Column: Retronomicon: Bad Taste: Grimm 3.03: A Dish Best Served Cold

By J. Keith Haney

spoilers ahead

‘Tis Death’s Park, where he breeds life to feed him. Cries of pain are music for his banquet.

Recap: Every god of war with a bad rep could get behind the little ditty above. Anyway, before we get to that part, we start off with the usual recap of previous events. This highlight reel includes the deceased Frau Pech’s offer to Renard’s inside man for Adalind’s kid; Nick’s unfortunate rampage at the bar; him finding out about the death and wanting to act noble to the objection of, well, everybody; that very scary episode of him going into a zombie coma that Juliette wants him to see a doctor about.

We then open on sneakered feet running on a treadmill over the quote. Turns out that it’s a shirtless Nick doing the running, tube in his mouth to test his oxygen intake and wires on his chest to test his cardiovascular system. Per the monitor, his heart rate is keeping at a slow, steady pace while he jogs.

The doctor then decides to up the speed on the treadmill, hoping to increase Nick’s heart rate. It doesn’t even make the rate bounce more than an inch. It’s enough to make the doctor ask Nick how he feels. Nick just gives him the thumbs-up in response. So, the doctor increases it yet again … but there’s still no real change. Nick’s blood pressure remains at a consistent 100/60, while his heart rate is going at an abnormally slow 30 beats per second.

Later, when Nick is getting dressed, the doc advises Nick of both of the stats I just mentioned. Nick’s cardiovascular system barely budged, no matter how fast he ran on that treadmill. The doctor can only come to two possible conclusions: “Either the machine is broken or you are in incredible shape.” Well, you could argue that Nick’s Wesen-hunting activities work like his version of Pilates, but the Baron’s powder seems to have interacted with his Grimm physiology in a unique way.

Grimm 3.3.1

Nick asks if any of this is a problem. The doctor says no. If there are any errors, they’re definitely to Nick’s benefit. However, the doctor does feel compelled to ask about any diet or lifestyle changes of late. That makes Nick flash back to his time as a zombie, with all its unpleasantness.

Pause button: Ahhahahahahahaha … where do you want your patient to start, Doc? And would you believe him if he told you? Unpause.

Nick just understates that “work has been a little stressful.” Sure, only the kind of stress that combat veterans typically endure! The doctor just advises Nick to take it as easy as he can and will give Nick a ring whenever more is known. They shake hands and that’s it for the appointment.

Across town, Monroe and Rosalie are enjoying a romantic dinner at a fine restaurant called the Raven and Rose. Rosalie compliments Monroe on his impeccable ability as a gourmet in picking the wine. Monroe just says that you can’t go wrong with the one that he picked out, which beats the hell out of many of the usual imitators. It makes Rosalie giggle in that fetching way of hers.

Monroe gets his typical look of unease and then says, “So, I was thinking … you know, just thinking ’bout ….”

Some of his usual verbal thought process goes around what he’s thinking about for a few seconds before he comes out with it: Nick is finally back at the house with Juliette while Rosalie is still renting dead, departed Freddie’s old apartment. Yeah, I can see where this one is going.

He then trips over his own words by calling Freddie’s apartment “great” and never saying that it wouldn’t be. Rosalie just goes “Uh-huh,” waiting for her man to finally get on with it. He gradually backdoors his way into proposing that she move into his place … or is in the process of same when the waiter comes by to give them a special dish, compliments of the chef. Rosalie thanks him with a hint of that fantastic smile. The waiter wishes them, “Bon appetit,” and walks away.

Rosalie declares it “fantastic” as she eats it, while Monroe takes a deep sniff and talks about “the good old days” when he could actually eat meat without guilt. Rosalie catches him, saying that is “no time to fall off the meat wagon now.” Her tone is somewhere between a devoted wife and an admonishing mother.

Then her tone turns playful as she takes the dish away to “save” him from the temptation by eating it herself. That out of the way, Monroe goes back to his awkward sales pitch, playing up the vast amounts of closet space. It’s such a good thing that Monroe is not involved in real estate.

Rosalie asks if Monroe is wanting her to move her clothes into his closet with a bit of a tease. As she giggles, Monroe says, “Okay … you’re really going to make me work for this, aren’t you?”

Rosalie admits that she’s “kinda enjoying it.” That’s when Monroe finally comes out with the moving-in-together idea. Rosalie, dear heart that she is, has been thinking the same thing for a while now.

That admission gives Monroe enough courage to admit that he loves her, which seems to touch Rosalie’s heart enough to break through her usual impassible mask. She then reaches out for Monroe’s hand and admits that it’s a relief to hear him say that out loud, “because I love you, too.”

