Episode 18: Volcanalis
Episode 19: Endangered
By: Carlos Uribe
Grimm is a show about a man, Nick, who hunts monsters which look human.
This episode's Opening Quote: “The demon came home, and he declared that the air was not clear, 'I smell the flesh of man.'”-The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs by the Brothers Grimm
This Episode's Monster(s):
Taureus-Armenta: A minotaur-like wessen create that is known to be stubborn and courageous.
Volcanalis: A demon-like humanoid that is made of pure magma. It is extremely dangerous and technically not a wessen.
The weekly case starts out strong. A geologist makes the mistake of stealing some sacred rocks from a fumarole. A crazy Taureus-Armenta tries to stop her but he only scares her away. He's pegged as a suspect when she later shows up dead but he was only trying to warn her from the real threat. There's a demon, Volcanalis, out there who likes to kill people who take his rocks. They must try to kill him by freezing his body. They kill him by smashing his body into tiny little pieces. The good guys win and it's a pretty basic plot with a cool premise. The problem is that the case tried to set up stakes that were too high, too implausible to really work. They basically blame the Volcanalis for just about every volcano eruption that has happened. They have to stop him before he causes a nearby volcano to erupt. Putting the whole town of Portland at stake might have made sense when they came up with the idea but it basically made this demon creature to be too powerful for what they were presenting. It's like the writers didn't think that having a creature who would kill anyone who stole his little rocks was a big enough threat-they had to place every civilian in danger for the sake of it. It's not like the series every really committed to it. It never felt like they had to rush to try and stop the volcano from erupting. It was more in the background than anything but that's a good thing because it was just distracting every time they brought up. I think part of the reason I'm having problems with it is because the way Grimm is presenting the world. In this world, volcano eruptions don't happen naturally but are actually caused by demon-like creatures. It's like blaming everything bad on the world on the paranormal and in doing so they make it normal. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they did try to stop a hurricane by beating the show's version of Poseidon. It's not a bad weekly case and the scene where they had to lay out the stones as a trap was a pretty intense one but it just got a little carried away with the scope it tried to sell.
The weekly case might have tried to sell too much but the serialized bits were strong. The whole baby plot makes some advancements this week. Adalind is pregnant and she's starting to get morning sickness. Frau Pech shows up to basically send her to a gyspy camp to meet with their queen. They inject a really long needle that looked as painful as Adalind was shouting so they could determine she was actually carrying a royal baby. It's a good thing Adalind was telling the truth so they didn't have to kill her. They offered to buy the baby for money but Adalind isn't interested in material wealth. What she wants is her powers back. The gypsies don't seem confident they can deliver this but Adalind insists. This is certainly an interesting place for the show to go. It makes sense that the writers would want to give Adalind her powers back. She might be playing the royal family right now but there's only so many times she can do that before it gets old. Allowing her to regain what Nick took from her not only allows her to do more within the show's universe but it allows her to be a greater threat than she currently is. She'll be able to properly seek revenge or to stand her own ground against her enemies. Of course, this plan is a risky one. She might not get her powers back as the writers might have a twist up their sleeves. The royal brothers might find out and who knows what their reaction to the pregnancy or her plans to sell the baby would be.
The most interesting plot was actually with Juliette. She's been struggling as an army of Nick memories have been attacking her at every moment. It gets so bad that she actually gets into a car accident and can't tell when the real Nick goes to visit her. She's only able to start dealing with them when she visits Pilar, the Spanish lady from “La Llorna” episode.. Pilar gives her a tea that will help her mind and she's given solid advice to concentrate and focus on one memory. Here's where the writers get a really smart idea: she can't just remember but she has to live it out. She has to enter her past in order to fix her present and have a future. It's a smart idea that is helped by the way the show does it. She picks her first memory (Nick moving in to their new home) and everything goes to black-and-white as she starts to act it out. The more she is able to integrate herself into the memory, the more that color starts to appear until eventually the memory is done. It's a great visual technique that basically allows the producers to show the audience the process. In the end, Juliette is able to remember the time Nick asked her to marry her. She's happy by the news but she's still worried. Can she trust him? A question that's going to carry over into the next episode...
