David, the little boy at the center of “Dyin’ On A Prayer,” controls the clay monster unknowingly with his fear, when threatened, and when intimidated. His uncle conjured the clay monster through an ancient Cabbalistic prayer. The episode’s case involves domestic abuse. David’s mother suffers the drunken blows of her stephusbad and his brother. David’s around whenever the stephusband or his brother terrifies his mother, and, also, terrifies him. So, when David tells Trubel about the monster the adults become, it’s true; and when Trubel tells David she sees the monsters, too, which one sees often in domestic abuse stories in a police procedural, she tells the truth, and she may even have seen some monsters prior to her realizing her grimm abilities. Who knows, though; it isn’t hinted at in the episode.
The clay monster looks good. David’s a solid emotional center for the episode. Unfortunately, “Dyin’ On A Prayer” is stuck in the mud like Nate’s vehicle before he receives the clay monster’s hug of death. Nick and Hank have little involvement in the story. The uncle leads Nick and Hank to every revelation. Trubel serves as David’s safety net. The mother character barely matters. A throwaway line about the clay monster by her brother, the uncle, who wants to stop it through scaring his nephew, lets one know brother and sister do not share the same ideas about ancient Cabal prayers. Any discord, disagreement, conflicts of ideas, do not happen in prior scenes with the brother and sister. It’s a throwaway line that weakly exists to put more stakes in the scene. What if she finds out and stops it before David’s uncle can kill what he prayed for? It never happens. There’s not an opportunity for them to have a back and forth before the monster arrives. She runs outside in time to see the monster rise from mud. She’s all like, “So, this is happening, now, I guess.”
Urgency in the episodes comes from David’s innocent existence, and it’s a sad and poignant idea. He feels so scared that a Gollum comes from the earth to kill those who scare him. Nick and Hank need to the monster dormant, returned to the earth, before David leaves a trail of bodies. There’s circularity to David’s arc. In the beginning he fears the monster. His fears lessen with the help of Trubel, whom he shares the ‘gift’ with, or what-have-you. They play monsters together. Trubel shows him how to tire the monster. Move fast, wear him out, and then strike. The little boy uses Trubel’s instructions to stab the Gollum to death with his good guy action figure, and he also uses a stronger feeling to stop the Gollum: his affection for Trubel. She’s threatened and in danger. One’s desire to protect and save someone is stronger than one’s fear, one’s intimidation--The strength within a person…that idea.
The coolest scene in “Dyin’ On A Prayer” happens at the Austrian prison during Adalind’s failed escape. Adalind’s escape from Vienna last season had some of the least exciting escape sequences in contemporary television. Whomever with she tries to escape a place from she and her co-escapee move like a beach crab. I like the fantastical elements in the prison. Last week’s episode recalled to mind a scene from Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading. This episode is without faint echoes from an aging Russian novel, but its phantasmagoria continues in a Terry Gilliam spirit. The prison walls speak to Adalind about the location of her baby. Adalind wonders, “Where? Where is my baby?” The prison walls cry and nearly drown her. She’s no longer Cincinnatus C. traveling in a circle back to her prison; she’s Alice, the girl lost in wonderland. She, too, nearly dies on a prayer-the prayer she has to find her daughter. A prayer is a thought, a promise.
-Rosalee and Monroe have been little else other than soundboards for other characters. They want to take a honeymoon, though. Renard’s mother discovered the magic cure for Nick’s current grimm-less plight. It’s complicated and involves Juliette as the key piece.
-Wu continues to search for anything he can find or get to figure out Trubel. Renard does not offer much for Wu. Renard returned to the office and delivered an unnecessary speech.
-Brigid Brannagh portrayed David’s mother. She worked for David Greenwalt and Joss Whedon during the second season of ANGEL. She played Virginia Madsen, brief girlfriend of Alexis Denisof’s Wesley Wyndham-Pryce.
-Sean Calder wrote the episode. Tawnia McKiernan directed.