Season 1, episode 9: “Of Mouse and Man”
The worst thing about this week’s show is the preview that has been airing since the week before. Usually Grimm does a good job of the preview being just a tease of the episode to come. But this go around, the preview was the show. There were no big surprises left. If the point of the show is to discover who the bad guy is, wouldn’t you save that reveal for the actual show? The previews gave away who the killer was and that Monroe receives a beating as a message.
The only surprise of the actual show was minor and I don’t expect that it will be followed through in subsequent episodes.
The interesting element of this week’s episode was the way it dealt with the murderer’s psychological mind set. There are some cool shots late in the show that help to make up for the previews being such a spoiler.
The opening is a bit confusing, but not with the same sort of misdirection of earlier episodes. This was confusing because of the blocking, lighting and just not being able to orient who is who and where is where. The first shot has what turns out to be a screwdriver entering frame left. It doesn’t make sense why some one is carrying a screwdriver in flickering light and calling out a sort of hide and seek dare to a hooded figure that ran down a stairwell.
Our bad guy/first victim, Lenny, is established as a bully. He is killed by the mysterious hooded figure with his own screwdriver. I will readily admit I am not a medical professional nor do I have experience killing live animals. So perhaps someone else can enlighten me if I am wrong on this. It seems very unlikely to me that a grown man would die immediately from having a screwdriver stuck in his throat.
I digress. The shadowy, hooded figure drags the body away and dumps it into a dumpster.This is the interesting thing about this episode; we see the victims as the murderer sees them. He sees them all the same as older, ashen, mousey looking men. When Lenny dies he suddenly looks different. He no longer looks like the hulking bully. He looks like an old mousey man, as odd as that sounds. Next morning a trash truck takes away the body along with the rest of the trash. The police are called when the body jams the compactor on the trash truck. Now Lenny’s body looks like he did when he was hunting the hooded figure in the parking garage. How the victim died is obvious; who killed him is not.
Hank and Nick set to the task of questioning all the people of interest in the case. The apartment manager shares that the police get called to his apartment building more than he would like to admit. Lenny was fighting with a couple of his neighbors, Mason Snyder in particular. Mason – a personal injury lawyer – lives across the hall from Lenny and his live-in girlfriend, Natalie. Marty lives in the apartment below Lenny and Natalie. It was Marty knocking on the door that interrupted Lenny beating up Natalie. Mason escorted Natalie to her car so she was able to leave Lenny.
Nick and Hank track Natalie to a motel where she spent the night. During questioning, Natalie tells her version of events from the night before. At first she doesn’t believe that Lenny is dead. She asks if Mason killed him. And he seems the logical choice given his comparable size to Lenny and his disposition. Natalie has a decidedly mousey look to her. In some shots she looks a bit like Cindy Lou Who from Dr. Seuss. But she never reveals herself as anything other than a mousey young lady to Nick. So, I guess we have to go with that.
This week introduced two new types of creatures, Mauzhertz, mouse people, which Marty is and Lausenschlange, snake people, Mason. Just as in the natural world, snakes are predators of mice. I was a bit surprised that there are both rat people and mice people. Monroe explains to Nick that Grimms didn’t write about Mauzhertz because there isn’t anything interesting to write about them. They never do anything. Lausenschlange, on the other hand, are not known for their sunny dispositions. And a Mauzhertz left alone with a Lausenschlange is near certain death for the Mauzhertz.
Monroe gets a call for a large clock repair while Nick is visiting. Juliette comes home riding her bicycle and finds two people monitoring her house and taking pictures. She goes back out of the house to find out what they are doing and the pair drive off in their truck. Juliette gets the license number and later gives it to Nick, who calls it in just to check. He is either trying to not upset Juliette or he is brushing off her concerns. Either way it doesn’t work well. Juliette is a strong, smart woman and she wants answers. She later goes to the address associated with the license. The same woman that was taking pictures of Juliette’s house from the truck is playing with a couple of kids in the front yard. Upon seeing Juliette she hurries the kids into the house. It’s a creepy scene because it is much more plausible than most what happens in Grimm.
