Friday, September 28, 2012

Grimm "The Good Shepherd" Review

"The Good Shepherd" is not one of Grimm's best episodes. It harkened back to the really bad season one episodes, between October-January, when I wondered why Greenwalt and Kouf were imitating uninteresting and rote procedurals. Now after watching the peaks of Grimm, and knowing its lows, I'm confident in declaring the latest episode a slip-up. Maybe it was a product of the quick turnaround in production after season one. Grimm's earned the benefit of a doubt.

Religious stories never really work on TV. Procedurals usually choose to tell the story of a cultish preacher who compels his congregation into self-destruction or murder or both. Grimm did not try to re-invent the religious story for TV. The congregation were literally sheep. They volga'd into sheep, cowering because of their fear of the almighty preacher. The preacher, a blutbad like Monroe, had red eyes like the devil and drew in the masses through the power of speech and the style of his orations. The congregation is a herd, and the preacher is their shepherd. Monroe explains to Nick and Hank that the sheep-like creatures (I struggle to recall the German names, folks) are born followers. It reminded me of the Arrested Development episode when the employees of the Bluth company became sheep during the day and even ended up at a farm. I also thought about Bigwig's "Thinning the Herd," which is a rather angry tune about the harm religions have caused. Arrested Development and Bigwig thought about herds/religion/groupthink more deeply than the Grimm writers.

The church's accountant disappears one night, along with $400,000. The reverend reports the missing person and money to the authorities. Hank and Nick can't legally inquire about the funds for 60-90 days. Once the accountant's dead body is found, they're able to investigate deeper into the history of the church and its preacher. The case becomes convoluted. Nick and Hank learn the reverend created his current identity seven years ago and bolted a church in Texas after a person went missing, along with a sizable sum of six figures, just like in present day New Orleans.

Monroe works undercover for the cops to test the reverend's story of being a reformed blutbad. Monroe knows the difference between reformed blutbad and deceptive blutbad. The reverend does his best Lyle Lanley impression and convinces Monroe to fund the construction of a monorail. Monroe raves about the reverend to Nick. Nick reminds Monroe that the reverend is a con-man. It's an insult to the character to make him susceptible to the Reverend's charms. The writing for the character is really bad. The acting is bad too. He's a bit like Joel Osteen. Grimm seemed like it tried to tap into the hypnotic aspect of large worship services. Osteen and his ilk draw the audience in with their impressively eloquent and articulate monologues. Preachers like Osteen and the fictional reverend Calvin strive to help the congregation feel safe from sin and the devil, unlike Catholic priests who love to beat the drum about the fires of hell. Calvin fails as a hypnotic preacher, though he succeeds in helping the sheep-like creatures feel safe from blutbads, which makes the congregation dangerously loyal.

Nick and Hank patiently wait for clues to surface, for a break in the case, and it happens when Calvin's assistant is found to be his lover, and the lone person who left Texas with him after the death of her husband. Nick and Hank don't really figure into the case. Nick's occasionally a threat as a Grimm to the church but he and the Rev. soothe the congregation. Nick's character beats happen away from the story, with him and Juliette reforming their bond, becoming closer, as well as in the story of the Family's French assassin who fights him and loses. The religious herd nonsense is the main event.

The case quickly becomes something one would find in Wild Things 5: Mitch Williams. The assistant left her husband, Calvin killed him, and they made off with the money to run away together to form a new life. Calvin's a piece of shit, though, so he knocked up another woman. With the police closing in, the assistant wanted to leave before the sun came up. The Rev. had a plan that totally failed. The assistant learned about the other woman. She revealed her lover as the murderer of the accountant and the thief of the church money. The herd mentality turned on Calvin, and they destroyed him. They wanted to destroy Monroe but couldn't once Nick showed up to stop them.

The herd theme did not carry throughout the episode, which was sort of disappointing but not really considering how uninteresting the reverend was. The sheep-like folk weren't coerced into committing any illegal acts. Nothing from the case commented on the dangers of a bovine-like herd, drooling over scripture and promises of rapture and eternal Paradise. No, its focus was more on the corruption of a preacher, of his slimy ways of using his eloquence to convince God-fearing individuals to commit evil acts against their fellow man, like going along with murder and stealing money. Unfortunately, Grimm failed to say anything of substance. The bad man went down, the bad woman got away with the money, and no one learned a damn thing. Monroe got to be funny at least. Oh, and the ending reminded me of Ira's final scene in "Best Man for the Gob" ("Let it ring...").

The case-of-the-week failed, but, as I've written already: it's just a slip-up. I believe in Grimm, and I bet they rebounded with #206. I liked the cutesy stuff between Juliette and Nick. It was reminiscent of the innocence of high school and even college courtships. Renard's having vivid memories of his kiss with her. I suppose one isn't pure-of-heart for a day without consequences.

Other Thoughts:

-The assassin chose a poor time to go to the trailer. Nick won in resounding fashion.

-Hank kept waiting for Monroe to Volga. Monroe was not amused. No Rosalee. She probably won't be around for a bit due to the actress' pregnancy; she recently gave birth.

-Wu got one scene in which he confirmed his intention to process a vehicle. There a bit too much focus on the uninteresting case of the week.

-Dan E. Fesman wrote the episode. Steven DePaul directed it.



Olli said...

I didn’t think this episode was all that bad, it seemed more like it was setting things up for things to come. I’ve been telling several of my co-workers at DISH that any episode now, Nick is going to start acting like a Grimm, and he’s finally getting the kind of intuition a Grimm should have. I will say that I’m glad that I decided to watch this as part of my Primetime Anytime recordings this morning because I was able to avoid the commercial interruptions. I can’t stand the hassle and interruption of manually fast-forwarding the commercials, so I prefer to just Auto Hop them. I think that’s probably why I didn’t feel that this episode was bad; it flowed nicely and really set up the anticipation of some big things that are about to come.

BFunkFSPA said...

The episode wasn't too bad. Like shoeless Kevin Ollie I thought it was mostly a setup kind of episode. I wasn't able to skip commercials but I didn't mind because it gave me time to enjoy the refreshing taste of Cheerio Drink and that is always a treat. CHEERIO DRINK.

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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.