Monday, August 27, 2012

Grimm "Bad Moon Rising" Review

Grimm is just a solid, solid show now. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf and Richard Hatem and the rest of the writing staff and cast and crew had no break in the production schedule because of NBC's desire to fast-track season two for the Olympics. Through three episodes of season two, it's just a pleasure to watch now. That old Greenwalt magic is back in full force.

The first two episodes were macro in scale; the episodes gave time to every character, highlighted the return of Nick's mother, and had an info dump for the audience. The emphasis on serialization and the mythology of the show was quite welcomed. The strength of the last half of season one was actually in the case-of-the-week stories. The show began telling effective case-of-the-week stories complete with memorable characters and substantive stories. So, I looked forward to Grimm returning to the case-of-the-week format because I wanted to see if the quality would be maintained or if the quality would decline due to NBC's desire to appeal to a broader audience. So far, so good, friends and well-wishers, because "Bad Moon Rising" was great.

The case-of-the-week was personal. A personal story for a character is way more effective than a non-personal story. One could argue the introduction of Mark Pellegrino's George and his past with Hank was convenient or contrived, but it worked. The majority of procedurals lose me because the storytelling's as cold as an examining table in a medical office. This story wasn't; Hank is the godfather of George's daughter, who's been kidnapped. Hank's actually the centerpiece character of the episode. The case will succeed or fail because of him. The nightmares and flashes from his run-ins with Monroe and other Wesen or Blutbads drove Hank to a place where he almost turned in his badge because he felt himself to be a danger to the precinct and the innocent citizens of Portland. The story led Hank to a place where he'd confront the demons he sees and either break or break-through.

Mark Pellegrino's George is a respectable father and an old friend of Hank's. George belongs to the Coyotls, a pack of wolf/coyote hybrid Wesen/Blutbad/Need-Clarification-on-Creature-Types who react poorly when one leaves the pack, which is what George did over a decade ago. The reason his family kidnaps his daughter Carly is disturbing and sickening. Grimm's been able to tell creepy, disturbing and sickening tales in the past; the original Grimm fairy tales, before Walt Disney got his hands on them, were disturbing and creepy and sometimes sickening, so Greenwalt and Kouf retained that quality. Carly is a 17 year old girl whom the rest of the pack wants to initiate. Girls are initiated into the pack through sexual intercourse with the males of the pack, in a single night under a full moon, while tied to rope. The act is also incestuous. It's absolutely disturbing, and the coyotls instantly become one of the most loathsome creatures introduced into the mythology of the show.

There isn't a breakthrough in the case until Nick communicates with George one-on-one about what he is and what George is. The case moves at a blistering pace from then on. Hank and Nick track down the location of the family. The family hears about the police's interest in them. A stand-off is inevitable. Between these beats are disturbing scenes in the foreclosed land the family is using to initiate Carly into the pack that includes a violent bathing scene and overtures of rape. All the while a sense pervades the scenes with Hank, George and Nick that Hank's ignorance is hindering the case.

Hank learns the truth in a barn after Carly's rescued. George is held captive by his family while Carly freaks out inside because she's afraid Nick will kill her because she's a coyotl. Hank sees Carly's coyotl face and aims his gun at her. Nick calms him down by relating to his partner, swearing that Hank's not alone, that he, Nick, sees what Hank sees and has seen those things longer and that he can explain, but that right now he must believe him if he wants to save George's life. Hayden, the pack leader, plans on Volga-ing out and murdering the police, unaware that a Grimm is waiting for him in the barn. Hayden's plan blows up in his face; Hank punches him out, and the others are quickly put down.

The discovery for Hank is a comfort. George and Carly talk him through the report because he's not used to not reporting what he witnessed. When Nick's alone with him, Hank stops his partner before he launches into a monologue about the implications of what Hank knows. Hank just wants to tell Nick the day was one of his better ones because he knows he isn't alone anymore; I think Hank's line is one of the more important lines uttered in the series.

Juliette's amnesia isn't quite amnesia and I feel stupid for jumping to conclusions so quickly last week. Juliette just doesn't remember Nick, which I think is so cool. The intrigue and mystery surrounding the reasons was eliminated the moment the Previously On showed Nick killing Adalind's inner hexenbiest with his blood. Nick and Renard are agreed on finding Adalind and talking to her. On the surface, both agree to it because it's related to her mother's murder case. Individually, both have their own issues with her. A potentially dreadful storyline was instantly turned around by the decision to have Juliette remember everyone but Nick.

"Bad Moon Rising" succeeded because of its coherent whole. The case-of-the-week worked because it directly changed the character of Hank, the partnership between Hank and Nick, but also it was effectively disturbing. The Juliette scenes weren't distractions or asides as her scenes were. The hospital visits were integrated with the main action whereas the writers had trouble integrating all the elements of an episode last season. Grimm's pretty much figured it out, and the show couldn't be in better shape.

Other Thoughts:

-Monroe's hospital scene with Juliette was awesome. Silas Weir Mitchell never disappoints. Juliette's memory of dinner with Monroe bordered on romantic. If only we saw the rest of their conversation. Oh well.

-It was great seeing Mark Pellegrino again. Pellegrino portrayed Jacob on LOST. I wouldn't mind if George and Carly were recurring characters. I thought the actress was really good too.

-Richard Hatem wrote the episode. David Solomon directed it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was an incredible episode of Grimm, and this season has been amazing so far! It has gotten so much better than last season and I really have become a huge fan of Grimm so far. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch last night’s episode live, because I was working at Dish late, but this morning I watched it on PrimeTime Anytime on my Hopper. I used the Auto Hop to skip the commercials automatically, which made it quicker to get to the end of the episode. It was a great episode, like I said, and it was easy to get completely caught up in what was happening. I really hope to see Hank and Nick start working together in the wesen hunt category for the rest of the season!

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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.