'Grimm' Review: 'A Dish Best Served Cold'
The rivalry between Blutbads and Bauerschweins was the focus of a past episode, “The Three Bad Wolves,” from season 1. The most notable part of “The Three Bad Wolves” was the different side of Monroe the writers showed. Since the series premiere, Monroe was the lovable, wise-cracking and quipful side-kick to Nick. “A Dish Best Served Cold” returns to the rivalry of Blutbads and Bauerschweins, and returns to Monroe’s darker side, the loose cannon side.
Monroe’s different two seasons later. Personal growth and friendship helped Monroe escape the demons he returned to in “The Three Bad Wolves.” If you recall, his ex-girlfriend came to town. She triggered the worst in Monroe. In season three, he’s in a mature, healthy relationship with Rosalee. The episode begins wonderfully with its charming scene in the teaser in which Monroe tries to find the courage to ask Rosalee to move in with him. Angelina helped pull Monroe off the wagon. She represented the lapse in his ‘sobriety.’ Rosalee’s different. She doesn’t just work in apothecary; she is Monroe’s personal apothecary. She heals him by being with him, holding his hand, looking into his eyes, leading him to truths he feels nervous to share with her but that she invites with her eyes.
The scene’s quite lovely and acted wonderfully and with plenty of charm. One would expect Rosalee to get incredibly sick from the restaurant, but Monroe doesn’t need to save her. Monroe doesn’t even need to save himself. The conflict between Monroe and the Carson chef in “A Dish Best Served Cold” is a test. Monroe’s either going to regress or he won’t. He’ll have passed the point in his life where he spills blood for blood. Nick acts as the gnawing voice in one’s head that tells you not to do what your impulse wants you to do. Nick compares the rivalry between Blutbads and Bauerschwein to Middle Eastern conflicts, Rwanda, and Ireland. The comparison’s either intentionally heavy-handed or a way for to contextualize why Monroe’s so angry and blood-thirsty after three of his friends die, especially knowing Chef Orson has not been arrested. I don’t think this episode’s a commentary on ways to achieve peace in the Middle East. The solution to find another way to stop Orson’s a change in how a case-of-the-week story ends.
Nick feels more guilt over the man he killed while in his animalistic, feral way. Memories return to him more vividly. The effects of the neurotoxin linger. Nick’s heart rate doesn’t rise during tests, nor does his blood pressure rise. Juliette notices the look in Nick’s face that he had in bed, an expression that looks like death. Nick can’t confess, officially, to Renard, but he can confess his guilt privately. Renard reacts heelishly, pointing out to Nick that little difference exists between the wesens he killed and the man in the bar. Nick decides to find another way to stop the Chef after that particularly poor conservation with Renard.
Grimm, the series, its writers, have suggested Nick-as-Grimm would think about Grimm duties differently. I remember his mother’s surprise upon learning of his friendship with Monroe. Monroe’s friendship with Nick is a major focal point of the episode, a necessary thematic tie for the sake of the ending and as a reminder of what separates Nick from the other grimms. The reason the story’s told for Nick is because he works differently and thinks differently. His friendship with Monroe is essential in this episode. Monroe throws a surprise party for him on the night Nick moves out of his house. Nick and Monroe wonder who would’ve thought they’d be the friends they are. Of course, it’s a slight stretch to suggest the friendship’s a focal point for the sake of reminding one of Nick’s unique handle on being a Grimm since Nick shoots Monroe in the final act. The fight between Nick and Monroe is treated seriously; though it’s sudden catastrophic outcome betrays the timeless trope. Even Stevens used the trope in the Even Stevens movie. The audience is led to believe Ren killed Louis by shoving him off a cliff, but she didn’t! Nick didn’t kill Monroe!
The action in the final act hinges on a few previous scenes. Monroe’s angrier with each death. He seems on the verge of returning to who he once was. Nick’s reluctant to kill Orson. One of Grimm’s weakest aspects is the structure. Grimm episodes don’t take off sometimes until more than halfway through an episode. By that I mean the dramatic stakes don’t get revealed with enough time left to feel invested in those stakes. Nick and Hank discover dead bodies. The murder scenes suggest a pattern. The time frame between Monroe putting the pieces together and getting shot by Nick is incredibly short.
The dramatic stakes don’t land nor does the personal stakes. Individual scenes that exist separate from the central case work well: Monroe/Rosalee at dinner, Nick and Juliette in the home, the little surprise party for Nick. Grimm’s strongest case-of-the-weeks had a personal bent, but Monroe’s personal involvement doesn’t add much to a forgettable show. The episode ends on a dreadful line: ‘this little piggy’s going to jail.’ It’s appropriate for the episode to leave a bad impression in one’s mind.
Rob Wright wrote the episode. Karen Gaviola directed it.