After last week’s cliffhanger fizzled out in a matter of seconds at the beginning of this episode, I was skeptical of how the show would handle the fallout from the total meltdown of Monroe’s family. His mother and father vehemently disapprove of Rosalee on wesen species grounds, and then get an even bigger surprise when they find out their son is friends with a Grimm. The fight with Nick ends, and Monroe’s parents leave in a huff, positively scandalized by their son. (Monroe’s father Bart: “I don't know what you two are doing here, but it’s wrong.” Monroe’s mother Alice: “I don't even know who you are anymore”). But once those clichéd leanings toward disownment are gone, “Revelation” turns into one of the best episodes of the season, meting out Nick’s often one-sided relationship with Monroe, and Juliette’s resurgence as an emotional companion to Rosalee. It’s the second memorable two-parter after the first two episodes of the second season.
Grimm wouldn’t go through the trouble of casting Monroe’s parents just to make them out to be Wesen bigots and then disappear from Monroe’s life entirely. So once the meeting goes sour, it’s fairly obvious that most of Monroe’s arc will involve reconciling with Rosalee and confronting his parents in order to live his life how he wants. And sure enough, after an apology and a quick dismissal that his family troubles can be equated with Rosalee not speaking to her mother and sister for years, Monroe goes to his parents to explain in a plain manner how he doesn’t follow their beliefs, because he gets to live his own life. Over the course of nearly three seasons, traditional Wesen living hasn’t applied to Monroe, Rosalee, or Bud since they encountered Nick. It’s actually a bit more surprising that other Wesen characters in episodic plots haven’t reacted more viscerally before discovering that Nick isn’t like most Grimms. Like I said about the first episode in this arc, Silas Weir Mitchell is the number one reason to watch this show, and he delivers when the emotion counts without boiling over into an overly showy performance. He stands up to his father, calmly explains that he’s made up his mind and his parents need to join him in the new paradigm or be cut out of his life.
Alice has the change of heart first, going to meet with Rosalee, state her opinion in a more rational (but still somewhat closed-minded) way, before the two woge out and basically sniff each other’s cheeks. Perhaps that’s some kind of way for Wesen to acclimate with traditional enemies, but at least it’s a step in the right direction toward bringing the family back together.
But Moroe’s father is more concerned with Monroe’s friendship with a Grimm. It’s mildly disappointing that the show has Alice reconcile with Rosalee over the impending wedding and Bart coming to grips with Monroe’s friendship with Nick, since it breaks down too conveniently along stereotypical gender lines. Nick’s mother is an ass-kicking female, so the show has bucked trends in that fashion before. But Monroe’s blutbaden parents represent the traditional, ordinary wesen, unlike the wealthy and powerful royals or the criminals that Nick and Hank frequently encounter. It’s a not-so-subtle commentary on closed-minded parents disapproving of marriages and friends, and thankfully the episode turns to make Alice and Bart into more active participants instead of stoically disapproving parents.
As the mystery crept along, I had high hopes for it lingering on for more than just a two-parter and developing into the overarching plot of consequence that Grimm desperately needs, but once Monroe’s dad spies on Monroe and Nick as they set off for the Airstream Of Knowledge (And Weapons), I knew it was concluding before the end of the hour. The case of the scalping Wesen comes together as a final showdown between Nick, Monroe, and the creatures stitching together the scalp cloaks—but there’s one mystery twist waiting at the end. Throughout the episode it’s revealed that there are at least two of the almighty powerful creatures, since they dismember a forest ranger. But when the surprise third, larger Wesen appears in the final fight, it’s a momentary worry that the creature could be Monroe’s father—Blutbaden and creature-with-a-difficult-Germanic-name difference notwithstanding. But Bart turns out to be the final offensive presence necessary for Nick to instigate a Samson and Delilah-type attack, which negates the invigorated Wesen. That fight scene has some of the best choreography in Grimm so far, mostly because it’s not so easy for Nick and Monroe (and Bart) to overpower the enemy. There’s actual danger, and I was worried once Bart entered the fray that Monroe would have to confront some kind of emotional loss in the course of taking Rosalee as his wife. (Thankfully that’s not the case, though Grimm really could use some cast trimming in the Joss Whedon sense of the term.)
