“Plumed Serpent” S1 / E14
- B- Community Grade
In all fairness, I’m surprised that Grimm made it all the way through thirteen episodes without having someone kidnap Juliette and forcing Nick to save her. The prince saving kidnapped princess storyline was an obvious one in light of the fairy tale genre, but even in a universe that accepted any and all types of creature, dragons are a tough one to weave in. As Grimm went to commercial with about fifteen minutes left, I predicted that Nick would set off for Juliette with Eddie in tow, and that Eddie would bring up just how classical the setup had become, and lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened. Eddie has a few nice quips about Nick being the Prince, dragons kidnapping his princess, and needing to slay said dragon and rescue Juliette in order to fulfill some classical honorific story.
When Nick ends up at a strip club, albeit a very tame version of a strip club since this is network television after all, Grimm was in the awkward position of explaining how something like actual dragons don’t exist, but fire-breathing creatures called Damenfeurer can. It seems like every special creature with a particularly dangerous ability is very rare, as Eddie Monroe relates to Nick. It’s a bit of stupid semantics that actual dragons, with the wings and the fire and the treasure hoarding in a cave, are brushed off as silly fantasy, but Damenfuerer, who can vaporize their own body fat for use as fuel when breathing fire, are made to seem perfectly in line with the rest of the wessen world. When Nick tracks the fire dancer Arielle to her house while he’s searching for her father, a murder and arson suspect, she jumps him and admits that she was “purging,” which I can only assume means getting rid of some excess body fat to maintain her figure. The whole explanation of Damenfeurer seemed overly complicated by design in order to designate what creatures the world of Grimm would allow to exist, setting unnecessary limits on a world that’s been struggling to define itself in expansion.
As far as I can tell, Nick cares about rescuing Juliette because he’s been with her since the beginning of the series. Despite Aunt Marie’s warnings, they’re still together, but Nick can’t just kick her to the curb. We don’t really have a lot of compelling reasons as to why they’re still together; nothing has been revealed about how they got together, what made them fall in love, how long they’ve been in a relationship, or any significant details about how or why they live together and stay with each other. I’d even take telling over showing at this point just to lay some groundwork, but there’s just not a lot there. Nick doesn’t have very good chemistry with the Arielle, at least not in the way Eddie had some primal chemistry with the Blutbad from his past in the three little pigs episode. I’d lay most of the fault for this at Dave Giuntoli’s feet, since he doesn’t really have a lot of chemistry will Juliette to start with, but I like the idea of him falling for a wessen just like Aunt Marie did better than I like him constantly having to protect Juliette from the creature world.
It makes sense for him to let Juliette go in a lot of ways, since she’s in significantly more danger as more wessen find out Nick has a girlfriend he cares about, and one who knows nothing about his life as a Grimm. More dangerous creatures with longer plots in mind could pretty easily kidnap her, and this is already the second time she’s been in danger because Nick is a Grimm. Juliette ends up happy that “the bitch is dead” but she obviously isn’t, setting a funeral pyre for her father in his copper-filled cave, then walking out unscathed. She survives to potentially come back and torment Nick and Juliette some more, just as Eddie Monroe’s blutbad ex-girlfriend will probably make another appearance, but I can’t imagine that would be until a random episode in the second season, popping up to cause more havoc that doesn’t introduce a new fairy tale or advance the overarching plot very much.
The biggest copout was finishing up the whole case without having to explain to Juliette that Nick is a Grimm with special powers and an insight into a world hidden away from most humans. For goodness sake, Juliette got kidnapped by a fire dancer/dragon lady, and she still wasn’t able to ask Nick what the hell was going on, still only in shock enough from the ordeal to converse in a few brief sentences with Eddie Monroe in such a way that gives him the perfect alibi going forward with Nick’s girlfriend. There’s nothing serious at stake, no big explanation, and no paradigm shift. Juliette tells Nick to pull the car over for a talk, and then says she doesn’t want to talk about it right now because she’s tired. Well, what did you ask him to pull over for? Just to say one or two sentences about it instead of actually having it out? It’s just a simple search and rescue mission that doesn’t alter the fabric of the show or force any large character changes. In other words, it’s a weak decision, one that settles in and succumbs to previous archetypes instead of becoming challenging and ambitious, and that’s what I’ve come to expect from anything remotely interesting on Grimm.
- The dragon tattoo reference was pretty obvious from the get-go, but I don’t think we needed a direct attempt at humor about the whole thing. She’s a dragon lady; she got the tattoo before those books, whatever. That’s not even the original Swedish title of the first book.
- The epigraph tonight comes from the Grimm Fairy Tale “The Two Brothers” which mostly just has the dragon in common with tonight’s episode.
- The copper hoarding struck me as pretty strange given that it's not exactly the traditional kind of treasure, but the show never explained its purpose in a way that made the metal seemingly superfluous. It lines the walls of Arielle's house and it's all over the cave, but do they actually need it to conduct electricity to spark their fire breathing? I don't have an answer to this.
- Grimm takes a two-week break after this episode, so I’ll be back in the end of March to pick up on more supernatural happenings in Portland. Apparently blonde demon lawyer is coming back, and her mom is supposedly in the mix this time.