Monroe is a king amongst fictional characters. I, too, wondered what plan Ariel hatched to redeem, or heal, her father. Despite dragon/knight quotation in the beginning of the episode, I quite honestly did not know where the story was going; admittedly, I'm tired and drove a rather amount of miles today, and whereas other times I'd attack a show for holding the audience's hand thematically, I more than welcomed Grimm holding my hand tonight. Indeed, my hand needed to be held.
The break for "Plumed Serpent" must've begun with Greenwalt or Kouf, or whoever runs the room, asking the staff how a classic story about a dragon, princess and her honorable knight would play out in contemporary Portland. Grimm's been rather liberal in their adaptations. Some weeks a Grimm tale doesn't even matter, and other weeks the show produces a really cool and imaginative adaptation of a classic fairy tale, like the terrific Rapunzel episode. "Plumed Serpent" falls in the middle in that it wasn't really cool and imaginative nor a generic procedural case disguised as a Grimm adaptation; but I really enjoyed the episode because of Danielle Panabaker's role as a psychotic firedancer/dragon, and for the sharp supernatural turn the show took in its second half.
Grimm is a notorious slow-starter. The writers perform the grunt work in getting to the core part of the episode, the fundamental conflict between Nick and the creature of the week, or whatever. There were a series of arsons in a buildings owned by one man. The arsonist was a shaggy, dirty, unkempt man with a face half-burned. Nick and Hank investigated each arson case as a homicide. There were clues, witnesses, and red-herrings, all of the trademarks of a criminal procedural story. The story turned when Nick visited an adult club to interview the suspect's daughter (on a better day I'd remember the writer’s term for such a turn in the story). Danielle Panabaker portrayed Ariel, a fire-dancer, who notices Nick and his nature and smiles instead recoiling in terror at the sight of her ancient enemy. Ariel's a vixen with fire in her spirit and a seductive charm. Immediately she aggressively pursues Nick, which causes a brief argument between him and Juliette. Ariel told Nick about how she pictured a Grimm to be, based on previous experiences, and remarked that he wasn't 'bad-ass' enough.
The story has one or two more twists and turns. Firstly, Ariel lied to Nick about her father and keeps regular communication with her. Secondly, the father isn't some deranged murderer who murders for the sake of murdering but, rather, someone who is seeking a chance to win back his dignity. The father irrevocably changed the day his wife perished in a father. The targeted buildings, as well as the owner, seem to be related to the death; or the father accidentally burned his wife by breathing or belching heavily (I probably missed the reason). Ariel wants to restore her father's dignity. Ariel then kidnaps Nick's princess, Juliette, which forces Grimm to be the honorable knight who must needs battle and defeat the dragon to rescue his beloved and live happily ever after.
Of course, a happily ever after ending is difficult to achieve in the contemporary world. Nick and Monroe save Juliette; Nick defeats the dragon, to which Ariel thanks him for letting her dad die with dignity; Ariel then burns herself to death in the lair (but she's actually alive, well, and pissed off as the final scene shows). Juliette isn't a doting princess; instead, she's a frightened girlfriend of a man whose job is increasingly dangerous by the week, and she tells him she isn't sure whether or not she wants to live such a life for the rest of her days with him. Nick's memory of Aunt Marie telling her nephew that he must leave Juliette and never see her again comes alive again. I'm not sure whether Nick will need to choose between his two lives because the show hasn't indicated such a decision is in the cards unless the Juliette situation is the tip of this complicated iceberg. The lack of a happily-ever-after ending is what separates this fairy tale drama from the ABC one, and an example of why I prefer the darker and grittier NBC one.
Monroe told Nick about another Grimm murdered in Germany by the Reapers. Monroe displayed an unusual skittishness about public conversation with Nick whilst in the creature-only bar (think Caritas in ANGEL) for the first time since the Reapers sent him a bloody message. The next new episode promises to enlighten the Grimm fans about the purpose of Capt. Renard and his beautiful blonde friend. Grimm truly is rounding into form, and it's fun to watch.
-It's been so long since the blonde appeared. I don't remember her name. I won't remember how to spell her name once I hear it. I will use Google to remind myself how to spell her name.
-I wonder how tolerable No Ordinary Family would've been had Feldman cast Danielle instead of Kay for the role of annoying teenager daughter. Danielle is delightful in whatever role she plays.
-Monroe used his vast knowledge of trains in the rescue mission. It was one of his most triumphant moment in the series. He also introduced himself to Juliette. I sensed a possible romance in that brief introduction scene though. I think Bitsie Tulloch's entirely responsible for that--maybe she fancies Silas Weir Mitchell.
-Alan DiFiore & Dan E. Fesman wrote the episode. Steven DePaul directed it.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK