Gather ’round, Grimm fans, for the age-old story of the Bear Bar Mitzvah, that special time in a young cub’s life when he lures a hot blonde girl into the woods, feeds on her carcass, and becomes… a Grizzly Man?
Mama bear must be proud.
This week’s episode, “Bears Will Be Bears,” was a clever twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears that explored the tension between cultural values and family values. Nick’s forced to answer the question: What happens when one is at odds with the other?
Beginning with an epigraph from the fairy tale — “She looked in the window and then peeped through then keyhole / Seeing nobody in the house lifted the latch” — the opening scene found Gilda (gilded, like Goldilocks, get it?) and her boyfriend Rocky breaking into a beautiful woodland cabin, checking out the collection of Fijian war claws inside, guzzling all the wine, and finally making out on the bed. (Too scary, too tipsy, just right!) When a truck comes up the driveway with a dead deer tied to the grill (uh oh), Gilda escapes before Rocky can. He quickly disappears. We hear his screams from the bedroom and later find claw marks on the woodwork. Either Rocky’s been claimed by some evil beast, or Gilda and Rocky had one wild night.
Nick and Hank get called in to investigate the missing persons case, meeting up with the family that lives in the cabin. Their surname is Rabe. (Didn’t Nick think to solve that anagram for Bear? It would’ve saved him some time.) Plus, they’ve got a clan of hot young scooter-riding sons who could trump the Twilight Wolf Pack in a shirtlessness showdown. And, yes, one of those kids’ names is Barry, which is kind of a good joke. Luckily, even if Nick can’t decode puns, his Grimm genes allow him to see the ursine nature hidden within one of these young men.
Turns out this is a family of “Jagerbars,” which sounds like the kind of dive where drunk girls dance on the tables, but actually refers to a clan of bear-people who observe the ritual of Roh-Hatz, a “Bar Mitzvah for bears” that involves human sacrifice. Barry has just turned 18, which is bad timing for Rocky, who’s trapped in the Rabe family bear cave.
The bear is a smart symbol for this episode, which is all about staying true to the family that bears you. Gilda first sees the bear as a head on the Rabe family totem pole, which makes sense: in Native American culture, the bear is often a symbol of self-preservation. And in a world that increasingly frowns upon human sacrifice, the rituals observed by the Rabe family are getting wiped out fast. Like good Jewish bears honoring their Bear Mitzvahs, they’re just trying to preserve their tribe.
Eventually, guilt-ridden Papa Bear agrees to abandon the ritual and helps Nick find Rocky. His bear-wife, who’s isn’t quite so willing to give up her cut of person-steak, leaps at Nick and ends up getting herself gored. But somehow it’s still easy to empathize with her. “She wanted them to know their heritage,” Papa Bear says of his wife. “It isn’t easy to give up your history.” Looking at Nick, he says, “You didn’t give up yours.”
NEXT: Question: When is the Big Bad Wolf not so big and bad? Answer: when he’s doing Pilates.