The three coins united the characters and the action. Everything that happened happened because of the coins. The episode began with a robbery, two deaths, the introduction of Titus Welliver's Farley as well as the introduction of the villainous Solodad. The coins drove men who touched them to madness. Think of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings--the three coins had the same power. Near the end, as Solodad's trail of blood comes to an end, Farley sort of absolves the Spaniard of blame because the coins corrupted him beyond the point where he lost all self-control. Hank briefly felt the effects of the coins when he touched them. Capt. Renard eyed the coins like they were the most precious objects on earth; and his explanation of them obscured the truth, because he planned on using them. Farley eventually told the Truth of the coins when answering Nick's question in his cell--the coins were old, powerful, lusted after by creatures for centuries because they endowed men with an overwhelming and dangerous power. Capt. Renard becomes a zealous police chief who vows to rid the streets of the corrupt and evil men who've polluted the city for too long, Solodad kills whoever he needs to for the coins, Farley also kills men and lies and deceives in pursuit of the powerful coins.
By the end of the episode, there's no doubt about the importance and power of the coins. Indeed, it seems like Kouf and Greenwalt will return to the coins again; Farley's too charismatic an antagonist not to return (90% because of Welliver's acting). The story was extremely effective in showing and conveying the importance of the coins. The back story involved a wealth of Grimm ancestry; in fact, this episode really reminded me of the mythos of the Slayer in Buffy. The Grimm is a descendant of powerful supernatural line in which they're fated to protect the innocents from the seedy underbelly people are aware of, because of stories, but would never accept as part of their reality, just as it is in BtVS. The Grimms, through magic or genetics or whatever, are born with an instinctive need to fight to the death to keep the coins hidden. We later learn that the coins in the wrong hands lead to the third Reich, mass genocide, and a world war, which is silly yet effective. The Apocalypse doesn't seem like a threat in Grimm--the creatures haven't been shown as fans of the Apocalypse--but the Apocalypse was what Buffy and her friends fought to prevent (ditto Angel and the gang). Invariably, a season's arc concluded in the prevention of the Apocalypse. The evidence of the coins' influence on Hitler, and the subsequent horror he inflicted on Europe, is damn near incentive enough to be treated like the prevention of an Apocalypse. If such a fate is the driving force of the Big Stuff in Grimm, I'm more than okay with that.
I honestly forget about Nick's origins. I may've mentioned the death of his parents in the first two reviews, but I do not remember. Farley's appearance brought back plot points fans thought dead because of their absence over the last four months, like Aunt Marie, Nick's origins, the true ugly side of Grimm. Monroe exposited that Farley belonged to a species of Spidalvak (or something) and added such species aren't easily trusted. The information Farley gives Nick about his parent seem like a lie, a manipulation to get out of prison, kill Solodad, and retrieve the coins. Farley expresses ignorance about the boy Aunt Marie left him for in order to take care of him, but his mistrustful eyes suggest an entirely different truth. Nick's as furious as we've ever seen when he demands a dying Solodad an admission of guilt for the murder of his parents, but he never hears one; and, indeed, the mystery of his parent's murder remains.
The previews were misleading. I expected a Capt. Renard story, but he disappeared for large portions of the episode. We know as much about him as we did last week. Farley disappeared for a decent chunk of the episode. Monroe had a 4 minute scene. Hank disappeared. I'd write about the consistency of Nick, but he went from one story to the next--the one a generic case-of-the-week story and the other a personal search for his parents' killer and let us not forget his calling and duty as a Grimm that we saw in the penultimate scene in Farley's hotel.
The odd structure worked. Scenes informed other scenes, choices informed other choices, etc. I did enjoy this new side of Grimm. I didn't notice the absence of Monroe until he walked into the trailer and I thought, "Oh, this is his first scene." It was an episode the fans clamoring for a more serialized element should've welcomed with open arms. Indeed, I welcome it; I just didn't expect such an odd way to introduce these serialized elements. All's well that ends well though. "Three Coins in a Fuchsbau," in the end, was a riveting and action-packed hour with tremendous plot movement and decent character development.
David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf wrote the episode. Norberto Barba directed.
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK