By John Keegan
When it comes to fleshing out a relatively standard story involving a semi-obsessed “girlfriend” who wants to take out the competition, one can do a lot worse than to cast Danielle Panabaker as a fire-dancing stripper. It left me wishing, on some level, that she could stick around as a supporting character for a while, especially since they dropped the ball on what could have been a perfect opportunity to pull Juliette into the fold.
After all, Ariel wasn’t exactly trying to hide the fact that she wasn’t human or that Nick was a Grimm. How interesting would it have been to confront Juliette with that information, and then play through her denial of it? It would have played very nicely against the whole notion that Nick has a secret life that Juliette knows nothing about, since Nick managed to convince her that Ariel wasn’t his secret girlfriend and all was right in the world. How much more devastating would it be for Juliette to learn what he’s really been keeping from her?
I realize that Danielle Panabaker has a very busy career as the current horror genre’s favorite hot redhead, but how interesting would it have been to set her up as a feisty member of Nick’s Grimm-friendly creature squad? The writers have developed this very bad habit of introducing gorgeous redheads as foils for their main characters, only to have them shuffle off at the end of the episode.
They do leave the door open for Ariel to come back in the future, of course, but I’m not sure how she’d come back as anything but the dangerous obsessed crazy woman. It would have been much more interesting if her desire to get her hooks into a Grimm would have been less about the crazy and more about the smolder. As it was, Nick found her attractive, but he never had cause to waver from Juliette, because she went from feisty and forward to stalkery in less than five minutes.
The fact that Juliette knows that Nick works with Monroe ought to be a catalyst for bringing her into the fold, much as it makes sense at this point for Nick’s partner to be integrated into the team. Either that, or they need to have Nick let her go. This episode is just a reminder that Juliette exists for the ugly purpose of having someone Nick loves in jeopardy or, worse, as a future occupier of the proverbial refrigerator.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.