Monroe has a couple of seconds to savor the moment before someone calls out his name as they are walking by. The speaker is a gray-suited figure with slightly blond hair. Monroe recognizes him as “Sam” and he’s got some female company with him, named ‘Kimber.’ Monroe makes the introductions.

Sam then shows them his great-grandfather’s wristwatch, which Monroe made “work like new” according to him. Monroe IDs the watch as one of the original Chronographs and runs down the unique features to Rosalie’s amusement. Sam declares Monroe a genius while Monroe himself says that it was just a matter of finding the right parts. Sam says his goodbyes and promises to call. He and Kimber take their leave.

The happy couple get back to their magic moment. Monroe says, “So ….” Rosalie echoes the word right back at him.

Meanwhile, a much-less-pleasant event is taking place out in the woods somewhere. A man’s out running in the middle of it. Judging from the way he’s taking off his jacket and staggering around, it looks like he’s got some serious injuries he’s fighting against.

He stops in a clearing, dominated by a medium-sized tree. He gets up again when we hear a rather large growl, sounding almost like his stomach if it were hooked up to a mike.

It’s now obvious that he’s not physically injured as he takes off his shirt. Whatever is in his system is causing his belly to swell up similarly to that of a pregnant woman’s. Whatever’s in his guts is not that benign. For some reason, after the shirt is unbuttoned, the guy decides to climb the tree. What, does he think higher elevation will alleviate that potentially lethal belly ache he’s got?

As we zoom up the tree, we cut to Nick and Juliette talking about today’s test results. Nick brings up the machine angle, which Juliette dismisses, considering that she checked his pulse herself. She’s getting them both a glass of wine, possibly to see if she can make that heart rate go up a bit.

Nick is still a bit stuck on what’s going on, but Juliette gives her best guess. Essentially, the guess is that Rosalie called it right as far as the Baron’s zombie powder affecting Nick differently than the average Joe Blow due to his Grimm physiology. Nick is far from reassured by that answer, but Juliette points out that the best they can do is keep tabs on his condition and hope that this is just a temporary glitch in his operating system. Anyone else think Nick is going to be that lucky? Me, neither!

Nick himself wonders if this whole thing is going to happen once again, but Juliette just asks him to take a seat on the couch and chillax for a bit. After a deep breath, Nick does just that. While he’s taking his seat, Juliette points out that they have no idea what exactly is going to happen. She then asks the pertinent question of whether or not Nick feels any different.

Nick admits that this is so. He describes it as being “more aware … more in control.” But Nick also counters that thought with the fact that he knows something happened to him, so he’s paying attention a bit better than he did last season. After telling him that what happened to him was “very, very real,” she promises to keep an eye on him for the next little while. She then gives him a kiss, making him quip, “Think I feel better already.”

The same cannot be said for Tree Boy, who has climbed to the top of the tree and is in major agony. He finally Voges and reveals himself to be a Bludbad … right before his guts do a nice and fatal impersonation of a burst water balloon. Ick!

The next day at the station, Hank is on the phone with somebody as Nick walks in. Hank is telling whoever’s on the other end of the line that it’s going to take a bit for them to get there. He quickly clues in his partner with a raised hand: “Don’t get comfortable.” Gotta be a fresh homicide and I think that I know whose.

Hank closes the call with an order to lock up the area. Nick asks exactly what they’re on their way to. Hank describes it as “a little picnic in the woods,” with a fresh dead body in a tree. Nick is as puzzled by that development as we were when we watched this.

Wu asks the logical question at the scene: “How the hell did he get up there?” Hank posits that it could have been a bear or mountain lion that he was getting away from. The local LEO shoots that one down by saying that neither creature was anywhere in the area. In fact, that was the reason why Portland PD got called. Nick postulates that whatever took out the vic got him up there, as evidenced by the pieces of his stomach, small intestines, and who knows what else all over the ground.

Hank notes that, due to the blood being dry, the vic has definitely been up there for a bit. Hank’s eagle eyes also make out what could be a wallet in his back pocket. Nick orders some photos and the body to be taken down.

Back at the station, Renard is just walking into his office when his desk cell goes off. Given the fact that he answers, “Where are you?” in French, it’s a call from back home. Renard’s inside man tells his boss that the police are inside Eric’s study. They’ve found nothing to be concerned about – as yet – and the family is cooperating with the investigation … at least, as far as the cops know.

On the other hand, there’s the usual round of infighting going on in the wake of Eric’s much-deserved death. Inside Man is spooked by the possibility of some major bloodshed going down before somebody else takes Eric’s place as Prince.

