Grimm, Season 1, Episode 5: Danse Macabre

Director: David Solomon

Writers: David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf

Picture Credit:

Out they scampered from doors, windows and gutters, rats of every size, all after the piper – The Pied Piper of Hamlin

The episode opens at the docks, where rats are scampering over a dead bird, before we see there’s a rave happening nearby. Death and dancing, interesting juxtaposition there, Grimm! The crowd begins shouting for someone – DJ Retched Kat – to appear and up above in a room, we see the subject of the crowd’s adoration walk out to meet his fans, wearing a big, pink cat head. No really. The end’s of his whiskers light up and everything! It would crack me up, if I didn’t know this was Grimm and expect a bloody death soon. Someone sends a text to a friend, wishing they were at the rave, and we see a phone in a recital practice with 3 violinists and a cello player as it receives the message. Another effective contrast there between the rave and the instruments.

Brimley, one of the kids, hits a wrong note and we see there’s a teacher helping them practice, and said teacher calls a halt when Brimley messes up. Later, the teacher walks down a lonely dark hall out to his car…yeah, he’s doing to die. Inside the car, the teacher starts up and then EW – notices a rat on the floor by his feet, after which more swarm over him from the back seat and did I mention EW?

The next morning his car is discovered by another teacher.

Back at Nick’s house with Juliet, their morning begins with her making smoothies. She asks him to get ice, and he discovers their fridge is on the fritz. Sweet, saccharine one-note domesticity is interrupted by a call about the death.

At the school, Hank and Nick meet Grace, the assistant principal who we saw discover the body earlier. The body is identified as Paul Lawson, the Director of the music program. Nick and Hank are shocked at the method of Lawson’s death and Nick and Hank give the order for the car to be opened up and rats collected and evidence processed. Wu also tells them about the cages found in the bushes, with the name of a pest control place (Geiger Pest Control) on them. Wu gives them further details of Lawson’s evening, including the four students who were rehearsing with Lawson.
Cue the guys heading towards a house in an affluent suburb, with big “keep-out” gates. Inside, the four students are there and the guys start questioning them about their evening of practice with Lawson. Nick and Hank explain about the cages that were found as well. One couple, Carter Brimley (the not-so-good violinist) and Sarah, in particular are sitting together their hands clasped together tightly as they answer questions. Later, as Nick and Hank leave without any answers to their questions, Carter suddenly mentions that Roddy Geiger used to go to their school. His father runs Geiger Pest Control. At this point, Sarah lets his hand go, strongly denying that Roddy would ever have anything to do with a murder, and before the conversation can go any further, the adult in the room, someone’s mother, advises the guys to talk to the school specifically about Roddy’s case.

Next stop, Geiger Pest Control. The Geigers are the antithesis of the rich kids and house we see previously. Instead, they live near the water, surrounded by stuff/junk, really. As Nick and Hank head to the house, they hear violin music and see someone, Roddy, playing not far off from the house. As they near it, they see he is in fact playing to rats in cages, who in turn are really responding to the music.

Hello, Pied Piper? Who also happens to be DJ Retched Kat.

Interestingly, the rats interest in the guys are what alert Roddy that they are there.
Nick only gets as far introducing himself and Hank, before Geiger Snr storms up and cuts short anything further. He’s already heard about the murder, but Roddy hasn’t. Geiger Snr accuses the guys of being there to blame Roddy and himself for the death, which scares Roddy and Hank grabs onto his arm to stop him from running. At which point Geiger Snr’s emotions go out of control and he shifts before Nick into a rat as he tells Hank to leave his son alone. While Hank and Nick are trying to subdue Geiger Snr, Roddy takes off, but Nick soon follows and when they are alone, Roddy accuses Nick of wanting to kill him as he is a Grimm. He shifts and tries to fight Nick, but Nick punches him out and repeats that he isn’t here to kill him.

It’s an interesting scene, because as far as we know at this point, because Roddy has been told about Nick, the Big Bad Grimm who is out to kill people like him. He has obviously been brought up to fear him, much like the bad guys of the Grimm fairytales, without really knowing anything more about Nick and who he really is.

