“Three Bad Wolves” was the fourth episode of Grimm in production order, so the fact that it was airing sixth made me a little nervous. I thought we wouldn’t be getting much in terms of backstory, and pushing this hour back in the schedule isn’t exactly a vote of confidence. Still, I couldn’t help but feel optimistic, because all the previews featured Eddie Monroe and a murderous family feud between the Blutbaden and the Bowerswine, an unexpectedly clever take on “The Three Little Pigs” tale. Instead of a weaker hour, this was perhaps the best episode of Grimm thus far, managing to bring some of the disparate unnecessary elements of the show into the central plot, a case of the week that included new characters and created a stronger bond between Nick and Eddie.
If I was programming the show for NBC – and really, just about anybody could conceivably do that, given the network ratings – I would’ve flipped this one and last night’s deadmau5 Pied Piper episode. In a new time slot trying to attract new viewers who hopefully fell asleep after The Office but were jolted awake after Whitney, “Three Bad Wolves” would have put the show’s best foot forward, since it focused on Silas Weir Mitchell more than usual. I’ve said it over and over, but he really is the standout member of the cast, a Big Bad Wolf who’s turned his life around into something functional. He’s the funniest character on the show, and his quirks like a fine taste in wine and early morning workout routine combined with his innate knowledge of the creature world makes him a more complete character than Nick.
The Hatfield-McCoy-esque feud between the wolves and the pigs spilled over into Portland this week, with some nice twists undercutting my expectations for how the show would use the Three Little Pigs. Nick and Hank investigate a gas explosion in a house, and Nick discovers the owner is a Blutbad in the process of an interview. That Blutbad – named Hap, which makes sense due to his happy demeanor – calls his friend to pick him up, who just happens to be Eddie. When Nick and Hank check with Lt. Orson, the arson investigator, played by Leslie Artz from Lost, who doesn’t blow up in an ancient dynamite explosion, but still doesn't seem altogether trustworthy. In lieu of revealing more of the overarching plot, Grimm provided a backstory for Eddie that I found very compelling. Before he reformed, he dated Angelina, Hap’s sister, who appears to be the opposite extreme from Eddie’s new persona on the Blutbad scale. Eddie has clearly settled into a routine to give himself some peace, but Hap and Angelina break that cycle.
As the layers peel back from the initial house explosion to reveal Angelina’s attacks on Orson’s Bowerswine brothers, and his revenge killings of the Blutbaden, the tension ratchets up. Even better, Eddie is caught in a situation where he’s tempted to relapse into more violent tendencies. He does a little bit, following Angelina to the woods for some Blutbad-on-Blutbad action, but eventually he manages to put his urges at bay even in light of an attack on his friend. His scene with Nick where he makes it apparent just how much he’s restraining himself was one of the best character moments of the series so far.
Nick finally swung some things back into his favor this week, balancing things out with Eddie’s knowledge and getting things done himself while investigating the case as a Grimm instead of with Hank as a police officer. Over in the Magic Winnebago category, Nick actually uses some random book knowledge to his advantage. When trying to break up the fight in the final scene between Angelina and Orson. Nick makes an arrest, with the proof that Orson lied about the arson data and actually caused the two explosions, but Angelina gets away, which I was actually fine with. She brought out a great performance from Mitchell, and leaving the possibility of a return is a wise choice.
If I’m nitpicking, there are still some things that show that glass ceiling preventing Grimm from realizing its full potential. Daniel Roebuck plays Orson fine enough, but it was another obvious instance of the highest profile guest star committing the crime. I’d rather see some more recurring characters like the coroner, but Roebuck wasn’t going to be around for as long as he was on Lost, so it was pretty clear that a twist was coming. Even though the reveal that he was lying about his opinion on the arsons and was actually a Bowerswine was well done, but it was obvious something wasn’t what it seemed with his character. Nick also hasn’t had to do a lot of actual fighting with creatures, which came up in Angelina’s first appearance. She ripped him out of his car, and Nick gets thrown around kind of frequently, but his only defense is shooting anybody, and that can’t always be the crutch.
I’m very relieved to say that I honestly had a lot of fun with this episode. It wasn’t so great that I could go back on my previous statement that there’s a glass ceiling on the show for its lingering questions related to the Captain and Nick’s place in the whole creature world, but it found a way to sew some problematic elements – like Nick’s sojourns to Aunt Marie’s trailer and Eddie’s perpetual one scene appearances – and make them mean something within a plot that both advanced the characters and revealed useful backstory. If Grimm has more episodes like this up its sleeve, maybe a potential move to Thursdays wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
- Hap doesn’t realize that Nick is a Grimm, but Angelina recognizes him immediately?
- That inconsistency applies to when creatures reveal themselves to Nick. Sometimes its accidental, or sometimes its during strong emotion, but it seems to just be whenever the show requires things to move along a bit faster.
- I’m not quite sure, but I think Lt. Orson was living in a brick house. If so, it was nice touch.
- The scent-smelling POV shots reminded me of Twilight Princess. They even had the same color scheme at times.