Something has been growing in this series for the past couple of seasons, and Grimm Season 5 Episode 16 is a prime example.
It's a discomforting tendency to put the protagonists in morally questionable situations without really addressing the very fact that the situations are morally questionable.
And this episode takes some cheap pot-shots for the sake of laughs, as well, and no one seems at all aware of how offensive some of their statements can actually be taken.
Perhaps some, or even most, of you will think I'm overreacting. It's just a TV show. Well, sure. But I actually thought about this for quite awhile, and not just in the context of this single, individual episode. "The Believer" is part of a larger pattern of discomforting behavior from our characters.
For the moment, let's look at this particular episode.
For starters, no one seemed to take the revivalists seriously. To wit:
Hank [about a tent revival]: What is this, some kind of circus?
Wu: I guess that depends on what you believe...
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not a born-again Christian. I'm not going to be attending a tent revival anytime soon. But pretty much all the main characters have a rather flippant attitude towards them. And the apparently coincidental Evangelistic naming of the bodyguards? Very cute, Grimm writers:
Hank: 'Mark,' 'Luke,' and 'John'? Really?
Wu: I'm just the messenger. And not from on high.
Be sure to check out our Grimm quotes page for a rundown of some of the noteable lines from this episode.
Dwight (guest star William Mapother) also seemed completely oblivious to the fraud he was perpetrating on his congregants. You don't create good by starting with a lie. Any good that came from it was through the grace of God, not through any devil-sucking Dwight did.
Indeed, his lie (manifesting the devil) ultimately caused a group of well-meaning (if completely misguided) people to become needless murderers.
Lies seem to be spawning left and right in this show, and not for any apparent logical reason. Team Grimm decided not to trust Renard because he is, for some reason, apparently aligning with Black Claw (you know, the guys who murdered a friend and seem intent on causing chaos and mayhem?).
Adalind still hasn't told Nick about her 'biest. Eve impersonated Renard and slept (!) with Rachel Wood.
This last item in particular also made me feel enormously uncomfortable. Sasha Roiz's performance of Eve-as-Renard was spot-on (to the point where I questioned Rachel Wood's intelligence for apparently not noticing the total and complete difference in demeanor).
For everyone (myself included) who condemned Adalind's sexual encounter with Nick while she was disguised as Juliette as rape, the whole mess with Eve-as-Renard with Rachel Wood is not nearly as awkwardly funny as the show seemed to treat it.
This is another case of Grimm's writers apparently missing some pretty unfortunate implications of the way these characters are acting.
There was some movement on the magic stick front; a convenient professor friend of Monroe (who had never been mentioned before!) was able to scan the cloth, which resulted in them learning two words: "miracle" and "dangerous." In short, nothing they didn't already know?
By the way, that scene where Monroe and Rosalee tried to puzzle out the Latin words reminded me of a scene in Stargate: SG-1 in which brilliant linguist Daniel Jackson had to look up the word "locas". I was face-palming almost as hard this time around (for the "miraculum" portion, at least).
A few final thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:
- The marriage between Joan Vark and Dwight Eleazar seemed almost weirdly extraneous to the whole story, like there was something missing that had been cut.
- Hank stated outright that there was nothing they could charge Benjamin McCullough with; apparently, involuntary manslaughter is not a thing in Portland?
- The "Dark Ages" were so-called by Enlightenment Era philosophers to feel superior to those who came before them. Contrary to popular misconception, the Catholic Church was (and still is!) a huge proponent of education and science. For shame, Monroe.
- Brenda Braxton appeared as herself; she is a real-life anchor with KGW Portland, the local NBC affiliate, and has appeared on Grimm several times since 2012.
So, what did you think of "The Believer"? Did you agree with Dwight that he was helping the people, or was he causing more harm than good? What did you think of Eve-as-Renard with Rachel Wood? Let us know in the comments section below!
If you missed this episode, you can always watch Grimm online to catch up! Grimm returns on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 9/8c on NBC with Grimm Season 5 Episode 17, "Inugami."