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Grimm: “The Kiss”

It’s helpful to remember that two of Grimm’s creators, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, worked on Buffy and Angel, two shows that had a soft spot for two-part television stories within a standard season. “The Kiss” is the second half of a two-part story, and it instills a little more faith that despite some serious rocky patches, Grimm has a vague idea of where it’s going. It may not always deal directly with the overarching mythology—one of the writers confirmed via Twitter that the case-of-the-week structure is returning—but it can stretch out a story over two weeks and make it reasonably interesting.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some horrible missteps here, and the bad taste of the episode’s ending means it’s what I want to deal with first. For some completely ridiculous, unknown reason, we get the tired amnesia trope, where Juliette has no idea who Nick is once she wakes up. She’s drawing back from him, looking terrified, and since Rosalee already warned that her memory would be affected, it’s clear Adalind’s curse caused the trauma. To be honest, I laughed out loud when the episode ended, since it’s one of the more ludicrous moments of the series so far. Anyone could see it coming from a mile away, and it’s a worrisome tactic. Bringing back Nick’s mother already opens the show up for serious retcon work, but this plot decision better not last long. The scene between Kelly, Rosalee, and Monroe back at Nick’s house is also tonally inconsistent, lightly comedic while also trying to be sincere. That hug between Rosalee and Kelly is reaching for some kind of meaning, but it’s vague and doesn’t fit the rest of the episode.

In the spirit of those Buffy two-parters, Nick and his mother Kelly quickly dispatch the Mauvais Dentes before darting over to the hospital to meet up with Monroe and Rosalee. The best bit of comedy has Monroe and Kelly keeping nurses and doctors out of the hospital room while Nick drops some concoction from Rosalee into Juliette’s jet-black eyes. It won’t wake her up; it’ll only stop memory loss.

So Catherine brews up some vile looking gunk in a mason jar and gives it to Renard, after some bitchy haggling with Rosalee for the ingredients. But Kelly complicates the situation further by walking into the house and killing her. She finds out some vital information, chiefly that there is a prince in Portland and that Nick can’t save Juliette for some reason, but doesn’t get his name. That second murder makes her more of a liability as well, which seals her departure with the Fuchsbau coins.

It’s a good idea to put Nick in a tough situation between his police duties and his Grimm activities by having him investigate the Mauvais Dentes’ death, and then Catherine’s murder, both committed by his mother. He successfully throws the FBI investigators by tampering with evidence and tenuously explaining some incriminating cell phone call history (which shows how much his priorities have shifted), but it’s another step down the path that began with “Cat And Mouse” last season. He even takes his mother to the same place, the train station, as a means of escape, breaking with his police duty once again in favor of Grimm loyalties, and now family loyalty as well.

Circling back to the very beginning of the episode, the epigraph is where Grimm takes an opportunity to warp a fairy tale into its world. To wake Sleeping Beauty, in this case Juliette, a man must be pure of heart. That’s a pretty vague definition, and Catherine tells Renard that in modern times, a pure man is hard to come by, so a purification mixture is the key. Taking that potion and the ensuing effects on Renard’s body make for the most revealing scene of the episode. After an entire season of hints, Renard finally shows subtle shifting that means he’s a creature of some kind. Perhaps he’s some kind of Royal/Wesen hybrid, but for now, the detail of reverting to his normal state in the mirror gives some clues about his origin. This is the mystery that intrigues me most about the show right now, as I’m curious as to whether Renard values Nick’s work after defending him to the FBI agents, or is just looking to dominate him as a subordinate and an indentured pet to build his own royal family to rule over the Wesen in Portland.

Renard wants Juliette alive for his own reasons. She’s crucially the one thing that tethers Nick to Portland, where Renard can keep an eye on him, and presumably groom him to serve the royals in some way. But Renard is an outsider—Catherine says he’s “literally a bastard”—so he’s not privy to drastic tactics like the Mauvais Dentes. Which is why he calls and wakes his brother, who’s sitting in his European castle to tell Eric to stop meddling. The Mauvais Dentes served a dual purpose: Either it would kill Nick and rid the royals the trouble of a rogue Grimm, or he’d kill the vicious creature, thus proving himself to be that much more deadly and of greater use down the line. But Renard is trying to regain control of the situation, so he takes matters into his own hands with the grueling purification process and kisses Juliette, which wakes her up, and slips out of the hospital just as Nick shows up in the elevator.

Hopefully, Rosalee will realize that something like this is necessary to wake Juliette up, which will alert Nick to the idea the shadowy royal figure must be behind some of the larger mystical events at play. After keeping that detail in the dark for so long, now Nick has confirmation via his mother and this incident that someone else is meddling in his life without sending impending threats.

“Bad Teeth”/“The Kiss” desperately wants to be one of the classic Buffy two-parters, like the double Slayer special “What’s My Line” from season two, but it slips up so many times, and takes a worse tumble on the landing than McKayla Moroney’s second vault. There are a lot of interesting little things going on, from Renard’s backstory to Nick’s balancing act between cop and Grimm, to the departure of those stupid Fuchsbau coins, but whenever the episode picks up momentum, some inconsistency derails the progress. Still, at the very best, Grimm is an entertaining but uneven supernatural procedural, and aiming for episodic storytelling with mythological depth on a show like Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a good ambition. This two-parter is a perfect example of how far the show has to go.

Stray observations:

  • It’s interesting to note that Nick gets credit for killing the Mauvais Dentes when it’s his mom who delivers the killing blow. He’s passed some kind of test without actually completing the action.
  • Rosalee and Monroe continue to be very cute together. Their chemistry is light years beyond Nick and Juliette.
  • Kelly doesn’t stick to the plan for escaping from Portland. Instead of hopping a train, she boosts a car. It’s obvious she’ll be back at some point, and I’m still not convinced she’s going to destroy those coins. Maybe there’s a love triangle in the past with Titus Welliver’s character Fairley Kolt waiting to emerge.
  • Nick’s deadpan response to the FBI agents that his mother is the real suspect is bold and funny at the same time.
  • Hank is still resting on the fringe of the show for now, as his paranoid side is still suppressed out in public, but now that he’s made the connection between Catherine and Adalind, maybe he’s going to do something about it.

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