank's therapist, who's way to pretty to be a therapist, that she wasn't going to immediately be a possible love interest. I know pushing together seemingly the only two black people in Seattle might make sense...but c'mon Grimm producers, really?

  • nomaveck Jan 15, 2014

    Sasha Roiz speaks about four languages, I think. English, obviously. And French for growing up in Montreal or Toronto (not sure which). His Russian is from his native Russian parents. And he's said in an interview that he knows a little Hebrew as well (Jewish background).

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