The title of the episode refers to the villain, the hired spy whom Trubel follows for 3/4s of the episode until he forcibly takes her with him inside the house where he’ll then use his octopus head to steal her memories and figure out what she is. If only life worked so simply that one could use tentacles to get inside the head of another so that he or she may learn more about that person. The villain experiences pain and anguish from the effort required to burrow in the head/mind of another person and extract memories. The ability to do so comes at the cost of his sanity (and what little is left of that crumbles upon learning Trubel is a grimm, and he becomes similar to the rats in Adalind’s Vienna cell within Viktor’s castle). Wu’s the opposite of the villain in his approach to extracting information from others. Wu uses his own memory to piece together the fragments of a bizarre period in his life and to piece together why a criminology protégé of Nick would behead an intruder. His mission, too, involves a nightmarish pursuit of the truth; however, Wu returned from insanity, whereas the episode’s villain broke from sanity into the always-waiting arms of insanity.
Memories mean something specific and different to every individual. A series of impressions, accumulated knowledge, and such, make up one’s very individual and personal ‘reality.’ Included in that is memory, at times a muse and at other times a cursed beast. The main thread of the episode in wrapped in the villain’s ability to extract memories and the intriguing scene in which Nick and Adalind share a mind and a double vision. Nick cannot tell Wu and Juliette what he sees nor his location. He sees rats, a heavy door, dirty, concrete walls, and two rats in the center of the circular cell. It’s a different way of expressing the opposite of the villain’s ability to take what he shouldn’t know or understand and possessing it. One’s memory, one’s mind, one’s perception, may be the key to unlocking the self; and since the self is so isolated, one goes mad within a different circular cell. The key to the detective case is within the villain’s mind, and the key to Nick’s individual grimm case is within a vision that’s not even his own but is within his mind, which isn’t so unfamiliar a thing as one may think.
Beyond that main crux of the episode, “Octopus Head” continues to move at the same pace as last week’s premiere episode. Trubel’s tail of the villain-of-the-week moves slowly, very slowly, and rehits the beats of her first two episodes of last season. She doesn’t follow directions; she’s reckless; she’s put in dangerous situations; she’s saved and then the process repeats. There are also inconsistences. Trubel told Nick and Hank where she tracked their guy down to the address, but they pursue the suspect at the hotel he left hours earlier and then re-learn information already told to them by Trubel. Nick and Hank save the day. The part of the plot involving the guy paying the wesen for his memory stealing services doesn’t reappear. Juliette enters the story halfway through to tell Rosalee and Monroe not to search for a grimm remedy. Renard wakes up and hangs out while his mother, after hearing about Renard’s adventures, only cares to comment on the birth of her granddaughter. Wu asks his questions about what’s going at the worst times.
Another bummer storyline that doesn’t so much rise to action as limply lugs itself along on barely working legs is the return of the least urgent story in television right now: the royals’ war with the resistance. Adalind’s put in a cell because Viktor wants her to give up the names of the men who assisted her escape. His betrayal reveals that he didn’t have the baby, which will create a conundrum for Adalind when she’ll have a choice to lash out at the resistance for taking her baby or lashing out at Viktor for being Viktor. Viktor patiently waits for her to break and give up the information he needs. He, too, could’ve used octopus head’s special gifts for accessing valuable information. Viktor’s patience is unmatched in current television procedural drama. He actively pushes Adalind in the cell, but besides that Viktor passively waits and waits while he eats a well-cooked dinner with a glass of wine-his refinement juxtaposed against his violent, merciless streak to do what he must for the sake of the crown.
The theme of mysterious yet quietly effective mothers continues in Grimm. Renard’s mother looks younger than him, and she can conjure a double-headed snake that resurrects the dead. Perhaps she’ll hold in her mind the power to heal Nick and Adalind and to disappear when she matters most and only then return when she’s nearly forgotten. Like any newly introduced character in Grimm, her screen time doesn’t extend beyond the length of a Zac Rinaldo shift, but her impossibly attractive appearance and her double-headed snake conjuring leaves an impression.
“Octopus Head’ is a fine second episode. Octopus Head is a decent villain, but he’s methodical. By methodical, I mean slow. Thus, the action in pursuit of him is slow. Nick’s little more than a supporting piece. The only scene in which Trubel stuck out was when she casually ate the sandwich while spying on a reputed spy. Yeah, Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt seemed to have a tiny political bent to their story (spying, covert operations, and etc). I don’t the ending came together well. The last two acts were dull and were not aided by the gaffes in the script.
-The FBI agent took Trubel to see, presumably, the person she phoned about the identity of the Portland Grimm. I look forward to but also dread the introduction of another shadowy organization that may act with the speed of a rare tortoise.
-Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt wrote the script. Terrence O’Hara directed it.