Friday, May 18, 2012

Grimm "Woman In Black" Review

I expected the Grimm finale to resemble ANGEL's "To Shanshu in LA" for no other reason than the fact I've been comparing the two shows throughout the first season of Grimm. The previews suggested everyone would discover Nick's secret; by everyone, I mean Hank and Juliette. Upon their discovery of Nick's other life, I expected the gang to join Nick, Monroe and Rosalee in kicking creature ass in season two. "Woman in Black" is much different from "To Shanshu in LA." No matter how many episode trailers I watch, or film trailers, I seem to forget that trailers are all about the hook. Networks and studios want to hook people enough to devote their time or money or both. More often that not a hook doesn't tell the whole story; heck, it barely scratches the surface of the story.

The most common complaint of Grimm has been the way the writers kept Juliette and Hank separate from the main narrative. Every week it seemed like fans wanted one or both to learn about Nick, convinced it'd somehow change the series in some way. Glenn Mazarra, on a Nerdist Writers Panel podcast, spoke about the fans' cry for flashbacks. Mazarra's take is: why? What would they add to the show? Similarly, Grimm's writers have shown a lack of interest in bringing Hank and Juliette into the loop. I'm not sure if the show would become better had Hank and Juliette learned the truth in "Woman in Black." There would be cohesiveness to the characters, but I think it's more interesting to watch Hank fall victim to paranoia from seeing what he can't believe he saw and being unable to understand what he saw.

The climatic scene between Nick and Juliette, the scene folk waited for and perhaps stuck around the show for, lasted seven minutes and occupied an entire act. I paid attention to Guintoli and Tulloch's acting first and foremost. Nick didn't say anything I didn't know, but, of course, it was written in a way we never heard it before. TV's a crazy place for imagination where viewers will pretty much drop themselves into whatever world the writer presents, no matter how fantastical or whimsical or just plain unbelievable it is, and so the "Pilot" and subsequent second episode laid out the Grimm mythology. We followed Nick until he knew he needed to take over for his aunt in the family duty. Nick rambles on about his ancestry, the Wesen, the Hitler film, the Verrat and Seven Royal Families. Juliette cries and leaves the trailer because Nick's scaring her, and she wants him to seek professional help, because he resembles and sounds like a mad man. The scene is exactly what it should've been.

"Woman in Black" is actually about Nick's mom. During Nick's explanation to Juliette, he mentioned the Grimm side is on his mother's side. Later, as Nick fights Akira Kimura, he yells, "You killed my parents! Why?" but the fight ends when the mysterious woman in black cuts into the fight. She throws Nick aside and then stabs Akira in the heart with a knife. Nick's ready to shoot until she turns around and sees his mom standing before him. I didn't expect the mom reveal, though I expected her to be on the side of good. Sgt. Wu thought the woman worked with Kimura, which guaranteed that she absolutely wasn't working with him.

Kimura accidentally brings mother and son together. Kimura is a master killer. He came to Portland in hot pursuit of the gold coins. The dude left a body trail everywhere he went, not giving a shit because he can Volga into his brutal killer other self. He was sloppy without the element of surprise. Renard was caught by surprise and couldn't defend himself, but Nick handles him in a fight, and Nick's mom takes care of Kimura in five seconds. Kimura didn't have any depth as a villain; he wanted the coins and killed anyone who didn't help him. Kimura's presence causes Hank to practically lose it. Hank shot into the darkness out of fear for someone who looked like Monroe bursting from the darkness. The last shot of Hank was of him clutching two guns, ready to shoot.

"Woman in Black" veered from him midway through for the sake of devoting time to Juliette and her cat scratch. Adalind dropped some kind of liquid into her cat's milk. The tainted milk made the cat aggressive. The cat scratched Juliette when Adalind took her there for a check-up. Nick tried to tell Juliette the truth once he found out Adalind's cat scratched her, fearing the worst from a woman whose life he essentially destroyed several weeks ago. Nick and Monroe didn't take Juliette to Rosalee when she fainted. Instead, she went to a hospital and eventually awoke with dark pupils, looking nothing like herself. Rosalee, meanwhile, helped the boys cure the cat of its 'infection' or whatever one wants to call it.

Season one has been about discovery for Nick Burkhardt. I've written about this before, but I figure it's worth repeating one last time before the summer hiatus. I liked how the season concluded on one final discovery for Nick, a discovery more important than the discovery of this Grimm life he must lead: the discovery of his mother, presumed dead, now alive and kicking ass. I look forward to where the second season goes from here. The scene with Juliette in the trailer showed Nick as someone who's essentially a mess; he can't even form one coherent thought for Juliette to understand or absorb; of course, the subject matter isn't easy to discuss but I digress. Nick scrambled to explain things with Juliette just as he scrambled throughout the season whether it was learning to fight the creatures or about the Verrat and the families and the gold coins or the differences in the creatures, etc. Juliette correctly observed how Nick changed once his Aunt passed away. Nick needed his Aunt more than ever as he discovered more and more about his new life and a whole new world of threats and, of course, allies. But Nick has his mother now, and that's what he's needed all along, and I can't wait to watch the next chapter of this story.

Other Thoughts:

-Grimm's first season was a ton of fun. No one gave the show a shot in hell to survive past its initial episode order. Apparently, NBC will heavily promote the series during the summer Olympics. Season 2 is supposed to launch early as part of their plan to get more viewers. I hope the show picks up new viewers in the summer.

-I'm not bothered that Grimm chose not to answer questions about Renard. Renard's past didn't fit into what Greenwalt and Kouf wanted to achieve in the finale. Guintoli spoke to about the second season and promised fans will learn much about Renard. Guintoli's comments support the thoughts I've had, and written about in previous reviews, about the show's second season.

-Bree Turner's Rosalee is a regular next season. I'd like Caitlin Coffee's Adalind to be around more too. I'll write about season two as well.

-David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf penned "Woman in Black." Norberto Barba directed 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.