Back at the station, Geiger Snr is being interrogated by Hank, and tells him he was up in the mountains, catching rats. Unfortunately, no one can testify to that. Roddy, according to Geiger Snr was at home and doesn’t have an alibi either. While Hank is interrogating Geiger Snr, we see Renard watching. Hanks shifts onto Roddy’s suspension for fighting, and how mad it would have made Geiger Snr. Geiger Snr is furious at Hank’s attempts to understand him and his temper flares again as he tells Hank about the cages that were stolen two nights ago. He goes onto to tell of the bullying Roddy experienced because of his job at the school at the hands of the kids there. It is obvious how proud Geiger Snr is of his son, who he calls a prodigy and better than the other kids at the school.

The interrogation goes on and we cut to Nick interrogating Roddy in the next room about the fight at school. Roddy puts it down to those kids not liking him basically. Nick attempts to understand Roddy are woeful but he soldiers on, calling Roddy an outsider the other kids wouldn’t understand. Roddy, however, brings up the fact that he doesn’t expect a Grimm to understand either and Nick tries to convince Roddy that like the kids at the school who made judgements on Roddy without knowing him, Roddy is doing the same to Nick and him being a Grimm.

I wish this conversation would have continued, with Nick delving more into trying to find out what exactly Roddy has been told about Grimms so we as viewers can get a better sense of what the Grimm stories there are out there that Nick is up against. He’s proved that he isn’t going to kill every supernatural being, but he is essentially a drop in the ocean of tons of history and stories that say he is a killer.

Nick moves onto the expulsion, and the details behind it – Lawson reported Roddy for attacking Carter Brimley, the not so good violinst from the beginning scene. That “attack” was backed up by Marvin, one of the spectacled kids we saw earlier. Roddy explains that he was at a rave last night, in an old building on Front Street and right about now, I realize, Roddy was DJ Retched Kat, and that no one could recognise him save the person who ran the rave because of the giant, pink, cat head he was wearing.

Roddy doesn’t want to tell Nick about his alibi, because he’s afraid he’d get the guy arrested, but he gives up the name – Sammy.

Next, we see Wu confirm that Roddy was indeed at the rave, and he’s incredibly impressed that Roddy is DJ Retched Kat, the “most famous raver in Portland”. Yeah, neither Hank or Nick have heard about him before now. With this new information, Nick and Hank decided to focus on Geiger Snr as a suspect and let Roddy go. Roddy is furious because he knows his Dad can’t provide an alibi.

Harper, the ME, calls them in for a report on Lawson. She reports that Lawson died of a heart attack, as he was already on meds for his heart and that the rats were in essence a prank and didn’t kill him. She also autopsied a rat and tells them about some fibres she found in the stomach contents. The fibres match the music school colours.

There’s a brief cut to Roddy walking down an expensive looking, foliage-filled street, and an even more expensive car passing him by, before there is a cut back to Renard and the guy reporting back to him on their findings. They report that they have a suspect, but they’re waiting on lab results and can’t confirm that he is definitely the guy. Meanwhile, Roddy is watching a red mini from the bushes, as the driver pulls into a driveway and he shifts, his emotions way out of control. He approaches the car, and we see the rich girl from the beginning, the one who defended him to Nick and Hank. He tells her that his Dad and he are being framed, and she says that’s what everyone thinks. She knows he was framed in regards to his “attack” and subsequent expulsion, but would rather side with her rich friends than defend him, someone she used to care about.

Ow, that’s cold and Roddy looks devastated at her response. He kisses her, and tells her to think of him when she’s with Carter. She kisses him back, before she pushes him away and tells him they can’t keep sneaking around. He finally voices that he thinks her boyfriend framed him, to get to her and to him. Her mother from the earlier scene catches them and orders her daughter into the house while Roddy leaves.

Unfortunately, as Roddy is leaving Carter pulls in and starts bullying Roddy again, in essence.

Renards gives a mini-press conference in his office about the ongoing investigation, saying the right things and trying to calm the masses who want a response to the death of a beloved teacher. Hank brings report to Nick that the fibres are found in expensive cars, much like the ones the rich kids all drive, that we saw when Nick and Hank visited them when the investigation began.

