The run of stand-alone case of the week continued with an episode about the perils of obsessing about skin deep beauty. It’ll drive one mad, it will.
“Skin Deep” is not good. A cosmetics doctor, Dr. Forbes, obsessed with the fountain of youth developed a cream made from the stuff inside beautiful young people. His seller, a photographer named Malcolm, lures beautiful young people to model at his house by telling them they have the looks to be a beautiful and successful model. He preys on their deepest insecurity—the fear that they aren’t beautiful or perfect—by telling them they’re beautiful and perfect. And then they die.
The episode’s problems are similar to other Grimm episodes, and it even has a dropped story thread. There’s no mystery or suspense about the case of the week. By showing the story from the perspective of the criminals and Nick and Hank, nothing’s left to solve. The viewer waits for Nick and Hank to catch up with them. Nick and Hank interviewed the photographer in the second to last act. By the last act, Rosalee enters the investigation to nail the by-now insane Dr. Forbes. The FOY cream has a side effect: madness. Portland’s full of women that used the cream, who’ll go mad and die like Dr. Forbes. Forbes’ face dried up and probably shattered. (Grimm did not show the moment of death.) Monroe acted after Forbes told Rosalee he’d use the cream to perfect her imperfections because of the madness side effect. So, it was a concern in the immediate world of the boys, but not for the city of Portland.
“Skin Deep” introduced another kind of wesen, one with Egyptian roots. I cannot spell its name from memory. Grimm fans don’t seem to like these asides in the season. The Black Claw storyline gets going only for it to nearly stop. The positive is the additions to the Grimm mythology. They culled info from their first North African Grimm. That’s about it for the positives. The makeup department did a stellar job deforming Patrick Fabian’s faces in various ways.
The Black Claw storyline advanced an inch. Eve informed Nick about Renard’s possible connection to Black Claw through the mayoral campaign. She told him to do nothing until she contacted him. Nick told Hank they wouldn’t address it with Renard ‘til they knew more. So, really, nothing happened except for the illusion of something happening. Not all stories need something happening central plotwise, but they need something. Episodes such as “Silence of the Slams”, “Lycanthropia”, and “Skin Deep” could drop the pretense of advancing the central storyline of the season. We know a run of stand-alone episodes means a break from the storyline. An Eve/Nick scene added nothing. Of course, procedurals with serialized elements mostly do serialization by interspersing it throughout the stand-alone case episodes. Eve also metamorphosed, through magic, into Renard. Audible sigh.
“Skin Deep” reminded me a little of season one ANGEL episodes, particularly the earliest episodes when Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt hadn’t figured out the show or its world. Not every episode can hit in a 22 episode season.
-The epigram’s from Tolstoy’s “The Kreutzer Sonata.” The episode shares nothing in common with the story. Tolstoy’s novella was a sensation across Russia. He wrote it in his post-Anna period after he developed his Tolstoyan philosophy. He aimed the story at his wife. The story follows a mad man who feels sexual intercourse poisoned his life. I suppose the idea that something seems good can poison one’s life is shared between this episode and Tolstoy.
-Michael Golamco wrote the episode. Karen Gaviola directed.