Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grimm "Big Feet" Review

Grimm produced a really cool and enlightening episode tonight. It was nothing short of what I expected from the 21st episode of the first season. Last week's Cinderella re-imagining was met with vitriol by a good deal of Grimm nation on the internet, though the episode had its supporters. I want to make a quick point about the beastly nature of TV before focusing on "Big Feet." Actually, I just want people to think differently about a poor episode versus a quality episode. Sometimes, people think it's an accident that a show produced something terrific--this has happened with Grimm--this season. But maybe, just maybe, NBC gave Greenwalt and Kouf notes for a Cinderella episode and so they turned around and gave them the twisted re-imagining of Cinderella. Once they were free of that obligation, they could focus on breaking an episode worth their salt. "Big Feet" is, as I wrote earlier, really cool and enlightening.

Duality and identity were the themes of the episode. Grimm was bound to produce an hour about these issues considering Nick hasn't told anyone about his other life as a Grimm. The first seven minutes are terrific. Hank and Juliette immediately become important characters in the A story, and their journey throughout the murder investigation, which itself becomes more complicated, places them on the precipice of discovery. The story begins with Juliette. We're taken along with her as she performs her veterinarian group. She soon discovers a gruesome murder scene, which brings Nick and Hank into the investigation. The killer, Larry, is like Monroe, but with a hard-to-spell name. Larry is friends with Monroe. Monroe greets a delirious and covered-in-blood at the door. Thus, Monroe enters into the story. The set-up is smooth and effortless. "Big Feet" had all the confidence of S2 ANGEL.

Monroe revealed to Nick the circumstances surrounding his friendship with the 'big foot' killer. Monroe's been established as a recovering blutbad, which is a metaphor for a recovering addict, whether it's drugs or alcohol or sex or LOST. Monroe and Larry met in a support group. He personally watched Larry struggle for years against his animal instincts, or his Volga shift, and couldn't believe he'd fall off the wagon so hard. Nick helps Monroe. In recent weeks, he's been more dedicated to the Grimm side of a case rather than the procedural side. The brutal murders lead Nick to a therapist named Brinkerhoff. The therapist met with members of the support group; he specialized in identity, watched them struggle, and created a drug to counteract the violent impulses of their other nature. The effect of the drug was terrible. Brutal murders throughout Portland's woods caused fervor over the existence of Big Foot.

The previews emphasized the scene in which Hank runs into Monroe-as-blutbad in the woods. The episode seemed like it'd turn on Monroe when a second killer came out of nowhere and attacked two homeless men. However, Grimm isn't that deliberate. Brinkerhoff eventually crystallized the point of the time: the difficult task it is for anyone carry on two different lives; it's not a matter of if, just a matter of when one's duality is exposed. The line obviously carries more weight with Nick, who is in the room with Brinkerhoff, but it's essential for the case-of-the-week story. "Big Feet" shows the other side of the creature coin and how it's not a basket of muffins for any of them. Monroe reminds Nick of what people do to others when they don't understand something: they kill or oppress, or they commit some other horrible act. The drug takes away a creature's balance.

One's equilibrium is essential to maintaining one's identity. The episode suggests this through the drug itself; in an attempt to create something that'd take away the pain of the struggle, the therapist actually removed one's equilibrium. Even the smallest stone creates a ripple effect; and even the slightest tip of the scales can turn a man into a monster. To use less extreme terms, the balancing act of life is important to all human interactions i.e. between personal and professional or even in relationships, in which one feels the need to balance themselves so as not hurt a relationship by showing the real you. Juliette wouldn't marry Nick because she felt something, like a part of him wasn't in sync with her. Nick's more fearful than anyone about the effect his secret will produce on his world, his private and personal world with Juliette.

Juliette learns something from the evidence she gathered from her patient's barn. The DNA came back with two distinct codes. Juliette researched it and discovered the existence of para-humans, human-animal hybrids. Despite the eventual evidence of the drug, she witnessed the damage caused by one man, and it was too significant and large to simply forget about. According to her evidence, the only way the murders would make sense if it para-humans were responsible. Juliette pitches her theory to Nick, who sits in stunned amazement, but the episode ends before he responds.

Hank, too, sees faces he cannot forget, faces that change, which causes him to feel a bit mad, because he knows what he saw, but he cannot explain what he saw to others without everyone dismissing him and laughing in his face. Hank ran into Monroe, but he didn't recognize Monroe-the-blutbad. When police entered the therapist’s office, Hank asked, with irritation, "What's he doing here?" The 'he' being Monroe, who originally went to the therapist to learn why he ruined his friends' lives. Hank shoots Brinkerhoff and watches the face change from beast to man. Russell Hornsby is terrific when Hank tries to tell Nick what he saw; it's unexpectedly moving because of the fragility in Hank's eyes and tone, and it's even heart-breaking when one remembers what just happened between him and Adalind. Nick plays dumb and mutters, 'come on' as in 'don't believe what you saw: it's impossible.' Hank needs to know just as much Juliette, but for entirely different reasons: he needs a friend, someone who he can trust with his life, because he's in danger each time he investigates these cases.

The show's in a position to tell the episode fans clamored for all season: everyone's discovery of Nick-as-Grimm. I loved the implications of "Big Feet." Not just for what's to come immediately next week, but for what kind of stories they'll give for future Wesens and Blutbads and other German named para-humans with chrimeric DNA. Stories of free-will and choice always makes for good television in genre TV. The world isn't black-and-white. Grimm's world shouldn't be black-and-white no matter how fantastical it is. But of course I never expected a David Greenwalt produced-and-written-by series to ever be black-and-white. So, yeah, I can't wait for the season finale.

Other Thoughts:

-Nick looked at the key and its imprints in the beginning, which guarantees it'll be part of the finale.

-Monroe's goodbye to Larry was another well-done scene; his speech to his deceased friend was very sad. Monroe closed by wishing Larry peace he couldn't find in life and vowed to uncover what made him fall off the wagon. Silas Weir-Mitchell is an excellent dramatic actor. This is just another instance of that excellent this season. Monroe had a great exchange with Larry early on. Larry mumbled something about 'no jobs' and Monroe responded, "No jobs? Yeah, man, the recession's hitting everyone hard.' It was all about the delivery. This showed his excellent comedic timing.

-Richard Hatem wrote the episode. Alan DiFiore and Dan Fesman got the story credit. Omar Madha directed it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I really liked this episode, btw, was it just me or the end was really a reference to King Kong? XD

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.