After a brief hiatus, Grimm is back with new episodes and its regular Friday timeslot, and this week it was Blutbad clockmaker vs. Blutbad priest as "The Good Shepherd" got really on-the-nose with a religious group literally made of clueless sheep people. Wake up, sheeple!
The episode revolved around an embezzlement claim filed by a Wesen church, which led Portland's finest to a gruesome crime scene after the thieving church accountant got put through a wood chipper. Nick and Hank’s investigation brought them to the Reverend Calvin, a “reformed” Blutbad with a red-flag waving, “more pious than thou” attitude and a track record of leading churches that wind up becoming victims of embezzlement.
Because Nick and Hank are somewhat competent as cops they didn’t buy Calvin or his assistant Megan’s claims of innocence, and brought in Monroe in to go undercover at Calvin’s church—which was made up entirely of sheep-Wesen. Many delightful Monroe-isms later (involving the world’s worst congregation welcome and his ongoing annoyance with Hank), he was sleeping in the church. Captain Renard began entertaining thoughts about Juliette, and Megan began to sour on her Blutbad sweetie when she realized she was being considered a suspect in the murder.
After menacing Homestead Grimm, the Royal Nuckelavee assassin broke into Aunt Marie’s trailer and Nick dispatched him almost as easily as he did the two Reapers (but way easier than when he bested the Kimura). Also every police officer in Portland needs to get way better at dumping bodies, though to Captain Renard’s credit he was pretty content that “his” Grimm bested the Royals again.
Megan went baaah-nkers (sorry) after finding out sweetie Calvin got a teenage congregation member pregnant, and so she turned the flock against him just as Calvin tried to get Monroe’s fingerprints to frame him for the murder. Lucky for Monroe, Nick showed up just in time to save him, but it was too late for con-man Calvin. And finally, proving that the Grimm writers read my recaps, the episode addressed my last post’s gripe that Juliette and Nick are still weirdly living together, as they awkwardly talked about it and then both claimed, unconvincingly, to be cool with it.
A take on the Aesop fable “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing,” there was a lot to like in this episode in terms of Monroe and Hank—Hank weirding out the Wesen was great, as was Monroe’s palpable disgust at digital clocks and his awesome hat (come on NBC store, Grimm’s giving you ideas for free!). The ending with Megan and Harmony was a nice topper on the cake of an otherwise entertaining—albeit perhaps a bit too literal at times—episode.
“The Good Shepherd” also furthered one of Grimm’s more interesting themes: the fluid relationship between exploiters and exploitees. We saw it when the Eisbibers met and Bud’s friend declared it was time to get revenge now that they “had” a Grimm. It was present when Rosalee’s ex-squeeze shot the hit man chasing him (who also got in a good speech about the oppressors versus the oppressed). And it came back this week as the docile sheep people violently turned against their “shepherd.” Abuse of power is rife in the Wesen world, but so is the tendency to get sucked into mob mentality, and I have to wonder if one helps cause the other.
Characters and themes aside, the show unfortunately missed a cool opportunity to flesh out the Wesen belief system, or at least examine religion from the monsters' point of view. What does Leviathan think of the Old Testament? Do snake-Wesen get upset at their portrayal in the Garden of Eden? Are animal-headed Pagan gods Wesen too? Instead Grimm trotted out a vague Christian group for the sheeple to belong to and left potentially juicier aspects out.
But my main gripe with “The Good Shepherd” is that Grimm still can’t find anything interesting for Juliette to do. Before the amnesia she existed solely as an angst-causing love interest for Nick. Post-amnesia she exists solely as an angst-causing ex-love interest for Nick. Quite frankly the show has never given her a personality beyond “Nick’s girlfriend” and now that she’s single Grimm is squandering the chance to show us the cool, capable woman Nick fell in love with. She’s a character in an action show who never gets to partake in the action, and the writers refuse to let her do anything other than talk about Nick. It’s time to either elevate her beyond “romantic plot device” or jettison her as dead weight.
... Man, between the sheep Wesen and the Nuckelavee we really hit the barnyard tonight! What type of horrible farm animal assassin will come after Nick next? A rooster-Wesen? Cow hit men? SOW-SASSINS?
... If different “species” of Wesen can get each other pregnant, does the baby end up a hybrid? Or take after one parent versus the other?
... Okay, this may be reading too much into it, but is Nick taking down the horse-person with a hammer some really convoluted Beta-Ray Bill reference? I hope it is!
... Is the “pure of heart” potion causing Renard to have romantic feelings about Juliette?
... Do you think Grimm will do better on Friday nights than it did on Mondays?
... Are your church bake sales as entertaining as the sheeple’s?