Last night’s Grimm started off with an announcer’s voice in a carnival funhouse, warning that “there are monsters living among us.” But we’ve been watching Grimm, so he wasn’t really telling us anything new. We soon meet a man working in the carnival, who’s been heavily drinking and fighting back some serious woguing. Two fairly ridiculous young women think he’s just one of the sideshow attractions, and after the show they party with him and demand that he do that crazy thing with his face. Seriously? This is their idea of a good time? If they wanted to be scared to death (without actually dying) they could have just read our (shameless plug alert) amazing list of the 10 creepiest Grimm monsters ever
Rosalee and Monroe are still planning for the wedding, and Monroe has to pop another big question. He asks Nick to be the (dun-dun-duuun) Best Man. And Rosalee hilariously asks Juliette to be matron of honor, pointing out that she’s never been married so it’s perfect. Nick and Juliette happily accept, but later Nick gets cold feet as he thinks about the bad turn the wedding could take if Monroe’s family recognize him for the Grimm that he is.
After the bodies of those two young women are found, Nick and Hank find themselves at Carnival Metamorphosia, where wesen are woguing on demand for a paycheck. Of course, the audience just thinks it’s a great trick and has no idea that the beasts are real. The main attraction is Max, a blutbotin who woges and “escapes” from his cage, only to be shot by the carnival master. The blutbotin suffers through this performance every night for the show, a stress that he’s been dealing with (or not dealing with) by spending way too much time with his new BFF, Jack Daniels. When Monroe and Rosalee help Nick out, they point out that the very idea of a wesen carnival is offensive—the carnival master is essentially turning the wesen culture into a a sideshow attraction, and such woguing on demand can cause wesen to lose control. The two decide to do a little reconnaissance at the carnival on their own, and discover the conditions of the exploitative gig. Because Max has lost control again and injured one of his co-stars, they’re holding auditions for a new attraction. Rosalee stands on stage for her faux audition (fauxdition?), strikes a woge, and gets hired on the spot. There’s something legitimately hilarious about the idea of Rosalee working in wesen show business—especially considering that she had to rock the skimpiest little outfit ever.
Adalind’s storyline is heating up, and while running away from Victor and crew she meets up with the resistance member (Sebastien) who was tortured last week. He continues to make sacrifices for her safety, and takes on Victor and his whole crew, stopping them all—save Victor who finally takes Sebastien out.
As “The Show Must Go On” goes on, we learn that the blutbotin who we thought was guilty all along is innocent, and the master of ceremonies, Hedig, is pulling all of the strings … and killing all of the people he thinks might expose his show. The final carnival turns into a hot mess of a performance when Max completely loses it and attacks Hedig, then turns on Rosalee. Monroe gets involved—’cause you’re not about to woge all up in his fiancée’s face and get away with it—and the funhouse turns into a madhouse. Rosalee manages to stop Monroe from hurting Max, who she knows cannot help himself after years of being forced to woge on demand. Meanwhile, the other wesen attractions—equally fed up with Hedig—turn on him and serve up some justice. The vengeful kind. Where Hedig ends up dead and burnt to a crisp.
“The Show Must Go On” was a great episode. We didn’t meet any new wesen who were especially frightening, but we got a glimpse into a strange part of wesen life, and there even seemed to be an underlying commentary on the fine line between exploitation and entertainment. The Real Wesen of Portland served as a reminder that show business is entirely dependent on the gaze of the audience, but such a gaze almost always invites us to make an “other” of the particular group we look upon. This can go badly sometimes. And Hedig’s character was reminiscent of Christoph Waltz’s August in Water for Elephants. The parallels to reality television get even more interesting if you align these characters with the directors and producers behind some of our favorite guilty pleasures. What’s happening behind the curtains of your favorite sideshow attractions?
—That fake Monrosalee wedding cake from Nick’s dream with the little wesen couple at the top was actually pretty adorable … until all that blood got spattered on it.
—Did we sense some romantic tension between Adalind and Meisner as they drove off to the safe haven? Things were beginning to feel a little 1992 Bodyguard up in there when Adalind saved his life.
—How awesome was it that Rosalee kept her costume from the show and put it on that night for Monroe? True love means donning the occasional burlesque outfit after a long hard day at work.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “Homicide. It just ain’t the same without you.” (Hank to Wu)
Shannon M. Houston is a New York-based freelance writer, regular contributor to Paste, and occasional contributor to the human race via little squishy babies. You can follow her on Twitter.