Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grimm "Quill" Review

I really like the structure of Grimm. Greenwalt and Kouf mix traditional structure with non-traditional structure, and I think it works. I'm always interested in books, TV shows, movies, and music albums that break away from the confines of genre, structure, or whatever you want to call it, and do something new. Grimm isn't re-defining structure. I'm not implying Greenwalt and Kouf are changing the way a TV episode is shaped, because they aren't, but there are subtle things in their episodes that separate it from the crop of other shows across the networks.

"Quill" is a good example of the mixture of traditional and non-traditional episodic structure. A disease that seems to afflict Wesens starts to spread throughout the Wesen community. The diseased become intense and dangerous. Spots, or sores, spread throughout their body. The disease is introduced through a character that randomly rams his car into the back of a Parks and Recreation vehicle. The diseased man is eventually shot by Hank and Nick but not before he spreads the disease to the Parks and Rec employee. The employee eventually spreads the disease to Rosalee after he attacks her and Monroe in the park during their picnic. The personal stakes of the episode are introduced until the penultimate act of the episode. The story seems destined for a cliffhanger until Monroe quickly concocts the cure to the disease for the employee and Rosalee.

The resolution is quick and convenient, but it doesn't hurt the episode. The case was never dire, and the important character beats happened outside of the story, but within the story, too, if that makes any sense to anyone but me. Hank learned more about the underbelly of supernatural life in Portland; Monroe got closer with Rosalee; Nick, and Monroe really, learned about another kind of danger to the creatures besides a family of Grimms: disease. The theme that unites the characters is learning. They all learn something new. Some of the 'new' is fun and sexy, but some is scary and dangerous and life-threatening.

The name of the disease involves the word flu. According to the coroner, it's a mix of the worst diseases on the planet. The specific details of the fictional disease are vague; just know it involved an experiment gone awry with pigs. Monroe and Rosalee went on a picnic date. Monroe wooed her with a story about how special the picnic basket he found is. Their date was straight out of a fairy tale book. The Portland trees were high and lush. The sun danced around the forest like a ballerina. The potential couple smiled at one another, lounged in the sun, and told stories about their lives. The fairy tale atmosphere continued when a ferocious beast broke up a near kiss between Monroe and Rosalee and then scratched Rosalee. Rosalee slowly become intensely sexual, kissing Monroe like she'd never be able to again, like her sucking on his lips and neck were the difference between life and death. Monroe slowly realized his lady friend had been scratched and was ill as the kiss increased in intensity and eroticism.

The last act went through the typical beats of important-character-in-peril. The other diseased Wesen were all shot. Rosalee met Nick in an alley, holding scissors, ready to pounce like the angry cat who escaped from her shop earlier in the day. Nick doesn't shoot her, though. Rosalee recovers in the last scene, just in time for a sweet scene with her and Monroe. The stakes of Rosalee in peril build naturally through well-written picnic scenes with Monroe. It all worked well.

The title actually comes from Juliette's story in the episode. The quill she received from eisbiber sparked memories in her about Nick. The memories involved Nick as a possibly dangerous person. Juliette invited Bud over to tell her his memories of Nick and her together. Bud praised their romantic union and then panicked when he accidentally told her that Nick's a Grimm. Until the conversation with Bud, and an earlier conversation with Monroe, Juliette used her senses to help her remember the man she's been told she was so happy with. She smells clothing, runs her fingers through its fabric, but she remembers bits and pieces. Nick's never a principal player in her mind. Nothing works, and she's lost. The quill represents Nick in some way to her, but Bud's too frightened to tell her the full truth about Nick.

Another assassin arrived in France to challenge Nick. Renard planned to stop the assassin before he attacked Nick, but the Frenchman is sneaky and eludes the Portland PD. Renard's scenes advanced the overarcing story of the show. Renard also searches for Katie Burkhardt's obituary again. The assassin looks into Rosalee's shop in the last shot of the episode.

Grimm won't return with new episodes until September 28, when it returns on Friday night at 9pm, its regular time-slot. The first four episodes were very successful, in my opinion. The overarcing story is strong. Hank's discovery of Nick's other life was a wise choice. Nick mostly helps Hank adapt to this other side of Portland in "Quill." Nick wants his partner to be ready for what he sees when he sees it because their professional and personal lives will get more dangerous as the weeks go by and the Verrat decide to become legitimate and present threats in the city of Portland. These four episodes were about advancing the story, introducing the mythology and the DNA of the show to the viewer, and putting its best foot forward. Grimm's set up for a strong second season.

Other Thoughts:

-The more Juliette remembers Nick, the more likely she'll resemble Cordelia Chase on ANGEL, who, after returning from a higher dimension, didn't remember anyone and whose discovery of the various aspects of Angel and his team and his investigation service terrified her, in a comedic way. David Greenwalt didn't work on ANGEL during the fourth season when Cordelia was temporarily amnesiac. Greenwalt left the show to work on Miracles with Richard Hatem, who currently writes for the show. Miracles didn't last a full first season. Greenwalt returned to direct "The Girl In Question" during ANGEL's final scene.

-Monroe's story about the picnic basket is another terrific scene for Silas Weir Mitchell. The entire picnic scene pre-attack was incredibly sweet.

-David Simkin wrote the episode. David Straiton directed it. Straiton directed Dollhouse's terrific "Man on the Steet."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was very impressed with this week’s episode of Grimm. It was entertaining enough to keep me interested while not overdoing the plot. A coworker at Dish and I actually watched the episode this morning and I’m glad that we did. It was nice to see Juliette actually try to remember Nick instead of just sweeping him under the rug, so to speak. I am glad I was able to watch it with the Auto Hop on my Hopper, because I did not want to have to sit through commercials all morning to get back to the show! I can’t wait for the next episode, hopefully we start to see Juliette begin to have her feelings about Nick back!

About The Foot

My photo
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.