The first half of Grimm's second season ended strong, and the second half continues strong in "Face Off." No faces come off, but plenty of secrets are revealed, Nick and Renard's relationship changes forever, and oh, did I mention the hate sex?
Having just discovered that his love Juliette is macking on Captain Renard, a furious Nick goes to beat the crap out of his boss. Having just discovered Nick's aunt's trailer, Captain Renard has an owl-ish Wesen use his awesome owl eyes to figure out which of his many keys fits the lock, so Renard can break in and look for the weird green key that protects an ancient super-powerful artifacts the Royal family desperately wants to get its hands/paws/taklons on. Both are interrupted by the police discovering the bodies of the four Hundjager Nick and Monroe killed last episode.
While you'd think that a quadruple homicide would be a pretty major event for the Portland PD, Renard is distracted by his magic-fueled obsession with Juliette, and Nick is distracted by his desire to beat the shit out of Renard. At least Wu is wearily concerned, tracking down a fuzzy, nearby surveillance video of Monroe leaving the hotel from last episode, and the four Hundjager following him.
But whatever, it's just four corpses. When Renard leaves, Nick follows him to his house and sees Renard kiss Juliette with his own eyes. Nick is only stopped from busting down the door by a very timely phone call from Monroe, who has finally figured out that Renard is the one who woke Juliette from her coma, which has made them both uncontrollably obsessed with each other (and when I say Monroe figured it out, I mean Rosalee figured it out, and told Monroe during a phone call).
A very angry Nick returns to Monroe's place, where they decide to hit Rosalee's shop to look for the potion ingredients that Adelind's mother used to create the obsessive/compulsive love spell (figuring out it was Adelind's mother who ordered it along the way). Nick is not particularly excited by this, but it's probably better than if he had stayed home and watched Juliette and Renard angrily hate-fuck each other.
Okay, so they don't have actual sex, but there's a lot of hate-making out, with increasing levels of physical abuse in between as Renard and Juliette halfheartedly — but very violently — try to stop. It doesn't stop when Juliette grabs Renard's gun and pistol-whips him with it, but when Juliette starts firing wildly, Renard does manage to get the gumption to leave.
Of course, a neighbor hears the gunshots and calls the police; Wu arrives at the scene and calls Nick. Nick runs over, but Juliette refuses to tell him anything other than she saw an intruder. Nick, on the other hand, says he knows exactly what happened and who the "intruder" was, and manages to convince Wu to just forget the whole thing. Another crime, ignored by Portland's finest!
Renard has the incarcerated Adelind released so he can kidnap her, demanding she remove the spell; the depowered Adelind can't, of course, but she offers to help by giving Renard a hate-fuck, if not the specific hate-fuck he was looking for. Renard takes her up on her generous offer, even revealing his Wesen form during the action, per Adelind's request.
Rosalee very thankfully returns, and after a reasonably adorable reunion with Monroe, they all head to the potions shop again for more hot research action. Rosalee has realized that Renard must be the Royal in Portland, which blows Nick's mind, and that the cat that scratched Juliette must have been the catalyst (sorry) for the spell. Then the three hunt for the cure to the spell; when they find it, they refuse to tell Nick or the audience what it entails, except that 1) Renard and Juliette will need to be together for it to work and 2) it would have been a lot easier if the cat hadn't been hit by a car.
Meanwhile, Renard searches Nick's aunt's trailer for the key. He's very thorough, which is very silly since eventually he remembers Nick looking in his desk at work, and makes the intuitive leap that the key must be in the desk (this is the goofiest part of what is otherwise a pretty strong episode). Sure enough, the key is there; Renard uses a stamp pad to "print" the key's map, which is when Hank makes his triumphant return from having the crap kicked out of him by Adelind's goons last episode. He sees Renard rifling through Nick's desk, calls Nick and tells him, then tries to stall the good(?) Captain until Nick gets there. He fails, unfortunately, and Nick arrives at the police station to find the key missing and Adelind released. He is not pleased by either of these things.
But hope is not lost, because when Renard reunites with Adelind, he tells her he hasn't found the key. Adelind ominously points out that Renard's brother will not be happy, as she gets in a car to head back to Austria ( a car that will take her to an airport, presumably, and not try to drive directly to Austria). This is when Renard calls Nick and asks to meet.
And here's where things get really good. Renard asks Nick to meet him at the creepy cottage where Nick's Grimm powers activated from the pilot, a very nice callback. When Renard arrives, Nick very promptly starts beating the crap out him, more in anger than any attempt to get the key back, although he wants that, too. Which is why he's shocked when Renard tosses the key back.
Renard explains that if Adelind gets the key they both die, and about the only way to survive — and keep the Royal family from getting the key and its treasures — is to work together. Nick points out they kind of need to fix the Juliette situation first, and he has a way to do that. They pick up Juliette, together, and head to the potions shop where Rosalee has mixed a magic, color-changing milkshake that Nick drinks. Then he falls down and his face turns magenta. Oh, and Adelind is pregnant with Renard's baby. See you next week!
So you might have guessed by my somewhat perfunctory review (at least compared to the verbose nightmares of my Walking Dead and Zero Hour recaps) that I'm pretty new to the Grimm world. I saw the pilot, wasn't particularly impressed by goofy premise or the crappy CG, and "Face Off" is my first episode back.
This time, I was impressed. I'm impressed by the world and the mythology the show has been building — which is what these supernatural serials live and die by — and I'm impressed at how much this single episode shakes up the status quo. There's a lot of revelations for both sides, and now that Nick knows about Renard, that dynamic will be completely different. I've seen a lot of people complain about Grimm's plethora of Wesen o' the Week procedural episodes, but "Face Off" is all story building and character developing, and even for a newcomer like me, it's damned interesting. I genuinely want to see where this goes, something the pilot wasn't able to do.
I hope you guys don't mind me taking this over; obviously, feel free to berate me for anything I missed in the comments, and/or tell me anything I need to know; I'll try to get caught up as quickly as I can (I have read every Grimm Wikipedia page about eight times each, so I feel I have the basics down, at least). And I'll see you next week.
• For some reason, I desperately want to type Renard's name as "Renaud" and Adelind's name as "Adelaide." I have no idea why this is.
• I know everybody adores Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe, but I don't see it. I mean, he's fun and funny and I like him, but I don't see him as this breakout character that steals every scene he's in. I remain completely open to the obvious possibility that I just haven't seen enough of him, and look forward to being corrected.
• This episode felt a lot like early Angel to me, and I meant that as a compliment. Angel — well, all Joss Whedon shows, actually — manage to balance stand-alone episodes and serialized storytelling almost perfectly; I know Grimm hasn't been that lucky. But this was all overarching story tonight, and even for a newbie it was much more interesting than a simple meet/fight a new Wesen o' the Week.
• The scene where Juliette opens the door and sees both Renard and Nick, and they all stand there like particpants in the world's most passive-aggressive threesome made me laugh, as did Juliette's bored "What now?"
• Do you think the video of Monroe that Wu found will have any consequences down the line? Since the story completely dropped the murders after about 10 minutes, I'm guessing not, but it would be an interesting dilemma.
• Nick: "Does anything not end in death?!"
Monroe: "Not that I know of."