‘Grimm’ Review: “The Good Soldier”
After the last couple installments of 'Grimm,' it's nice to know that Monroe and Rosalee get a little more attention in the latest episode, "The Good Soldier." It's been a while since Monroe has been in the spotlight, as he's been pushed to the background for much of this season.
The episode opens with the quote "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." and shows Francesca "Frankie" Gonzales in a car cutting herself, and then shows security system salesman Ron in a bar telling a story about a lonely housewife. Francesca shows up, and Ron says he doesn't know her, but she presses him. She wants him to admit what he did and makes an imprint of her open wound on a napkin. He says she needs help and then leaves the bar. Monroe and Rosalee are hanging out in the spice shop when he finds a letter from her estranged mother. Rosalee is worried about what her mom wants, and so she invites Monroe to come with her to Medford. Ron yells at someone on the phone about their problem when Francesca shows up and says she's never going away. It also appears they served in the military together. When he goes inside to get a gun, she's gone. But then he hears some noises inside his house and gets killed by a Wesen with a poisonous tail.
And guess who gets the case? Nick, Hank, and Wu show up and inspect the house. Ron's war medals have been stolen, and it turns out Ron's coworkers (including Jim McCabe and Troy) spent time in Iraq together, and the pieces of how this is coming together seem a little obvious -- at least if you remember some of the scandals surrounding Halliburton/Blackwater-type companies. Monroe makes breakfast and Rosalee reveals that her sister Deanna (whom Rosalee describes as "the martyr") will be there as well. Nick sees that Ron was a war hero, and Hank finds that Ron's last call was to Jim McCabe, head of McCabe security. Then Francesca shows up at Troy's house, and she threatens him as well.
Nick and Hank show up at a veteran's lodge asking about Ron and find out about Francesca's bloody napkin, which they recover from the garbage. Monroe and Rosalee show up at her mom's house but are jittery. They meet both Rosalee's mom and sister, but nothing bad comes of it, at least not yet. Nick and Hank go to Jim's office, and though Jim knows it was likely Francesca, he lies to the cops. Because of a photo, Nick and Hank can tell that Jim was a military contractor in Iraq alongside Ron and Troy, and that there was a fourth person they were tight with while there. When Hank checks on the fourth he finds that he's been murdered as well. Back in Vienna, it's Adalind time. She's in a bar and being spied on when she has labor pains that give her magical powers.
Jim talks to Troy and wants to ignore the Francesca situation, while Troy wants to tell the truth about what happened. Back in Vienna, Adalind goes to the hotel room as Renard's spy checks in. Renard then meets with Nick and Hank and find that the fourth person died the same way Ron did. Dinner with Rosalee's family is going okay (though they don't serve Monroe vegetarian food), until Deanna starts prodding old family wounds. For Deanna it's that Rosalee didn't show up for her father's funeral, which makes Rosalee confess she couldn't make it because she was in jail, and that she feels horrible about not saying goodbye to her father. Rosalee storms out, but Monroe is able to calm her down. Troy confesses to his wife, but his wife doesn't want him to go public. As he goes to destroy his confession, he and his wife are murdered.
Rosalee and Monroe head back into her mom's house, and it seems the family is ready to make amends, though Deanna threatens to kill Monroe if he breaks Rosalee's heart. Nick and Hank video chat with Ron's CO and find out that Jim and his gang were cowboys while in Iraq and that the group were accused of raping Francesca, but they couldn't be prosecuted. The CO suggests these men deserved to die, but when he turns off the computer it's revealed he's not in a hospital, nor is he sick like he suggested. They find that Francesca has been in and out of trouble since she left the military, and are notified about Troy and his wife's bodies being found. At Troy's house, Nick finds part of the confession, while Wu reveals that it's a scorpion neurotoxin that killed the victims. Nick and Hank go to Juliette, who's already at the camper, to find out what kind of Wesen they're dealing with and find out it's a manticore, who are usually great soldiers, and realize there's only one person left standing.
Jim is then confronted by Francesca when Nick and Hank show up and arrest her. The two interrogate her, but she says she didn't kill them. She says she wanted them to confess. Nick says he's a Grimm, and she reveals that she's not a manticore. The pieces come together, and it's obvious that it's the CO who's been killing them. Nick and Hank run off after him, but the CO is meeting with Jim. The CO reveals that it was Jim who killed Troy and his wife and that they're both manticores. They fight, and when Nick and Hank show up, they get to witness Jim killing the CO with a knife (which was the CO's plan). Nick gives Troy's confession to Francesca and she says she's willing to testify against Jim, which gives her a sense of closure.
The ending reveal is what 'Grimm' does best, it sets up something obvious and then puts a little twist on it so it's not as simple as it appeared. The minute the CO is revealed to not be in a hospital, it's obvious that Francesca isn't the killer, but that Jim is also a manticore and killed Troy gooses it just enough, though I kind of wish that Francesca had no idea what a Grimm was and was just a normal person.
With an episode like this, it's very much an A story (Wesen of the week), B story (Monroe and Rosalee meet her family), and "Adalind needs to put in an appearance" story, and it's better when the show can fit those into a cohesive whole over "and now we're following these people" stop/start narrative (which is why the Adalind stuff is the most groan-worthy element of this season so far: she has no impact on the current events), but Monroe needed to meet Rosalee's family, and it looks like that will be paid off next week. It's also nice that the show rarely puts those two in conflict -- it's been great to see Nick and Juliette get along as well -- perhaps the show learned from the 'Friday Night Lights' example that having a strong relationship(s) at the core of a show is narratively workable, and not necessarily boring.
Next week looks to be a more character-driven episode, and that's needed -- the show has to balance between its procedural side, and driving the greater narrative of the character's lives, but as we're in season three, the show seems to know what it is, its strengths and how to rotate its cast of characters. And 'Grimm' seems completely aware of what it is, which is why it's usually a fun watch.