Friday, November 16, 2012

Grimm "Season Of The Hexenbiest" Review

Grimm will never abandon the case-of-the-week episodic structure, which is a shame, because their serialized episodes are always amazing. Grimm's an infinitely better show when the storytelling comes from within the mythology rather than outside it. Every episode ties into Nick being a Grimm, and a crime committed by a Wesen or some other hard-to-remember German name. The story doesn't come from within the characters or their history as much as it is a response to something involving their profession, which works, but it's not the same. David Greenwalt's former colleague, Joss Whedon, stressed the importance of story coming from the character instead of anywhere else. I loved Matt Weiner's example of a Mad Men break when the writers think Pete Campbell needs to learn how to drive because he lives in the suburbs, so he takes Drivers Ed and meets a 17 year old girl he's attracted to, and then his arc progresses in a natural way that's organic to the character.

The first half of Grimm's first season had its ups and downs. It was like riding a SEPTA bus driven by a driver with no care for proper speed so that the bus ride is as smooth as a mountain. Season 2 opened smoothly, like SEPTA cruising along 76 until it exits at 30th street to begin the long, arduous journey down Chestnut to Walnut. Stop; start; stop; start. Grimm's first two episodes of the season were a tremendous and successfully carried the momentum over from season one, which made sense considering the quick turnaround the writers, crew, and cast had after season one wrapped. NBC wanted to launch it after the Olympics to capitalize on the millions and millions of viewers tuning in. Season 2 hit a lull but regained its form the last 2-3 weeks.

"Season of the Hexenbiest" works so well because it pulls together the various stories and arcs meaningfully and teases what's to come in a genuinely suspenseful way; it's not like Once Upon A Time and the mystery of who the goddamn 8th dwarf is. Adalind's back; the Verrat are active threats; Nick's so close to figuring out who the Royal in Portland is along with the identity of the other man in Juliette's life; Hank's beaten up, allowing Monroe to take an active role in helping Nick, saving us from Monroe being wasted in the spice shop.

Nick learns Juliette kissed another man in the spice shop because Monroe lets him know that happened; this sets the episode in motion. Adalind's already back and in pursuit of destroying the lives of people who helped destroyed hers, but she also wants The Key that unlocks absolute power for the Royals. The Key is the key to the episode. Adalind will reveal Renard's identity to Nick if she doesn't receive the key in two days. Two of the Verrat's muscles beat Hank into a hospital bed, and a coffee date between Juliette and Adalind is possibly dangerous after the cat scratch of coma and memory loss. Nick doesn't trust her; neither does Renard.

Adalind's an excellent source of conflict, but she's neutral. Adalind won't reveal Renard to Nick, because Nick's 'A-ha' moment in regards to Renard doesn't happen until the closing scenes as a hiatus looms. Adalind teases and prods; however, she cannot influence Nick one way or the other. Monroe's account of Juliette's kiss in the spice shop cements Nick's feelings. Juliette's confession about the kiss is met with a steely gaze (Guintoli was terrific in that scene). Their discord drives the plot. Nick feels played, so he plays her to arrest Adalind in the coffee shop. Nick eventually moves out of the house and in with Monroe, who's
already prepared the guest bedroom for his friend.

Renard's a less of a mystery at episode's end but in no way an open-book. He finds the trailer in the storage
yard, where he believes the key is, though Nick took it from the trailer before he fought the four assassins hired by the Verrat. Scenes when Nick's about to learn about Renard, only he doesn't, are a little frustrating, but Grimm's done that before with Juliette and Hank in season one. The writers will get to Nick v. Renard in time, definitely by 2013. Monroe lets Nick know who kissed Juliette in the spice shop just as Renard approaches the trailer. A 'to be continued...(sorry)' pops up before the credits, no doubt causing a number of fans to freak out and demand the hiatus end so they can watch Nick v. Renard.

"Season of the Hexenbiest" suggests a tighter focus on the serialized aspect of the series. The show won't instantly return to cases of the week, because Nick won't want to work with Renard. The story could unfold in several different ways. I'm hoping for a strong second half to the season with a better balance between the necessary procedural storytelling and the excellent serialized element.

Other Thoughts:

-Monroe continues to be the best character on the show. SilasWeir-Mitchell continues getting the best lines.
My favorite line was Monroe's reaction to news that Hank's in the hospital again.

-Sgt. Wu is great even when he's serious. It's amazing how wasted Reggie Lee was on No Ordinary Family. Every scene Lee's in improves because of his presence.

-Nick's mother hasn't been forgotten. Adalind's curious about her mother's killer. Nick doesn't say a word about his role in her mother's death. Mother Grimm is somewhere around Portland. She is Nick's safety net.

-Renard's involvement in the mythology was scattered in season one and season two. I appreciated Renard and Adalind's scene in which she rehashed every rotten thing he did against Nick, which includes attempted murder of Nick's aunt and kissing the woman Nick proposed marriage to before the cat of coma and memory loss.

-Juliette remembers the trailer on that rainy night when Nick told her the truth; however, Nick's absent from those memories. Monroe, in his words, awkwardly evades questions about what he was going to show Juliette that night.

-Grimm won't return until 2013. Everyone involved in the production deserves a nice, relaxing break. Grimm's aired 12 episodes already in season 2, I'll, of course, continue writing Grimm reviews in the new year.

-Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt wrote the script, with Mr. Kouf receiving the story credit (that's a nice bonus). An E. Gaviola directed it. I apologize for forgetting the woman's first name.



SNAPPS said...

Sweet review! I thought this was an excellent episode, and Grimm’s been enjoying this season. I never thought I would care to watch the show but after an episode I was hooked. I watch nothing but primetime shows when I’m home so this was just another one I started to enjoy. The problem’s I always have a bunch of primetime shows to record, but not enough DVRs to do the job. I used to have to pick what I wanted to watch and miss others. That’s all in the past after my coworker at DISH told me about the DISH Hopper DVR. I can get all my shows recorded with this cool feature called PrimeTime Anytime. It will record the four major networks and everyone gets what they want. I’ve never enjoyed this much TV without the headache which’s enhanced my TV experience.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

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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.