“Rat King” picked up where “Maiden Quest” left off, but that meant that Grimm had to slog through a lot of plot and the titular Rat King didn’t get nearly as much air time as it needed. I mentioned Trubel walking into Nick’s fortress in my last review and the fact she’s there brings up one big question that doesn’t get answered. Nick’s home is supposed to be a secret, so how does Trubel (and the people she’s with) know where it is?
We spend most of “Rat King” exploring the intricate web Grimm is spinning between two factions (or among a half dozen wesen factions because we don’t know how many there are), but for every nugget they give us, the new information breeds five to ten more questions. At first it looked like the show had a plan for this season and we didn’t know what the plan was (I hope that’s still the case), but the more Grimm adds to this web, the more the web appears false. I like something happening in the background but I want an idea of what’s going on. Grimm is opaque for the purpose of being opaque.
I also tend to disregard the weekly wesen. Most of the time Grimm has decent small fires Nick and company have to put out, and these weekly wesen serve as a distraction to the longer story arcs, but we spent so much time on the ever growing, ongoing plots to the point that we didn’t see any progression in the Rat King story until two-thirds into the episode. That’s a shame because the little we saw of the “Rat King” was enough to leave me wanting more.
In fact, I wanted to physically see more of the Rat King. According to Grimm, the rat people merge into one big rat beast whenever they feel threatened, and that’s an interesting concept, since the rat people get harassed by another set of wesen early in the episode and turn the tables on their aggressors by the end of the episode, but while we saw a twenty foot rat beast, I was disappointed we didn’t see any of the merging sequence. I get that Grimm has a budget but even if the show didn’t have the money to show us the rat folk assembling Voltron, they could’ve handled the scene better. It doesn’t make sense for the rat people to run into their hovel and suddenly emerge as the fully formed Rat King. In what space did they transform? There isn’t a twenty-foot entrance to their hobbit hole and their hole didn’t explode. I know this is a small gripe, but there were moments where our point of view was obscured and the Rat King meld could’ve occurred outside the line of sight.
Still, I liked the Rat King story; I wanted more. This was a rare case of the ongoing plots getting in the way of the weekly story. Grimm usually does a good job of integrating the weekly wesen into the ongoing plots (“Lost Boys” is a good example from earlier this year) or they sprinkle in some plot within the self-contained story, but neither of those things happened in “Rat King” and both the weekly story and the ongoing plots suffered. I have hope Grimm will turn it around. Despite this minor setback, Grimm’s fifth season remains a strong one.