Friday, November 20, 2015

Grimm "Maiden Quest" Review

Grimm’s fairy tale adaptations have become infrequent as the series progressed. The first season had many fairy tale inspired episodes. David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf used the creatures from fairy tales as Greenwalt and Joss Whedon used demons and vampires in Buffy and ANGEL. These characters live beyond public knowledge. The fairy tale aspect became way less prominent and integral to the series. Whenever Grimm modernizes a fairy tale, though, it’s welcomed.

“Maiden Quest” modernizes the maiden quest fairy tale. Many writers used the basic idea of “Maiden Quest”. William Shakespeare used an iteration of the maiden quest in The Merchant of Venice (the casket test). Historically, the maiden quest story reduces the female character to an object. She’s a prize, or representative of property. The tale belongs to the men, the male who displays the most valor wins the greatest prize and attains the greatest riches. Such a rendering of the story in November 2015 would not work. Three male wesen compete in “Maiden Quest” for the hand of Emily Troyer, daughter of Daniel Troyer, a wealthy man connected to several crime syndicates. The first male to kill the murderer of his son will win Emily’s hand and the Troyer fortune. Emily’s quiet, maidenly—Brenna Kouf’s script included a typical scene of these tales in which the maiden wishes the one she’s most fond of and wishes to win her hand between Emily and the second man to die.

The target of the attacks is a local crime boss named Freddie Atkins. The first suitor, Isaac, tried, but he failed. Before he could slice Freddie’s head off, a bird-like wesen ripped his throat out. The same happened to Eli, the second suitor. He tried, but the mysterious murder ripped his throat out. The mystery, though, isn’t ‘Who’s killing the suitors?’ It is ‘What is Emily’s reason?’ I had no doubt she murdered Isaac. The Grimm staff played their collective hand openly. An attempt’s made to deceive the audience. Emily reciprocates Eli’s warm feelings for her. The big and not-at-all surprising reveal reveals the true mystery: Daniel wanted to test Emily. The maiden was not the prize at the end of the quest. The quest was the maiden’s alone. Making the quest the maiden’s was the only way to reverse the story and modernize it.

Back to the indiscreet Grimm writers: the bathroom scene with Nick and Adalind exemplified the clunky poor writing that seems more suited to a draft rather than the final production draft. Nick and Adalind behave awkwardly around each other in their new domestic life. Adalind felt embarrassed to tell Nick she felt safer with him in their fortress. Nick investigated the tunnels in their new place. He returned, dirty, and in need of a shower. Adalind needed to change her shirt. She forgot clothes. Nick couldn’t find clothes for her. Adalind doesn’t OWN clothes. He brought her his shirt. She exited the bathroom with the dress shirt covering her butt, though her pants were vomit-free. Nick used the bathroom. He stared at Adalind’s bra like a gosh darn 12 year old.

I noticed other strange bits of writing throughout “Maiden Quest.” Did the episode come in short? Nick expressed frustration about not hearing from the man that told him to keep Chavez’s phone. The narrative leaped ahead in time by a month or two last week. Nick’s frustrated because of that time jump. It’s an isolated scene which exists for the episode’s ending when Trubel returned. A month or two passed since #502. None of the characters looked for her. Nick staring angrily at his phone let the viewers know he hadn’t forgotten. It suggested Nick couldn’t act because he didn’t receive further instructions.

Another random scene, but not without purpose: Rosalee called Adalind about bringing a basketful of baby goodies for Kelly. She’d come to the fortress, but Adalind insisted she go to the spice shop. There’s no follow-up to the scene. The scene displayed growing friendship between the women. Adalind called her, in the teaser, for help regarding a crying Kelly. (Nick and Adalind learned that Kelly liked the bright light of a cell phone screen.) The women never appear in the same room together. Rosalee is only with Monroe during the episode, except for a scene when her and Monroe help the boys out with the crime and, of course, provide the pertinent information that breaks open the case.

Monroe and Rosalee thought about themselves as parents in the season’s previous episodes. They enjoyed a tranquil dinner together. I thought Adalind’s call would connect to their curiosity about having a child, i.e. the contrast of the chaotic dinner with the tranquil dinner in the kid-free home. I thought Rosalee’s voice soothed Kelly, for a second, but quickly understood the phone soothed the baby. Later, Rosalee opened a letter sent to her by someone from her past about the death of Carlos. Carlos wrote a song for her. She didn’t like the song or Carlos or the person who sent the letter. I assume the letter writer will appear to bring a bit of Rosalee’s past back to her; or, the episode came in short, and the writers put in these disconnected scenes to make time.

Other Thoughts:

-Adalind’s father abandoned her at age four. Is that the first time she mentioned her father? Will her father become a key character in season 26?

-A mayoral candidate asked Renard for his support. Grimm’s the second show I watch with a mayor plotline. Arrow’s all about mayors. Oliver’s running for office over on The CW, Wednesday nights, at 8pm.

-Grimm aired a new episode last Black Friday (in 2014). This year, NBC will not air a Black Friday episode of Grimm. I assume new episodes return December 4--with a giant rat monster.

-Brenna Kouf wrote the episode. Hanelle Culpepper 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.