A second victim is killed; this time the owner of a car repair shop, with a tire iron in the chest. It feels a bit like a game of Clue. Again he falls dead immediately. And he has the same ashen, older, mouse like look. Again his body is thrown into the trash dumpster. He also changes back into what he previously looked like the next morning when the police are on the scene. This guy was also not likely to win any popularity contests. This information is delivered by Sargent Wu as only he can do so.
Monroe goes to meet his client for the clock repair. Only it’s a set up and he is ambushed and attacked. His attackers are some kind of creature I don’t think we have seen before. They are really ugly and I am not just talking about their personality. It’s unclear how much Monroe saw of them. He later says he could not press charges because he does not know who they were. When he regains consciousness he stumbles to his car. There is a symbol of sort drawn in what I guess is supposed to be blood. My question is; why does fake blood look so very fake? It looks nothing like real blood. My next peeve is; Monroe later shows Nick a drawing of the symbol or drawing on his car hood. But, first it looks exactly like a scythe and not much like the blood splatters on his car. And two, it’s the same artist that draws the stuff that is supposed to be Nick’s drawings.
An important line is given by Juliette. In case you didn’t catch it here it is. When she confides in Nick that she went snooping to follow up on the people staked out at her home. She tells Nick that it seemed like the lady and the kids were afraid of her. Nick says something about them not knowing who she is. And she says, “At least I know who you are.” This is important because as we all know, she does not know who he is. He has not shared with her is new identity as a Grimm. Every time he has been given an opportunity to come clean with Juliette he has not taken the high road. And as any woman knows this is not going to go well for him.
The longer he goes with out fessing up on the double life he is leading the worse it will be. And you may recall in the pilot episode that Aunt Marie tried to get Nick to break it off with Juliette. She told him straight out that it was dangerous for Juliette to be associated with him. Now not only has he continued to live with her, she does not know that she is in danger. Or maybe she does since an ogre broke into their house. But she does not know why or to what extent.
Our third victim is Mason. Marty confronts him at his office and this time we see that it is Marty who attacks Mason. Although in Marty’s defense, Mason both physically attacked him earlier in the parking garage and this time in the office he belittles him. Now is that worthy of being killed? I am not a judge or jury. Marty’s success starts to go to his head. He takes Mason’s car, a cherry red Camaro, and sets out to woo Natalie.
About the same time Nick and Hank make a gruesome discovery in Marty’s apartment. Marty’s father is dead in a back room of their apartment. The apartment is crowded with a maze of items. It reminded me of an episode of “Hoarders” without much of the filth. And there are sort of trails through the piles and shelves of items.
Marty takes Natalie to a nice restaurant; he says it’s to celebrate her leaving and starting a new life. But it feels more like he wants to start a new life with her. At the table next to Marty and Natalie is a family. The father at that table is being verbally abusive to his son. Marty stands up to him but takes it a step too far by striking the father in the face. This seems to be a trigger for Marty and he suddenly sees all the men in the restaurant as his Father. Natalie drags Marty out of the restaurant. They don’t pay for the meal and no one stops them from leaving.
Marty drives Natalie with reckless abandon taking her to his junk shop. The junk shop feels like a natural fit for a mouse person. It’s like a huge mouse nest, with the bonus of being his lively hood. At this point Natalie becomes Marty’s hostage. She is taken against her will into the junk shop. Luckily for her Nick and Hank are in hot pursuit and arrive moments after they do.
This presents one of those “only in television” moments; house lamps are placed in the best lighting positions and they are all on. It’s not realistic but it makes for prettier pictures. When Nick and Hank corner Marty hanging on to Natalie, it sets up one of the best shots of the show. Marty sees himself as his father in every reflective surface. It’s his own personal hell. He can not escape the Father he hated. He has now become the very man he loathed and so wanted to escape.
A couple of final notes; since this show is set in Portland I think it’s high time some one was seen riding a bicycle. Too bad they gave Juliette such a goofy helmet. I am not sure yet if Grimm has totally settled into what the show will be and what it will look like. It seems to have more of a cohesive look and feel but they are not following through from one week to the next. At this point there are so many loose ends hanging I don’t know where the show would best start to tie them up.
Again there will be a two week break before the series comes back. See you then!