Grimm’s premise introduced plenty of fantastical elements. The creatures are a given, the magic trailer with all the information Nick needs to combat enemies is certainly helpful, if a bit of a copout, and each week features at least some small references to a folk tale that could come from anywhere in the world. Grimm is dependable, if not stellar, but that insistence to eschew defying expectations has made it stale at times. Luckily, injecting some new plot elements into the mix can liven things up, even if it’s from the tried and true supernatural television bag of tricks.
This week threw a wrench into the typical procedural structure, using another tried-and-true option for supernatural shows: the magic object. In this case it’s three gold coins, which benefit the holder with an extreme amount of confidence and bravado, but with the drawback that they make whoever touches them completely obsessed with obtaining them. I can think of many different shows that have used this different structure to brilliant effect — the Buffy bottle episode “Older and Far Away” is probably my favorite kind-of-cheating example — but Grimm hasn’t built up the kind of complicated relationships to pull something like that off. This is the kind of mystical element that everyone wants to have, not one that forces a new kind of situation. The same, stable steps through a case are the still there, just heightened a little bit by the presence of the coins.
Titus Welliver (The Man In Black from Lost) is a worthy guest star as Farley Colt, a type of creature known for being hard to trust, who is following a group of three creature criminals obsessed with stealing the coins. I’m glad the show didn’t kill him off or put him jail, leaving the possibility open for him to return. Like Eddie’s love interest in the Three Little Pigs episode, he reveals backstory while drawing out a better performance from the series regulars. Nick has grown some confidence in the past few weeks, and continues to act with a lot of agency, digging into Farley’s past with Juliette’s help to find out more information about his parents. It’s his childhood, the information was kept secret, and now he know — but I still can’t really figure out why that’s important. His parents died because creatures found out they were protecting the coins, and they clearly give Captain Renard a palpable power and cause Hank to become obsessive, but their negative effects seem to be lifelong and far more disastrous than the benefits.
Tonight we got a fair amount of Nick’s family history, including a lot of information he didn’t previously know. In his interrogation, Farley reveals the origin of the coins: struck in ancient Greece with a lion’s head and a swastika — then just a good luck symbol — which somehow imbues the coins with their obsessive, confident powers. The coins move from Greece to Rome to China, disappearing until the Third Reich, and then ending up in the hands of Grimms. Farley goes on to reveal that the Grimm responsible for keeping the coins secret was murdered, and that woman’s sister, a Grimm who he loved, left him in order to take care of the murdered woman’s child. Sounds an awful lot like Nick, and he does his best to investigate what happened and why he never knew.
There’s clearly more to this story, but as with many other backstories, I’m still not satisfied with the direction the show is taking to fill in what happened to Nick’s parents. I’m far more interested in the fact that Grimms tend to interact with one creature in a more intimate friendship or relationship. Nick has Eddie, who gets little more than a translation cameo tonight, which was sad, Aunt Marie clearly had Farley Colt since they were engaged, and Captain Renard has his priest buddy. Now I’m not so sure that Renard is a Grimm, but the creature partnerships still make me think there is some kind of historical background in the show’s flimsy mythology to support this.
It was nice to see some of the usually buttoned-down and put together characters lose a bit of their formality thanks to the influence of the coins. Captain Renard has always been cool, calm, and collected, but once he has the coins in his hands, he can’t stop obsessing over them and feeling overconfident. He strides into the station in full uniform, calls a press conference, and gives a grandiose speech that makes reporters think he aspires to a political career. He’s already got a significant amount of influence in the creature world, but it’s interesting to see that even someone with his kind of power isn’t immune to the coins. When Farley mentions to Nick that Grimms aren’t as easily affected by the power of the coins, that immediately made me think that Renard can’t be a Grimm in hiding.
The creature effects on Grimm have never been more than merely passable, but there is one very bad problem with just how indistinct the CGI can be: I can’t tell the difference between different types of creatures unless it is exceedingly obvious. Tonight’s two creatures — and a third on a very old film reel, which was an interesting surprise — didn’t stand out as different creatures. I tend to loop anyone who morphs in front of Nick into the “creature” category, and find it hard to differentiate between different ones when multiple creatures interact with Nick or Eddie.
I’m hesitant to call this a good episode of Grimm even though I enjoyed it quite a bit. The different tone, with a lot more humor due to the coins affecting different characters, was very entertaining, and the backstory information was helpful even though it didn’t really explain a whole lot. The coins seem to be a much bigger overarching plot point, and I’m worried that the rest of the season will become a battle for that little box Nick stashed in the trailer, and that would be quite a disappointment, because I rather like the weekly introduction of some new folk tale. I know better, since the show doesn’t really do heavy serialization, but now that the coins are connected to his parent’s death, it seems like a much more important object, but they could become nothing more than hidden evidence from a case-of-the-week.
- My theory? Marie left Farley because he killed Nick’s parents due to his obsession over the coins.
- Was Nick’s dad a Grimm too? Or was he killed because of Nick’s mom?
- Aunt Marie’s trailer has always seemed unprotected in that impound lot, but now that Nick stashed the coins there, it’s completely unsafe.
- Originally there were ten coins when the US found them in Germany. Does that mean seven are still out there? Or were they destroyed?
- This didn’t merit inclusion in the body of the review, but Hilter? A creature? On film? Really?