Grimm's fourth episode was, I think, one of the best yet -- a great mix of police procedural and a wonderfully creepy way of reimagining a traditional story in a 21st century setting. Lonelyhearts is based on the "Bluebeard" story, and to this show's everlasting credit I never imagined this twist on the Bluebeard legend. Instead of a woman discovering that a horrible secret about her husband (namely a hidden cache of dead previous wives -- yikes), here Bluebeard is turned into a predatory lech.
The bluebeard Nick (David Giuntoli) encounters is a Ziegevolk, basically a human goat who releases pheromones that blind people to their true nature. This is especially -- and CREEPILY -- handy when it comes to attracting women for "breeding purposes." This conceit marries the predator storyline that is a staple of crime shows (and, unfortunately, the news) with a really well done fantasy twist. That is what makes this show work so brilliantly -- how it takes the stories we know and replaces the historical trappings of the tales with modern accouterments so the dangers are perhaps not quite so easily recognized.
This episode really gave a chance for the spotlight to shine on Nick and Hank's partnership. Hank (Russell Hornsby) has been somewhat sidelined during the first three episodes, as the show has needed to establish Nick as a "Grimm" and his introduction to his family's calling. We got a good look at the Nick and Hank partnership -- the two have a very promising buddy chemistry thing going on, looking forward to seeing how that develops over the course of the season. When the two go to interview the SO NICE HE'S DISGUSTING AND CREEPY innkeeper Billy (Patrick Fischler), prior to Billy's reveal as a bluebeard he and Hank touch -- so his hormone superpowers immediately mellow Hank's perception of him (at least while the two are in close vicinity of each other). Later in the investigation Hank succumbs to the gases Billy uses to keep his female captives compliant -- so when he's rescued by Nick, you can tell that Hank is extra committed to bringing Billy to justice. The case is personal and it shows, which I liked seeing play out on-screen.
Back to Nick, who seems to be growing used to his new "Grimm vision" -- so much so that when he catches Billy morphing into a goat he's actually exasperated. I love how Giuntoli gives off an almost palpable aggravation in the scene, as if he wants to yell "can't I solve a normal crime for once?" *wink* And how much fun was it discovering Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) the big bad wolf plays the CELLO? Eddie is a mass of contradictions and I LOVE it. He talks a lot about being annoyed with Nick but each week he seems to relish more and more working with his family's sworn enemy, a GRIMM.
In addition to the bluebeard storyline, this episode hinted at the dangers to come for Nick as a "Reaper of the Grimms" arrived in town to avenge one of their brothers -- the reaper Nick killed in episode one while defending his aunt. Apparently reapers are troll-type creatures -- and the reaper who came after Nick in this episode (played by Henri Lubatti) broke MAJOR creature protocol. Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) clearly has authority and pull -- but the question is, who is he exactly? And what sort of game is he running, because by calling off the reaper (the ear cutting scene was so creepy!) it could be read as a suggestion that he's protecting Nick. Enquiring minds want to know, NBC! :)
The atmosphere and pacing of this episode were, as is quickly becoming the norm for this show, pretty stellar. I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)
Programming note: Grimm is off this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but returns with two brand-new episodes next week -- on Thursday 12/8/11 we'll get an episode entitled Danse Macabre, and on Friday 12/9/11 Grimm returns to its normal timeslot with The Three Bad Wolves.