Monday, August 13, 2012

Grimm "Bad Teeth" Review

NBC is pushing Grimm to the stars this summer. The 2012 London Olympics were watched by over 31 million people over two weeks. The specifics of the number elude me, but NBC wisely is trying to capitalize on the viewership in hopes of finally turning things around. NBC, with the exception of Grimm and Community, is full of shit shows. So, Grimm came back with actual opening credits, which were jarring to watch. Last season's opening credits were seven seconds and only displayed the word 'Grimm' whereas season two's credits were similar to early Buffy credits. A narrator told the viewer about the world, the creatures, and the Grimm's role in all of it. NBC tried to help new viewers understand the show as much as possible and basically succeeded.

"Bad Teeth" seemed more geared to new viewers who thought watching a fairy tale genre show the night after the Spice Girls reunited in London was the show to watch. The teaser featured the introduction of the creature of the week complete with brutal murders followed by the scene that closed last season. Mama Grimm sneaked around the house and stormed in to stab Kimura in the nick of time. The teaser cut to black after the gruesome creature in the boat Volgaed back to his human form. It was an interesting teaser as it combined different elements. I mean, the two scenes with the creature seemed fitting for a pilot whereas the Nick and Mama Grimm scene was fitting for the season two premiere. The episode needed to be both, though, i.e. accessible enough for new viewers and story specific enough for returning viewers.

The episode succeeded more as a re-introduction to the series than a season premiere. My expectations sank a bit after reading Ellen Gray's review of the premiere in which she acknowledged the episode's intent to guide new viewers into the world. "Bad Teeth" briefly touched on Juliette's scary condition and Hank's insane paranoia after witnessing things he couldn't believe or process. Both scenes were as brief as Sgt. Wu's scenes. Juliette was comatose in bed; Hank sat in his chair, hugging a gun, ready for scary creatures to burst through his door like the scary creature (Monroe, who is not so scary) who ran into him in the woods. Juliette had a dream/memory of dinner with Nick and Monroe, the dinner in which they comically tried to explain their friendship/work-partnership, but Nick's face transformed into something ugly without an eye. Rosealee warned Nick about memory loss from the infection the cat gave her, so perhaps the dream/memory is a sign of Juliette's memory loss, which will frustrate fans who just want Juliette to Know about Nick's other life.

Mama Grimm, our woman in black, is the main focus of the season two premiere, along with the Verrat and Renard's role in the mythology of the show. Mama Grimm is full of important exposition in each one of her scenes. Nick scrambled and struggled his way through season one, trying to figure who was who and what was important, without a guide. Thus, everything was a discovery, and he was lost. Mama Grimm's exposition is more helpful for new viewers. She expands on the topic of the Verrat, the coins, the royal family, what the royal family wants, why she thinks the Verrat sent Kimura to kill him, what the key is meant for, and why she disappeared for so many years after the crash that killed her husband and friend. The folks who bitched and moaned about Grimm's lack of serialization week after week last season can breathe a sigh of relief after the information download that promised serialization. The Verrat, Renard's role, the coins, the search for the maps and the keys, should satiate those who grumbled about the stand-alone case of the week episodes of season one.

Renard's presence and Nick's reaction to his mom's return to Portland were the most interesting parts of the season premiere. Renard came and went last season, and he hit the sidelines in the finale after Kimura kicked his ass; but, immediately, he's back in the fold, charging into Nick's house to get Kimura along with other police officers. Sasha Roiz played his scenes wonderfully, balancing good-guy sergeant with ambiguous guy who's probably part of the Verrat. Renard spends his time in "Bad Teeth" making phone calls in French to anonymous persons and threatening Adalind's mother to correct her daughter's harmful actions against Juliette or else. Nick stood around wide-eyed while his mother talked about the history of Grimm, barely able to express how much he wished she never left him when he was a child, his feelings a mixture of bitterness and relief. Guintoli portrayed Nick's disbelief and relief really well.

Renard and Nick were basically running parallel to one another. Both harbor secrets. Both have an identity no one else is aware about. Police cases aren't simple police cases to either of them. Nick's always looking from the creature angle. Who knows what Renard is looking for. Renard's known about Nick for awhile, but Kimura's utterance about a second Grimm made Renard's eyes go wide. The presence of a second Grimm changes things, but Renard's a difficult character to figure out. One should theorize Renard's actually not all bad, that he and Nick are bound to work together eventually to fight the evil Verrat who want to control the world. Renard sent Adalind to kill Aunt Marie way back when, but he orders Adalind's mom to save Juliette.
Needless to say, I'm ready for Renard's big spotlight episode.

Mama Grimm originally returned to Portland to secure the coins and leave with them so she could destroy them on the island where they were forged. Kimura's presence, which confirmed her fears about the dragon's tongue trying to kill Nick, concerned her, but the existence of another assassin convinced her to stay. For any new readers of my Grimm reviews, you should know I mis-spell the name of the creatures because transcription of the foreign names is difficult by ear. So, the Bad Teeth jawn is the assassin who means to kill Nick, and who Mama Grimm wants to kill. The police investigation doesn't begin until twenty minutes into the episode, so it's not a surprise when the episode ends on a cliffhanger of the Bad Teeth jawn attacking Nick. The intent of the killer is simple: kill the grimm, get the coins and get the hell out.

"Bad Teeth" begins on the ending of an episode and ends in the middle of a two-parter. Ideally, I would've liked more time with Monroe and Rosalee. They meet Mama Grimm, and she nearly puts a knife into Monroe's throat. They're occupied in making a cure for Juliette. "Bad Teeth" had a tremendous amount of story and backstory to cover in the premiere; it's amazing how much time Kouf and Greenwalt gave to the secondary characters. So many threads are dangling when "Bad Teeth" ends, though. The choice is smart because NBC wants whatever new audience they gained to come back next week; however, the various dangling threads makes it hard to neatly wrap up the review. The action of each story is only just beginning. So, then, stay tuned and watch next week. I promise you won't regret it. Grimm is great.

Other Thoughts:

-The series premiered last October opposite Game 7 of the World Series and fared really well and continued to perform decently for most of the season. Many critics wrote the show off immediately, but now, some are coming back to the show because of the buzz. At least other Grimm reviews won't begin with sentences about how it'll be cancelled soon.

-Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt wrote the premiere. Norberto Barba directed it.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


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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.