While they are discussing this, Mrs Jessop, comes into complain about Roddy not being arrested and tells them about him harassing her daughter. She’s snobbish and cringe-worthy in her entitlement as a rich person, which means the actress does her job well. Thankfully, Hank calls her out, but she doesn’t care, she insists on filing a report. After taking her report, they head to their respective homes, or so Hank thinks. Instead Nick goes to see Monroe.

Monroe identifies Roddy and Geiger Snr Reinigen, a rat-like creature that are basically the lowest on the Grimm creature food chain. Nick, showing that he’s been doing some researching of his own, points out they’re not violent creatures either unless they’re pushed to their limit – which puzzles Monroe, because Nick usually comes to him for advice, and this time around he’s already done his research.

Can I just say how much I love these guys’ chemistry?

Nick tells Monroe about Roddy’s musical talent, something we’ve seen Monroe do in early episodes playing the cello. Nick appeals to Monroe’s sense of growing up as an outsider, just like Nick and Roddy have and Monroe caves eventually.

Returning home, Nick finds his fridge repairman a Reinigen as well, who when he sees Nick changes into his supernatural form. He is scared, blindly so when he sees Nick and rushes out in fear of his life and Nick. That is the fear Nick engenders in supernatural beings and he is as surprised as anything at the reaction. Instead of explaining the truth to Juliet, he takes her out, leaving her to believe that the man must have been a guy he once arrested and is still afraid of him.

Hank and Wu are having their drink, and are pretty drunk as they discuss Nick’s knowing how people think. Hank leaves eventually and runs into Adalind Schade at the bar. Perfunctory small talk happens before Adalind asks Hank to dinner. Outside Renard watches them take a table together.

Roddy is playing his violin, with rats all around him watching and listening. It’s a sad piece and outside Monroe arrives, pausing briefly to listen to the music before he knocks and when Roddy opens the door, gushes at his talent. Monroe explains he’s a friend of Nick’s, which earns him a shut door in his face, until he changes his arm and pushes his way into the house, and a scared Roddy. Monroe tries to explain that Nick isn’t like other Grimms and his concern for Roddy led him to ask Monroe to talk to him instead. Monroe is earnest in his continued gushing of Roddy’s talent, and Roddy looks like he wants to believe in Monroe, but can’t quite make himself do so.

Unfortunately, when Monroe leaves, he receives a call that his father was injured at the station and it only makes him angry and undoes everything Monroe could have.

Monroe meanwhile, calls Nick to say he talked about Roddy, sure that he has reached Roddy, but when we see Roddy, he is destroying the inside of his house in his anger.
The next day, Hank and Nick are reporting to Renard that they’ve narrowed down the fibres Harper found to possibly belonging to Carter Brimely. Renard orders them to get a warrant for Carter’s arrest.

However, Roddy seems to be putting his plan of revenge into motion. He lets out all the rats his father keeps at their place, and unintentionally starts a fire. Back at the school, Marvin, Carter and Trey are walking to their cars, when Marvin tells Carter that he talked to Sarah who told him about Roddy’s suspicions. Carter is smug in the knowledge that Roddy won’t be able to prove what happened, and the third friend reveals himself as in on the plot to frame Roddy. Marvin is freaking out, and says everyone knows that Carter is second best to Sarah and only got the place in the quartet is because they got Roddy booted. Ironically, they get texts about a rave with DJ Retched Kat, unaware that he is Roddy.

Back at Carter’s house, Nick and Hank are dealing with an irritated father, protesting his son’s innocence. In the car, Wu finds a blanket with holes and chocolate pellets for attracting rats. They threaten to put out an arrest warrant for Carter when his father refuses to tell him where he is, and he finally caves saying he went out with friends. Hank and Nick are distracted though when the report of a fire at the Geiger house comes in.

They find the rat enclosure destroyed and a picture of Sarah and cracked in his room. They head to her house, while Roddy and his rats and his violin head to the water and the night’s rave. Just like the Pied Piper, they are following Roddy.