Renard asks about what the Family thinks actually happened. Nobody really knows the truth, but there are a couple of theories on the perps: another Family or the Resistance. Miesner, on the other hand, has not been mentioned as yet.

Showing how seriously behind he is on the plot, he then tells his Inside Man that Frau Pech will be looking for a new buyer of the Royal Baby. In his defense, about the only two major players who know that she’s dead are Stefania and Adalind. Inside Man admits that he hasn’t heard from her. Renard says, “I think that it’s time that you did.” Inside Man has just enough time to promise to put out feelers before having to get off the phone.

Inside Man finally gets a name from the person walking up to him: ‘Sebastian.’ If anyone wants to make any Little Mermaid jokes, be my guest. Oh, and the speaker is none other than Adalind herself. Both of them semi-lie to each other about how neither of them is handling Eric’s death very well. She naturally wants to know if they’re saying if the cops knows who did this. Sebastion gives a literal truth to the question: “Not that they’re telling me.”

As to whether she and he are in danger, Sebastian postulates that assuming this is so is the wisest course of action right now. The pertinent question of who will take Eric’s place gets this amusing reply from Sebastian: “The last Royal standing.” Adalind walks away without another word.

Grimm 3.3.5

Back at our murder scene, we see that not only the guts, but the entire chest cavity, got blown out by whatever was inside our vic. Hank confirms the vic’s ID from the driver’s license: Ned Klostermann, Portland resident. Wu notes, “Apparently, he’s an organ donor, though I’m not sure they’d want what’s left.” After getting a couple of less-than-amused looks from Hank and Nick, Wu offers to run the name through the system. Nick postulates that someone used a chainsaw on Ned.

Later at the station, they’re interviewing the wife, who noticed nothing unusual before his death. There is one detail in the wife’s account that sticks out: Per his work, Ned had left early that day. It was enough to make her call the police once he hadn’t come home by 8pm.

There was nothing wrong with their marriage. They had, in fact, just celebrated their fifth anniversary two nights before. Mrs. Klostermann is inconsolable over the loss, the tears running down her face like a fountain. As to the question of possible enemies, she just asks that they find out who did this to Ned.

We cut to a park and a frisky college-age couple finding a good spot to make out. They share a kiss right next to a big old oak tree. That’s when the guy notices his girlfriend is bleeding through her arm … an arm wrapped in a rather thick hoodie, I might add. Actually, it’s not her doing the bleeding … there’s a corpse at the top of another tree that makes her scream the second she sees it. Talk about a mood-killer.

At the station, Nick is looking around anxiously. He’s got something on his screen from the Oregon DMV – an ID for Mitchell Zinc, the man he killed as a zombie. Even now, he can’t get that death out of his mind. Judging from the flashbacks, his head is now finally clear enough to remember how he killed the guy. He finally shuts off the screen and walks to the Captain’s office.

Renard is busy opening a suitcase as Nick walks in. Renard starts off the conversation with “Problem?”

Nick admits that this is so and that it’s about the man he killed.

“Accidentally killed,” Renard corrects him. Nick asserts that isn’t the point. He starts off by saying again that he killed Zinc.

Renard cuts him off with “Yeah, I know … and you’re bothered by it.”

Nick confirms that yes, he is, especially now that he’s beginning to remember what actually happened.

“Let me ask you something, Nick,” Renard says as he closes the briefcase. “What’s really bothering you? The fact that you killed somebody or the fact that you killed somebody who wasn’t Wesen?”

Good question, actually … It wouldn’t be the first time Nick took life in self-defense, pre-emptive or otherwise.

Renard goes on to say, with a bit of disgust in his voice, “‘Cause God knows you’ve killed plenty of them.”

As he makes a grab for his jacket, Renard finishes with “That’s what you Grimms do, isn’t it?”

Then he excuses himself because he’s on his way to meet the Mayor. Nick just stands there, doing his best to process what the Captain just threw in his face. Before walking out the door, Renard adds, “When you have an answer, let me know.”

Pause button: I have to admit that the Cap has a point. Wesen or not, a life taken is a life taken. In many ways, he’s probably got a more clear idea on what it takes to do the necessary in that department than Nick does. Even monsters have wisdom to share if people take the time to listen. Unpause.

Nick walks back to his desk, a bit nonplused from the dissatisfying conversation. He’s barely had time to get in his seat when Hank rolls up to say, “What did I tell you about getting too comfortable?”

Nick admits that he still remembers that part of the day and Hank informs him that they’ve “got another tree-hugger.”

