‘Grimm’ Review: “The Other Side”
Last week on 'Grimm' we saw Juliette getting kissed by Nick, only to envision Captain Renard. It looks like the whole coma, woken with a kiss plot is finally going someplace. But will it be more tease, like last week's episode "The Bottle Imp," or is this thing finally going to resolve itself? We'll find out in tonight's episode "The Other Side."
The episode opens with the quote: "I thought of making myself a beautiful wooden marionette. It must be wonderful, one that can dance, fence and turn somersaults." It then cuts to an academic decathlon where Pierce dominates until Jenny gets one right. Nick and Juliette get ready for a dinner, and he zips her up, even though the zipper is a little stuck. They seem intimate, but when Nick mentions the captain, Juliette averts her eyes. Back at the decathlon, the kids plan to go out, and they all tease Pierce about his preternatural gift, though Jenny notes she or Brandon could win in the end. As their evening ends, the kids split up when Brandon walks home alone and is stalked and eaten.
At the police function Renard is giving a speech, while Wu, Hank, Juliette and Nick are all seated together. Renard and Juliette exchange odd looks as Renard gets his award. Nick gets a call, which leaves Renard alone with Juliette, and Nick and Hank get called on a case, which allows Renard to give Juliette a ride home. Nick and Hank are called in on the dead kid. Nick finds Brandon's cell phone, and he gets a call from Jenny, but says nothing. Renard drops off Juliette, but lingers outside long enough to see where she keeps the spare key. Juliette goes upstairs to undress as Renard takes the key and comes inside. He then walks upstairs to hear her showering and enters the bedroom, and then watches her shower. Creeptastic. Coming to his senses he leaves after punching a photo of her and Nick. In his car, he fights with the monster inside him, and accidentally hits a pedestrian's groceries, and then - when the pedestrian assumes that he's been drinking heavily and tries to get his keys - decks the passerby. He gets back in his car and drives off.
Nick and Hank questions the Decathlon kids, but get no leads, and Nick doesn't spot any vessen. The coach then says he's really pissed, and reveals that he is a vessen. There's a great moment here where Hank reveals that he can spot Nick's tell when he sees one, so even though he doesn't have the gift, he can tell what's up. The two check out the coach, but Renard notes they have no real evidence to pursue him, while Hank points out that this competition could be motive. Wu brings up Ryan, the new intern, who is gracious about the opportunity, and brown noses Nick and Hank until he trips. In Vienna, Renard's brother (James Frain) meets up with Adalind, and they flirt while she points out she knows about his plans and royal family. She suggests she's got dirt on Captain Renard, and they plan to spend some time together. Munroe is working at Rosalee's shop, and he's got a real passion for it. In walks Renard, who needs something to cure his obsessive behavior. He reveals he's been obsessed with Juliette since the kiss, and Monroe intuits that it may have something to do with the dark arts, and Renard says he'll come back for anything Monroe's got the next day. Jenny calls Pierce, who's busy doing homework because of his mother. Jenny says she's heading to the bleachers, and Pierce plans to meet her. Jenny shows up and goes into a dark corner under the bleachers when she's attacked.
Nick, Hank and Wu go to Jenny's crime scene, and Hank notes that she's got a watch in her hand, and the watch belongs to Pierce. Nick and Hank go to check on Pierce, and start to grill him, which makes Pierce and his mother reveal they are vessen. The mom can tell that Nick's a Grimm and tells him to leave them alone. Nick lets the two go back inside, not knowing what kind of creatures they are. Inside, Pierce has a headache and his mom tries to comfort him. But when Nick spills some hot chocolate, he goes to put a pillowcase in the wash, only to find the washer is already filled with clothes! (And, perhaps more importantly, blood). His mom ushers him back upstairs when the coach calls to say that they're pulling the school out of the competition. In the RV, Nick and Hank figure out what kind of vessen Pierce and his mother are, and the vessen-type are revealed to be relatively non-violent. They decide to check on the coach, only to find the coach already dead.
Nick and Hank can tell the coach was killed recently, and are the hunt. Renard's brother and Adalind dish on Renard. Renard's brother reveals that the Captain is his half brother and the son of a hexenbiest and that Renard's mother brought him to America. Adalind suggests that she and Renard's brother have a lot in common, and she starts to dish on Nick. Nick gets a call from Pierce, who says he thinks he knows who the killer is, but won't reveal it over the phone. But Pierce's mom comes in to tell him he doesn't understand, while Pierce says that he understands everything. But when he goes to confront his mom with the clothes in the wash, he notices that the clothes in it are his. His headache keeps getting worse and the mother suggests he's a crossbreed, and then the other side of his vessen comes out - a wolf side - and tries to kill his mother. Just then Nick and Hank show up, and Nick is attacked by Pierce. They duke it out, and Nick knocks Pierce out.
The mother explains that Pierce is part Lowen, and that he doesn't understand his own Lowen side. Though Nick knocked him out, Pierce is able to escape and he runs away with Nick in pursuit. They find him at a water tower, where he's sitting on the edge and is ready to jump, and as he talks he switches back and forth between his vessen sides. As Pierce jumps, Nick cuffs himself to the kid and saves his life. Renard says Pierce will be up for the three homicides, and Nick and Hank explain that he was genetically alter in utero. Renard suggests that Pierce will have a hard time in prison, but then it cuts to Pierce being harassed only to turn into a Lowen. Back at the spice shop Renard shows up, and Monroe explains he can make a dampering potion, but that it's just going to get worse if he doesn't know the other person, and even then he might not be able to stop it.
At this point - eight episodes into the season - it's fair to say that the Juliette/Renard stuff is going to be a constant for the rest of the show's year. It's unfortunate then that it's easily the least entertaining aspect of the show, but it also gives the two regulars who aren't Sgt. Wu something to do every episode. With Monroe's role reduced to a cameo, this could have been a much worse episode, but the final twist on who the murderer was enough of a surprise to make it interesting. That they pulled it off by... we don't want to say cheating, but by creating a new Grimm type simply to surprise the audience does lessen the cleverness. This was as "episode of the week" as 'Grimm' comes these days, but that's part of the charm of the show. Like its Portland location, it's a little low key, but it gets the job done. But what did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.