Grimm season 3 episode 9 review: Red Menace

Review Christine Horton 5 Jan 2014 - 21:26

Grimm's first episode of the year underuses its assets and spreads the action a little thin...

This review contains spoilers.

3.9 Red Menace

Grimm returned on Friday from its mid-season break, and similarly to many of us who dragged ourselves back to work after the festivities, it struggled somewhat to find its rhythm.

When we left the series at the end of 2013, my Christmas wish was that the writers would focus more on developing storylines and driving them with a greater pace instead of just drip-feeding us clues and snippets of action throughout the course of the season.

However, frustratingly, they seem content to tease us for a while longer. For example, the episode starts with reference to the show’s Pilot – while pretty incongruous to the rest of the action, it drops yet another hint about at Nick’s new-found abilities. (He can run really fast and not sweat.) I really hope we don’t have to wait until the end of the season to see where all this is leading up to.

Not only was it disappointing that there no further development of the evil Royal Family plot, but we were introduced to two new threads.

The first is a potential love interest for Hank, in the form of his physical therapist. Despite re-buffing Hank’s advances, it seems likely this is a storyline set to develop in the coming weeks.

The second revolves around an old friend of Juliette, Alicia, who is on the run from her abusive husband. It turns out Alicia, like Rosalee, is a Fuchsbau. Nick sees her woge, but decides to keep to himself for the time being.

These new storylines are in additional to the usual Wesen of the week plot, which here references Russian folklore.

The title of this week’s episode, Red Menace, refers to a Wesen called a Koschie. In this case he’s Boris Myshkin, a philandering, ex-assassin turned healer, attempting to atone for his past sins. In Portland his previous career comes back to haunt him with someone set on revenge. Myshkin, however, is endowed with two notable skills: he can kill or cure with his touch and he is very hard to kill. (Rasputin was a Koschie, the team discover, who was finally killed by a Grimm.)

Myshkin’s attacker suffers the extremely gruesome fate of radiation poisoning (well, they are Russian, right?) which not only provides possibly the grossest death so far in the series, but also the opportunity to see Nick, Hank and Wu in matching jumpsuits and paper booties in a comedic nod to the Ghostbusters.

We also learn that the over-achieving Captain Renard can also speak Russian. To quote Hank, “Why aren’t I surprised?”

Even Captain Renard and Adalind’s long-anticipated meeting is a little disappointing. Renard, seemingly unconcerned about potential fatherhood, tells Adalind she needs to ‘choose a side’. (Yeah writers, choose a story and stick with it.) He then hops on a plane back to Portland, just like that! Yet again Adalind, whose narcissistic, twisted and self-serving nature made her such a fun character in previous seasons, is now being woefully underused.

Speaking of underused, we didn’t get to see much of Monroe this week, and no Rosalee. Perhaps they’re still busy taking down Monroe’s Christmas decorations.

However, we did at last get confirmation that Juliette does still have a job. We see her operating on a cat that she says needs to be neutered to avoid getting into fights – perhaps referencing both Myshkin and Alicia’s husband?

Overall, this instalment is pretty self-contained, but with the introduction of new storylines, there’s a real danger of the writers spreading the action a bit thin.

The episode ends with Alicia’s husband – also a Wesen but looking decidedly less friendly than a Fuchsbau – on the hunt for his wife, promising more trouble for Nick and Juliette. But Nick probably won’t sweat it.

Read Christine's review of the previous episodes, here.

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Remember when Newbie Grimm Nick took out two Reapers intent on cutting off his head? Remember when he recently killed 3 lizard type Wesen who were supposed to be so bad-ass they were used as the Roman Praetorian Guard? And now we are supposed to feel some kind of jeopardy because his house guest is being stalked by an abusive husband with a furry face? Get real, Nick could break him in half like a twig. That dude should run in the other direction as fast as he can. We really need to see an enemy Wesen who poses a legitimate threat. The last time we got one it took 2 Grimms (mother and son) to take him down, so I would like to see something like that again.

We also get confirmation that Juliette & Nick's house has a guest bedroom. So why was Nick sleeping on the couch in Season 2?

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