The vic this time is female. She abandoned her car quite a ways from the site of her death. The door was open and her purse was undisturbed inside. The driver’s license in it IDs her as Stephanie Robinson, a sales rep for a medical supply company out of Seattle. The MO matches the first one to a ‘t.’

Hank is wondering if they’ve got a serial killer. But Nick points out that the victim type is way different: female, non-local, and no apparent connection to the first vic. Hank then points out that the tree thing connects them. To Nick’s question of anyone seeing Stephanie climb up there, Wu comes back with, “Even if they did, it’s not that unusual to see someone climbing a tree in Portland.”

He then shows Nick and Hank to the car. Aside from the purse, the car itself is untouched. Nick finds some receipts: Apple Store and Target yesterday, two days ago a spa, and a receipt for Raven and Rose Restaurant. Wu gushes at the mention of the spot, how it’s impossible to get a reservation. Nick and Hank are not amused, making Wu admit, “Off-topic.”

That’s when Hank remembers that the Klostermanns also had dinner for their wedding anniversary … maybe they had it at Raven and Rose? Hank is thinking that may be their missing connection, enough to make him want to give Mrs. Klostermann a call. Sure enough, she confirms that it was indeed Raven and Rose where they had the anniversary dinner together.

Hank gets the details on the restaurant back at the station. It’s everything Wu said and then some, according to its website. The chef, Graydon Osler, trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and the ICC in Munich. He just came back from Europe to open a new restaurant here. One food critic even called it “a shining star in his expanding food universe.”

Pause button: Anyone else thinking that we may be dealing with a poisoner? There is a good reason why food tasters were used during the Middle Ages and beyond. Unpause.

Hank puts it to Nick that without a connection that involves the restaurant, they’ve got no motive on the table. Nick admits that this is still pretty thin: “All we have are two people who ate there, climbed trees, and blew up.”

Hank counters, “That’s enough to look at the menu.”

Pause button: Oh, shit. It just hit me: That’s where Monroe and Rosalie ate. The complimentary dish that the chef insisted that Monroe eat and Rosalie ate, instead. Uh-oh … assuming I’m right, somebody just made a very, very bad mistake in judgment. Unpause.

We then cut to Rosaliengebirge, Austria on a cold, snowy night outside of Frau Pech’s old place. Sebastian is dropping for a visit, doing a bit of inelegant B&E. Still, it’s the middle of the freaking woods, so who’s going to call the cops out here?

He looks the place over with a flashlight, gloves on. His attention finally focuses on a certain open little book on her desk. One entry in particular gets his notice:

Sacher 215

Sebastian then dials up Renard. To the question of whether he’s found Frau Pech, Sebastian says that she’s vanished from the Viennese scene completely. Ditto at her home, which he is standing in at the moment. Renard theorizes that Pech could have left Austria to make a deal for the child. She’d find no shortage of buyers.

That’s when Sebastian throws in, “Frau Pech may not have left at all.” That’s when he brings up the notes that he found, speculating that Sacher is a hotel and the number after it is likely a room number. Sebastian thinks that she found another buyer she is making a deal with. Renard orders him to “find out who is in that room.”

Across town, Nick and Hank pay a visit to the Raven and Rose. The waiter answers Nick’s knock and tells them that it’ll be another half-hour before they open their doors. That’s when he spots Hank’s badge hanging around his neck. That promptly opens the door.

Hank wastes no time, wanting to talk to Graydon Osler. The waiter is telling them about how stressed his boss gets before the restaurant opens when they hear the man himself getting pissy about “turning my sauce into cheese” at the top of his lungs. This is followed by the crash of glass, making Nick say, “I think we can find him.”

Grimm 3.3.2

Osler is barking at the rest of his staff for not knowing “the meaning of cuisine.” He finishes with “This is an art, not carpentry!” He punctuates that last statement by burying the tip of a butcher knife into a cutting board. The stress of the situation makes them all Voge into Bowerschwein. Ohh, great … the latest chapter in the Big Bad Wolves Versus the Little Piggies is apparently in progress.

Hank catches Nick’s look, to which Nick says, “Wesen.” He then gives the breed name and confirms that it’s all of them. This case has officially stopped being simple.

Later, Nick and Hank are showing the victims’ photos to Osler. He doesn’t recognize either one and haughtily asks what this is about. That’s when Nick tells him about them being dead. Osler is offended by the suggestion that it has anything to do with his restaurant. He even goes a tirade about health inspection being perfect and the bit on the menu about food allergies.

