This review contains spoilers.
5.9 Star Crossed
Grimm’s fifth season continued its descent into darker territory this week.
Alongside a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how Hadrian’s Wall operates, a Wesen storyline that fits well into the show’s main story arc and a potential jab at modern politics, we were also witness to some previously unseen levels of horror.
We are given a glimpse of how Meisner, Trubel and Eve have been working as a team to counter the threat of Black Claw. They each bring something different to the fight – whether that’s martial arts prowess, combat skills or mad telekinesis combined with a disconcerting lack of empathy – they get the job done. With its bunker HQ and latest surveillance technology it almost feels like a Hadrian’s Wall spin-off wouldn’t be out of the question…
Trubel has most definitely chosen her side. She has discovered something she excels at, where she feels she is helping the world and has thrown herself into the role – complete with donning a Shield-like combat vest for missions (one for WWE fans). The organisation provides her with a home and an outlet for her powers, arguably perhaps as much as Nick did.
On the flip side, we see how far the three will go to get intelligence on Black Claw. We are witness to an uncomfortable scene where Eve sews up a suspect’s mouth, eyes and ears as a way of convincing him to cooperate. It shows just how much she is capable of committing awful acts ‘for the greater good’. She’s not sadistic, in fact she’s not anything – to her it’s just a means to an end. Even Trubel’s not bothered, merely curious about the process. If other viewers are like me though, it could leave them feeling a little distressed and taking large gulps of air.
Rosalee, Hank and Wu’s wariness over joining Hadrian’s Wall is probably justified.
The writers did try to push home how truly bad the bad guys are though; they are responsible for the mass murder of hundreds around the world, including any high profile opponents. They even assassinate a woman behind a rescue centre for Wesen victims of domestic violence, so see they have no redeeming features, right?
The Wesen-of-the-Week plot ties into the Black Claw story arc this week and is as gruesome as anything we’ve seen so far over the five series. Leveraging the staples of the horror genre, a serial killer is killing the homeless in a series of sadistic bloody rituals. They are strung up on crosses, where they are gored and have mirrors placed over their eyes, before being encircled in their own blod.
It turns out that it is the Wesen equivalent of a rain dance (Portland is in drought, apparently) but hasn’t been practiced in hundreds of years, terrified by the threats of Grimms throughout history.
This – along with woging in public – is a sign of a growing bravery, or recklessness, among Wesen that have been whipped up by Black Claw’s propaganda machine.
This week we see one such leader, Donald, urging Portland’s Wesen to rise up and defeat their human oppressors. The storyline is an interesting one in an election year in the US; a charismatic leader whips a crowd into a frenzy with his promises to bringing back traditional values and restore their power.
Despite Monroe describing the attendees as “braindead, zombie-headed zealots” who are “drinking the Kool-Aid dry,” it is worth noting that previous to Black Claw’s arrival on the scene, they were all apparently regular, hard-working men and women. So how much pressure is need to tap into their feelings of disaffection and resentment?
On a lighter note, we can confirm that boys are impressed by smart girls: Rosalee’s translation of Middle Irish sets something alight in Monroe’s eyes (the geekiest turn on, ever?) Oh and by the way, “I spent summers in Ireland as a kid”, just doesn’t cut it Rosalee. Furthermore, Adalind’s knowledge of ancient Aztec rituals prompts admiration from Nick – which is as wild and sexy as these two get, apparently.
Elsewhere, in yawn-inducing news, Renard is still sleeping with the mayoral candidate’s campaign manager. Also, Rosalee receives a phone call from the man from her drug-fuelled past, Tony. In a fit of anger, Monroe tells him to get lost, so that’ll probably happen.
Nick is also feeling frustrated that he can’t open the long-sealed secret passage under the paint factory. Well, that’s got to lead somewhere right? Literally and as a plot device.
In fact, next week’s episode apparently involves Monroe receiving a call from a relative in Germany, and some artifacts that Black Claw are also seeking. At last, this could be the return of the mysterious keys plot line from forever ago! Here’s hoping…
Read Christine’s review of the previous episode, A Reptile Dysfunction, here.