Friday, October 24, 2014

Grimm "Thanks for the Memories" Review

Memories, interpretations, intuitions, instinct—these things Nick has. No longer does he have the sight, the grimmness, or whatever you prefer, but that doesn’t hinder him in the premiere. Instead, his challenge is domestic, and his only ally is trust. Trust that Trubel will nail the story for the Feds during her interview about what happened at the house when Weston shot Renard and she later beheaded him. Trust that his relationship with Juliette won’t break because of the unexpected Adalind element. “Thanks for the Memories”—the title—comes from the villain’s part of the episode, which is very small, incremental way to set up next week’s more concentrated episode that doesn’t need to resolve last season’s finale. The title refers to the villain’s ability to steal the memories of others, but it also acts as a tongue-in-cheek ironical thing because memories, the mind, basically fail the characters at important moments.

Grimm’s episode structure is still a throwback to an different time in television before four acts changed to five and then five to six and then six to seven. Seven acts in a 41 minute episode of television seemed unheard of as much as 5-6 years. Only few shows played with seven acts. LOST stood out, for many reasons, but one of those reasons was the new, hip five act structure Lindelof and Cuse used. Writers want to pack in two acts worth of plot, character, and action within a 5-7 minute act; the goal is to write toward the act-out. So in any procedural in broadcast television the audience will see bursts of plot, character, and action, sustained and building, building, until the act out. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf do not follow the new formula. Grimm’s definitely not paced like The Vampire Diaries or Sleepy Hollow where things happen fast, hard, and everything’s immediate. TVD’s urgency bubbles during quieter scenes because of the sound design. Some rock-pop sentimental tune pushes and forces the moment. Not Grimm, though. Greenwalt and Kouf broke into television almost two decades ago in the bygone days of four acts. Two of Greenwalt’s previous shows, Buffy and ANGEL, could move, but the pacing and storytelling didn’t depend on ensuring the audience would stick around despite yet another commercial break. Grimm’s formula, its ambling pacing, the embrace of very slow rising action, seems most similar to Cris Carter’s X-Files, which never sacrificed mood, tone, pacing for the advertisers, and which would let Mulder and Scully listen to a victim of sexual abuse tell her story for five minutes. “Thanks for the Memories” doesn’t ‘move’ until the last two acts, which is when Nick and Hank learn about the memories monster.

“Thanks for the Memories” doesn’t have a long powerful scene such as the one in The X-Files’ “Die Hand Die Verletzt.” Greenwalt and Kouf need to hit definite and diverse beats in each condensed act, but they don’t rush resolution and action. Besides Trubel’s role in Weston’s murder, nothing resolves. Action rises, but it doesn’t fall. Renard continues to die, and does, but that story has mysterious intrigue in the form of the mysterious blonde lady who seems to change Renard’s vitals by her presence. Juliette won’t allow Adalind to further ruin her relationship with Nick though the relationship’s off and she’s off and Nick’s off. Juliette dislikes knowing Nick couldn’t tell between her real self and someone playacting her. His memory of her and all that means failed. Nick’s senses were supernaturally sharp. His sight was sharp-he saw through faces; he saw the essence of things: what existed beyond the face, under the face, in the face, in the soul. But he missed it with Juliette.

Much of the episode concerns the Renard’s shooting, of the local police and Federal agents deciding that Trubel acted in selfdefense through her story that Nick and Hank help prepare for her. For all of their precautions, new and old characters learn more about Nick through skimming his grimm books. Wu paged through the book and almost heard the truth from Hank about nightmares. The new federal agent, a wesen, suspects something about Trubel and Nick. Grimm continues to expand the world of the show. More people know what Nick and Trubel are. The FBI suspects Weston worked with another organization, which potentially brings together one organization working within its own specific system with another organization, a royal ancient one, working within its own specific system, and finally with Nick, Trubel, Monroe, Rosalle, and etc. Grimm, of course, moves at a specific sloth-like pace. The FBI may investigate for two seasons and not find anything. The attention Nick receives in season premieres and season finales inevitably dwindles as the show returns to the standalone case-of-the-week format.

The aforementioned villain of the episode moves along without notice, murders a woman, tries to leave his situation but returns to it after his boss refuses to let him stop before the ‘work’ is done. The police bring him in. He leaves. Trubel sees he’s a nasty kind of monster. Nick and Hank accidentally told him where his only living victim heals and will need to pursue before he kills the problem. “Thanks for the Memories” is ¾ a continuation of the season finale, and ¼ the extended teaser for episode two. Monroe and Rosalee show love and support for their friends. New, interesting characters do mysterious and/or intriguing things. The Austrian Royals storyline continues to exist. Yes, that’s all.

Other Thoughts:

-The wardrobe department dresses Silas Weir Mitchell in the coolest vests and sweaters. Monroe and Rosalee opt against going away for their honeymoon because of their friends’ situation. I would’ve liked to have seen Monroe and Rosalee assuaging family members about the grimm that served as best man to the groom. Deleted scenes maybe?

-Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt wrote the episode. Norberto Barba directed.

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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.