Episode Title: 'Game Ogre'
Writer: Cameron Litvack & Thania St. John
Director: Terrence O'Hara
Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) investigate the case of a judge brutally murdered in his own home. The prints on the gavel that the killer used lead the detectives to the home of Vince Chilton. Inside, they find Chilton dead and his severed hand missing. On his wrist is a woman's watch with an engraving. Nick asks Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) to examine the timepiece and he learns that it belonged to a Mary Robinson. Hank recognizes the name as the assistant DA he once worked with. At Robinson's house, the detectives find the attorney dead and her tongue cut out and placed on a scale. Hank then realizes the killer is Oleg Stark, a contract killer he and Robinson put away for the murder of Jack Lambert, his wife and daughter.
With Hank now a likely target, Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) demands he remain in protective custody, despite his protests. Nick learns that Stark, who recently escaped jail, is impervious to pain due to a rare medical condition. Sgt. Wu (Reggie Lee) tells the detectives about a stolen car that was taken by a man fitting Stark's description. When the car explodes just a block away from Hank's old apartment, the detectives are certain Stark is after him.
Later at home, Nick is attacked by Stark, who demands to know where Hank is. When Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) arrives home, she hits Stark with a pot of boiling water and he flees.
Now hospitalized, Nick calls Monroe who stops by the hospital. Monroe tells Nick that Stark is an Ogre who can only be killed by a rare poison. Nick suspects the poison may be in his Aunt's trailer, along with a rifle made for shooting Ogres.
Wu and Renard come up with a plan to trap Stark, using Hank as bait. However, at the hospital, Hank tells Nick he plans to go out on his own after Stark. Meanwhile, Monroe visits the trailer and finds the poison, along with the rife. Nick calls Monroe and tells him to give Hank the rifle but he's already on his way to meet Stark at a quarry.
When Stark arrives at the secluded location, Hank tries to arrest him but Stark won't surrender. Even after multiple gunshots, he's delivers a beating to Hank. However, just as he's about to smash the detective with a large stone, Monroe shoots Stark with the rifle and he dies.
At the precinct, Renard reprimands Hank for going out on his own and then tells him about the antique elephant gun that was used to kill Stark. With the bullets sitting on his desk, Renard tells Hank he'd very much like to know who killed Stark.
"Grimm" is back after its hearty fall ratings earned it a full season order from the Peacock. I was pleasantly surprised with the show's vast improvement over the course of its initial seven episode run and this eighth hour marked a mostly strong return.
I qualify my praise of "Game Ogre" because the only real humor in this episode was found in the groan-worthy title. Early on, I felt "Grimm" was taking itself way too seriously, especially considering the show's somewhat hokey premise. However, the tone and pacing of this genre newcomer started to feel right in the past three episodes or so. "Game Ogre" was a well-paced procedural story but wasn't nearly as fun as it could have been.
A take on the tale of "Jack and the Beanstalk," this hour raised the stakes quite a bit for freak magnet, Nick Burkhardt. Tangling with fairy tale baddies has landed him in the hospital and seriously spooked his girlfriend. Nick was also forced to expose his late aunt's Grimm armory to one of the species it's meant to combat, a Wieder Blutbad. And there's also the question of what Hank made of Oleg Stark, the Ogre, after looking over at his monstrous face after Monroe took him out.
The hour paid a close tribute to the source material, with Stark's backstory about offing "Jack Lambert" after he stole the Ogre, Stark's gold. Still, I'd prefer a looser interpretation if it meant 'Grimm' would have more fun with it's modern day fairy tales. There's been a lot of criticism aimed at David Giuntoli's performance but in all fairness, I'd say it has more to do with how his character is written. Seeing as Nick comes from a long line of monster hunters, I'd expect a little more quirk in his character.
Of course, that's where Monroe comes in. But aside from his scenes, "Game Ogre" was a bit too dry for my taste. I still feel like "Grimm" is on the right track and I'll gladly see it through its first season. With fourteen episodes left, there's plenty of room to grow.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.