Friday, October 19, 2012

Grimm "The Other Side" Review

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came to mind as the case-of-the-week unfolded, and the sweet and dorky Pierce became the obvious suspect in the case of just who killed the two teens on the academic decathlon team. Stevenson's story isn't related to Grimm fairy tales or even Aesop's Fairy Tales. Greenwalt and Kouf aren't married to the source material, though. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde is a Victorian story. Like Sherlock, the story's gaining new fans in 2012. Steven Moffat's done a modernization of the story for the BBC, and there'll be a Jekyll/Hyde TV show in 2013 titled Do No Harm. Stevenson's character, which explores the duality of man, monster and man etc, is an easy one to mine for their own ideas.

The case-of-the-week is underwhelming, something I felt I needed to get through rather than something entertaining, engrossing and engaging. It continues Grimm's trend of underwhelming case of the weeks. The season started strong because of the serialization of the story. Nick had to investigate his own murder in the second episode. Since episode two, Grimm returned to its traditional structure of typical procedural storytelling. New characters are introduced and fleshed out as the police investigate a murder. Nick learns one or more of the persons involved are Wesen or Blutbad or some type of creature with a difficult-to-spell German name. Hank learns more about the underbelly of Portland each week. Nick confronts new kinds of creatures who sometimes defy his books. Pierce, the brainy homicidal teenager in this week's case, is one such Wesen who defied the books and took Nick by surprise, like the evil little girl in last week's episode.

I like the exploration of the varied Wesen in the Grimm universe; I prefer more interesting stories about the varied Wesen, though. The introduction of the teenagers is wonderful, one of the best pieces of character writing in Grimm for a case-of-the-week. The audience is thrown into their world. I felt immediate sympathy for Pierce when he begged his mom to let him hang out with his friends after practice. The importance of spending time with friends in high school is incredibly important. The team goes to a local diner to eat, hang out, joke, and just be kids. They wind down from the intensity of answering questions about Chinese dynasties by laughing and having fun. They were simply written and portrayed, which works in the case-of-the-week. Procedural TV writers over think their one-off case-of-the-week characters many times, but simplicity sometimes results in the best storytelling.

The dynamic between the three academic friends is the highlight of the episode. The story becomes a mess with every passing act; really, once the first murder's committed, the story devolves because of the over reliance of subverting audience expectations. Nick and Hank hang out in the Ancestral Trailer of Grimm to research what Pierce and his mother are. They are a type of innocently non-violent Wesen, which means the audience should cross their names off on the list and circle the Coach's name in red pen with giant exclamation points around it. The coach is found murdered before the penultimate act break. Grimm expects their audience to gasp in disbelief as the act break blacks out with emphasis--a boom and a blackout, the kind of act break you know the writers wanted to stick. Pierce's headaches were a dead giveaway, though; anytime a character clutches their head like a madman in any procedural, any red herring loses red herring status. Grimm's frustrating when it takes its time getting to the superfluous point of its superfluous story. Pierce attempts to commit suicide; there's a scene when Nick punches the teen in the face multiple times as Hank tsk-tsks him; however, Pierce just fades away. His tag is of him murdering two prison toughs in prison, as if he's learned to control his monster and still killed anyway.

Renard and his brother got the B and C stories of "The Other Side," respectively. Renard's obsessed with Juliette to the degree he's entering her house, watching her shower, and breaking a frame holding a picture of Juliette and Nick. Renard's obsessive behavior bleeds into his creature side. After leaving Nick's, he fights Volga'ing but punches a random dude on the street for no reason. Monroe offers no cure for Renard's obsession in Rosalee's shop. I'm curious to know to what degree Adalind planned Juliette's amnesia of Nick. Did she know Renard would have to become pure of princely heart; that it'd threaten to disrupt and explode his life? Adalind's interested in The Family. She traveled to Vienna to dine and copulate with Renard's less handsome brother. Adalind as the quasi-Darla of season two is an exciting prospect. I'd like if she revealed complete authority over Juliette's amnesia, including Renard's descent into obsessive madness. Renard's madness will lead to terrific places for the story: I'm imagining the epic one-on-one scene between Nick and Renard during sweeps period, and the eruption of the separation of personal and professional, where Grimm doesn't get bogged down telling different case-of-the-week stories weekly.

Other Thoughts:

-Nick and Hank mainly investigate the murders. Nick zips Juliette's dress up and takes her to a banquet for Renard. They don't see each other for the rest of the episode.

-Monroe's going to be involved in the Renard story. He asked the Capt. if he knew him, and Renard shook his head in the hasty manner of people who are definitely know but wish not to be known, which means they give themselves away by trying not to give themselves away.

-An intern was introduced, Tommy something. He had lines and a clumsy moment, which suggests he'll be around. I wonder if the intern thing will be similar to Bones.

-William Bigelow wrote the episode. Eric Lanueville directed it.


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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.