Beavers Vs.Trolls, Grimm Vs. Reapers


Episode 119 “Leave it to Beavers”

I want to talk more about the episode and do less telling what happened in the episode. Let me know if this works for you or not.

This episode not only gives a nod to “Leave it to Beaver” in the title but also in some of the art direction. Nick is finally becoming a more traditional Grimm. Again there are layers and variations on the same theme in this episode. It gives the show depth and interest.

Spoiler Alert

The original story this episode is very loosely based on is the Three Billy Goats Gruff and the Troll that demands they pay the toll to cross his bridge. In this version the goats are now beaver creatures. The Trolls are still Trolls and they still demand payment. The whole story has been updated and instead of taking a penny for each crossing they exact protection money.

At long last Nick is starting to look and act like a Grimm. It has bothered me that the audience is supposed to take it on faith that he has skills or powers just because he’s a Grimm. When week after week there wasn’t any evidence to support that. In fact the evidence had been to the contrary. He seemed to be getting by with police training and luck.

The conflict in this episode is multi-layered. The first layer we witness is the Wesen conflict between the Eisbiber, Beaver creatures and the Hasslich, Troll like creatures. The beavers tend to work jobs in construction, repair, or in some way work with their hands. The Trolls control the construction industry, especially bridges. It’s the age-old tale of the troll extracting their toll for crossing the bridge.  Then in an other layer there are Reapers sent to kill Nick. And in a third layer there is Nick trying to hold together the double life he leads with Juliette.

Robert Grosszahn, a construction company owner, meets with Salvadore Butrell, a building inspector late at night. Robert refuses to pay Sal extortion money. We see that Robert is a Eisbiber, beaver creature. And Sal shows himself to be a Hasslich, troll creature. Sal kills Robert by drowning him in a vat of wet concrete. A construction worker, Arnold, witnesses the murder. He makes a 911 call to report what he is seeing but doesn’t complete the call and doesn’t give his name. He is chased by Sal but manages to escape in his truck.

Despite the 911 call the night before, the police show up at the scene the next morning. Hank finds Robert’s cell phone with a meeting for 9:300pm and the initials S.B. listed on it.

Hank and Nick question Salvadore at his office. During the interview, Nick sees that Sal is a Troll creature and Sal of course now knows that Nick is a Grimm. Sal is understandably concerned that a Grimm is now questioning him about the murder he committed.

The police track the 911 call to Arnold Rosarot. When Hank and Nick can’t find Arnold, Nick pays a visit to Bud. Bud’s character was first seen in the series as the refrigerator repairman. Bud gives Nick some background information on the historic relationship between Eisbibers and Hasslichen. He also thinks he might be able to find Arnold. If he can locate him he’ll call Nick. That’s Nick’s suggestion instead of Bud’s idea to carve a series of numbers in his front steps. I guess that’s the old school way of leaving a message.

Bud knows that if Arnold is missing the most likely place he’ll be is John’s house. Sure enough, Arnold is hiding out in John’s basement.

There is a fun use of a the musical score when Juliette seems to be making moves on Nick. He is very interested but the mood and the music end abruptly when she says her intention is to invite Monroe over for dinner. She has decided this is the way to thank Monroe for saving her life. This is a scary collision of Nick’s two worlds.

After Nick and Monroe figure out what version of the truth they will share with Juliette, the stage is set for a very uncomfortable evening. This is the part that looks like a nod to “Leave it to Beaver” to me. Juliette is dressed in a modern take of June Cleaver. There is the social formality and awkward dinner conversation. The truth according to Nick and Monroe breaks down when they give conflicting accounts of the first case they worked on.

There are also several forms of bullying or abuse of power. The Trolls bully the Beavers. They act like the mafia getting kick backs or fees in exchange for building permits and the like. They also either threaten to or commit murder to “send a message” to the Beavers. Then the Reapers that Salvadore Butrell engages to take out Nick bully him. There is also to a lesser degree the relationship between Nick and Monroe. Probably out of desperation to manage his life, Nick keeps Monroe in a subservient role.

Salvadore puts in a call to someone in Germany who sends not one but two Reapers to take out Nick. One of them is the now one-eared Reaper that Renard mutilated to send his own message to stay away from Nick.

When the Reapers arrive in Portland they call a meeting with Sal. Instead of a civil meeting the Reapers brutally beat Sal. During the torture Nick calls Sal. They set up another meeting at a downtown club. At the club Sal turns himself in. This allows the Reapers to identify Nick.

Another big part of this episode is change. The Eisbiber hold a community meeting at their lodge to decide the question of whether Arnold should turn himself into the police. Nick speaks to the Eisbiber, beaver lodge, about their ability to change. The question is voted down but Arnold still decides to be brave and help out the police.

Arnold identifies Salvadore in the police line up. To help keep Arnold safe from retaliation from the other Trolls Nick drives Arnold to the lodge. Bud and John are coming to the lodge to help protect Arnold. As they near the lodge they realize they are being followed. Nick sends them into hiding in the lodge. He grabs his gym bag filled with weapons from Aunt Marie’s trailer. It’s time to test his recent Grimm training.

It’s not Trolls tailing Nick, it’s the Reapers. In the battle that follows one of the Reapers decapitate the other. And Nick kills the second with the crossbow. Nick calls Monroe to help him dispose of the Reapers’ bodies. Monroe gives him the idea to send a message back to the guy who sent the Reapers. The episode ends with the guy who sent the Reapers receiving a delivered box. Inside the box is a hand scrawled note, “Next time, send your best” and the decapitated heads of the Reapers inside.

As a series Grimm is developing better writing. It’s becoming a much better series all around. Thank you for the continued improvement.

[Official Show Site at NBC]     [Previous recap: “Cat and Mouse”]

Maia Ades

Maia Ades resented the demanding schedule of first grade, as it interfered with her afternoon TV schedule. Now she watches TV for "research" and in order to write show reviews. She is currently involved in independent film production, and enjoys creating fine art.

2 thoughts on “Beavers Vs.Trolls, Grimm Vs. Reapers

  • May 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm
    Permalink

    I agree, this was one of the best episodes since the series has started taking off and establishing itself. Good review.

    Reply
  • May 1, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you. Do you think I put in enough re-cap material? There is something else I wanted to say that I didn’t put in the article. I think I saw the actress that played the fire dancer in the “Plumed Serpent” episode, in this one. I think she was one of the beaver people at the Lodge meeting. She had the line, “I say we send the Hasslichen a message. We have a Grimm! Mess with us and you’ll lose your head” Or at least that is close to what she said. Did anyone else see that?

    Reply

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