Saturday, October 31, 2015

Grimm "The Grimm Identity" Review

Nick watched Trubel shoot Juliette three times (or was it two?), and he watched masked men take Trubel from his house. The masked men drugged him. Nick dreamed in black-and-white of Juliette’s funeral, of returning to the empty house, of the coffin and his mother’s head occupying the house with him. The audience watched it at the end of last season, even the part when Agent Chavez orders her men inside, and we watched it in the previouslies, and again during the teaser. It happened, yes? Yes, it happened. Grimm’s the oddest of network TV shows. The structure of episodes and of seasons does not fit with other weekly procedural television. For example, the first act ended with Chavez warning Renard that Nick would spend time in jail if his behavior persisted (behavior that included hounding Chavez at her office). Renard promised he’d stop Nick from behaving rashly. The episode suddenly cut to black as if that would leave fans gasping for air.

Nick frantically searches for Trubel, Chavez, and, basically, answers for a stretch early in the episode. Hank, Wu, Renard, Rosalee, and Monroe learned about Juliette’s death, about Trubel shooting the arrows, and about Chavez taking her; however, everyone thinks Nick’s acting crazy. No one believes him. Eventually, I started to doubt what I saw. Maybe, I thought, Juliette left with the Royals and Diana, and then Nick returned home, the masked men drugged him, took Trubel, and he hallucinated Juliette’s death. No, that’s crazy, I told myself. What happened, happened. Kouf and Greenwalt decided to milk it for a specific narrative reason. Whatever the reason for the belabored post-Juliette and post-Trubel thing I missed. Finally, after 20 minutes, Nick brought Chavez to Rosalee’s shop where the gang learned to trust and believe Nick.

Chavez clarified nothing about what Nick wanted. Juliette’s body disappeared along with Trubel. No way Juliette actually died, even though David Greenwalt announced she was during press stuff in the summer. Trubel’s somewhere, but no one knows where. New scary wesen have started murdering Chavez’s secret group. The new bad guys left claw marks for their scary sign. Chavez brought Nick to a place for a meeting. Those who would meet with Nick were murdered. The villains show, fight Nick and Chavez, Chavez died, and she handed Nick a chess piece (?!) or a key (?), told him nothing of narrative worth besides, “it’s war.” Well, then.

“The Grimm Identity” featured much telling and not enough showing. Everyone tells everyone about Juliette. Nick repeatedly tells everyone Chavez took Trubel. Chavez tells Renard to do stuff, and then Renard tells Nick to do stuff, and on and on, but all the while the show slyly reboots itself. Is rebooting the right term? Maybe not. How about refocus? David Greenwalt commented about moving the show in a different direction. He promised fast plot developments early on. The premiere moved fast past Juliette in a move that guarantees she’s alive somewhere. Refocusing the show to inject greater narrative action, less sloggy, plodding plotting will benefit Grimm. For whatever reason, be it casting, budget, the writers hesitated to commit to the Royals, the uprising, the Keys, and pretty much any of Grimm’s mythology. NBC may’ve asked for less serialization and more episodic stand-alones. Perhaps because Grimm reached syndication NBC executives don’t care if Greenwalt and Kouf make Grimm more serialized, or perhaps because Grimm is what it is the direction of the show won’t affect it.

I thought it was a sloppy and labored episode. Grimm premieres have rocked; Grimm’s really good when it’s hitting the serialized beats at the end of and beginning of seasons. Monroe, Hank, and Wu stood for much of the episode, inactive, dependent on Nick’s actions to make them active. Rosalee, so mad and dismissive about Juliette after Juliette nearly killed Monroe, argues for her, places blame on herself and the guys for Juliette, but then all Juliette discussion stopped. Rosalee and Nick went to hospital for Adalind’s birth halfway through the episode. It was a busy episode. Busy doesn’t mean bad. Busy within this episode meant hitting plot points earlier seasons would’ve taken months to reach e.g. Adalind and baby (I loved the Meisner/Adalind arc in season three).

“The Grimm Identity” established. It established the villains (vaguely), the war, and Nick’s fatherhood. The end looked tacky. Claw marks tore through the still shoot of Portland to connote war’s coming for the entire city, as well as our beloved gang.

Other Thoughts:

-Bitsie Tulloch received main cast billing. Oh boy oh boy.

-The gentleman with Chavez during the scene involving the unidentified person/wesen/hexenbiest in the box looked familiar. Hm. Familiar as in he appeared previously in the show and represents a clue to the nonsense ahead. Oh, it was Meisner.

-Adalind named her baby Kelly. I suppose she’s now fully rehabilitated.

-Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt wrote the episode. Eric Lanueville directed.

-Happy Halloween, everyone!

-And welcome to season five of Grimm. I will review every episode this season, I think, unless I decide to stop, in which case I will not write about every episode this season. This is season five of my reviews. Invite me to set, Greenwalt and Kouf.

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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.