Saturday, April 27, 2013

Grimm "Volcanalis" Review

Tonight's episode was originally titled "Ring of Fire," then it was changed to "Volcanalis" sometime this week. "Ring of Fire" dances around the specifics of the volcano story; that title calls to mind the actual ring of fire. Upon completion of the episode, the "Ring of Fire" title would've worked. Volcanalis, the villain of the episode, is an ancient evil, made of fire, descended from the Greek gods, etc. Monroe's freaked by the idea that Volcanalis is responsible for all the eruptions in the world. The concept of the episode is big. Sometimes, Grimm's risks don't have rewards.

Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt sat down and wrote the episode together. They are the show-runners, and they are the same two guys who decided on Hitler's Wesen history. Immediately upon seeing their names in the credits, I knew the episode would be bigger than 'Wesen lights folk on fire with his magic hands' or anything involving an actual volcano. I love the bold ideas of the show. Grimm takes chances. It is a pleasure to watch an unexpected plot choice, or turn, work amazingly that you want to tell your friends about the cool fairy tale show on NBC. "Volcanalis" is a mixed bag, though. I'm a fan of the structure of the episodes. The stories sometimes don't come together until the last two acts; in rare cases, it doesn't come together until the last act, and you're left wondering what will be resolved in the end.

A woman is found burned alive in her home, yet her home isn't burned. Nick and Wu investigate together because Hank's on vacation. Nick catches a Wesen in the area the woman was attacked the day before and chases him down. No progress will be made with Wu as his partner for the case, so Renard joins to help Nick figure out which Wesen is connected to the murder. The case brings together a few elements. Nick's still wary of Renard, especially after Juliette told him to stay away from her. Nick's going to think she's still in love with Renard. Wu's allowed to do slightly more than make awesome quips. While the partnership is short-lived, Reggie Lee does make the most of his screentime (as always). The Wesen Nick sees is unfamiliar. The prospect of 'untapped Wesen creature' is fun because newer Wesens haven't been too prominent lately. At the very least, this episode promises something different.

Indeed, something is different about the one behind the murder of the woman from the teaser--he's not Wesen. He is made of fire and bears a striking resemblence to the prince of darkness, the Devil. I already mentioned his name and origin in the opening paragraph. Kouf and Greenwalt went big with their reveal. The significance of Volcanalis may be in its actual use. I mean, Volcanalis expands the mythology of Grimm even further. There have been non-Wesens before; however, the past villains shared humanity in common. Volcanalis isn't human; he's fire and impossible to kill. He burned Pompey in the past; he's killed those who take his fumerol. The crazed man from the woods is trying to kill Volcanalis for killing his wife. The crazed man succeeds, with help from Nick, Renard and Monroe. Other episodes in season two continued the growth and expansion of the show's mythology. Volcanalis was a decent addition to the story. The crazed man's story could've used another pass. Kouf and Greenwalt, to the episode's detriment, took too long to get to 'the point.' I did wonder how the episode would resolve itself, though.

Elsewhere, Juliette continues to deal with her flood of memories. I interpreted Juliette's visions of dozens and dozens of Nick's as a manifestion of her mind rather than as an actual thing happening. TV shows can't get inside the head of a character like novels and short stories. Perhaps the dozens and dozens of Nick's in the house were brought out in her mind, that it is the house she needs to get away from, because the house meant a lot to her and Nick. Juliette leaves the house in a desperate fashion. It's unclear what exactly is going on, though it seems likely we're seeing what she's seeing in her mind.

Of the two women in search of something, Juliette finds a modicum of peace in her story. Adalind's in search of her lost powers and will exchange for her baby blessed with royal blood for its restoration. A unifying theme of the episode is the process of trying to find something for what was lost, to make sense of it, to hang onto something. The crazed man is driven by the death of his wife. Only Volcanalis' death will satisfy him. Juliette learns she needs to become her past to overcome her overwhelming memories. Adalind will feel complete when she's hexenbiest again.

Nick doesn't have a moment of reassuring peace in the episode, not even an olive branch that represents hope. He mopes during the Portland Timbers game. Monroe can't even cheer him up. The best thing for Nick is that Juliette remembers his proposal. Right now, though, he's out of her life. Perhaps Nick saw something of himself in Volcanalis. In one moment he is as full of fire as Volcanalis; in the next, he's frozen, fragile--just glass waiting to be shattered. Good glass, though. Obsidian.

Other Thoughts:

-I'm almost positive Grimm just showed the world's first fictional fans of the MLS. I know the MLS has diehard fans. The West Coast loves their teams. Portland's a great soccer city, too. I do wonder if an otherwise disinterested person re soccer might tune into a Portland game because of Monroe. I love soccer. I'll support any glimpse of it seen in mainstream TV.

-Grimm has a quick turnaround with its move to Tuesday nights. The next episode airs Tuesday at 10PM after The Voice. Four episodes remain this season.

-David Grossman directed the episode.

THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK


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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.