Hank and Nick are not impressed, wanting a list of employees and what dishes that both vics had. Osler settles down and quietly says, “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

Unfortunately, neither vic ordered the same dish in any respect. Oh, and nobody on the list of employees has any criminal record, from the chef on down. Mrs. Klostermann didn’t recognize any of the names. So, Nick and Hank are back at square one.

Then Wu comes up to their desk with tox screens … with “no pathogens, no toxins or poisons.” He then says the obvious by ending with “You’ve got nothin’.”

After Wu walks away, Nick tells Hank, “We got nothing except a kitchen full of Bowerschwein.” Hank points out that this is hardly a good pretext for an arrest.

When Nick is talking about the case later, Juliette tells him a possible solution as to what happened. She pegs it as an extreme case of bloat. It typically tends to affect dogs and cattle, and is often breed-specific, such as in Irish Setters and Saint Bernards. The stomach gets extremely twisted around the intestines part of the digestive tract.

Nick says with a grin, “I should ask you this stuff more often.” Yes, Nick, please do! Now that she knows the score, she might actually have useful info every once in a while, yes?!

Going back to the point of this being “breed specific,” Nick is wondering if the vics were the same breed of Wesen. After all, the kitchen is full of Bowerschwein. Juliette wonders if the vics were Bowerschwein, as well. Nick admits to not knowing. Once Wesen are dead, there’s no way to tell. On the other hand, there is the possibility that they were Bludbaden. Good boy … connecting the dots a bit faster these days! Maybe that zombie powder made Nick’s brain function properly at last!

That’s when Nick fills Juliette in on the broad strokes of the Bludbaden/Bowerschwein feud. But the thing is, how would the Bowerschwein even know who was Bludbaden in the first place? Juliette suggests that he figure this out “on the way to Monroe’s.” Tonight, he’s apparently going to officially move out. Juliette teases him with “Or have you changed your mind on me?”

Nick confirms that he’s still moving back in, gives her a kiss, and says he will see her later. Just before leaving, he thanks her for “the bloat info.”

Pause button: Gods, am I glad that they’ve finally gotten Juliette right! In the space of one season, she’s gone from clueless annoyance to actual human being. About damn time! Unpause.

Monroe is talking about how weird it’ll be without Nick under his roof as he carries a box for his buddy. Though he does like the idea of having his house back, he’s going to miss “the Odd Couple thing.” That gets a laugh out of Nick before Monroe adds, “Except when Rosalie was here.”

Nick gives his effusive thanks for letting him stay at Monroe’s in the first place. After inadvertently rehashing all of last season’s bad subplot, he then tells his best friend that he’s glad that things have worked out. “US, TOO!” I yell from the rafters.

Nick lets him know that it was not always smooth sailing. Monroe just says, “Well … how many Bludbaden can say that they had a Grimm living with them under the same roof?”

Nick quips, “And lived to tell about it?”

They both come to the conclusion that none fits in that category. It gets mucho awkward after that. Nick then remembers that they still have his toothbrush in the bathroom. As they go in there, Nick mentions Raven and Rose. Monroe raves about the other night with Rosalie. Nick cuts him off by telling him about the place being run by Bowerschwein. Monroe sees it as a non-issue, even though he didn’t know. He does draw the line at Schneetmoker, “or anywhere that serves Schneetmoker.”

That’s when Nick asks if his buddy is feeling okay. Monroe feels great. They resume the moving-out procedures. Monroe piles on the boxes a little too high and Nick wonders about Monroe giving him a hand. Monroe is helping out … he’s got the much lighter bag. After Nick asks about the door, Monroe tells him that his guest is not quite free to leave yet. That’s when the rest of everybody else (Rosalie, Juliette, Hank, and Bud) pop out yelling, “Surprise!” as Monroe takes off the top box.

Nick is a little confused, as it isn’t even close to his birthday. But what everybody’s really celebrating is his bon voyage from Monroe’s. Bud’s wife even baked a cake for the occasion … not that “she ever needs much of an excuse.” The cake itself is exquisitely designed as a suitcase with mock photos on it and the lettering “Homeward Bound” on top of it.

When asked by Juliette about where the wife is, he tells them that they’re with the kids. Unless somebody’s home with them, there’s no telling what they’ll chew up. Monroe is about to give a toast to his soon-to-be-ex-roommate when the landline phone rings. Rosalie offers to get the phone in his place. With some prompting from Nick, Monroe makes a second stab at the toast. The two kid each other back and forth before Hank asks that they “get to the drinking.”

