Grimm’s been on a hot streak lately of showing the many sides of Wesen life. “The Show Must Go On” heads to the carnival, which seems so obvious a setting that one would think season one would’ve had a carnival episode. Of course, Grimm’s a constantly evolving show. Discovery’s a constant, consistent theme in the show. The traveling carnival continues Nick’s discovery of the many ways of Wesen life, and it continues our discovery of Wesen as individuals, as complex and complicated as human beings.
Monroe and Rosalee drive the action. The pathos of the episode goes through them. The viewer relies on Monroe’s and Rosalee’s reactions to the carnival dilemma, the umkippen. “The Show Must Go On” begins in typical Grimm fashion. Two gorgeous ladies attend the carnival, take in the Wesen monsters/man show, and delight in the fear they felt during the performance. Max, the increasingly sickly Wesen, the star of the show, who breaks through the bar of his cage before being shot dead, runs into the women. The women flirtatiously invite him for a drink. Drinks lead to their place and sexual innuendo suited for the 9PM hour of a network TV show. Death then ensues. So, it’s a typical Wesen murder case. Nick and Hank investigate. Wu helps them get started with the pertinent details, and the investigation is under way.
Nick and Hank become secondary characters in the plot halfway through the episode. Their visit to the carnival fills in some details the viewer probably picked up earlier: don’t trust Hedig, the whip-wielding boss of the Wesen Carnival show, and follow the crumbs of bread the writers continued to drop along Max’s sickly, potentially murderous path. Focusing on the murder for an entire episode most often leads to a third act twist (though this is television so it’s really a sixth or seventh act twist, depending on the show and the network’s obsession to squeeze every last advertising dollar). I recall a Victorian novella that set the precedent for procedurals that also dwelt on the monster in man. Max can’t remember his actions after he involuntarily woges. He woges frequently, with less control than before, because doing it too much removes that thing in their heads that stops them from acting on primal urges. He’s involuntarily abusive towards his girlfriend. He’s possibly committing murders he doesn’t remember. Nick and Hank know little of the specifics of the situation. After Rosalee dumps the information on the two, her and Monroe attend the carnival to help.
The brutalizing atmosphere of Hedig’s show is juxtaposed with Rosalee’s concern for those Wesen working in the show. The council doesn’t frown on traveling Wesen carnivals because of the idea of illusion of carnival acts. I don’t know. The Wesen council’s very similar to that other council I mentioned last week. The council (I think I remember right) expects local Wesens to intervene if an abuse of power exists within the carnival, an exploitation more severe than the day-to-day exploitation of Wesen. So, Rosalee and Monroe head to the carnival to intervene. Rosalee’s excellent when she’s compassionate and actively involved in consoling those who hurt or those who are sick. Rosalee joins the act very quickly. Again, Grimm brings Rosalee and Monroe to the carnival halfway through the episode, but the ending isn’t rushed or abrupt. Nothing especially important happens after Rosalee joins the act. She connects with Genny, learns that Max is sick, and, later, hears Hedig admit to framing his stars for murder. So, yeah, she’s there for especially important plot developments. She finds a sexy outfit to wear for Monroe before bed. The best part of the episode happens at the end. Hedig’s been burned alive by his employees in the mirror maze. Before that, Max lost his cool and attacked Rosalee. Monroe attacked Max. Rosalee stopped it, reminding Monroe about Max’s sickness. And there follows a moving scene about Wesen taking care of each other in a civilization that won’t. That’s why Hedig’s monstrous. The murders he committed exist for the procedural element, but his most severe crime is exploiting his own, destroying them when he should protect them. Hedig said magic explained his show to Hank and Nick, but real magic is love and kindness.
-Adalind and Meisner escape Viktor with the help of Sebastien. Sebastien gives his life to the cause. Alexis Denisof plays villainy wonderfully. I felt revulsion and dread when he stood before a beaten Sebastien and shot him dead. Adalind used her powers on one of Viktor’s men. The man aimed his gun at Meisner. Adalind’s powers forced the man to use the gun on himself. There’s a plan waiting in Northern Zurich that’ll take her to Nick’s house in Portland, accompanied by a woman I was convinced the writers forgot (I jest).
-The pending marriage of Rosalee and Monroe might be spectacular. Nick had a dream after he agreed to be Monroe’s best man for the wedding in which the guests freaked out when they woge’d and saw a grimm beside the bridegroom. I’d like to see the wedding played as a comedy rather a horrific encounter between worlds.
-Marc Gaffen & Kyle McVey wrote the episode. Paul A. Kaufman directed.