Friday, November 2, 2012

Grimm "The Hour of Death" Review

The existence of a second Grimm frightened the Wesen community to near death in "The Hour of Death." Monroe told Nick and Hank about the extreme kinds of Grimm in the olden days. They were dressed in black and brutal killers. All Wesen were enemies of the Grimm. Wesen were killed and branded with a mark, a G in the shape of death. Tales of the brutal Grimms terrified Wesen youth. The existence of one in Portland raises Monroe's eyebrows--there hasn't been a second one in centuries; they're like the dinosaur now. The anonymous second Grimm makes phone calls to Nick about the reasons why he's doing what he's doing--Nick's failing in his ancestry. The Wesens the second Grimm kills kidnapped an innocent girl and planned to kill her. Nick freed the one suspected kidnapper due to a lack of evidence, so anonymous Grimm killed him, filmed and uploaded it. The other Grimm crosses the line when he dismisses the entirety of Wesen as killable because they're different from everyone else. It's unsettling.

Grimm's a terrific show when they tackle unsettling subject matter like trafficking, disturbing kidnappings, and now a Grimmed up racial purification. David Greenwalt's old show, ANGEL (which he co-created with Joss Whedon of course) touched on similar subject matter in "Hero" wherein The Scourge, a Nazi-like group of demons, seeks to kill half-blood demons. The mystery of the Grimm is more unsettling with each act until Ryan the Intern, the wanna-be Grimm, makes the comment about wiping the world of Wesen. Ryan's line isn't unsettling because of its implications, but because it states what a Grimm was born to do: wipe out a species one by bloody one. The show sought to faithfully adapt or reimagine the horrific fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. Once Upon a Time took on the Disney fairy tales full of models and magic and wholesome family plotlines, but Grimm wanted to achieve the nightmarish quality of original tales.

"The Hour of Death" definitely has a nightmarish quality. Nick experiences a nightmarish set of experiences with the deaths of both suspects whom pointed the finger at him in fear of death. The second Grimm, even a fake, is the most nightmarish aspect of the episode. It's not too far off from stories about an obsessive fan who tries to kill the person he or she is obsessive about. Nick's been fighting crime and reinventing the Grimm role in a world of Wesen and other creatures his ancestry were bound to kill. Nick represents the post-colonial melting pot America where people should come together rather than be set apart by language and skin color. Roles evolve and change throughout the centuries. Ryan the Intern, that goofy bastard from episodes past, admired Nick and perceived him as a Savior, one who came to Portland to rid it of its filth.
When Nick chose not to, Ryan murdered like the Grimms he read about in books.

The climatic scene between Nick and Ryan is excellently written, touching on Nick's essential role as Grimm and Ryan's essential misguided perception of the Grimm while also defining him as a villain; his misguided perception informs his essential personality. Ryan hates he who he is. The Wesen he is is not a pretty sight to behold. Imagine a wrinkled walrus with the mouth of a horrifying sea creature and the moan of a dying giraffe. Ryan insists he's a Grimm, not an ugly Wesen, not ugly at all. Nick shakes his head 'No.' Ryan is a Wesen and he cannot kill who he is or his fellow Wesens. Ryan pleads for Nick to kill him, wailing loudly in the night until Nick punches him in the face. There should be more characters like Ryan who challenge Nick and what he represents. Whenever a creature sees Nick, they quiver in fear. He's still a symbol of death despite being essentially benevolent. I wonder if Nick will reconcile these aspects of his life, profession and calling.

Ryan isn't an obvious suspect until a random scene in which he pops up randomly and I remarked aloud about him being the second Grimm. The idea of brutal rogue Grimms (the German name is hard to remember, as always) has a lot legs to it. Renard made a call to Austria to inquire about the other guy, thinking perhaps the family sent him. There are reapers and assassins, but the insane Grimms live on in books, for now, unless a crazy is inspired to be Nick, or rather what he thinks Nick should be as Grimm. There's also an undercurrent of Nick behaving like an older Grimm. Hank protests Nick's double threat to their first suspect. Small stuff like that shouldn't be forgotten. Nick seems poised to lose it a bit, especially once he finds out the double-whammy of Renard-as-enemy and Renard-as-lady-stealer.

Renard kisses Juliette in the B story. The story moves slowly. Juliette is nervous around him. Renard's intense. The draw between the two happens despite themselves. One minute they're standing in a door way, the next they're locking lips. It's magic actually. Juliette cries in a closet afterward. Renard looked like an antagonist in a Lifetime Movie of the Week or a Telanovela, looking off camera half conflicted and half consumed by passion for woman. It escalated to where Nick will blow a fuse and get a little ancient Grimm on Renard.

"The Hour of Death" was terrific. It's an episode I'd show to anyone interested in the show. The case-of-the-week didn't overwhelm the important character arcs. The mythology element was excellently done, equal parts intrigue and pathos. Grimm's capable of producing awesome episodes. The trick is to not get too down after a string of case-of-the-week dominant episodes.

Other Thoughts:

-Monroe's truth serum story was great. I loved Mitchell's commitment to the material. I think his exuberant performance elevated the scene.

-Bud reminds me of Merle from early ANGEL. They are different in many ways. Merle would never hug Angel and Wes like Bud hugged Hank and Nick. Both characters are delightful as side characters. I smile whenever Bud is on-screen. I smiled whenever Merle was on screen until the writers killed him. Poor Merle.

-Wu had two amazing lines tonight. The first was a comment on what he'd confess if tortured like Zane was. The second was about Ryan the Intern and the department's need to give better psyche screenings before hiring next time. Wu!


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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.