Friday, March 15, 2013

Grimm "Natural Born Wesen" Review

Grimm's sort of unique in its approach in each episode. Some episodes start immediately and never stop while others take two or three acts to get going. "Natural Born Wesen" falls into the latter category. The episode hinges on audience getting the urgency of Monroe's during the bank robberies. Three bank robbers are breaking an ancient code of Volga-ing out for the bank robberies. The public Volga-ing is a threat to the peaceful Wesen living in Portland. Monroe tells Nick about the pact made 400 years ago to prevent mass hysteria and chaos should Wesen Volga in public. The problem is that it takes half the episode for Monroe's fears to manifest in the town.

"Natural Born Wesen" first concerns itself with last week's cliffhanger. Nick recovers, Renard and Juliette complete the thing, and that's that. Well, of course, Juliette returns home to find a giant hole in the wall that talks to her. Besides that, it's back to normal for everyone. Monroe's held up at a bank, Nick and Hank take on the case, and Renard eventually suggests he and Nick get over their issues in an attempt to make history together than get crushed by history. Perhaps the intent of the first half was to put the audience in the shoes of Nick. Monroe's going on about councils, a broken codex, and Nick doesn't react. The robberies have gotten attention from major media outlets so he can't put away the badge and take care of business the Grimm way. Nick also doesn't get Monroe's urgency about the matter, even when Monroe emphasizes the import the situation has for a Grimm. Nick's just like 'Okay, whatever, bro."

I felt removed from the episode until the half-way mark. The bank robbers were like Bonnie and Clyde, if Bonnie and Clyde were actually creatures from fairy tales. I wasn't into their over-the-top schtick, their aggressive sexuality in public, nor the cliché way they treated the silent all-business type. They were energetic villains but completely uninteresting because they were just another instance of an accepted character type on network procedurals. Cole and Rachel, the aggressively sexual robbers, crave chaos. Monroe enters a bar to spread the word about the broken codex. Cole and Rachel, and Gus, try to kick Monroe's ass for saying too much; however, Cole and Rachel want to expose what they are on television. The urgency sets in when Wesen fill the spice shop to express concern over the string of bank robberies--copycats emerged. Rosalee promises to resolve the matter.

The story winds up introducing a new element of mythology. De Goot is a name to remember. Rosalee explains the council's roots in her family. Years ago, a similar situation broke out, but her father handled it by going to DeGroot. Freddy, her brother, took over until he died. De Goot solves problems, cleans up messes, and sends messages through his solutions and clean ups. He's like Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction, only bearded and from Holland. Nick and Hank arrest Cole and Rachel. De Goot's men kill the robbers before they reach prison, as a message sent to any other Wesen that try to break the codex. De Goot seems important to the larger story. Renard spoke about his desire to make history with Nick--a royal teaming with a Grimm. I don't foresee De Goot being an ally of Nick's.

The B story is odd, abrupt, but engaging. Juliette goes home after the thing at the spice shop is done. There's a hole in her house, and she's frozen by the door lest she walk and fall to the bottom. The hole breathes, grunts, and even speaks in a barely audible tone. Later, Juliette decides to walk to reach her phone, and the floor returns with each step of hers. The hole was electric. Little electric creatures seemed to crawl across the bottom of the hole. Juliette's in tears when Nick calls her but she doesn't tell him what happened. The entire incident seems a symptom of madness. In her bed, the floor disappears again, and she's alone with flashes of electricity. A deep and foreboding voice speaks to her. The idea's really cool. The intent of the story's not clear, though I'll theorize the whole thing's going on inside of her head; that it's a side-effect of everything that began with the cat scratch. Most importantly, Juliette has an actual arc that should help her be more of a relatable character than she has been.

As a whole though, the episode was too disjointed. Nick's still mad about Renard's little thing with Juliette, which is expressed in a beat, but it's not hanging over the episode, which is probably a good thing. Nick doesn't threaten to leave Portland PD, because he doesn't want to quit. The threat of the robbers craving for chaos doesn't matter until the De Goot is introduced. Grimm likes to introduce important elements in the last two acts, which is bold. The writers are asking the audience to stick around whether or not it takes 30 minutes for an episode to come into focus. Grimm pulls it off each and every time its episode starts slowly. They know how to finish.

Other Thoughts:

-Monroe was too worried to joke around, though his feigned nonchalance in the bar was terrific.

-Cole and Rachel were problematic characters basically because they were the worst kind of villains--clichéd and unoriginal. Cole was the worst. He was the typical robber that Took It Too Far.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FWIW its "De Groot" not "De Goot" throughout the episode. "De Groot" translates to "The Big", which is interesting.

Always fun to see "011 31" being dialed (as a Dutch expat in the US)!

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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.