In last night’s episode of Grimm, “The Other Side,” helicopter parenting ran amok as a Wesen kid took out his entire quiz team and Adalind surfaced in Europe to raise hell for Portland. However, the biggest question of the night came not from the story but from the episode's weird ending: Namely, why is Nick such a jerk?
"The Other Side" began with the ongoing saga of Juliette and Renard as she and Nick attended a ceremony honoring the captain and then Renard awkwardly drove Juliette home after Nick and Hank left for the A plot. We saw Renard’s obsession had gotten worse as he stared at Juliette in the shower a la Psycho before stumbling off into the night and punching an innocent bystander in the face. Renard: 1, Grocery Man: 0!
Meanwhile, a high-school academic decathlon participant was brutally murdered and it wasn’t long before another team member bit the dust, prompting Nick and Hank to believe the murderer was another teammate whose motive was to take out his competition. After they questioned team star Pierce—who was a Galapagos Tortoise Wesen—Nick and Hank found the decathlon coach murdered as well.
It turned out that Pierce’s mother, a geneticist and total hard-ass—as her “do homework to take your mind off your friend’s murder” approach to parenting proved—had tinkered with her son’s DNA in-utero, adding genes of the Lowen (a super-aggressive Wesen) to give him an edge. The splicing created a Jekyll/Hyde personality; Pierce was now killing anyone who stood in the way of his decathlon greatness... without knowing. When he found out he'd done, he was devastated and tried to commit suicide, but ultimately Nick was able to save him. Although the poor boy ended up in prison, so maybe that wasn’t such a kindness.
Everyone’s favorite Hexenbiest returned as Adalind hooked up with Renard’s Royal brother. From Ro-Bro we learned that Renard is half Hexenbiest, the son of their Royal father’s Hexenbiest mistress. Renard and Monroe interacted at the spice shop as Renard sought a cure for his Juliette obsession, and the episode ended with Monroe delivering some bad news: Not only is there no singular cure, things are going to get worse for the captain.
While enjoyable, the episode's hard sci-fi twist of gene-tampering was not only difficult to swallow, it also brought up all sorts of new questions about the Wesen—questions the episode never answered—and served to point out how little we actually know about the Wesen world. For instance, if you can isolate and transplant the genes that make up individual Wesen species, can you get rid of them? Is being a Wesen something you can “cure?” Fundamentally, what is a Wesen and where did they come from?
Also, how is a prize-winning geneticist unable to afford a better lawyer for her son? I mean there were multiple witnesses to his split-personality insanity! He was obviously mentally unbalanced, so how's come Nick and Hank were fine with callously spitting platitudes about the deck being stacked against him as he was marched off to prison (and not juvie!)?
Up until the ending, “The Other Side” was a great Wesen-of-the-week episode that did a nice job of balancing Adalind’s plotting and mythology with cop-procedural action. It was fun to see Monroe geek out about the spice shop and Hank get upset about the Grimms’ bloody past. Plus Renard is such a strong character that I even liked the Juliette storyline. But Nick and Hank’s cynical shrugging-off of a mentally unbalanced kid who desperately needed help not only felt out of character for both of them, it also destroyed the whole premise of Grimm—that Nick, despite being a Grimm, is still a good guy.
A good guy doesn’t say, “Oh, well!” when a kid is thrown into jail instead of getting the psychiatric help he needs. A good guy doesn’t learn that the kid’s mother is the true culprit, in messing with her son mentally and genetically, and then casually watch as the kid gets thrown under the bus. A good guy would at least testify or something, right? After watching Nick cover up his own murders and bend the rules for his friends, seeing him not do anything for a Wesen who truly needs him is more than upsetting—it runs contrary to Nick’s fundamental role on the show.
Last night Nick was the real bad guy, and this is a twist I neither like nor am confident that the writers of Grimm will explore past this episode.
– Is that police station intern going to be a new main character? He’s obviously going to be important, otherwise Grimm wouldn’t have wasted a scene on him, right?
– Why are the Royals prejudiced against the Hexenbiests?
– As they are clearly not Hexenbiest, what type of Wesen are the Royals?
– If Pierce’s Wesen species is from the Galapagos, why is he white?
– Does Rosalee just have a list of weird things Monroe needs to ask people walking into the shop, and if so, can I get a copy?
– What do you think will happen to Renard?