On Friday, Amy Acker from ‘Angel’, ‘Alias’, ‘Dollhouse’ and a dozen other popular nerdy TV properties made a special guest appearance on ‘Grimm’. Could Summer Glau be far behind? She usually shows up in series like this around this far into their runs.
In ‘Tarantella’, Acker plays a woman named Lena. We first meet her at an art gallery, being stalked by a pick-up artist that we quickly discover is really some sort of fox-like creature. She acts skittish and withdrawn, and has to be reluctantly lured back to his apartment, where he becomes very aggressive. Before he can take advantage of her, Lena pins him to the floor, morphs into an ugly creature of her own, and vomits a big stream of corrosive acid directly into his mouth. His body is discovered the next morning, with his insides having been liquefied and sucked out through a bite in his abdomen. Eww.
Lena is a spider creature called a spinnetod. Nick’s research shows that her origin may trace back to Japan (though she doesn’t look Asian). Spinnetods are particularly vicious creatures that appear in five-year cycles, whereupon they kill and feast on three men before going back into hiding. Lena manages to kill two before Nick gets onto her trail.
Spinnetods actually have a sad story. They don’t want to kill or take any pleasure in it, but they need to in order to stay young. If they don’t feed during the cycle, they begin a process of rapid aging and deterioration. Nick learns this by visiting an elderly lady named Charlotte (ha ha), who tells him that she’s a reformed spinnetod who hasn’t eaten… and she’s really only 26-years-old.
When she’s not out seducing and murdering handsome men, Lena is actually a happy soccer mom with a stable marriage and young daughter. However, her husband knows exactly what she is and what she does.
Nick and Hank stop Lena from murdering a wealthy playboy on his yacht. Lena hops away down the dock (are spiders known for jumping?), but Nick manages to capture her in a net on a fishing boat, in a not-so-subtle visual metaphor for being trapped in her own web.
As they lock her up, Lena’s face has already started aging. With both her parents in jail, Nick agrees to drive Lena’s daughter to see her grandmother, and realizes that the girl is the same type of creature.
‘Tarantella’ is a fun episode. Both Mrs. Z and I commented that the actress playing Charlotte looks kind of like Allyce Beasely from ‘Moonlighting’, perhaps in old age makeup (not that Beasely is a spring chicken). But I don’t believe that she was credited, and I can’t find confirmation of that online.