Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grimm "Lonelyhearts" Review

I'll no longer declare that Grimm defied the critics and ratings guru by posting respectable numbers for its premiere. The series experienced increasingly lower ratings in the last two weeks, but NBC ordered an additional three scripts. "Lonelyhearts" had a slight increase in over-night ratings but the numbers aren't anything to be obnoxious about. The producers await news on whether NBC will pick up the entire back order. Until then, I'll content myself with individual episodes of the very enjoyable series.

A staple of genre television is the story of the male predator and vulnerable female. I'm sure the trope has a name; I just don't know it. Of course, this genre staple had its roots within the Grimm fairy tales. I wrote that sentence with confidence because Grimm used this story tonight, and the writers adapt The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. I don't have a tremendous amount of thoughts on the centuries old trope. In Buffy, "Reptile Boy" told this story. In ANGEL, "Expecting" told this story. Good looking and charming males bring pretty females to their apartments for a night of passion. As the sun rises to mark a new day, the woman's always in a worse position than before and the male's long gone--off to victimize another woman. Soon thereafter, the hero or heroine of the story learns about the transgression and marches into the day (or night) to save the day.

"Lonelyhearts" introduces the impossibly charming owner of a bed-and-breakfast. The women adore him, even newlyweds. A newly-wed couple leaves the bed and breakfast one morning but not before the new bridge gives the B&B owner a wet peck on the neck. The owner, Billy, is introduced in the teaser. A woman races across a bridge as various images and sounds flash before her eyes, like she's trippin' badly on a potent drug, and then a truck hits her. The collision doesn't kill her. The driver races to call 911. Billy, shot in shadow, kneels before her. Faith's immediately taken by him and longs for a kiss. Instead, Billy suffocates her. The next morning, Nick and Hank arrive on the scene to begin the investigation.

Of course, Billy isn't just a natural sweet-talker or charmer--he's a Ziegevolk, or Bluebeard. The creatures have the ability put young women under some kind of spell, which allows the men to attract these poor young women to them. Ziegevolk's either breed or herd (if I recall correctly). Good ol' Billy engages in both. He draws his power from ingesting raw frogs. The hypnotic spell he casts on the women he meets resembles the act of spiking a drink. The women don't become drowsy or disoriented--at first--but the Ziegevolk's mojo removes their power, self-will and self-control. The women are unable to fend for themselves, and then, once they're ensnared, Billy locks them in cages, uses gas to disorient them, and breeds with them.

Billy's a creepy character and the story's darker than the usual episodes of genre TV. "Lonelyhearts" made no sweeping declarations about crappy males preying on women because Billy, when caught, uses his mojo to ensnare the woman who's treating his wounds. The episode seemed more interested in the villain. By that, I mean Greenwalt, Kouf, Shankar, and the other writers, wanted to present a dark, twisted creature from the Grimm stories. Once Upon a Time's more whimsical and fanciful than Grimm. Grimm's about the nitty-gritty of fairy tale darkness. The original stories weren't full of Disney endings. I liked how the episode ended. It's not like Billy succeeded in keeping the women captive but Nick couldn't stop him.

Despite seeing this story told in different ways throughout the years, I enjoyed "Lonelyhearts." Eddie Monroe's the most enjoyable character in the series. Grimm becomes more entertaining whenever Nick brings Monroe in to assist him with a Grimm case. The writers give Monroe the best lines. My favorite line of "Lonelyhearts" was Monroe stating that Billy's Ziegevolk-ness was too strong; that he nearly bought the man a drink. The police aspect of the show's decent enough. Russell Hornsby and David Guantioli have decent chemistry. I'm still most interested in how Nick's police work interferes with his Grimm work.

I'd be remiss if I ignored the new character in town. This new character wants to know who murdered one of Aunt Marie's attackers. The police chief, who leads a double-life, sliced the dude's ear off because he wants him GONE from Portland. Last week's Bee Jawns warned Nick that "He's coming." I suppose the Frenchman is the "He."

Grimm will return in two weeks with a new episode titled "Danse Macabre." I'm looking forward to it.


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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.