Following each new episode of Grimm's third season, contributing fantasy journalist Jay Horton will annotate the notable flora, fauna, places of interest, and objets d'occult.Austria
Oh, Vienna: Imperial tyrant, eternal nemesis of Portland and all of the liberty and equality and rumpled-casual wardrobes promised to manimals who yearn to breathe free. As the third season begins, our hero lies in state after an assassination, of sorts, undertaken by a Cracher-Mortel beast on behalf of the Austrian royal family.
If Portland is the new Black Forest—where creatures may live and love 'neath the pines and carve out their own destinies—Austria enjoys all the palace intrigue, monarchical spoils, and inexplicable British accents of fairy tales' upper crust.
The commissioners of the assassination are the Renards, and crown-prince Eric has been staying in Puddletown to oversee the successful capture of Nick “the Grimm” Burkhardt and arrange his transport back to the crown for undisclosed, surely nefarious reasons.
The crucial gimmick of Grimm, that all mythic creatures could be tied back to the wide world of wesen, veers in some unexpected directions.
The classic model of zombie resurrection turns out to be a slight misinterpretation of attacks by the Cracher-Mortel. Viscous oral discharge from the half-puffer-fish anesthetizes humans and leaves them highly suggestible, if a bit pallid.
And, more interestingly, this particular Cracher-Mortel shares both name and nattily-dressed aesthetic with Baron Samedi of the Loa. Did our Baron inspire a staple element of the Haitian religion? Do all Cracher-Mortel beasts adopt top hat and formal wear to ride the cachet? Do the Austrians also control the West Indies?
A previously-unheralded summit located within the logging country outside Vernonia, Oregon, Mount Cedara's fifteen minutes arrive as site of the plane crash that kills Baron Samedi and looses a partially zombified Grimm upon an unsuspecting world.
Evidently, Nick's celebrated lineage bestowed genetic gifts beyond his singular ability to perceive the monsters among us and abnormal physical strength under duress–some call them gifts, some call them psychotic episodes–and the ever growing list of vague and barely-discussed abilities evidently includes an overactive immune system that merely needed time to beat back the Cracher-Mortel toxins.
In other words, though he was pronounced dead, though he did burst through his own coffin mere inches from the living emblem of Vodoun, though he's currently less than sentient and wholly surrendered to unreasoned survival... he was un-undead all along. These are the rewards of never bothering to define the parameters of the unreal. Perhaps, when he's trapped in an abandoned mine the end of next season, we'll believe a Grimm can fly.
As the police (alongside wolfman/foxlady allies) combat the apparent zombie apocalypse and the Grimm staggers about the old growth, the only subplot of note concerns a local sorceress named Adalind currently visiting Austria – there are sister cities; could Vienna be formally declared our evil twin? – who keeps desperately asking everyone she comes across for some assistance in just, y'know, feeling normal. Finally, a bohemian entrepreneur who'd previously pressed powder into her hand takes Adalind to find ritualistic relief in a field of poppies. That is, Papaveraceae. You can take the Hexenbiest out of Portland ...
Shirley's Tippy Canoe
As publicity goes, this couldn't have been ideal. The proprietors of the renovated Troutdale roadhouse had tirelessly cultivated a family-friendly atmosphere that would attract neither gangs of bikers nor an addled Grimm – Nick's staggered combination of fishbelly pallor, aggressive twitchiness, and torn clothing hinting toward a different sort of crash – but some conflicts pay dividends. For half a century, Shirley's Tippy Canoe was known only as the neglected neighbor of Tad's Chicken and Dumplings, and, after Nick cleared house during climactic brawl, the restaurant guaranteed itself a steady stream of the globe's saddest honeymooners for decades to come.