After the disappointment of “Inugami,” Grimm is thankfully back to being on point with “Good To The Bone.” While last week’s episode struggled to find a particular tone and wound up just bouncing around between stories, “Good To The Bone” is an episode that manages to capture all of the tones that Grimm can find when it’s at its best. At various points it’s dark and moody, extremely gross, broadly funny, and even strongly emotional, yet even in scenes where more than one of these things happen none of them ever feel out of place.
Most of this cycling comes from the case of the week, which introduces possibly the season’s grossest wesen to date. I didn’t think they’ve be able to top the visual effect of the Musasat Alsh-Shabab from “Skin Deep,” but they do that here with a vulture-like wesen who is able to extract the bones out of his victims with a long snakelike tongue, leaving them little more than flopping bags of skin. Both the means by which he extracts his meal and the leftover remains are grotesquely fascinating, and the subsequent morgue visits underline the fact that at this point Grimm has officially lost any interest in showing the police and medical examiners as shocked by what happens in Portland.
The horror of what he’s doing is offset by the fact that the more time we get to spend with Charlie, the more pitiable he becomes. Rather than being a ruthless killer or an opportunist, he’s a beleaguered only child who’s in the position of being his elderly parents’ only caretaker, and it weighs on him more and more as he’s forced to claim new victims. It’s a progression that’s well paced by first-time Grimm writer Martin Weiss, beginning with him as a faceless shadowed type and changing his looming qualities into sad sack ones. Tim Cummings does a terrific job of conveying Charlie as both imposing and tragic, airing grievances to the only audience he can find in his soon to be liquified victims.
That string of black comedy continues into Team Grimm’s plan to trap the killer, once again using one of their own as bait—only this time seasoned with what’s essentially carrion perfume to replicate the smell of “imminent death.” Monroe asks for volunteers and every eye gradually turns toward him, a move that doesn’t make him too happy. (“Hey, I’ve already done this before!”) And the brewing of the potion is the most laugh-out-loud moment I can remember experiencing from Grimm, first when Monroe walks into Rosalee’s laboratory and is sent out clutching his nose, and then all of Team Grimm’s police members wind up doing the exact same thing. It’s just a delight to witness, and one that doesn’t get in the way of the high stakes of what they’re about to attempt.
When the time comes to execute the plot, a sudden complication ensues when Wu locks eyes with a stray dog. This is a great way to organically insert some plot development into the weekly cases, as the gradual escalation of Wu’s strange side effects now spill over into a full-on woge and the Wu-wolf comes out to play, chasing the dog through the park. Having him injure himself allows him to become Charlie’s next target—furthering the episode’s dark comedy when everyone immediately forgets Monroe—and manages to postpone dealing with the ramifications of this until a future episode where enough time where Nick and Hank can start asking the serious questions of what happened to him.
Speaking of Hank, this week we’re treated to a sight that’s even rarer than some of the wesen who show up in Portland: he gets his own story. Last week I said in passing that Hank appears to only exist to receive exposition, a statement many of you agreed with in the comments. It’s no knock against Russell Hornsby, who’s a sturdy performer and rises to the occasion whenever he’s given more challenging material, but the writers haven’t given him that kind of material in ages. As a character Hank isn’t as inherently funny or versatile as Monroe, and he’s so far removed from adjusting to the wesen world that introducing Wu to said world has supplanted the need to give Hank similar material.
However, this week one of those old plots returns in the form of Zuri, Hank’s physical therapist from back in season three. A potential relationship between the two was scattered when her wesen nature was revealed in “Eye Of The Beholder,” but a chance meeting between the two at the grocery store leads her to suggest giving it another shot. It’s good to see Hank doing something other than be stoic, having various flavors of shyness and swagger now that he’s trying to connect with a new person. And since Zuri wasn’t around long enough to form a real connection, the writers don’t necessarily have to conform to her previous appearances and can make her whatever she needs to be. Even a double agent if necessary—this is a season rich with conspiracy, and she’s asking a lot of questions about just how deep Hank’s partnership with Nick runs.
Speaking of those Black Claw conspiracies, Renard ups his commitment to their cause by bringing Adalind into the fold. Or rather, dragging her into the fold, luring her to a parking garage and then having her drugged. (“I know,” Renard’s weary response to being called a bastard his most genuine emotion in a while.) Here, she’s reunited with Diana for the first time in a long time, and the hard look she gives Renard indicates woe be to him if he tries to take her away again. Black Claw might want Adalind and Renard to be allies, but all Grimm history indicates they’re more interesting characters when they’re not, so it’s shrewd of the writers to undercut this alliance immediately.
It still remains to be seen whether or not that look is going to translate into the more murderous tendencies that everyone seems to believe are coming any day. This remains an area Grimm still needs to work on, given that as much as everyone believes Adalind’s going to turn into a different person with her powers back, there’s been no evidence of that either in her actions or Claire Coffee’s performance. If anything, she’s inching her way towards revealing the truth to Nick by disclosing less problematic ones. first that she’s horny (“This is not stopping here”) and then that Renard reached out to her. Defending her daughter is something that could go either way, if she wants to trust Nick enough to ask for his help or all the secrets that he’s keeping will snap back in his face.
But after an episode as enjoyable as “Good To The Bone,” I’m prepared to have some additional faith that the story will be picking these threads up in due time. Much like poor Charlie’s parents, Grimm doesn’t let anything go to waste.
- This Week In Portland: Scottie Pippen did in fact play for the Portland Trail Blazers after leaving the Chicago Bulls, putting in four seasons and taking the team to the Western Conference Finals in the 1999-2000 season.
- This Week’s Epigram: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Act III, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar, from Marc Antony’s legendary speech wherein he buried Caesar rather than praising him.
- Know Your Wesen: Zuri, for those who may not remember, is a Yaguaraté.
- Eve pays a visit to the spice shop to get Rosalee’s take on what’s going on with Nick and Adalind, and Rosalee comments under her breath that her reactions seem very Juliette. No, Grimm. Don’t go there. You’ve made your creepy wig-wearing bed, keep lying in it.
- In more helpful Eve scenes, an alert at Hadrian’s Wall finally clears up Diana-related confusion: Meisner evidently took custody of her after “Cry Havoc” and had her in a secure location, one which Black Claw managed to locate and extract her from.
- “I was hoping you’d love pinot noir, because that’s what I got.” I wonder if Titus-style double entendre was intended with this.
- “What do you want to do about Monroe?” “Well, he’s not coming in our car.” Dick move, you guys.
- “Well, I guess that’s a sacrifice to make when you don’t have a cliff.”
- “He’d have wanted it this way. You go first. But leave some for me!”