Was Grimm's Krampus episode actually pretty good on its own, or was it only pretty good because Krampus was in it? I suspect the latter, but either way, we got to see a Santa with demonic goat horns beat children with a lash. That's just good television, people.
Let's get the first episode out of the way, which will be easy because it was so rote. New Wesen appears in town, turns out to be an alligator-ish one called a Gelumcaedus, said Wesen kills somebody. Nick and Hank investigate really slowly, eventually catch up it in the sewers (alligators in the sewers! Get it? GET IT?!), there's a small twist (in this case there are actually three Gelumcaedus, not just one) and Nick kills and/or captures them. About the only notable thing is that for a while Nick wears the Hidden Blade from the Assassin's Creed games.
Second episode is where the action is, specifically the act of beating naughty children with a switch. A bunch of kids steal presents from people, Krampus follows them, beats them, drops them in a sack, and then carries them off. The investigation is spurred by a kid from the first attack who managed to hide in a car where Krampus couldn't reach, and who is now terrified of Santas, and then an adult who witnesses a man in a Santa outfit with demonic horns on his head beating a child and then putting the child in a bag and takes forever to register that this might be some kind of unusual occurrence (He literally asks "Do I need to call the cops?" while Krampus is putting the kid in the bag) which of course leads Nick and Hank to finally ask Munroe, who explains Krampus to them. It takes Nick and co. even longer to figure out what's going on than usual, but it's okay because it leads to my favorite moment in Grimm ever: Nick and Hank savagely beating a Wesen hot dog vendor dressed as Santa, because he tries to run when he realizes Nick's a Grimm, and kids are watching Santa get beaten and people film it and it gets on the news and it's just glorious.
Here's the catch: Krampus eats the kids on the night of the winter solstice, which is tonight, naturally. So they have to find the kids first, but Krampus ties them to the tallest tree on the highest spot, but that's fine because Bud knows where that is in what is easily the most contrived, ridiculous bit of "character has random knowledge needed to move the plot forward" I have ever seen. They head to the tree, find the kids, get them down, and Nick takes on Krampus, and Nick's new dead powers activate while he's being choked and he turns black-and-white and decks Krampus, knocking him out cold.
So Nick and Hank and Munroe have one of their moments of confusion where they don't know what to do with the unconscious Krampus. Nick still can't turn him into the police, and he can't let him go, because, you know, the child-eating and all that, but shooting him while he's unconscious on the ground seems kind of uncool. Hank's ready to off poor Krampus anyways, but the show continues to cop out regarding this issue and the clock hits midnight and Krampus turns into a man from Salt Lake City who blacks out every December and yet only seems mildly perturbed by this fact. Of course, Nick still doesn't know what to do with this guy, so he decides to give him to the Wesen High Council to deal with. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen! Bravely passing the buck when trying to think of solutions gets too hard!
On the plus side, there's an actual B story worth a damn, as Renard's European vacation continues (throughout both episodes). He goes on the run, meets the members of the resistance against the Royal Family, Renard boasts he's got a Grimm, they all agree to work together, and then Renard drops by Adalind's apartment, smells the baby goo stuff she rubs on her belly, and leaves a note to meet him later, but of course the meeting is saved until next episode because god knows Grimm needs to ease up with its rapid-pace story-telling.
I'll also count the introduction of Alexis Denisov as Viktor as part of this subplot, more or less because it also takes place in Austria. Viktor is Renard and Eric's cousin, the new evil member of the Royal family — he shows up and tells Adalind that he wants her to be his lawyer and also have sex with him, which is apparently the same deal Eric had; Viktor also does a lot of spying on Adalind with some incredibly conspicuous cameras in her hotel room. Viktor is basically Eric 2.0 in every way, except that Alexis Denisov is clearly more excited to be there and is having way more fun than James Frain did. Denisov does everything but twirl his mustache evilly, and it feels like his every line should end with a maniacal laugh from him. He's great.
The other subplots are of no consequence. The only one even worth mentioning is that Munroe puts Christmas decorations on every square inch of the house, as is his wont. Of course, Rosalee hates Christmas because her "favorite" aunt and uncle died in a car wreck on Christmas when she was little, and somehow this conversation never once came up during the entirety of their relationship. Munroe takes the decorations all down, Rosalee talks to Juliette, Juliette tells her to start a new Christmas tradition with Munroe, Rosalee puts all of Munroe's decorations back up as if that is not exactly what Juliette didn't tell her to do, and the day is saved or something.
I still don't think the first half of Grimm season 3 is matching the second half of season 2, but I'm trying to stay positive, because hey — Grimm featured Krampus, and that ain't bad. Still, it could have used more child-beating.
- Every scene with Wu is so much better now that I'm pretending Wu knows all about Wesen and he's just being polite by not mentioning it until someone deigns to tell him. Try it! It's fun!
- I'd also like to think Rosalee had another aunt and uncle who died on Christmas day, but since they weren't her favorite, she doesn't give a shit.
- So now Nick doesn't like blades because they remind him of the time he killed a dude, but he likes the old Roman Wesen nickname for Grimms, "Decapitari"? That… that doesn't seem right.
- Does anyone know what the Royal Family is doing that's going to give them power to rule the world and be assholes?
- I love that the ancient Grimm book features Krampus still dressed as a modern mall Santa.
- Boo for Krampus being a special kind of Wesen and not just a terrifying Christmas spirit of vengeance.
- Krampus had like, what, four kids up in that tree? Either Krampus has a much lower work ethic than I anticipated, or the children of Portland are exceptionally well-behaved.
- The Gelumcaedus served as the Praetorian Guard during the Roman Empire for some reason, and their name means — well, "caedus" is what someone who did a very cursory check on an online Latin dictionary would use to mean "killer", and "gelu" is a root word meaning cold or frost. So I'm assuming Grimm was going for "cold-blooded killer." Five-year Latin degree: COMPLETELY VALIDATED.