Review - Grimm - S02E18

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Looks like the writers are once again dipping their hands into another mythology’s cookie jar in ‘Volcanalis’. Don’t let the opening quote fool you; we’re dealing with an Ancient Roman god this episode. With Hank gone on vacation and Wu still locked out of the loop, Nick has to team up with Captain Renard for this investigation. Meanwhile, Juliette’s struggles with her memories climax with a car accident, forcing her to seek a solution, and Adalind makes a deal that the season two preview spoiled a few months back.

This episode is great—in places. Given Nick has been able to neatly hide the supernatural elements under normal crimes up until now, it was surprising to see an enemy force him to solve the issue as a Grimm instead. Though the tension from their previous brawl seems to have diminished, Nick is still reluctant to trust Renard with any information pertaining to his sources. It is a shame that this isn’t explored more, but it’s enough to hint at what we might expect in future episodes.

The two subplots, both Juliette and Adalind’s, were engaging and refused to be crushed under the weight of the main plot. We see Juliette return to the grandmother from ‘La Llorona’ (again) and learn of a way to remember without suffering another ‘Nick Overload’. The cinematography as Juliette relives her memories (starting in monochrome save her shirt then gradually turning to colour) is beautiful and helps create one of my favourite moments in the episode.

Adalind’s sub plot saw our favourite antagonist going back and forth between manipulatee to manipulator. She is taken away from her suite by Frau Pech (first seen in ‘Mr. Sandman’) to speak to the Queen of the Gypsies. This is not only something that Adalind did not plan with Pech, but it also leads to a situation where it’s clear the two women are just using her to rack up power for themselves. It’s only in the final moments of her scene that we stop thinking Adalind’s the one being played.

Where it fails is the lack of focus in the episode. The cold open alone struggles to stuff all the sub-plots in before the theme music. Some subplots are forgotten outright (how is Wu being Nick’s partner for a week any different to him being Hank’s? What did Nick and Renard wind up telling Wu? What did Nick and Renard tell the victims’ company?).

Some are devoted so little time that nothing would have been lost by cutting them. After Nick gets word of the dead body, he completely forgets about what’s going on with Juliette and doesn’t mention her accident again. Munroe, despite trying to cheer him up, doesn’t mention it again either.

Though I feel Adalind’s scenes really needed to be in this episode, there is already too much going on in this plot without adding them. The same can be said about Juliette’s scenes and their relevance to their plot. Ultimately, I feel that ‘Volcanalis’ would have been a much stronger episode either without these distractions or without…well, Volcanalis. A Roman god isn’t your average Monster of the Week; it shouldn’t have to fight an amnesiac and a pregnant woman for attention. The resolution of this episode is very satisfying, but the focus is far too scattered for the enormity of each protagonist’s (or antagonist in Adalind’s case) to be realised. Nick takes down a god. Juliette has resolved most of her crazy. Adalind is going to get her powers back.

I should be fan girling right now, but instead I’m horrified at how badly the plot is stitched together this episode.

Review by Greta Rehak


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