This week's episode of Grimm was flipping awesome (as Monroe-centric episodes are wont to be). The episode opens with a quote from the Brothers Grimm story "The Three Snake-Leaves" -- "Whilst he thus gazed before him, he saw a snake creep out of a corner of the vault and approach the dead body." I see two ways in which this episode possibly relates to this story -- more on that in a bit. :)
The episode opens with the arrival of a private jet and the arrival of a beautiful woman in Portland, one who immediately calls Renard (Sasha Roiz). Said mystery woman is played by Alice Evans, a.k.a. Mrs. Horatio Hornblower (married to Ioan Gruffudd), who I find incredibly annoying. This was not helped by the revelation that she apparently has some sort of romantic past with Renard. (Gag!) But I shall try to put that aside -- because her arrival in Portland does drop a few tantalizing clues about my favorite enigma. Their dinner date conversation is fascinating, as she drops the comment that she didn't feel he was treated right by his family, and attempts to find out his plans for "reclaiming his rightful place." It's clear (gag) that Renard is attracted to her, but also equally clear that he doesn't trust her as far as he can throw her -- that tension from a long-time acquaintance promises an interesting dynamic.
The structure of the first half of this episode is really well done as it contrasts four very different "date nights." The first date unexpectedly involves Nick (David Giuntoli) and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch). As I mentioned last week, I loved seeing Juliette recognize her connection with, her attraction to Nick, even though she doesn't remember their collective past. When she finds a recipe marked with "Nick loves" in her handwriting, she prepares the dish and insists he stays for dinner -- because while she may never remember their past, she wants to get to know him now. I LOVE THAT. And the look of tentative joy on Nick's face was just priceless. They are so adorable. :)
The next date takes us to Monroe's (Silas Weir Mitchell) house, where he's listening to classical music, cooking what I'm sure is a gourmet meal, and wearing a bowtie and vest (ADORABLE!!) -- all for Rosalee (Bree Turner). Between their mutual admiration society ("you look beautiful" "so do you"), Monroe showing off his clock collection, their shared love of virtuoso zitharist music -- could they be any more adorable? I think not. The next scenes promise to throw a bit of a wrench into their happiness as we see the return of Monroe's ex Angelina (Jaime Ray Newman), ever the loose cannon, having drinks with some skeevy guy at a bar who seems to think drinks means she should sleep with him. Angelina takes exception to this and goes all wolfish on the guy, killing him -- but her victim turns out to have been working for a King Cobra or Konigschlange, who demands she complete the job, which just happens to be killing Monroe (this is allllll kinds of awkward, no?).
Now, to Angelina's credit, when she finds out that Monroe is the target of the hit, she goes to his house to warn him and interrupts him and Rosalee, just as they are about to kiss (boo!! hiss!!). Rosalee leaves to let Monroe hash out all the awkwardness with his ex-girlfriend, who urges him to flee -- but Monroe refuses to run and calls Nick, interrupting the latter's dinner conversation with Juliette where they're being all adorable talking about how they first met. The Nick/Angelina tension is interesting, since she refuses to trust him because he's a Grimm, and he is a bit peeved about letting a murderer run loose -- but concern for Monroe TRUMPS ALL (as it should!).
Monroe crashes at Hank's (Russell Hornsby) house while Nick and Angelina become reluctant partners, going to the bar to investigate where she received her "commission." The Hank/Monroe scene was priceless! While tossing back some beers, Hank takes the opportunity to ask a mellow (ha) Wesen how the transformations work, and even talks Monroe into giving a demonstration. His reaction -- indeed, the whole dynamic between the two during this scene -- was SO FUNNY. I also rather unexpectedly enjoyed watching Nick being forced to work with Angelina, especially when she passes herself off as his partner and basically gives a blow-by-blow recitation of how she killed her victim at the bar, impressing the investigating officer from the next town. *wink* When they trace the last call on her victim's cell phone to a nearby hardware store, Angelina uses her wolfish "charms" to convince one of the thugs to explain why there's a hit out on Monroe. Someone (at this point I half wondered if it was Renard?) wants to send a message to the Grimm and the Wesen world in general -- anyone who allies themselves with Nick is in danger of getting killed. (Loved how Nick felt so palpably guilty while Monroe refused to renounce his friendship!)
