Well, last night saw one deeply goofy episode of Grimm. I was hoping that the episode’s worst quality would be the head of its Fly-Wesen antagonist, which looked either like bad CG or great CG of a bad rubber fly mask. But despite a few fun moments, “Mr. Sandman” was mostly just… baffling.
Let’s start with the deep, deep weirdness of the Wesen-o’the-Week. It’s a Jinnamuru Xuntee (bless you, Grimm Wiki), which is a Fly-themed Wesen with a South African twang that:
• Feeds on the tears of his victims
• But also blinds them
• By spitting tiny worms in their faces
• And the worms eat people’s eyeballs
• And the worms apparently look like… sand?
This very minor aspect of a very complicated feeding pattern is seemingly the only reason the episode is titled “Mr. Sandman,” which is pretty goddamned arbitrary. Sure, this allows Grimm to play about 15 seconds of the classic “Mr. Sandman” song at the beginning of the episode (and apparently justifies the Fly-Guy driving a red ‘59 Cadillac), but why "Mr. Sandman"? Because of the song? Because you could get your hands on the car? There’s nothing about Fly-Guy that makes anybody go to sleep, which is what the whole song is about, and the sand is only mentioned once. Why not “Blinded by the Light”? That would make more sense. Why not “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel? Both are way more thematically appropriate here.
Fly-Guy himself doesn’t help the confusion, because he makes his needlessly complicated feeding pattern extra-complicated. He goes to grief support groups, macks on the grieving ladies, and then, after they’re already crying plenty, spits eyeball-eating worms in their faces. The tears are already available for consumption: Why blind them? What does that accomplish? It doesn’t make them cry more. And why buddy up to the victims if you’re just going to attack them anyways? They cry when you look like you’re about to kill them, dude — picking them out at a support group first seems pretty unnecessary.
Anyways, Fly-Guy arrives in Portland, goes to a support group, meets a girl, drives her home, talks comfortingly to her, then spits worms in her face and blinds her and eats her tears. Then the girl pulls an apparently super-heavy bookshelf on down herself and dies. Nick and Hank are called in; Nick's acute Grimm skills make him notice something’s a bit off with the eyes, which look like they’re about to explode.
The Medical Examiner — who takes this whole case very nonchalantly, I might add — figures out the lady has crazy South African eye-eating worms in her eyes, but the parasites died when the victim died. Which is good news for everybody except Victim #2, who gets the same treatment as Victim #1 but doesn’t pull a bookshelf-acide and is taken to the hospital.
Victim #2 has a sister, Jenny Wade (of Reaper and The Good Guys), who saw Fly-Guy’s ludicrously noticeable car and tells Nick and Hank; the group goes into trailer research-mode and discovers the very specific feeding habits of the Jinnamuru Xuntee, and then Jenny Wade visits the hospital to see that THE WORMS HAVE COMPLETELY EATEN HER SISTER’S EYES (it’s a little awesome, admittedly).
Fly-Guy’s car is spotted why he’s trying to pick up Victim #3 at another support group, causing Nick, Hank and Wu to chase him through the school building. Obviously, Nick gets there first (while Fly-Guy is buzzing from window to window at top speed, unable to get out, because he’s a fly) and gets a mouthful of death worms in his eyes for his trouble, as Fly-Guy tosses a desk through a window and escapes.
Obviously, the only thing to do is bring Nick back to Rosalee’s while they look for a cure, which is where Nick realizes that although he’s blind and worms are eating his fucking eyes (I can’t stress this enough), he has gained super-hearing for his troubles.
Rosalee finds the cure, of course, but it requires 1) to be administered in the next 3-4 hours and 2) the eyeball scooped out of the Jinnamuru Xuntee’s head while he’s still alive (the hilarious illustration of this in the book demonstrates how to do this with a spoon, which the crew takes to heart, but I wonder if it was more a suggestion than an actual instruction).
