So I took last week off from these recaps (read: I never found time to watch the episode), but luckily, Grimm is definitely a show where you can do that and not feel lost when you jump back in. If you really want to know what happened, read the dry synopsis here. Apparently, it involved Nick and Monroe getting caught up in a Wesen fight club. Sounds kind of fun, actually.
Grimm Season 1, Episode 13: “Three Coins in a Fuchsbau”
Beast of the Week: Schakal, referred to by Eddie Monroe as “baby-eating badasses” but perhaps more accurately described as demon jackal thief Nazis. There's also a steinadler, who's basically Hawkman.
Source Material: “The Master Thief,” a Norwegian fairy tale adapted by the Brothers Grimm about...thieves, I'm assuming?
The Procedural: Responding to reports of break-in and explosion as a jewelry store, the cops arrive to find the shop owner lying dead and 'sploded real good in a bombed-out safe. Across the street, Nick makes eye-contact with a creepy-looking Spaniard with terrible hair, who briefly exposes himself as a schakal before high-tailing it to a BMW. After checking surveillance tapes, the detectives see that same car pulling up outside the store just before the robbery. Good work subduing the suspicious-looking dude eying the crime scene, Burkhardt.
As usual, the autopsy on the victim reveals the cause of death isn't what it seems. Nope, the 'splosion didn't kill the jeweler: It was the rare coins in his stomach. Adorned with swastikas, the coins are presumed to be of German origin, which seems about right. Hank grabs the coins and insists on admitting them to evidence himself, but just then, a call comes in that they've found the Beamer from the crime scene outside a house. Cops descend on the house, where they find a grey-haired man standing over a pair of dead bodies. Another guy, the Spaniard, runs out the back door and into the woods. Hank acts weirdly aggro during all of this, shoving the silver fox—make that silver steinadler—to the floor even though he's not resisting and chastising another cop for not apprehending the Spaniard. Back at the station, Captain Renard pries the coins away from Hank and sends him home for the day.
Nick goes in to interrogate the steinalder, whose name is Farley Kolt. (Do the Grimm writers use a Pulp Comic Book Name Generator for their guest stars?) Kolt claims the two dead dudes at the house actually shot each other and pegs the one who got away as Soledad Marquesa, a Spanish national he's been trailing for years. He then gives Nick the run down on the coins: They were originally dug up centuries ago on the Greek island of Zakynthos. It's been found that whoever possesses the coins develops a “charismatic influence over other men.” As such, the coins have played key roles in the rise and hall of the Romans, the Han Dynasty and, finally, the Third Reich. After World War II, Grimms took possession of the coins and guarded them until 18 years ago, when two Grimms were killed in upstate New York and the coins were stolen. Kolt knows this because one of those Grimms was his then-girlfriend's sister, who left Kolt to care after her now-orphaned nephew. Sounds familiar, right? Well, in case it doesn't: Kolt's girlfriend was Aunt Marie, and the boy she went to take care of was Nick. Oh, and Soledad Marquesa was one of the people involved in the murder of Nick's parents. Kolt is later released, after the ballistic evidence from the shooting at the house clears.
So anyway, after that revelation, Nick goes to spend a little time in the Magic Winnebago. He calls Monroe over for a hangout sesh, and to translate a story in one of his Books of Knowledge. “Oh man, this is high German. This is the stuff my grandfather used to speak after a couple beers,” Monroe says. He reads the story of Nick's ancestor's run-in with a schakal, and delivers maybe my favorite line in the whole run of the show: “Oh, look out, they ate a baby. That's rude.” That's all we get from Monroe this week, but that's enough.
Meanwhile, Captain Renard—who's still in possession of the coins—begins acting strange (well, stranger than usual): He stands naked in a mirror admiring himself while clutching the coins in his hand, and experiences megalomaniacal visions in which hordes of followers gather outside his apartment. He then stomps into his office in the morning and calls a press conference in which he delivers an impassioned speech about stamping out crime in Portland. Watching in the audience, in a police uniform, is Soledad Marquesa, who learned that Renard had the coins by assaulting the police pathologist (whose name I never remember). He disguised himself by giving himself a new, also terrible haircut, but it seems unlikely that he'd go unnoticed in a room full of cops, considering he's a prime suspect in the jewelry store case. But what do I know about law enforcement?
Anyway, as Renard is leaving the station, Soledad attacks him in the parking lot. Luckily, Hank and Nick—and Farley Kolt—arrive in time to fend him off. Nick tries to get information about the death of his parents from Soledad after shooting him, but he dies without revealing anything. After the shootout, Kolt is missing, having jacked the coins from Renard. Like an idiot, he goes straight back to the room at the Hotel Deluxe where he had been staying (and that Hank and Nick investigated earlier, finding a film canister and a letter with a Nazi letterhead explaining that those coins everyone is chasing are highly toxic). Naturally, Nick is there waiting for him. Kolt beasts-out, but takes a shot to the face and drops the coins, which Nick retrieves, puts back into their case, and locks up in the Winnebago.
You'd think that be it, but oh no, there's one more scene in this episode: Using an old projector that just happened to be lying around in the Magic Winnebago, Nick plays the film he discovered in Kolt's hotel room. It's a Nazi propaganda video, featuring a speech from Adolf Hitler. As Nick watches the film, the camera closes in on Hitler's face, and you kind of know what's about to happen, but you're not sure if the show would actually go there, but then it does: Hitler transforms into a schakal. I can't tell if that's really awesome or just insane. It's probably both.
Other Developments: When Renard first gets the coins, he calls someone in France about them. That's about it, though, as for the first time, the show integrated the season-long narrative into the Case of the Week more effectively than ever before.
Grade: A. This felt like a significant episode. It displayed the potential for what Grimm can be if it gets less Criminal Minds-y and focuses more on weaving together a fully realized universe and overarching narrative. I'm sure we'll be back to the one-off case format next week, but this episode totally worked. And if the Demon Hitler thing is any indication, shit might be going totally off the wall sooner than later.