David Giuntoli (NBC)

Grimm is a show that loves the idea of duality. While every single one of its weekly cases deals with someone who presents one face to the world while concealing another, so many of its episodes go a step deeper to show the toll that process takes on a person. You have Wesen who deny their heritage to homicidal extremes, Wesen who spiral downward when their other identity is taken from them, and Wesen willing to inflict terrible pain in the quest to be normal. Our main characters frequently go through similar shifts, beginning with Nick’s reconciliation of being a cop and a Grimm (CopGrimm GrimmCop, if you want to echo Mysteries Of Laura) and expanding as more people are brought into this world and have to decide how much to tell those around them.

Advertisement

Finding a new way to tell those stories gets harder the longer a show’s on the air, which is what makes the action of “Double Date” so interesting in comparison. On the surface, the presentation could fit any of a dozen Grimm episodes. A Wesen uses their powers to commit crimes—in this case tricking visiting businessmen into giving money to a supposed jealous husband—they botch the crime and kill someone, Nick and Hank are on the case. Except from the start, there’s something off about this ostensible two-person operation, an awkwardness to the rhythm of con artists Linus and Stacy that gets even more awkward as they seem to be arguing with empty rooms. That awkwardness is revealed to be equal parts Tyler Durden and Dr. Jekyll, as the Wesen known as Hunta Lami Muuaji is two separate entities coexisting in the same body, able to transition back and forth from a wormlike creature out of Guillermo Del Toro’s sketchbook.

As far as Wesen go, this one strains a lot of credulity. The longer that Grimm’s on the air, it’s easy to get the feeling that the writers are running out of ideas for new Wesen to deploy—largely because almost every episode demands something previously unknown be introduced. (Season three’s Krampus is one of my favorite examples, where they turned Santa Claus into a seasonal Wesen with very specific fashion sense.) However, Grimm manages to pull this one off in the execution, the two sides carrying on a conversation despite never manifesting at the same time. Their arguments feel natural and the dynamic lived in, and the schizophrenic shading of the whole affair makes it more interesting as a thought exercise than if it was a straightforward confidence team.

Advertisement

Unfortunately, while “Double Date” has some interesting ideas in the nature of the Hunta Lami Muuaji it takes a disappointing solution to the problem. While in other circumstances Nick might try to find some middle ground, here his approach is blunt force by way of a crossbow, loading Linus/Stacy up with enough testosterone to keep the latter repressed so the former can be convicted of the crime. It’s a problematic point (or an “ethically ambiguous, morally grey area-type situation” as Monroe puts it) but the ethics of the argument are almost entirely glossed over. Despite the excellent framing of the church stand-off and the clear sense of loss on Linus’s face when he’s unable to reconnect, everything is tied off too neatly and without enough acknowledgement of how they’re essentially killing Stacy off. True, the fact that they’re both willing participants in the crime makes Nick’s actions justified, but there’s a whole level of ramifications here that Grimm doesn’t have either the time or interest to explore.

Similarly dealing with a crisis of identity this week is Juliette, who responded to Nick’s clear repulsion at her new Hexenbiest nature in the most mature way possible: running away from home, sleeping in her car, not answering any of his voicemails. Unlike Juliette’s efforts to deal with amnesia back in season two, this arc is working well in service of the character, and shows how she’s grown since going onto Team Grimm. She’s pissed off and has a good reason to be, and a prior reticence to deal with these matters now takes the form of barging up to Renard’s front door and all but demanding that he take her in while she figures this out. Juliette being able to cast spells is all well and good, but Juliette taking a stance that may be in firm opposition to Nick? That’s where the real potential of this arc lays.

Somewhat more questionable is the decision to put her and Renard together, although circumstances are certainly more favorable than the last time the two were paired. The season two arc where the two were dealing with magical attraction to each other wasn’t that season’s highlight—and also not a ship too many fans were invested in—but with both now dealing with Adalind-inflicted wounds they’ve found legitimate common ground. If Grimm is serious about this adjusted status quo and keeping Juliette in this role, it can also be serious about shaking up the boundaries between its main characters, and it’s taking the right steps for the two to make a legitimate connection.

Advertisement

A connection is certainly something Adalind is desperate to find, as Henrietta and three pregnancy tests confirm that she’s going to have a second child. While this twist was presented in a problematic fashion last week right down to the overplayed scream of rage, “Double Date” treats the character better by pushing her into problem-solving mode. (“I have to find you another father,” she states to her womb in a matter-of-fact frustrated tone that makes for one of the best lines this week.) She quickly moves to try the same trick she pulled with Eric by seducing Viktor, only to be thwarted by the intervention of her first child’s grandfather King Frederick—who despite his bonhomie and reassurances appears entirely aware of what game she’s trying to play. It places Adalind on further defensive, which is typically the moments when the character takes the most interesting actions.

That defense appears to be facing even further challenges with the departure of Viktor, who’s hustled out of the room so quickly it’s all but certain they didn’t have Alexis Denisof this week and they had to settle for ADR lines and a body double. A new royal coming to take his place is a promising development given that Viktor’s role on the show largely has been to sneer and make idle threats. Much as the dynamic between Team Grimm is going through roiling and redefinition to its benefit, the other side could stand for some of the same. And with Nick’s bun in her oven, it’s an open question which side of the issue Adalind may find herself moving towards.

Advertisement

Stray observations:

  • This Week In Portland: Olive or Twist is a real Portland bar, located in the Pearl District not far from the various condos and townhouses Linus/Stacy used to set up their marks. Haven’t been there myself, but the martini menu has some tasty-looking options with prices that don’t in fact “scare the dickens” out of you as Monroe hilariously puts it.
  • This Week’s Epigram: A highly appropriate one this week from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, more specifically the story of the androgynous Greek god Hermaphroditus.
  • Great Monrosalee moments this week, first with the side-eye Rosalee gives Monroe when he mentions how attractive Stacy was and then when she asks him to clarify that statement. (A statement that certainly influenced how large a dose of testosterone she cooked up.)
  • I may be wrong that no one was shipping Renard and Juliette last time this came up. For those that did, is there a name for that ship? Renardliette? Juliard?
  • Monroe’s awkward shifting as he tried to signal the police from the window was a wonderful piece of physical comedy from Silas Weir Mitchell.
  • Renard’s take on his bleeding: “Some kind of residual effect from my trip to the other side.” Monroe, looking for clarification: “As in, when you were dead?”
  • “Or we’re looking for a big-ass snail.”
  • “Love’s got nothing to do with what you did.”

Advertisement