Grimm’s mythology continues to grow in season five. Prior to “Lycanthropia”, season five tapped into previous mythology, such as the keys and the revelation that Hitler tried to lead a wesen uprising in Germany. “Lycanthropia” introduced the lycanthrope, an old disease that plagued blutbads. No cure exists for lycanthropia. Monroe offered that burying a lycanthrope alive was the cure he learned about as a kid. By the climatic final act, when Nick, Hank, Monroe, Rosalee, and Wu discover the twist that their suspected lycanthrope’s mother is the lycanthrope, they have no cure, but they’ve a tranquilizer that won’t kick in for five minutes. Their helplessness against the forgotten wesen disease means more when Wu, who never, ever has a solo scene, in a solo scene, discovers a scratch on his leg. Later, with the full moon in view, Wu profusely sweated and shook in his bed. It seems lycanthropia has him.
The twist of the episode seems obvious after the twist, but the epigraph pointed to the idea of missing the obvious. The lycanthrope of the episode, the mother of the suspected lycanthrope, told Hank and Nick that she didn’t call the police after her son didn’t show, and she reminded him that ‘7 was too late.’ Those two lines suggested that she’d protect her son, regardless of the cost to the public. Grimm used the tropes of other werewolf stories, or any story in which one character has a deadly secret, to slightly reverse expectation. A story about a mother protecting her son at all cost became a story about a son protecting his mother at all cost; but mother and son act as plot devices. Jeff Miller’s script is more about establishing the threat of lycanthropia, its incurability, and the little twist than it is about developing either character. They’re from a wealthy family, the son’s a successful commercial real estate agent, he lets his secretary buy a gift for his married friends, and she’s even less developed and defined because if she had either the twist wouldn’t work.
Monroe and Rosalee joined Nick and Hank on the beat of the investigation. It’s rare to see Rosalee outside of the spice shop. Her and Monroe walked the Oregon woods following the scent of the shirt. Unfortunately, they’re again relegated to solving much of the case for Nick and Hank. Like a lot of Grimm characters, they lack a clear arc. Adalind recently got an arc (the return of her powers, AND the news about Diana); Renard’s part of the Black Claws plot to run the town of Portland; however, Rosalee and Monroe mostly helps Nick pro bono. This episode was the closest Nick’s police life intersected with his grimm life since his department investigated murders he committed. Nick could form his own agency next season. No drama really happened from juggling both worlds. Maybe if Renard turns against Black Claw’s plan for him, Rachel and Lucien expose the precinct, forcing them to work underground to take down the group.
This episode had more secrets. The funniest secret was Eve’s. She told Nick and Hank what she found at Rachel’s, but wouldn’t tell them she found the Renard poster and postage date at Rachel’s, but she mentioned Rachael. Renard met with Adalind about Diana, told her about Meisner’s heroics, but he didn’t want her to tell Nick. Adalind still didn’t tell Nick about her powers returning. Also, Nick seemed to hide the treasure box behind the wall in the tunnel he explores every so often. Secrets sometimes work for drama conflicts. The first season of The Americans has some effective secrets-for-drama that stem from the specifics of characters instead of needlessly having characters keep secrets because keeping the secrets allows writers to waste time. That’s Grimm, though, and that’s part of the problem with 22 episode orders.
“Lycanthropia” is a neat episode, and more substantial than last week’s “Silence of the Lambs”. Grimm’s stand alone episodes work better when the case affects the characters. “Silence of the Slams” didn’t matter for the characters the audience cares about. “Lycanthropia” does. Shooting to kill worked for taking out the threat of a superfluous character, but it won’t work for Wu. Perhaps this episode is a springboard for returning to the central arc of the season with the treasure and Black Claw.
- Wu last had a wesen affliction in season one. Has it been that long? Wu used to eat paper clips and coins. Do you think a piece of the true cross, if it is indeed a piece the true cross, holds the cure for lycanthropia?
-The tunnel leads to another tunnel. It’s either bottomless or shallow. I couldn’t tell. I thought of Spike’s “There’s a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known”. Greenwalt only directed “The Girl in Question” in ANGEL’s fifth season.
-Interestingly edited teaser, wasn’t it? Maybe there’s a connection between what’s deeper in the tunnels and the forgotten disease, or there’s not a connection. The editing suggested a parallel.
-Jeff Miller wrote the episode. Lee Rose directed.