Grimm 2.13 "Face Off" TV REVIEW
Written by: Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt
Directed by: Terrence O'Hara
THE ONE WHERE Nick and Renard finally have their confrontation over Juliette, culminating in a new understanding between them and an uneasy truce as they team up to keep the key away from Adalind and the Vienna royals. Meanwhile Rosalee returns, and Adalind tries to get Renard on side using her womanly wiles, culminating in a positive pregnancy test.
VERDICT Finally the payoff. Or all of the payoffs pretty much: the only thing missing was Sgt Wu finally realising Portland had a wesen problem. Adalind is out of jail and hunting for the key. Rosalee returns. And at last Nick and Renard clash and our slightly dim Grimm realises his enigmatic boss is much more than he seems. It took him a while but he got there in the end.
It's been building for so long and been dodged so many times that even up to the last minute I was expecting some kind of hex or amnesiac juice would scupper Nick and Renard's titular face off from happening, but when it did it was satisfying stuff. But this was just the beginning. We had a decent explanation as to why Juliette and Renard have been behaving so oddly, and - courtesy of Rosalee, who of course figured all this out within about ten minutes of being back in town – a sense of peril that if their Sleepy Beauty/Prince Charming schtick doesn't get sorted soon it could be the death of both of them. That said, some of the scenes between them were so awkward to watch that such deaths might be a blessed relief for us all.
David Giuntoli is in great form as Nick. Usually-granite jawed and unblinking, for once Nick is unravelling and reacting and it's great to see. Giuntoli's performance, which runs from rage, heartbreak, despair and steely determination, is wonderfully nuanced.
The first question about Adalind's pregnancy is how much time passed between Adalind seducing Renard and the test working. Even for TV-land it felt like a quick jump between the action and the consequence - are we right to assume her baby is his? Whether it is or not, let's focus on the positives: Adalind's relationship with Renard is murky, twisted at best and makes her a really interesting character to have around. It seems fair to assume, especially if Adalind is now carrying a regal heir, that Claire Coffee will be at the centre of things for the remainder of the season and that's good news, especially now Bree Turner is back as well, making for two interesting female characters at the heart of the action. Sadly we can’t say three, though. Despite Bitsie Tulloch's best efforts – and a sex scene that would have made Buffy and Spike blush even in their BDSM-tastic prime – Juliette still feels like a dull damsel-in-distress cypher rather than a character in her own right.
Overall “Face Off” is a brilliant return to form, and a great reminder of all that is great about Grimm . But while the show loves a good cliffhanger ending, you do have to wonder why the show took a month log break in the middle of a two-parter, rather than after this episode. Nick writhing on the floor seemingly suffocating as a potion test subject would surely have been intriguing enough to take them into hiatus? And there would have been less of feeling of momentum of having been lost.
BEST BIT Monroe and Rosalee are reunited. I know, there’s loads of other great things going on, but after so long there’s nothing lovelier, especially as Monroe was basically exposition wesen for the rest of the episode.
Nick: “Does anything not end in death?”
Monroe and Rosalee (in unison): “No, not really.”
Grimm season two airs in the UK on Watch on Monday nights