Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grimm "Endangered" Review

Grimm finds yet another interesting angle to its stories about the creatures Nick and his ancestors have spent their lives hunting and killing. It's been established that Nick's a game-changer of a Grimm. He's learned the differences between Wesen, Blutbads, etc; he's put an effort into understanding their fears and then putting those fears to rest. The show has done good work showing the differences between the creatures, showing how the few bad eggs don't represent the minority, and how the good will band together to beat the evil. "Endangered" ends on Rosalee, Monroe, and Nick, banding together to protect gluhvenholks from a Wesen who will kill them and take their baby to sell on the black market.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the darker stories the show likes to tell. It may be unknown to anyone who's never read my reviews of Grimm episodes before, though. That's besides the point. "Endangered" isn't quite as dark as episodes such as "Organ Grinder." There's a purposeful scene in which the leads, who act as moralists in the scene, express shock and horror at what the supposed UFO hunter is actually doing in his van. The episode introduces the gluhvenholks. Their appearance is striking in the world of Grimm because it leads a farmer to thinking an alien killed his farmhand. The gluhvenholks bear a striking resemblance to the typical depiction of alien creatures from the eyes to structure of the head. They glow in the dark, a translucent blue that looks heavenly. It's a lot like Mr. Burns glowing in the X-Files episode of The Simpsons.

I expected "Endangered" to bring in a bunch of Portland extras for an overblown "Aliens are among us" storyline. The alien angle is quietly dropped though as the second half of the episode begins. Law enforcement doesn't take the claim seriously, radioing in that a mental health evaluation may be in order for the farmer. Kouf and Greenwalt, and the other writers, don't use the traditional beats in their story. In their worst episodes, the writers fail trying something different, like in the regrettable video game episode, "Nameless." The A story isn't risky, but it's quite interesting in the way it develops. The gluhvenholk who kills the farmhand and slaughters cow is getting cow ovaries for his pregnant gluhvenholk wife to eat during her gestation. It's crucial that the episode establishes the glowing alien-like being as monster-like.

The Portland PD investigate the murder and try to find the suspected alien. Nick's quickly investigating from his Grimm side. Wu loses track of him as Monroe and Rosalee take on a greater role. The twist is that the gluhvenholks are not monsters. Rosalee tells the story of the gluhvenholks with wonder in her eye. Bree Turner plays the scene as if Rosalee's been transported to her childhood in the telling. The gluhvenholks are mythic creatures for Wesen, Blutbad, etc., like leprechauns are for humans. They didn't cause nightmares in young child but were actually a sign of good luck and fortune. The gluhvenholks were thought to be extinct, but in a small barn in the Pacific Northwest live two and, soon, a third, a tiny baby. The story isn't about locking up the male gluhvenholk for killing the farmhand. Instead, Rosalee and Monroe, and Nick, work to preserve their lives, and the baby's, for the future.

Their motivations are helped by the presence of the bounty hunter. He preserves the creatures he gets with a chemical that keeps the dead volga'd so that a perfect specimen is delivered to the buyer. Monroe, upon learning what's going on, remarks, "This is so wrong." The hunter's never a significant threat; he's just a complication, a conflict, a means to the end. He's killed, injected with his chemical, and found by humans who identify him as an alien. His fate is left to the imagination. Meanwhile, the new family drives far from the Northwest for a destination that'll provide them security and a future. It's another instance in which Nick stands up for the people his family's been battling for centuries.

Nick's ancestry is a part of the C story in which Nick learns more about the key from Renard. The Key unlocks a mysterious item in Constantinople. The Royal Family want nothing more than what's inside. Two keys are unaccounted for. Renard will help Nick locate them if Nick trusts him to. Nick's still not cool with him. The story of the Grimms, the Royals and The Key is progressing slowly. It's nothing new. Grimm takes its time.

Juliette's story continues to progress to a more positive resolution. She remembers the first time she exchanged I love you with Nick and even takes the news about Nick-as-Grimm well. I assume she takes it well. The episode doesn't return to her after Monroe's story. Monroe doesn't have the chance to tell Nick about what happened. Juliette feels guilt and remorse for how she's treated Nick since she lost her memory since she now remembers the love she has for him. Next week's episode seems like it'll give resolution to the storyline and like it'll allow Juliette to finally move onto other things--with Nick in her life, of course. One can only hope. Juliette's slow journey to her memories of Nick has not been riveting television. It's more like Sunday's game between relegation bound QPR and Reading in the EPL.

I really liked the A story. The C story promises an intriguing endgame to the season. The B story is what it is. But, yeah, the A story is cool. It's different; it's more like a fairy tale than other case-of-the-week stories have been. Rosalee's story about the gluhvenholks helps to communicate the sense of fairy tale, especially the wondrous element of fairy tales. Grimm's consistent dark tone protects it from the cheesiness of Once Upon a Time. One other thing: Kouf and Greenwalt didn't plan on moving to Tuesday nights, but I thought "Endangered" worked well for an episode that needed to launch a new timeslot. New viewers could enjoy the stand-alone A story plot and even get into the Juliette story. Folk love fictional characters that are in love but currently separated by nonsense.

Other Thoughts:

-Erin Way portrayed Jocelyn, the female gluhvenholk! Erin Way portrayed Kat during the second season of Alphas. She didn't get much to do besides cry and look fearful. The actress possesses a ton of energy and flair. She's a joy to watch.

-The gluhvenholks did look cool in the night.

-Once again, I thought Wu would get a Hank-sized role only to disappear from the story by the second half. Oh well.

-I botched the gluhenvolk name throughout review. My apologies. Pretend I spelled it right. I'm tired.

-David Straiton directed the episode. I cannot remember the last name of the credited wrtier. The first name is Spiro. The last name begins with the letter S.


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About The Foot

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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.