Grimm review – 2×04: ‘Quill’

Courtesy of NBC

After a lackluster third episode, NBC unwisely decides to air a new episode on Labour Day Monday, which means many will miss some lovely moments between Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner). Bad move Peacock network!

Let’s bitch it out…As predicted, the sole item to take-away from last week’s episode is that Hank (Russell Hornsby) now knows the truth about both Nick (David Giuntoli) and the existence of Wesen. If you were hoping that this would result in some significant character development, or possibly even some humour as Hank adjusts to the new world surrounding him, I really hope you weren’t holding your breath.

Yes, there is a brief scene in which the two partners discuss the lore in a coffee shop, but aside from that brief exchange Hank more-or-less tags along as usual while Nick arbitrarily points out all the Wesen his partner can’t see. It all amounts to very little payoff and feels like another missed opportunity for the show. There’s a balance to be found between character development and episodic case-of-the-week and Grimm seems to frequently err on the side of episodic.

At least this week the case is worth watching. Unlike last week’s stereotypical, misogynistic misstep, this week’s very Fringe-esque eppy treats us to a combination made in genre heaven: zombies and plagues! That’s right, folks, Fluuus Pestilentia – the yellow plague – is upon us, go grab your sanitary mask and avoid physical contact with others. Whenever a contagious disease is introduced, you know it’s only a matter of time before one of the main characters contracts it, so half the fun is determining who’s going to get sick. Since Rosalee is the apothecary and eliminating her dramatically weakens the group, she’s the most obvious candidate to fall ill, especially since it leaves a flustered (and entertaining) Monroe in charge of creating an antidote.

I was surprised that so little time is dedicated to Rosalee being sick, though. Her illness has the capacity to create the greatest emotional impact, and builds upon the investment we’ve made in her and Monroe as a couple (including their earlier lovey-dovey romantic picnic, whose entire purpose is to lull us into a false sense of romantic security before pulling the rug out with a case of boils and dangerous libido). I would have expected the show to spent more time suggesting that Rosalee could actually die from this, or worst – be put down by Nick or even Hank – but instead Rosalee doesn’t fall victim until nearly the end of the episode. Not only does this mean she goes from sick to cured in a little over an ad-break, but it makes for an awkward timeline for the plague.

Consider this: why does Rosalee go from fine to boil-y and attack-y in a matter of minutes when it took nearly a day for other victims? We’re never told (although to be fair, we’re given very little info on the disease aside from the fact that it wipes out “whole villages”). This kind of inconsistency and lack of attention to detail derails the story, though, because we ponder the logistics of the contagion’s incubation period rather than wondering if Rosalee will actually die (Side Note: they would have never killed her, but clearly we’re meant to at least worry a little bit).

Chalk it up as yet another minor misstep.

Courtesy of NBC

Other Observations:

  • Pro: Special shout-out to the make-up department for creating some appropriately disgusting looking boils. Those things looked plenty juicy
  • Double pro: It may have taken three episodes, but they wisely removed the atrocious voice-over from the credits. Smart move, folks
  • Con: Special negative shout-out to the special effects team, who managed to make the porcupine Wesen look like a cartoon Big Foot. How can they do so well with Rosalee and so terribly with another species? Aim for consistency!
  • With the focus on our rampaging victims and Monroe and Rosalee, there’s very little for Nick to do. Is it possible that he got his hair coloured with all that free time? Surely I can’t be the only one who felt that he looked darker?
  • The Royal Family storyline continues to slowly develop in the background. Capt Renard (Sasha Roiz) learns that his brother has sent a Euro-trash assassin named the Nuckelavee from Rome to recover the d*mn key (edited – thanks to Nic). Breaking down the assassin’s “look” when he’s in Wesen form: from the front, his look says “mean business,” but the party mullet in the back says “discotheque.” Until proven otherwise, I’m going to refer to him as the dancing assassin
  • I kinda lurved the call-back to Claire Coffee’s Adalind’s evil cat. Not only did the evil puss bust out of its kitty-carry-on; it was hanging out on the roof by its claws. Take note, Henri 2: that is a cat video worthy of the Golden kitty award! Sadly puss didn’t make it too far out of the Magic Box as the sound-effects suggest it may have been hit by a car. At least we get some lovely tracking shots via “evil cat cam” before it goes away to the giant kitty-litter box in the sky
  • Speaking of call-backs: how fun is it to see Bud (Danny Bruno), the appliance repair Badger, return to answer some of annoyingly-still-amnesiac Juliette’s (Bitsie Tulloch) questions? Naturally the fidgety little man immediately spills the beans, so even if the red-headed dunce doesn’t understand what it means, she now has the word “Grimm” in her vernacular
  • Even though the episode is called ‘Quill’, it has very little to do with the actual porcupine Wesen we see. Did the writers just kinda give up when naming the episode, because “The Fluuus Pestilentia Outbreak” sounds far more interesting to me. I spent the entire episode half-expecting Geoffrey Rush or Kate Winslet to run on-screen naked! Also, why bother introducing the idea that the plague comes from pigs and then never address it again? Thanks for the random origin, but why bother if it doesn’t go any further?!
  • Finally, some advice for Sgt. Wu (Reggie Lee): when confronted by a charging woman with boils who is brandishing both a knife and a screwdriver (sadly not sonic) – you blow that b*tch away. You don’t try to rationalize with her. In fact, everyone take that memo…or at least rent a freaking zombie movie so that you learn what happens when you don’t!

What did you think, readers? Obviously this is a step-up from last week’s crapfest, but did you enjoy Grimm‘s version of Outbreak? Were you surprised at the inconsistency with the incubation period? Are you more interested in Juliette’s story if they continue to bring back old Wesen friends? And, most importantly, did Nick darken his hair?! Hit the comments below with your thoughts!

Grimm airs for one more week on Mondays at 10pm EST on NBC

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

5 thoughts on “Grimm review – 2×04: ‘Quill’

  1. Not the best episode of Grimm. They started to many stories and only one was kind of finished. Evil cat run out and that was the end. Assassin is there, but that it. Nothing involving him happens. Outbreak of the plague was ended when they threaded Rosalee, but it’s unbelievable that no one tried to find out how many people were infected. It’s impossible that Carl Stanton infected only his wife and that park ranger, park ranger infected only Rosalee and Rosalee didn’t even infect Monroe. Not to say anything about Juliette and amnesia. However, two things I liked: no bad voice-over in the beginning and scene from next week’s episode showing that sexy badass Angelina Lasser (Jaime Ray Newman) will be back. Can’t wait.

  2. Nice review but a little note… The guy from Rome is after the key, not the coins. Unless I misheard Renard’s contact. Oh, and yes, I also felt that Nick looked darker. I think it’s a combination of the slightly unwashed appearance of his hair and that he seems to have given up shaving.

  3. Regarding Rosalee’s brief infection, I agree it weakens things, and a better show would have gotten some good suspense by dragging it out.

    But Grimm _isn’t_ a better show, and if they’d tried that, I suspect it would have fell flat, stalling for time and never engaging the audience enough to let us “forget” Bree Turner’s main-cast invulnerability. Kind of a one step forward, two steps back thing; could be, as with the credits, they’re less oblivious to their flaws than some shows, and decided to stick with what they could pull off. Or it could be dumb luck…

    • I think one of my biggest complaints about the show is that it has shown us that it CAN be a better show. It’s as though sometimes it get bogged down and instead of breaking out into greatness, it continues to muddle along. You can see that there’s so much more it could do, but it’s not quite there