In a moment that bodes well for the continued tension throughout the rest of the season, Bart reveals that the scalping creatures are a symbol of worse things to come. Grimm has been hurting for a Hellmouth-like justification for the concentration of criminal Wesen and a serialized plot for the New Scoobies to contend with. Thanks to Bart’s observations that worse creatures should be showing up and targeting Nick because he’s a Grimm, that should take care of the terrifying forces to come. They may not be coordinated or sent by the royal family—which remains a woefully untethered plot line—but there needs to be something about Portland that attracts the Wesen Nick has to contend with, and thanks to a few lines given to Bart, there’s something.
Meanwhile, in Vienna, the pace keeps picking up with Adalind’s and paring down on complexities. Stefania, the Romani woman, turns out—in a moment totally devoid of any twisty drama, though the show could’ve built to that somehow—to be working with Viktor in order to profit off of Adalind’s child. Why Viktor doesn’t simply bump her and her crew off in order to deal with Adalind herself is beyond me, but there’s some kind of arrangement, which quickly goes wrong once Captain Renard informs Adalind in the middle of the night that she needs to flee—because Sean believes the child is his, with no proof of that assertion.
The bolder move would be to have Adalind become an active participant in her own fate, choosing to align with Viktor instead of going along with Renard’s orders. If she was a skilled manipulator, and one determined to do something once here powers returned, I think she’d stay aligned with the royals and find a way to engineer an escape that positions her as a formidable enemy to be reckoned with. But instead, she defers to the protection of others, and goes with Meisner and Sebastian (who, let’s face it, should probably be fleeing for the hills lest he be discovered as Renard’s spy), shunted off to a rural Austrian cabin.
That’s apparently where she’s going to have the baby and get back her powers, which still needs to be connected back to everything going on in Portland. Right now, all the Vienna drama doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the lingering coins with Nick’s mother or anything Renard needs to control in Portland. What knocks this episode down a notch for me is the continued absence of overall direction in the plot. Invariably Adalind’s child will register as a significant force, and her returned Hexenbiest powers will pose a threat to Nick and even Renard (though he helped save her). Still, Grimm has to contend with so many plot threads dangling that it’s difficult to imagine the season concluding in satisfying way, even though NBC is content to continue renewing a surprise Friday success that isn’t a critical hit like Hannibal.
But like the other few Grimm two-parters (all co-written by showrunners Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt), I was largely satisfied with this one, especially the second hour. I loved many of the multi-episode stories on Buffy and Angel, and I’m beginning to think that this is a narrative mode well-suited to Grimm as well. The writers spread the story over two hours in such a manner that setup makes me doubt the possibility of the followthrough, only to make me feel dumbfounded when the show pulls off something compelling and humorous. The “family dinner” scene from earlier this season—with Hank, Rosalee, Monroe, Nick, and Juliette—is one of my favorites the show has ever done. The complementary scene at the end of this episode, comprised of the three couples (Monrosalee, Monroe’s parents, and Nick/Juliette) is a another in that vein, and I found it delightful. The rest of the season will surely be interrupted by episodic cases with Nick and Hank investigating and seeking Monrosalee’s help, or even leaning on Juliette’s veterinary knowledge, but “Revelation” lurched further toward a version of Grimm that has its entire ensemble under control in order to inch the larger story forward in compelling fashion.
- Also during the Olympic break, Grimm posted a digital short called “Elegant Endeavors,” about Juliette and Rosalee throwing a Valentine’s Day spa party. It’s a delightfully comedic mini-episode where the women deal with a Ziegevolk. They even blend a frog.
- Speaking of Bud, he’s been totally absent for a long time. I wonder if he’ll pop up any time before the end of the season.
- Because this isn’t strictly a police procedural episode, and more of a family drama that overlaps with a multi-episode case, Hank and the rest of the precinct get short shrift. That ties into Monroe and Hank largely serve the same purpose on the show as Nick’s partner in the “real world” and the Wesen one.