Meanwhile, Rosalee has had to leave town after receiving a call from her mother about a sick aunt (I suspect at this point Bree Turner was close to giving birth in real life). Monroe comes up with a plan to draw the mastermind behind the hit on him out in the open -- he'll take a potion inducing a "dead faint," inducing a deathlike sleep of suspended animation. So once Nick brings Hank up to speed on the need to cooperate with Angelina (he isn't happy about THAT either, but to his credit he's really embracing the whole working off-the-books thing with Nick), they head to the spice shop and call Rosalee for instructions. She's suitably horrified by the idea, as the potion is incredibly risky, and if the drinker stays under too long they'll die -- and Grimm without Monroe would not survive!
Angelina proves to be unexpectedly classy about seeing her ex move on with another woman (and reallyAlice Evans annoys me more than Jaime Ray Newman, so the latter fares positively by comparison). Rosalee's anguish over the risk of losing Monroe, and his bravery -- oh they just killed me, I nearly cried (no exaggeration). It was really quite moving to watch the expression on Angelina's face as she listens to Monroe and Rosalee's intensely personal conversation -- I LOVE how the show is handling their developing relationship. So, once Angelina gets the call from Arbok (Matt Gerald), also known as the cobra, Monroe drinks the potion and Nick and Hank make plans to follow the two blutbads to the meeting site.
The meeting turns tense and Angelina tries to hide her worry over the physical signs that the potion may be killing Monroe -- pale skin, clenched hands. After Arbok confirms that Monroe is "dead," the mastermind behind the hit drives up -- and it turns out to be Renard's erstwhile lady love (blech!!! like I needed ONE MORE reason not to like Alice Evans). She assesses the situation and confirms that Angelina has earned her payday, and once she turns to leave, Angelina throws caution to the wind and attempts to resuscitate Monroe to the shock of the thugs, who think it's some sort of weird blutbad thing, until Monroe wakes up and all heck breaks loose. Monroe and Angelina morph into wolves, while Nick and Hank rush to the scene -- they take out the thugs but not before one of them fatally shoots Angelina. Nick takes off after the Arbok, who transforms into his cobra form, and just when it seems like Arbok may get a killing blow, Hank arrives and shoots him (having Hank in the know is proving handy, hmm?).
It will be interesting to see if the show explores the fallout from Angelina's death on Monroe in any depth (I liked that she used her final breath to warn Monroe that "the woman" got away). However it plays out, and nevermind that I actually sorta liked Angelina this go-around, I'm kind of glad the show ruled out a return appearance with her death, because it speaks to the writers' commitment to move the Monroe/Rosalee relationship forward.
Now, to talk about this episode's Brothers Grimm inspiration for a moment...obviously the it takes its cue of for a new creature-of-the-week from the tale, and I have got to say I was incredibly impressed with the King Cobra special effects. But if you read the summary of the story, it references a young man whose extraordinary bravery allows him to marry a princess, who only ends up betraying him. Now I'm pretty sure Renard isn't married to the blonde mystery woman (BETTER NOT BE!! Ha!), I wonder if the writers' use of this story is intentional, perhaps suggestive of Renard's past before he left his family, or was kicked out -- and why he can't fully trust his one-time lover. The final scene, where Renard meets her at the airport, and demands to be told everything seems to suggest he's going to take a dim view of her machinations in his territory, ordering hits on Wesen, etc. For whatever reason, Renard is rather protective of Nick -- I can't wait to find out WHY!
Wrapping things up -- while Monroe takes care of burying Angelina in the blutbad tradition, Nick calls Rosalee to tell her that Monroe is safe -- loved that. :) After he hangs up, he's thrilled to find a note from Juliette thanking him for the new memories -- and this is where things should get even MORE interesting, if the preview for next week is any indication.
Next week is going to see the return of Adalind (Claire Coffee), who has somehow regained her powers -- and I suspect that has something to do with Juliette's claim that she's starting to remember Nick. But, along with Nick, she's ALSO remembering Renard's kiss -- and next week promises to bring their first face-to-face meeting. Now, let me refer any interested parties to my post on the first episode for this season, where I called the possibility of a Renard/Juliette/Nick love triangle. People, this could be fun -- especially when you consider the following deleted scene from this episode (the relevant moment is about fifty seconds in):
Interesting to see where Renard's head really is, hmm? *wink* It will be interesting to see how much the connection between Juliette and Renard is due to the "pure heart" potion -- and if it ever develops into something more, at least on Renard's side. Ultimately I am ALL about Nick and Juliette, but I think the idea of Renard falling in love with a Grimm's significant other, and how that could impact his plans -- the dramatic possibilities are endless! Discuss? :)