Sunday, April 3, 2016

Grimm 5x15 Review: “Skin Deep” (Younger by the Minute) [Contributor: Alisa Williams]

“Skin Deep”
Original Airdate: April 1, 2016

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.”

There’s a new Wesen wreaking havoc in Portland, a doctor with a miracle cure for aging, and a poorly-planned sting operation all on the latest episode of Grimm. Oh yeah, and I guess Black Claw is still an issue. Let’s talk about Grimm shenanigans, shall we?


An attractive photographer named Malcolm Caulfield is approaching beautiful women in Portland and telling them he’d like to photograph them. He promises them gigs in magazines, and tells them they could have a modeling career. When he invites them over to his apartment (because that’s not suspicious), he snaps a few photos before offering them water laced with drugs to knock them out. Unfortunately for them, he’s some sort of creepy Wesen with mandibles and pinchers that has the ability to suck out their beauty and age them prematurely. They age so much in such a short period of time that they die. So, that’s not good.

He then sells this uh, essence, to a smarmy doctor named Eugene Forbes, who has no idea where it’s coming from but likes the effect it has so much that he’s been using it as a moisturizer on himself as well as his patients.

Nick and Hank are called in to investigate an elderly dead woman in an apartment who turns out to be the 24-year-old woman who, just hours ago, thought she was about to embark on her modeling career.

Meanwhile, Dr. Forbes is bringing middle-aged women in by the dozens to receive his special anti-aging treatments. Fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles all disappear in just minutes when the moisturizer is applied and activated with a little UV light.

Dr. Forbes sees dollar signs and launches a commercial advertising his amazing Fountain of Youth (FOY) Cream. Malcolm sees the commercial for FOY Cream and freaks out, telling Dr. Forbes that he’s moving too fast and to shut it down. But Dr. Forbes promises Malcolm 50% of his profits and that’s something he can’t refuse.

Rosalee digs into the ancient Grimm texts and finds references to a scarab beetle-like Egyptian Wesen called a Musasat Alsh-Shabab (which translates to “youth sucker” in Arabic). The Musasat Alsh-Shabab has the ability to suck out a person’s beauty essence, or yanbue, which literally means “fountain.” The yanbue is a creamy substance that can be absorbed into someone’s skin to make them appear younger. Yanbue is highly addictive and can turn people into monsters who will stop at nothing to get more of the essence.

Meanwhile, Malcolm is racking up the dead bodies as he procures more yanbue for Dr. Forbes. He’s not being too careful about it either — Hank and Nick have no trouble figuring out that the one thing these individuals have in common is photography sessions with Malcolm Caulfield right before they all aged prematurely and died. Malcolm puts up a good front, feigning complete ignorance about how his photography subjects could have ended up dead, but Hank and Nick aren’t buying it.

Dr. Forbes’ addiction to the yanbue is starting to take its toll. He calls Malcolm demanding more of the miracle substance, as he tries to keep up with his demanding clientele of women, who are all becoming just as addicted as he is.

The team decides to send Rosalee in undercover to find out what she can about Dr. Forbes and his FOY Cream. I know Eve is busy waging a covert war on Black Claw, and Adalind’s been out of the game for a while, but why would they decide to send in Rosalee, who is the least capable of protecting herself if this sting goes badly? Fuchsbau are not exactly known for their physical prowess when under attack. She also looks like the least likely person in the world to ever care about an anti-aging cream (or to need one). I really think sending Adalind in would have been far more convincing. And with her Hexenbiest powers returning she’d be much more capable of keeping Dr. Forbes and a wayward Musasat Alsh-Shabab in line.

But oh well. They send Rosalee in despite my objections, and she does a semi-convincing job of pretending she’d booked an appointment weeks ago and can’t believe they don’t have a record of it. The nurse says she’ll do her best to squeeze her in but warns that the first appointment will just be a consultation, and each treatment costs $5,000.

When Rosalee heads in to see Dr. Forbes, his face has dramatically changed and looks like a seriously botched plastic surgery job. Dr. Forbes takes one look at Rosalee and tells her to forget the consultation, she definitely needs the cream right away, and starts to try to apply it to her face. Rosalee freaks out, as do Monroe, Hank, and Nick who have been listening to this exchange from the car.

Rosalee manages to back away from Dr. Forbes before he can apply it, so he just applies it to his own face instead. Unfortunately, the yanbue has lost its effectiveness on him and he still looks like, well, a monster. Just as Rosalee is inching toward the exit, Malcolm walks in with more yanbue.

When Malcolm sees what Dr. Forbes has become, he starts shouting that he warned him not to use it on himself. They grab Rosalee to try to prevent her from escaping, but Monroe, Nick, and Hank come rushing in just in time (of course). Rosalee warns them that Malcolm is the Musasat Alsh-Shabab and a scuffle ensues. Just as Nick is about to shoot the woged Malcolm, Dr. Forbes stabs Malcolm in the neck, screaming at him about the FOY Cream being broken. Dr. Forbes turns back to the team, demanding that Rosalee tell him how old he looks. He’s clearly lost his mind, and before she can respond, his face starts aging before their eyes and he collapses.


In between and around dealing with the Musasat Alsh-Shabab, Eve recruits Nick to spy on Renard so they can figure out his involvement or potential involvement with Black Claw and Andrew Dixon’s assassination. Nick doesn’t have long to wait to find out some intel — Renard pulls Nick and Hank into his office first thing that morning to tell them he’s thinking about running for mayor of Portland. He tells them he hasn’t decided what to do but that he wants their input. If he wins, he’d have to resign his post as Captain of the precinct, and whoever is brought in to replace him wouldn’t know Nick’s a Grimm, and wouldn’t know they’ve been single-handedly solving pretty much every Wesen crime in town. Renard admits this would be problematic, but says the city needs a mayor.

Meanwhile, Eve is brewing a familiar substance — one that will turn her into someone else. This time, instead of morphing into Adalind, she assumes Captain Renard’s identity, just as the real Renard is holding a press conference to announce he has, in fact, decided to run for mayor. What Eve plans to do as Renard’s double is anyone’s guess as the episode ends just as she finishes transforming.

This was a classic Grimm episode — a bizarre case, a crazed new Wesen breed, and the team saving the day. No mentions of the Elder Wand that was so important for so long, or the gigantic pit behind the mysterious door in Nick’s building. And also no acknowledgement of the fact that Wu is most likely a werewolf now. Basically, no subplots except Black Claw were explored this episode, which was both refreshing and confusing. It was nice not having to keep track of roughly 18 subplot references in one episode, but it was also weird not to reference any of them at all. We’ll have to see what next week holds. 

Bonus Musings:
  • “Can you say Grimm?” “I think he’s a little young for that one.” Nick and Adalind’s baby is pretty much the most adorable baby on primetime TV. 
  • “Is there a possibility it’s contagious?” “I hope not, because that would really freak people out.” 
  • “I gotta say, are you sure you need this treatment?” “Oh, you know... one can never look too young!” 


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