Well, that certainly wasn’t the kind of cliffhanger I was expecting heading into the Olympics hiatus. Grimm has used a playful, comedic title card immediately after a cliffhanger before. I remember at least one of the season finales doing the same thing. The gleefully shocked reaction on the title card— “OH %&$*,” basically—suited the situation in the last 30 seconds of the episode, with Monroe’s parents going full woge to attack Nick and Monroe trying to peacefully intervene. But that shift clashed dramatically with the lengthy and excruciating confrontation between Rosalee and Monroe’s parents. Last week, Monrosalee visited the Fuchsbau side in supporting plot, but tonight, the couple is the main focus, leading to a few squeal-worthy moments and then one painfully overwrought climactic event.
“The Wild Hunt” has a case—one that Hank and Nick at least realize at a more reasonable juncture could have something to do with a Wesen—that functions more as a runner than a main plot. There’s a Wildesheer on the loose, scalping men in uniform (police, soldiers, etc.) in order to sew together a traditional coat that supposedly grants the wearer strength. Nick and Hank only get to the midway point where they consult the Magic Airstream for information, stretching out the investigation until after the Olympics. Scalping is a strange practice, and it yields some gnarly makeup work on the victims, but it doesn’t immediately suggest Wesen involvement. So I was glad that it took Hank until a bit deeper into the case to suggest that idea to Nick. My hope was that Nick and Hank would grow so confident that they’re always hunting down Wesen that they would screw up a case in a funny way—an opportunity presented itself nicely last week, but didn’t take a turn in that direction.
But enough about the police procedural: “The Wild Hunt” is all about Monroe and Rosalee getting engaged, a well-deserved culmination to more than a season of building chemistry. Monroe has been the breakout supporting character since the pilot, and aside from Nick is still the most-developed character on the show. All of his quirks, from the clocks, vegetarian diet, and Pilates to the great taste in wine and obsession with elaborate Christmas decorations, he’s always been the most fun aspect of Grimm, and Silas Weir Mitchell has owned the part since the first episode. Rosalee was gone for an extended stretch last season when Bree Turner gave birth, but even though the characters only moved in together recently, it still feels like the right time for this to happen, now that they’ve been through a bit of traditional relationship struggle (opposed to Nick and Juliette, who have dealt with a lot of damsel-in-distress issues).
All of the buildup is adorable, from the couple getting ready to go to dinner, to sharing more than one bottle of wine at the restaurant, to Rosalee’s palpable disappointment when they get home and something to celebrate hasn’t happened. But Grimm knows Monroe well enough not to have him propose in some fancy restaurant, and choosing instead to have him construct a perfectly tacky cuckoo clock to ask Rosalee to marry him suits the character and the couple. Having these two together has been a strange boon to the show, since in the midst of what is often times a gruesome supernatural procedural with overarching global conspiracy elements, the best thing Grimm has going is a yearlong romance between a horologist wolf and an apothecary fox. I buy the proposal now because Rosalee feels supported by Monroe—especially in light of seeing her mother and sister last week. I buy every bit of that character trajectory.
But it underlines one of the biggest problems for the show: knowing when to commit to drastic, disruptive change. Over the course of the series, Nick has gained knowledge about the Wesen world and a powerful reputation within it. Monroe met someone and is (tentatively) engaged. Hank seems likely to get a more recurring love interest. But in confrontation, whether with the Verrat, Captain Renard, Prince Eric, or Adalind and her mother, the evil always subsided without a concrete negative effect on Nick or his friends. There’s always danger off in the distance, but it never comes any closer. Alexis Denisof has the most screen time in one episode that he’s had all season, and hopefully in the remaining 10 will get much more, because right now he’s the only real threat of change and progress on Grimm, and the show feels stuck treading water while little plot development occurs.
And then meeting Monroe’s parents becomes inevitable, and that scene nearly undoes all of the goodwill built up so far. The Wesen world is not only still largely hidden—despite the concentrated population of Wesen criminals in Portland—but because of that insular, hiding-in-plain-sight history, has remained largely antiquated. Monroe mentions that his parents are “traditional,” but much like the restaurant scene where the lovebirds discuss their “first time” while burying the lede that they mean first woge, Monroe actually means that his parents are the Wesen equivalent of anti-interracial marriage. The physical recoil when they meet Rosalee is off-putting immediately, as is the vocal and hurtful tirade that what Monroe and Rosalee are doing is against some kind of “natural order.”
Above everything else, this sudden objection is immensely confusing. Grimm has never given much of a sense of scale for population numbers or density of the different varieties of Wesen, but considering Nick, Monroe, and the rest have been interacting with individuals and occasionally family units, there doesn’t really seem to be any way for Wesen to meet a potential mate of the same kind—though the Naiads in “One Night Stand” offer up an example of how arranged marriages can go horribly wrong. Wesen are plentiful enough to keep showing up as criminals in Portland, but not in high enough numbers to suggest divided communities able to foster future generations.
Moreover, Rosalee’s mother and sister didn’t raise anywhere close to the same objections about the relationship. The show draws a distinction between the two families, but for this to be the first confrontation over a partnership of two different Wesen when Monroe’s parents treat it like some unforgivable betrayal, it’s not clear why. Rosalee turning on Monroe for a bit when he admits not telling his parents about her being a Fuchsbau or the two of them living together doesn’t help either, since she had ample opportunity to ask him about it, or to put her foot down about telling them beforehand. As is, she’s worked up and nervous and desperate to make a good first impression, and then suddenly she’s upset about things that were well within her control. The entire scene is a type that has played out countless times in countless other shows (The “What have you done?” and “I can’t handle this ignorance!” exclamations especially), only this time it was with characters inspired by Grimm fairy tales, and that’s not enough to mask the staleness.
Just about the only new addition is Nick showing up as the second unexpected guest to arrive. I’m curious what will happen on the other side of this cliffhanger, and how Monroe will deal with what he outlines to Rosalee as the biggest problem facing their potential wedding. Nick has the chance to change the minds of two of the most traditionally minded Wesen he’s ever come across. And his friendship to Monroe suggests that will happen. For all the romantic buildup with Monrosalee, I enjoyed “The Wild Hunt” a great deal. But Monroe’s parents dragged the episode down since they drop in with bombast instead of providing a glimpse into how Monroe came to be the way he is.
- Checking in on Austria: Viktor knows three resistance members have teamed up, possibly with Captain Renard. Adalind’s due date draws closer as the baby scrapes, claws, and pushes to get out of her womb.
- Also in passing: Juliette is emailing Nick’s mom, which foreshadows her return, and potentially those damn coins, though they seem to be hidden somewhere safely away on another continent at the moment.
- The epigraph comes from “Little Brother, Little Sister,” one of the Grimm’s fairy tales.