There’s so much that “A Dish Best Served Cold” does well that it’s difficult to know where to start, but one of the most notable things about this week’s foray was the role of actress Bitsie Tulloch’s Juliette. In spite of fan complaints about the character’s uselessness over the years, the writers have started inserting her into important situations, and though it felt out of place and forced in the season’s first two efforts, this week her new characterization finally clicked into place.
As Juliette earnestly explained to Nick that the Blutbad explosions were likely due to some form of gastric dilation volvulus (also known as bloat), my at-first resistant brain was shocked to realize that it wasn’t cheesy, the acting was convincing, and most importantly Juliette had an actual non-maddening reason to be there. This is an excellent development, and Grimm’s ability to finally alleviate my desire to smack her every time she speaks is a feat I thought it’d never accomplish.
Of course, exploding Blutbad in Portland ain’t nothin’ compared to international Wesen current events, and the plot surrounding Adalind’s return to form and Eric Renard’s demise is ever-thickening. Though many found Adalind’s long and drawn out hoop-jumping to get her powers back a drag, I think they may have missed the humor. Her spoiled-blonde sighs and eye-rolls in response to instructions to cut somebody open or rub liquefied organs on her stomach struck me as actually pretty amusing – her ability to react to such horrors with a pouty “do I have to?” is a hilarious embodiment of her character. This week she’s seen shedding tears of blood in mourning of Eric Renard (who apparently really is dead), and maybe it’s just me, but I’m absolutely stoked for the episode when we get to see her go full Woge for the first time in far too long.
As I mentioned, this episode tackles nagging questions face-first, and the reasoning behind Nick’s guilt for accidentally killing a man despite his slaughter of countless Wesen over the course of three seasons is one that many Grimmsters have been asking about (that’s NBC’s term by the way, not mine). Rather than deny this anomaly or sweep it under the table, it’s dealt with directly via Captain Renard.
In a surprisingly alarming encounter between him and Nick in the Captain’s office, Renard asks Nick an important question – is he really so bothered by the fact that he killed somebody? Or is he bothered that he killed somebody who wasn’t Wesen? The scene was unexpected and jarring in the best of ways, and Sasha Roiz really nailed the exasperation and borderline offense Renard takes to Nick’s guilt.
“A Dish Best Served Cold” is my favorite Grimm episode this season by far, and probably my favorite since sometime partway through season two as well. It had all the Grimm staples: Wesen of the week, a healthy dose of Monroe, Nick and Hank kicking ass and taking names – the whole package. Most notably, it even managed to hearken back to what was so cool about the show in its early days – the genuine surprise of seeing Wesen transform. There’s a moment when Nick threatens the antagonist Bauerschwein, and he unexpectedly Woge-s in anger. It really re-captured that unique surprise and shock-value in a way that I’d figured Grimm no longer could.
I have no expectation whatsoever that Grimm will maintain this level of quality for each and every remaining episode this season, but it doesn’t really have to. Sometimes you just need a reminder that a show is still worth watching, and “A Dish Best Served Cold” satisfies that need in spades.