By introducing a completely new character that threw a wrench in every bit of the tenuous equilibrium Grimm built within the New Scoobies, there was hope for the show to jolt in a new, unexpected direction. But instead, almost everything followed easily predictable beats. Trubel followed Nick and Hank investigating a case; she got too involved in an effort to prove herself (however subconscious this urge may have been); Nick felt guilty over involving her too quickly in a case pattern that has grown routine for him and Hank; Trubel took her unintentional and illegal undercover work too far, forcing Nick and Hank to further cover up her involvement—and yet still Nick has to acknowledge her raw talent while begrudgingly admitting that she hasn’t been afforded the same slight Grimm advantages he had, namely a family to help with emotional support when the seemingly impossible threatens to drive a person insane.
Though the connection is tenuous, it seems intentional that Grimm inserts a Wesen callback to Ryan the Portland PD intern, who played a role in the last episode (a season ago) when Nick dealt with what appeared to be another Grimm in his city. Ryan was a Lebensauger (meaning “life sucker,” since I’ve started taking some beginner German lessons), a lamprey-like Wesen that drained the life out of his prey. In “My Fair Wesen,” a dominant male Lebensauger pressures a group of young women kept down through emotional torture to organize shoplifting sprees from designer retail stores, bringing a bounty back to a “family” that then divides the wealth while trapping the young girls in perpetuity.
Nick feels obligated to take Trubel in as a kind of surrogate mentee. Obviously, Juliette won’t feel the same. She’s stunned to encounter another Grimm initially (as is everyone else), thought she seems more annoyed at the inconvenience of another house guest than she shows concern over an orphaned girl wrongfully committed to mental institutions because nobody else could see the things she could perceive. During a harried, thrown-together dinner, Trubel points out something that has been sitting in plain sight for a few seasons—Juliette remains with Nick, living together, without taking the next step in commitment. She could bolt at any point the Grimm/Wesen stuff becomes too much. But I think it’s implied that she sticks around because although she doesn’t see everything, as a veterinarian, the animalistic creatures that Nick, Hank, Monroe, and Rosalee encounter out in the field fascinate her.
The upcoming Monrosalee nuptials are sure to kick up complicated feelings between Nick and Juliette, but for now they’re a committed partnership that has invested so much in living together that breaking things off without at least waiting until the next step seems feasible is a waste of time. Trubel, on the other hand, is still so used to being on her own that she can’t wait for plates or utensils to dig into the food. Nick has encountered plenty of strange beasts, but in Trubel he sees someone he can learn from through mentorship, a lump of clay to mold into another well-trained Grimm that can venture into the Wesen world with his balanced moral compass. But that’s not an easy task for someone orphaned for so long.
The case of the week isn’t all that intriguing, simply because on the surface it’s another case of a dominant male oppressing weakened females, this time girls from an orphanage/juvenile home on the verge of reaching adulthood, when they can emancipate and go out into the world alone. Grimm has used this dynamic a handful of times before, and this variation only offers one small twist: the Big Love “family” of girls has a female Lebensuager at the head, working with the dominant male to keep the other, more impressionable girls in check to shoplift with reckless abandon.
And yet, there are some intriguing and endearing moments throughout. First, there’s Nick attempting to reveal the Wesen world to Trubel in small doses, by seeing Monroe and Rosalee woge out in front of her. In his mind (rightfully), she needs to see that not all Wesen are trying to kill her, and that she can’t immediately shift into killing mode whenever someone accidentally reveals their true identity to her. It’s a lesson she has to learn almost immediately, as she disobeys Nick and Hank while on the ride-along to interrogate a Wesen girl at the foster house. Her “advanced interrogation” techniques yield useful information, but that’s not how Nick and Hank can operate since they work within the confines of the police department. On one hand, Trubel isn’t bound by those laws; on the other, she risks opening herself up to a whole mess of questions should she be detained. Trubel’s interactions with Wu, from saying “Wesen” out loud at a crime scene to a one-on-one conversation in the station are some of the darkest funny moments in the episode, because Trubel has no idea what she’s doing, and because Wu can’t help but remember the terror he suffered when the Aswang rampaged through town.
Also entertainingly handled is Hank holding off Nick when Trubel’s instincts lead her to act like a panhandler, drawing out the female Lebensauger, who recruits Trubel to the “family.” Nick and Hank briefly lose her—which leads to the unintentional funniest line of the episode when faced with a locked door, “I’m getting the car.” But it’s clear that this case is designed to put Trubel in danger that Nick can’t immediately save her from, where she succeeds but goes over a line Nick is scared for her to cross. While in the Magic Airstream she asks for an extra gun and Nick is (understandably) hesistant to give her one. But more importantly, she reveals some on-the-nose exposition, that a Siegbarst murdered her foster parents, which is how she started running, from a monster she couldn’t explain. Nick is trying to help Trubel, but he can’t hope to control her, and the sooner her realizes he can only inform her and not take full responsibility for cleaning up her youthful messes, the better. She’s going to make mistakes, just like he did initially, but she doesn’t have the sense of duty or honor that Nick has as a detective. She’s not starting from the same point, so he can only teach her so much before she decides to strike out on her own—at the end of the season, since Trubel is only recurring for the next few episodes.
Nick effectively keeps Trubel in the house when she wakes up with nightmares and decides to leave and set off on her own. He’s trying to forge some kind of meaningful partnership, where he leads and she voraciously soaks up knowledge. But he can’t count on her to always act as he would, in deference to someone with experience who knows better. Trubel is going to cause trouble (pun intended). Nick and Hank just get lucky this week that when she made the situation more complicated, she was adept enough to handle two bloodsucking Wesen until the cops with guns showed up.
- Adalind goes searching in a storage unit of her mother’s hexenbiest possessions and finds a book that only opens when drops of blood are used as some kind of unlocking sacrifice. This should be an interesting development for the final two episodes.
- One of my roommates is from Montreal, but his mother is a German immigrant, so he speaks English, French, and German. He’s never watched an episode before this one, and he noted immediate that the pronunciation of Wesen as “vessen” isn’t correct; it should be “veyzen,” which seems like a glaring miscalculation by the show from the beginning.