At Sarah’s house, her mother says she’s with friends at the movies and when Hank and Nick tell her she could be in danger she finally calls. However, the phone rings behind them – Sarah didn’t take it – but Nick discovers the text for a rave that night with DJ Retched Kat.

At the warehouse, Roddy is playing and the rats swarm the floor listening to him. The warehouse is empty, with candles lit here and there. The rich-kid foursome arrive surprised that the four of them seem to be the only ones there. As the three guys rush to go inside to the rave, Sarah hesitates, finally asking if they had anything to do with Roddy’s expulsion. She is unfortunately too weak to stand up to them and takes their assurances at face value.

Inside, the wander around bewildered at the empty first level of the warehouse, until they hear the music from underground and follow it down. Nick and Hank finally arrive, following the music much like the kids did. Meanwhile, the rich-foursome finally make it down to the dance floor to see Retched Kat there. Their glee at being the only ones there is short-lived when Retched Kat calls them out on their lies. For some reason only then does Sarah realise they’ve lied to her, and when Retched Kat starts playing, they realise that Retched Kat is Roddy, even as rats swarm the floor. Nick and Hank reach the dance floor to see the kids being attacked by the rats. Sarah, however falls, rats over her and while the three guys she was with run off to save themselves, it’s her being in danger which finally gets through to Sarah. Hank fires his gun, scaring off the rats even as Roddy’s hold over them ends.

Nick goes to Sarah, helping her up, while in the distance Roddy leaves. After, the three guys finally confess to what they’ve done, and to their part in Lawson’s death and Sarah admits, he was better than all of them. She asks Hank to tell him that she’s sorry, but Hank tells her to tell him herself.

Nick goes searching for Roddy, and finds him sitting in the dark. He explains that Sarah had nothing to do with what happened to him, and she didn’t know they had. Roddy explains he just wanted to them to confess to what they’d done and this was the only way he knew how to do it.

At the station, Nick and Hank are finishing up the reports on the case, and it seems Hank is trying to figure out what to charge Roddy with. Nick is against charging him though, and points out the DA won’t want to deal with a case that can’t be explained when he has to deal with the other 3 and what they did to Lawson. Hank though questions how Roddy controlled the rats, but Nick deflects the question and it isn’t pursued, it’s sort of treated as an unexplainable by Hank, but I hope this is a hint that Hank is on a path to questioning things more.

The nest morning, the fridge repairman comes back to the house to get the rest of his tools. He is deathly afraid still and tells Juliet that he waited until Nick left to come back for his tools. Juliet tries to reassure him, that Nick doesn’t remember him from when he arrested him, but the guy is confused and denies that’s what happened. He wants Juliet to tell Nick that he’s never done anything wrong and that Nick has no reason to come after him and begs Juliet to make sure Nick knows that.

This is where it gets surprising: Juliet doesn’t look confused, she doesn’t look scared, if anything she looks resigned, like she knew this was going to happen and doesn’t know what to do about it. All I have to say, is thank goodness. She is the one character in dire need of more of everything pretty much.

So, the Pied piper of Hamlin becomes the outsider in this week’s episode. There are no kids to steal here, instead the kids are the main characters in Grimm’s version of this tale. Roddy’s crime was to be poor, but more talented than his counterparts and they had him expelled for it. Again, the show excels at delivering a not-so-straightforward episode. The supernatural beings are doing nothing more than trying to live normal lives and coming up against predjuices we can all be familiar with. 

Nick however, comes face-to-face with the terror his name engenders in beings who have done nothing but be high school students and fridge repairmen wanting to earn a living. The fridge guy in particular, along with his family and his kids represent a generation of beings who are nothing but terrified of Nick. How do you fight such history? 

And then there’s Renard, who looms large in every scene he’s in, no matter how few they are. He seems to be putting his own plan into action against Nick, by moving against Hank first, via Adalind. And Juliet – is she nothing more than a cookie-cutter female character designed to provide a perfunctory look at Nick’s home life? I hope not, I hope fervently that last scene hints that the show is going to work on developing her more.  

PS: Double episode this week – come back tomorrow for the review!