Rosalie comes back into the room. Turns out that the caller is Kimber … Sam’s disappeared. While Monroe gets on the phone, Nick asks Rosalie about what they know about Sam. She tells him what little is known. Bud wonders what exactly has happened. Rosalie tells them all that Sam’s not come home, not answered his phone. I don’t think that he’s ever going to do so, either.

Monroe adds more details to the picture as he gets off the phone. Per Kimber, “Sam kind of snapped this morning.” His eyes went glassy and he didn’t feel so good. Nevertheless, he went to work this morning and hasn’t been seen since. It’s very unusual for Sam to go off the grid like this.

That’s when Nick drops the all-important question of whether or not Sam ate at Raven and Rose. Monroe confirms that this is where Sam and Kimber got introduced to Rosalie. Bud enthuses about the place, while Nick asks if Sam is Bludbad. He is … or, rather, he was. Nick fills in the details and it turns out that Monroe does know the first vic, Ned Klostermann. It doesn’t take long for Monroe to connect the dots, making him sit down with “Oh, my God” on his lips.

Pause button: Compliments of the chef, my ass … if Rosalie hadn’t stopped Monroe from eating that thing, he’d be just as dead right now. Unpause.

Hank asks for Sam’s license plate so that they can put out an APB on the car. While Monroe goes to call Kimber back for the plates, Nick shares his theory on the restaurant targeting Bludbaden with everybody else. Bud goes into his usual panic mode: “This is really bad! Bowerschwein going after Bludbaden. I mean, isn’t it usually the other way around?”

No doubt thinking of Lt. Orson, Nick tells him, “You’d be surprised.” Bud then offers to put the cake in the fridge.

Juliette quizzes Rosalie on what Monroe ate. She doesn’t really remember, but, after Monroe hands Hank the license plate number, Juliette fills both her and Monroe in on the bloat angle.

Rosalie admits, “That sounds familiar. I need to get to the shop.” Monroe follows, still not sure what is going on.

Meanwhile, poor Sam pulls over in the middle of the woods next to a sign, suffering from the fatal bloat that is taking his life. He wanders off into the woods, presumably to find a tree.

Rosalie quickly finds what she’s looking for. Translated from the German, it’s “The Black Despair Mushroom,” a very rare mushroom that comes from the Schwarzwald or Black Forest of Germany. It shares similarities with a certain tropical mushroom, which causes carpenter ants to climb trees, making their insides burst, spreading the fungal spores. The BDM is harmless when eaten raw, but it becomes a lethal poison to Bludbaden when cooked.

Monroe starts to panic at this choice bit of news, struggling to remember if he had any mushrooms at Raven and Rose. Nick and Hank point out that the vics had two different dishes. Juliette asks the pertinent question if Kimber is Bludbaden, but she’s just an ordinary human completely in the know about the Wesen thing.

That’s when Rosalie remembers what I just brought up: the tartlets. Everyone was getting those and if there are any Bludbaden who get it, they’re dead. As poisons go, that is vicious.

Hank’s cell goes off at this point. They’ve just found Sam’s car off Griffin Park … but no Sam. Nick, Hank and Monroe go to find him. But they are so out of time, as Sam is struggling with the poison in his system. He falls to the ground as the bloat turns up the pressure, making him Voge.

Portland PD is out in full force as Nick, Hank and Monroe roll up. Monroe confirms that this “is definitely Sam’s car,” so he’s got to be around close. That’s when they hear a growl. The officer on scene asks, “What the hell is that?”

“Sam,” Monroe answers with dread.

Nick orders the officer to stay with the car and call the paramedics, while he and Hank follow Monroe. It doesn’t take them long to find Sam up a tree. But they’re way too late. Sam has just enough time to Voge before the gastric explosion happens. Monroe takes it the hardest.

Later, as the corpse is being carried off, Monroe is seething from what he just had to see. When Nick comes up to him, Monroe says, “I’m going to kill that Bowerschwein.”

Nick points out that there is still no evidence that links him up. Monroe lapses back into age-old prejudice: “He’s a Bowerschwein! What more evidence do you need?”

“Well, I need something I can take to court,” Nick counters.

“Not this time, Nick. Either you take care of this or I will,” Monroe answers, the promise of death in his voice.

“Let me handle this,” Nick says, hoping to talk his buddy down.

“I’ve already lost two friends, man. I am not losing anymore, so … one way or another, that pig is going down.”

Pause button: I find Monroe’s reaction understandable but saddening. This was the guy who wanted to stay out of this whole feud and yet, now he’s ready to perpetuate it. Nick is intent on keeping this from blowing up … what will he have to do to keep things under control? Unpause.

