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'Grimm' Review: 'My Fair Wesen'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
May 3rd, 2014 10:35am EDT

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Oh, what the lonely will do for family, to feel part of a family, in an otherwise lonely separate existence, bouncing from halfway home to halfway home or group home to group home. “My Fair Wesen” introduces viewers to a man and the girls he’s brought into his family. They’re a group of Wesen, moving from department store to department store and stealing expensive shoes, dresses, jewelry, and whatever else they pick up during a mad scramble created by a distraction in the store. The nameless caretaker, known simply as what his Wesen type is—the Lebensauger, brought in girls without a home, without a family, and promised them pretty clothes and a loving life—as long as none get caught shoplifting. It’s weird.

Renard, after looking through the case file and hearing what Hank and Nick have on the case, remarks, “It’s a modern day Pygmalion.” Of course, the case-of-the-week parallels Trubel’s own situation. “My Fair Wesen” shows the ying and the yang of girls like Trubel. The girls brought together by the Lebensauger are not too different from Trubel. The difference between the Trubel and the girls is whom they met. Trubel ran into Nick, which made all the difference. The other girls’ caretaker took advantage of their vulnerability to make them do what he wanted. If a girl made a mistake, he took that girl’s life. The Pygmalion parallel happened more in the A story wherein Trubel learned how to work a case, work a Wesen non-violently, and how to generally behave in a more socialized setting. Trubel, since her foster parents were murdered, roamed from city to city, fighting for her survival, doing things that give her nightmares. Indeed, early in the episode, Trubel tries to sleep after a sit-down dinner with Nick and Juliette, but she suffers nightmares and tries to escape the house during the night. Her first instinct is to run. Nick talks her out of it. Midway through the episode, after looking at the face of the Wesen who murdered her foster parents, Trubel decides she won’t run anymore, i.e. she won’t continue to be a victim to those around her.

Trubel’s process of learning how Nick works among people unaware of the other side of side does not have the charm of the Pygmalion Broadway adaptation, My Fair Lady, because no one sings a song or dances, nor does it have the harsh brutality of Henry Higgins from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. The villain of the episode is cruel and condescending, an attempt to bring a Henry Higgins type character into the episode, but he lacks Higgins’ deceptive charm that lulls the audience into rooting for him and Eliza to live happily ever after. Higgins is able to use language to sweetly bully Eliza; and his ability to use language charms and enraptures the audience. He speaks incredibly eloquently. The villain of “My Fair Wesen” manipulates his girls’ emotions. Trubel finds her way into the family very briefly but never feels charmed or immediately loved, which is different from other stories of the same ilk wherein the lonely boy or girl becomes spell-bound by the love and sense of belonging felt in the presence of the leader of a cultish family and needs rescuing from the hero in the penultimate or final act of the episode. Trubel’s act of spontaneity near the end of the episode completes her not-total Pygmalion transformation, because a total Pygmalion-like transformation means a sacrifice of identity. One hopes Eliza never retrieved Higgins’ shoes for him. Trubel finds a way to remain true to who she is and what she does while following Nick’s lead.

Earlier in the episode, before the case came to Nick and Hank, he brought Trubel to Monroe’s and Rosalee’s house. The soon-to-be-married couple woged for Trubel—to help her see that not all Wesen want to kill her and that Wesen are as different as humans. Some are bad; others are good. Later, Trubel’s frustrated by Nick and Hank not receiving information from a wayward girl named Megan. Megan freaks out when she sees her aggressive interlocutor is a grimm. Trubel keeps her composure, doing nothing more to Megan than scaring her into honesty. Nick dislikes her aggressive comportment, but she learns more by episode’s end.

“My Fair Wesen” is the first ordinary episode in awhile. The fish-out-of-the-water story is sometimes fun but other times a drag. This was more of a drag. The conversation between Juliette and Nick, which was about where Nick would start to help her followed by Nick’s contemplative furrowing of the brow, was a particular lowlight. Oh well. At least he never asked her to retrieve his shoes.

Other Thoughts:

-Adalind really wants to open a book left by her mother in the attic. The book probably has the key to removing Nick’s powers and/or murdering him.

-Sam Anderson makes his Grimm debut at the end, holding in his possession Nick’s key that will unlock a hidden treasure (I think). The last time the audience saw the key was when Rosalee and Juliette hid it, I think. Perhaps I’m wrong.

-Clark Mathis directed the episode. Sean Calder wrote the teleplay. This may or may not be Calder’s first professional credit. If so, that’s really cool. Thomas Ian Griffith & Rob Wright received the ‘Story By’ credit.

Photo Credits: © NBCUniversal, Inc