Episode 21: The Waking Dead
By: Carlos Uribe
Grimm is a show about a man, Nick, who hunts monsters which look human.
This episode's Opening Quote: “Papa Ghede is a handsom fellow in his hat and coat of black. Papa Ghede is going to the palace! He'll eat and drink when he gets back!”-The Guédé
This Episode's Monster(s):
Craucher-Mortel: A puffer fish-like create that can use his venom to make zombies.
Coyotl: A coyote-like creature featured in “Bad Moon Rising”. This create makes a brief appearance in the beginning.
The penultimate episode of the season uses it's weekly case to build up to the finale. The protagonists don't really get that far into the case. They manage to figure out that a wessen is able to use venom to make it appear like someone is dead before they wake up basically as zombies. They are only aware of a couple of people who have changed. One is a coyotl who is killed by a responding police officer while the other is a girl involved in the situation. Nick happens to notice that there's a Haitian man wearing a top hat at the hospital and near the crime scene but this man isn't a suspect yet. He figures out what kind of creature the wessen they're looking for, a Craucher-Mortel, is. That's basically it. The case is not only left unresolved by the end of the episode built it builds up to a semi-effective cliffhanger. The end of the episode slowly reveals that this man has been building an army of zombies. He meets with Renard's brother which basically ties the weekly case to the overall narrative rather than standing on it's own. The implication is that the zombie army being assembled is related to the royal's plan in Portland. It's a good cliff-hanger in the sense that an impending zombie army is exciting on it's own. That Grimm was basically able to adapt the zombie craze into it's own world through vodoo folk lore helped to accept this plot. The problem with the cliff-hanger is that the plan between the royal and the man in the top hat, Baron Samedi, is that it's very vague. There is nothing wrong with mystery but it's hard to understand what the stakes are when the plan itself is completely unknown. It's simply too vague to serve as a proper cliff-hanger. Promising a zombie army attack? I'm intrigued and even excited but not dying to see the next episode. Promising a zombie army attack with a sense of it's goals? That's the kind of cliff-hanger that's going to have me counting down the days to the next Grimm episode.
We do get some other serialized developments. Juliette finds out just about everything she needed to know about wessen when she decides it's time to see what Nick had tried to show her before she collapsed. She might have an idea of what wessen is but it's not a concrete idea in her head. She needs to know exactly what they are and this involves having them woge. She goes to Monroe's place to see his change but she's convinced to go to Rosalee's spice shop first. There's some worry by Bud that she's not going to be able to handle seeing them change for the first time but they decide to go through with it. Rosalee is the first one to change and Juliette's reaction is pretty much spot-on. She leaves the shop before walking back in. She sees Bud accidentally change before Monroe shows his terrifying blutbad self. When she's assured that Nick is only a human being who can see them change, she's relieved and willing to hopefully accept this new world she's being introduced to. There's some fear by the characters that she won't be able to process this properly and she'll lose her mind but this feels less like a serious threat and more like attempts to artificially raise the stakes. It's doubtful that Juliette is going to suffer a serious mental breakdown due to this. Juliette now knows most of the truth which means she can finally begin a new relationship with Nick. It's a pretty necessary step for the show to take and it had some fun with having her experience her first woge changes. On the other hand, it's been coming for so long and she was basically inducted into the Grimm world last episode that a lot of it felt like scenes that had to happen before we get to the good stuff. At least Juliette has a better understading of the wessen world now but here's hoping that the finale is able to integrate her into the actual world rather than merely being shown it's existence.
While this is all going on, Adalind finds herself in the middle of some kind of struggle for her baby. I'm actually not entirely sure what's happening. Frau Pech is trying to sell Adalind's baby to the highest bidder. She's willing to go against Adalind's wishes and go to the royal family in order to secure a nice profit for herself. She has the sense to protect the identity of the mother but that's largely out of self-interest to ensure Adalind remains safe from harm through the pregnancy. Stefania is interested in the baby as she accepts Adalind's terms by offering her powers in return for the baby. Adalind accepts and she's forced to accept a contract she can't understand. The two females (Frau Pech and Stefania) seem to be at odds now but I'm not sure why. Frau Pech was the one who introduced Adalind to Stefania after all. There might have been some tension but there's a conflict between them. I think part of the problem is that I understand Adalind's desire in this but not the significance of the baby. She wants her powers back and she's willing to give up her royal baby for this but why is this baby so important? Why is royal blood so valuable? Without understanding this, it's difficult to fully comprehend the conflict between Stefania and Frau Pech. It's one thing to establish that a baby is valuable but another to define the value. There's clearly many layers at work in this plot but there's a lot left to the unknown for the plot to truly work.
The Waking Dead is a pretty good episode of Grimm but it does have it's problems. The weekly case builds up to an exciting cliff-hanger but it's too vague for it to be truly effective. The Juliette plot was basically fulfilling all the steps before we can actually move on with the plot. It was done well but there's always a sense that the real story is coming now that Juliette has caught herself up. The Adalind plot was fine but there's a lot that's left too vague for it to truly immerse me into the drama between Stefania and Frau Pech. It's an episode that builds up to the season finale and it's sort-of difficult to review it because it's the first half of a two-parter. Overall, I had a good time but there's so much that's left mysterious for me to be dying to see the finale.