Hank notices and asks, “He’s not going to go vigilante on us, is he?”

“He might,” Nick confirms.

Hank takes it in stride and asks, “How do you want to deal with the chef?”

At Raven and Rose, Osler is informed by the waiter that one of the detectives is back. He looks very uneasy at this bit and asks where he can find the detective.

It’s Nick, of course, sitting at a table. The chef tells him that it’s a pity he came in so late, as he missed a scrumptious dish. Nick lets him know about the newest death … and he slyly lets the chef know about the complimentary dish and its secret ingredient.

That’s enough to get a Voge out of the chef: “That is absurd.”

“Not for a Bowerschwein who’s killing Bludbaden it isn’t,” Nick answers.

Osler Voges back, realizing at last what, exactly, is sitting across from him at the table. The chef then points out that he has witnesses. “What, you mean the accomplices?” Nick asks tartly.

The chef then asks the pertinent question of whether they are going to kill them all.

“I’m not going to kill anyone,” Nick asserts.

Osler points out that Nick has no case. Nick expresses the hope that the chef would confess, as it would have been the right thing to do. That’s when the chef brings up how much suffering they’ve had at the hands of the Bludbaden. He concludes with: “The payback has only just begun.”

Nick says, not very impressed, “So, this is about the past.”

Osler corrects him, saying that this is about “a civilized future.” He gets snide with Nick about coming “to terms with the New World Order.”

Pause button: Anybody else thinking about a certain man in Germany who had a similar agenda in the 1930s? Unpause.

“There’s not going to be a New World Order,” Nick points out. “Not as long as this killing continues.”

“Well, that’s an interesting sentiment, coming from a Grimm,” Osler says back.

He then asks Nick to leave.

Nick goes over the problem with Juliette later. She points out everything the chef told him about lack of proof. But Nick feels compelled to come up with a civilized solution. This conflict is comparable with Rwanda, Ireland and the Middle East: “Someone always has a very good reason for killing someone they don’t like.”

“Well, then, how can you stop it?” Juliette asks.

“As a cop, I can’t,” Nick admits.

Juliette brings up the killing option. Nick says, “Well, that’s what my ancestors used to do.”

Then Juliette puts her finger on the reason why he isn’t cutting off the chef’s head at this very moment: “That won’t stop it.”

“That’s not going to stop it everywhere. But it will stop it here,” Nick says.

He then brings up the fact that unless he does something, “Monroe will.” The last thing he wants is his best friend going to jail for murder, which will be very provable.

Then Nick has another zombie attack as his skin goes pale. Juliette yells at him to bring him back around. His color resumes as he assures her that he’s fine. But he isn’t … especially considering that he’s going to go deal with the situation.

Monroe is boiling mad at the spice shop, talking about how neither Sam nor Ned ever hurt anyone. Rosalie is not impressed with the argument, telling him, “You need to calm down.”

“I just watched a friend of mine explode in a tree,” Monroe points out. “I mean, how are you supposed to calm down after something like that?!”

Rosalie admits that she doesn’t want Monroe doing anything crazy.

“What, you mean like the right thing, like killing that murderer?!” Monroe yells.

“Nick said that he would handle it,” Rosalie reminds him.

Monroe scoffs that this is between just Bludbaden and Bowerschwein, nobody else. Monroe stops it now or it gets worse. He even goes so far as to say that Fushbauen could well be next on the list. Nick comes in at this point to advise both of them of his conversation with Osler. Monroe is determined to handle this himself.

Nick points out that if Monroe does this, he’s risking the whole ballgame. Monroe is way too worked up to calm down, though, going into a full Voge. As Monroe goes out the door, Rosalie begs Nick to do something.

Meanwhile, in Vienna, Room 215 at the Sacher Hotel finds Adalind hard at work on her Apple laptop. She’s looking over the video of her meal ticket Eric getting blown to Valhalla by Miesner’s bomb. She’s actually crying blood at the sight. Maybe she did care about that creep … or maybe she’s just wondering what she’s going to do now that her meal ticket has been cancelled permanently.

There’s a knock at the door – room service, which she didn’t order. Sebastian is just around the corner to confirm with a digital camera that it’s Adalind’s room.

Osler is prepping the next lethal batch of Black Despair Mushrooms for tomorrow night’s extermination. He pronounces it “magnifique” before calling it a night. He goes outside and locks up. A storm rumbles in the distance as something is tracking him. We see Monroe starting to tail him. A couple of Bludbaden get out of a car, red eyes glowing. Monroe thankfully didn’t decide to do this one solo. The chef gets the idea and starts to run.

