It’s morning in Portland and a young lawyer named Serena boards a packed street car. Suddenly a guy pulls a boom box out of a duffel bag and the whole crowd rocks out, dancing and singing along to YMCA. At the next stop, everybody but the lawyer gets off, still dancing and laughing. The driver finds Serena dead and calls the police. Sgt. Wu is among the first responders and he fills Nick and Hank in when they arrive. Serena’s body is in horrifying shape—her face swollen into an inhuman mask. Wu is convinced she died of natural causes and is willing to wager money on it. Nick tells him to pay up—he’s found a puncture wound on the victim’s neck.
Medical examiner Harper agrees with Nick. The victim died of massive amounts of apitoxin (a fancy way of saying bee venom), delivered in an unknown way. (Harper tells the detectives she’s never seen a needle large enough to cause the neck wound.)
Looking for clues to what happened; Nick, Hank, and Sgt. Wu review the security camera footage. (And could the Apple logo on Nick’s computer be any more front and center in the shot?) Unfortunately, the flash mob blocks Serena from sight, so Wu’s assigned to bring in the whole crew for questioning.
Captain Renard, meanwhile, makes it clear that he’s taking a personal interest in the case.
Hank and Nick head over to the law firm where Serena worked and meet two of her colleagues, who are very broken up about her death. Neither can tell Nick and Hank anything about Serena’s personal life but her boss promises to send over the files of cases she was working on.
As they’re leaving, Hank gets a call from the bee expert Harper contacted. “Harper’s bee man just buzzed me,” he announces. “Yeah, I went there.”
The “bee man,” Professor Spinella, tells the detectives that the bee venom that killed Serena definitely was not synthetic but he has no idea how anyone could harvest such a massive dose (50 mg.) of the venom from an ordinary hive. When he sees the detectives looking at him sideways, he hastens to point out that not only does he not have the right equipment for such a task, he has an alibi. He was out of town attending a Bee Keeper’s Convention. (He and the 11 other bee enthusiasts in the state were partying it up at a Howard Johnson’s in Eugene.)
There’s one weird thing about the venom that puzzles him, though. There are no markers to help him figure out where it originated. He knows it’s exotic but it’s not from Africa or China or France.
He tells them there’s no known origin. Hank doesn’t buy it.
Back at headquarters, Wu is wrangling the people who took part in the flashmob, all of whom claim to be strangers to each other. But two of the participants ping Nick’s grimmdar. There’s a guy named Doug who has lied about where he was standing in the street car; and a guy named John. Both of them are bee creatures Marie called “mellifers” and Nick is sure they know more than they’re admitting about what went down.
Meanwhile, Capt. Renard assures Adaline (the hexenbiest who tried to kill Marie) that he will protect her.
The two detectives tail Doug and John to an abandoned warehouse, a family-owned business called Primrose Paper. They see them meet with a woman but before they can get close enough to learn her identity, they’re attacked by a bee swarm. Hank is stung several times and Nick takes him back to the house so Juliette can treat him.
Nick sends Hank home to rest and heads over to Marie’s trailer (now parked in a lot outside a storage unit) and does some research. He learns that Doug and John are “mellifers,” animal messengers in bee form. He also discovers Hexenbiests have a special mark under their tongues.
Then he calls Eddie Monroe, asking him to meet him at the abandoned paper mill. Eddie can smell the scent of the former owner, Melissa Wincroft, whose home address is on an envelope Nick finds. He and Eddie head over to her creepy abandoned house. Inside they find the house transformed into a hive, with dripping honey coating everything, including a creepy stone statue.
Eddie goes home and Hank shows up as morning dawns. The partners are called away to another crime scene. There’s been another murder. It’s Serena’s red-headed colleague from the law firm. Her other colleague, Adalind, is now in protective custody because the deaths seem to be related to a law suit stemming from a hostile takeover of Primrose Paper.
Nick knows that the two lawyers from Adalind’s firm were also Hexenbiests because he’s seen the marks on their tongues.
Nick is not happy about having to protect the woman/thing that tried to kill his aunt, but Adalind is a key to solving the murders. He social engineers Doug into calling Melissa in hopes of luring her out.
They use Adalind as bait, taking her back to her apartment. But Melissa and the bee man show up and let loose a swarm of bees that enters the apartment where she’s being protected. While Hank and Nick are busy keeping the bees out, Adalind bolts. Hank races upstairs to look for her as Nick goes into the basement. There he confronts Melissa, who tells him she has to kill Adalind. As Nick pulls his gun, she tries to convince him that she and the mellifers are on his side. “We’re clarions,” she tells him and she has a message for him.
As Adalind attacks Melissa, Nick is forced to make a choice. He chooses to kill Melissa, thus saving Adalind’s life. Melissa’s dying words are, “He’s coming for you. He’s close.” And then there’s a rain of dead bees.
Later, Nick broods over what happened as Juliette tries to reassure him. “I tried to stop it and I didn’t,” he said.
He moves to the bedroom window to close it against the cold. A bee lands on his hand.
And stings him. (Who could have seen that coming?)
Some random observations about this episode: We’re only three weeks into the series and the writers are already cheating and giving us an episode that’s not based on a fairy tale. The quotation at the beginning of the episode is attributed to either “author unknown” or Carol Lee Phillips and not to the Brothers Grimm. It’s less fairy tale than it is Killer Bee Movie and it’s a disappointing direction for the series to take.
This is the first episode where characters have not been obsessive about calling each other by name. Nick’s name is mentioned only once, in a scene with Captain Renard and Hank, Juliette and Eddie’s names are never mentioned at all. On the other hand, Sgt. Wu’s name comes up several times. (He doesn’t appear to have a first name.)
Marie’s trailer is now housed in a sort of secure parking lot but Nick never bothers to lock it. Anyone with access to the parking lot could get into her trailer and go through her books and use her weapons. Likewise, there still don’t seem to be consistent rules and logic to when and how Nick’s Grimm-vision kicks in. In this episode he has to touch Doug before he sees his bee form; but all he has to do is look into the corridor to see John in his bee form. He has seen Adaline several times just casually glancing at her so why doe she have to goad her into morphing in front of him in this episode?
Is it just me or was some of the dialogue in this episode really clumsy? At one point, Nick says, “Anyone innocent should come right forward.” Right forward?
It was nice to see Nana Visitor as the queen bee.