Nick remembers that the Jinnamuru Xuntee tend to go back to their victim’s families for more tears — because now they’re crying, you see — and everyone heads to Jenny Wade’s house, where indeed, Fly-Guy is trying to eat her tears and spit death worms in her eyes, but isn’t succeeding because of Jenny Wade’s very clever plan of covering her eyes with her arm.
This holds off Fly-Guy long enough for everyone to show up, and while Hank and Monroe instantly lose track of Fly-Guy, Nick and his super-hearing chase him to the attic, where Nick basically turns into Daredevil. Yes, being blind has somehow activated Nick’s blind-fighting powers, because he kicks Fly-Guy’s ass, knocking him unconscious — which is best for everybody, Fly-Guy included, because then Monroe has to scoop out the dude’s giant bug eyeball with a spoon. Rosalee mashes this into a paste, puts the paste on an eye-wrap, and saves Nick’s eyes; Fly-Guy uses this opportunity to run downstairs (he’s taken the whole having-his-eyeball-scooped-out-with-a-spoon marvelously well) and get stabbed in the gut by Jenny Wade for his troubles. The end!
Well, almost. A very few overarching plot things happens, but they were totally separate from the Jinnamuru Xuntee case, so I can list them here:
• Juliette sees a ghost, tells Rosalee she’s been hallucinating, and the ghost turns out to be Nick.
• Renard has what is almost certainly his own hallucination, of Juliette chilling in his bed.
• Adelind talks to an old Hexenbiest about how to maximize the profit of her Royal baby (which may be Renard’s or his brother’s).
• And I probably shouldn't forget that the episode actually ends with Nick playing blindfolded real-life Fruit Ninja, because his Daredevil powers have stuck around.
I much preferred it when Grimm’s overarching plot was tied more closely to the plot of the week like in the last episode (I’m going to go out on a limb and bet you all do, too). And what I’ve liked most about Grimm since rejoining it is the way it has been setting down its own mythology; genre shows like these can do just about anything, as long as they set up some rules and obey them, and I feel like the Fly-Guy is just doesn’t fit with all the Wesen we’ve seen so far. We just had an episode about the dangers of breaking the Codex and letting humans notice you, and then here comes this dude with an insatiable appetite for tears that leaves all his victims blind by spitting death worms in their faces, and it just doesn’t mesh with that.
Anyways, I liked the episode, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first two. Still, weird as it was, if this is the worst Grimm gets, I’ve got no problems with the show. I certainly don’t have worms eating my goddamn eyeballs, that’s for sure.
• I’ll tell you one thing I really loved: Nick, Monroe, Rosalee and Hank having a nice, grown-up dinner together and discussing Grimm shit. It was just weirdly… real. Like, there’s no case at the moment — why wouldn’t they fix a nice meal and have some wine and discuss what Renard’s deal might be?
• I know Adelind was talking about what her baby might be worth in a metaphorical sense, but I really like the idea she’s going to sell it on eBay.
• Is the Medical Examiner a recurring character? Because I love how nonchalant she was about telling Nick and Hank the victims have worm parasites from Africa that are eating their eyes. Is she a Wesen? Is that why she’s not surprised by this shit? I kind of hope she just doesn’t care.
• I also loved Nick and Hank being forced to call around to see if Victim #1 has somehow gone to South Africa in the last few days to explain why she had South African death worms in her eyes. A line like “Well, I’m 99% sure it’s some crazy Wesen, but I guess we have to check and make sure” would've gone a long way.
• No offense to Grimm, but Jenny Wade is gorgeous and talented and hilarious and she deserves a lot better than to be Victim #2’s Sister.
• So I know Fly-Guy attacked Jenny Wade, tried to kill her eyes, and destroyed his sister’s eyes, so she has karma and narrative vengeance on her side, but it’s still a little weird that she stabs him when she’s in no danger and the dude didn’t even know she was there. Obviously, Nick et al. would be cool with this because of what she went through (also, the dude missing an eye might be hard to explain) but still, awkward.
• WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT HORRIBLE MONKEY THING IN THE BOX IN THE ATTIC JESUS AAAAAAAAAAA