Monroe growls as he gives chase, “That’s it … run, run, run.”

Pretty soon, Monroe’s backup has Osler cornered in an alley. Running back to Monroe, Monroe says, “Ah, so … what shall we serve the Bludbad tonight?”

As more Bludbaden come out of the shadows, Monroe says, “Wait a minute … how about the chef himself?”

The two of them Voge, and things are about to get ugly when Nick and Hank roll up. Nick tackles Monroe to the ground. They then start to do a really ugly, intense fight, while Hank covers Osler. Monroe is raising a beer keg over his head when Nick pulls out his Glock. Nick wants to put him under arrest. He begs Monroe to cooperate. Monroe makes a lunge for the chef. Nick puts a bullet in his gut.

The chef gets enthused about how Nick just killed Monroe. Nick says he wasn’t really given a choice. Hank even plays up the part about how Nick shot him. It’s at this point that I said to myself, “Wait … this is a con.”

As the other Bludbaden come out of the shadows, Nick explains that not only are the Bludbaden everywhere, but that “this feud ends and it ends now.” Osler wants Nick to get him out of there. Nick tells him that the price of admission is confessing to the murders of all the vics. Osler says no to the deal; this entire pack of Bludbaden in this alley is going to wipe out every last Bowerschwein that even said hello to the chef.

From his perch on the ground, Monroe croaks, “There’s nothing you can do … to stop us.”

Nick gives him a look and Monroe’s eyes twitch just enough to know that this was planned from the start. Monroe makes a big show out of breathing his last and the Bludbaden get a little louder about wanting to tear apart the pig. Hank gets in on the act and tells his partner, “There’s a lot of them. We have to start thinking about ourselves, Nick.”

Osler is freaked out by that announcement, talking about how they can’t leave him there. I beg to differ and so does Nick: “Unless you confess, you’ve gotta let nature take its course.” In this case, the main course!

Finally, the chef’s nerve breaks. He confesses to everything, just as long as Nick and Hank will get him out of there. They promptly take him in the car. Monroe’s eyes open as soon as it reaches the mouth of the alley. A big shit-eating grin pops up on his face at the same time.

The chef is back to his usual arrogant self after he’s done writing the confession at the station: “You really think that me admitting something is going to stop something that’s been going on for centuries?”

“No,” Nick says. “But it’s a start.”

Behind the glass, Monroe is nursing a bruised jaw while Nick hands the confession to the Captain: “You know, you connected on a couple of those.”

“Yeah, you, too,” Nick says back.

Renard is pleased, noting, “And this little piggy went to jail.”

Grimm 3.3.4

Review: Where to begin? Okay, how about by saying that this episode did everything that last season failed to do on a consistent basis? To wit – focused on the episode plot, made allusions to the meta-plot without being intrusive about it, and gave one of our main characters a condition that didn’t make them act out of character?

Nick’s zombie affliction looks like it will be handled much better than Juliette’s annoying amnesia from last season, which can only be a good thing. Adalind … meh. If she weren’t a fifth wheel before, she certainly feels like one now. Stefania is the only character that actually made her interesting, but wait and see. Monroe and Rosalie’s relationship is getting serious, hip hip hooray, and Juliette is acting more like Nick’s equal partner.

Finally, there’s this episode’s plot, which seems to echo Nietzsche’s famous quote about fighting monsters. Sure, the Bowerschwein were victims for centuries and wanted to dish out payback. But killing people who never did anything to them only makes them just as monstrous. It’s a testament to Nick’s wish to do better than his ancestry that he came up with the solution that he did. I wonder if he would have let the Bludbaden just eat Osler, if only to make a point.

So far, so good … may this be a sign of good things to come!

About JHaney

J. Keith Haney was born in Misawa, Japan, but has lived most of his life in the state of Tennessee. His favourite all-time film is the original Clash of the Titans, mainly for the Ray Harryhausen monsters. Due to that film, he got a college-level book on World Mythology when he was nine, of which he memorized the Greek section by age 12. His first encounter with Lovecraft (though he didn't know it at the time) was the original Ghostbusters, which he saw in its original theatrical release. In addition to all things Lovecraft, he is an old-school gamer, history buff and fierce advocate for the steampunk genre. He enjoyed his first professional sale and publication in 2010 with his steampunk short story, "Grand Guginol", which can be found at Short Story Me!. His favourite all-time Lovecraft story is "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", which he considers an important, forgotten forerunner to Tolkein's Lord of the Rings saga.

JHaneyColumn: Retronomicon: Bad Taste: Grimm 3.03: A Dish Best Served Cold