I’d never heard the Brothers Grimm story of ‘The Queen Bee’ before. It would seem to be one of their less famous fairy tales. That NBC’s ‘Grimm’ would already base an episode around it leads me to wonder if the show really has enough source material to sustain a long-term run. In any case, I’m pretty sure that the original story didn’t have flash mobs in it.
‘Beeware’ opens with a young lawyer being murdered in the midst of a crowd of flash mobbers dancing to “YMCA.” She was poisoned with a mega-dose of an exotic bee venom that caused her face to re-enact the ending of ‘Total Recall’. Everyone in the street trolley at the time recounts the same story about being sent an anonymous text message with the event details. None of them know each other, and they were all too distracted with the dance to notice the woman getting stabbed. Later, another flash mob does the same to one of the victim’s co-workers. Clearly, their law firm is being targeted.
Nick investigates, and discovers that these flash mobs were organized by a race of bee creatures called mellifers, who are described as the social media of the creature world. The ones we see are practically addicted to constantly texting and Tweeting one another. The mortal enemy of the mellifer is the hexenbiest, which the two dead lawyers just so happened to be. When assigned to protect a third lawyer from the firm, Nick finds that it’s the blonde woman who previously tried to kill him in the hospital. Her name is Adalind Schade. Unfortunately, Nick can’t reveal that he knows her or knows what she really is. He has to begrudgingly set her up in a hotel room and guard her. Of course, swarms of bees get into the hotel and chase Adalind out.
The action shifts to an abandoned paper mill that the law firm had forced out of business. Adalind is threatened by the Queen Bee (Nana Visitor from ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’), who tells Nick that she’s doing all this to protect him. She says that the mellifers are clarions trying to spread the word that, “Something’s coming, something bad.” He isn’t sure whether to believe her or not, and certainly isn’t terribly invested in saving Adalind, but is eventually forced to shoot the Queen. He doesn’t feel good about this, and isn’t sure if he did the right thing.
Despite its jokey title, ‘Beeware’ is another solid step in the right direction for the show. The “YMCA” scene is genuinely funny, and the episode builds up more of the series’ mythology elements. Perhaps more importantly, lead character Nick seems to be loosening up a bit. He actually has a little personality in this one. Although the episode doesn’t feature much of Eddie, he turns up for a while to help Nick sniff out the bee people. All in all, I enjoyed it, and I’m glad to see the series doing well for NBC so far, even if that does appear to be at the expense of splitting the audience for Fox’s competing ‘Fringe’, which airs in the same time slot and is a better show.