This episode's Opening Quote: “They'll kill you, and I'll be here in the woods all alone and abandoned.”-Brother and Sister by the Brothers Grimm
This Episode's Monster(s):
Gluhenvolk: An alien-like wessen that is very rare, to the point of extinction, and is valued for their luminescent skin. Pregnant females need to consume cow ovaries before going into labor.
Raub-Kondor: A condor-like wessen who hunts the Gluhenvolk. Not much is known about them.
The weekly case for this week begins a bit odd as it sets up a typical alien situation. There's mutilated cows and the farmer that investigates sees a glowing, blue alien-looking humanoid. This farmer soon dies but his boss is able to look at the person who killed him before he gets away. The series does the smart thing when it reveals that the alien-creatures are actually just rare wessen. It's one thing for this show to introduce demons and ghosts but quite another for it to introduce aliens. The former keeps the series within it's supernatural (or fairy tale) theme while the latter sends it to science fiction. It simply doesn't fit so it's good that the writers didn't force it. They found a solution to make the plot work. Their solution is also pretty clever as it takes the UFO mythology and fitting it into this show's universe. The case gets complicated because it involves a pregnant lady and a hunter who wants to skin them alive. It's actually pretty surprising that the climax is basically split into two halves. The first is when the pregnant lady gives birth and the second is when the fight between the hunter and the good guys happens. Some shows might have chosen to try and combine them by adding in as many obstacles as possible to the birth. There's nothing wrong with what Grimm did as, while the tension might not have been as high, it actually made it simple to figure out what was going and for both dramatic events to get their proper due. The weekly case was good, it remained within the proper scope, and it cleverly fit it's own alien species into the wessen world.
The episode also has some serialized developments on it's own. The writers remember that there's the whole key plot going on so they decide to resurface it. This show still needs to work on it's pacing of the overall mythology plots because it's easy to forget they exist with everything else going on. Nick is trying to figure out the map and where the other keys are at so he has a few conversations. The first is when he reveals the existence of the key and the map to Monroe. He's able to figure out that the hidden object is in Germany because Monroe is able to recognize part of the map. The second person he goes to is Renard where he learns some important information. The royal family has four of the keys, Nick has one, and the other two are unaccounted for. It turns out that the royal family had gotten the first key, and discovered the object they hid, because they had tortured one of the Grimms who had made them. It's taken them 600 years to get the other three keys. As to what the object could be? It's still up-in-the-air but Renard spells out some theories: eternal life, the sword of Muhammad, the nails and wood from the cross of Jesus, or other objects of immense power. This is all very good information to have and it's good that the writers are bringing them up after having put them in the background for a while. It's also good that we got this info dump in a pretty intense scene between Renard and Nick. The two might be forced to work together but it's clear they still have trust issues.
The episode also moves forward to a Juliette and Nick reunion but the path isn't perfect. Juliette is able to remember a moment from the picture of the two kissing. It was under the mistletoe and it was the first time that Nick told her that he loved her. Right after she had complained that the word hadn't been used. It's a little too cute for my tastes but it's a great way for the show to have Juliette remember the love she felt for Nick. Only she just doesn't know if she can completely trust him. That's why she's not rushing back to his arms. She's not only worried that she's put him through too much to win him back but also because she doesn't know some details about him. Such as when she asks Monroe what a Grimm is. His answer is pretty vague. The plot is moving towards the two of them getting back together but it's obvious that the truth about Nick's ability is going to be an obstacle as long as she's kept in the dark.
Volcanalis was a good episode Grimm with a largely successful weekly case, if it tried to sell itself too much, but with great serialized bits. Endangered is a slightly better episode as the weekly case doesn't suffer any problems and the serialized parts are great.
This week I learned that Portland is apparently near a volcano! I didn't know that.
Hank goes on vacation these two weeks which allows Wu to have a greater role as he tags along as Nick's partner. Why wouldn't they just give Nick a temporary detective, rather than a normal cop, as a partner?