Posts tagged Grimm
Grimm’s return after the holiday hiatus, Game Ogre, seems to be the episode where the series has solidified its identity as a supernatural procedural.
A series of brutal murders lay a trail leading to Detective Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) and an escaped convict Oleg Stark (Eric Edelstein) bent on revenge. Oh, and the escaped convict happens to be a Siegebarste. The kicker: Siegebarstes don’t feel pain and have incredibly dense bones.
Scripted by Cameron Litvak and Thania St. John, the episode draws together the different threads of Nick Burkhardt’s professional, private, and Grimm lives. As Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) asks Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) for help with evidence, fianceé Juliet (Bitsie Tulloch) has to intervene when Nick (and their home) are being destroyed by the Siegebarste, and Monroe has to act as a Grimm-by-proxy when Nick is hospitalized, it becomes very clear that it’s impossible to keep those lives separate.
Game Ogre is a straightforward cop-confronting-murderous thug plot, but it works within the context of the series, which has often suffered from a lack of balance in its narrative. Hornsby is given a little more screentime, although his dialogue is trite, he delivers it with a sense of urgency that makes it believable. Silas Weir Mitchell’s Monroe is unmistakeably the breakout character of Grimm, fast becoming the pivotal audience proxy, exposition mouthpiece and the ethical heart of the show.
The further Monroe is drawn into Nick’s activities as both cop and Grimm, the more we see the moral grey areas that should be part of Nick’s narrative, handed over to the series’ resident Blutbad.
Can Grimm maintain the sense of itself that this episode establishes? We’ll see.
Warning: Mild spoilers
Picking up where the Pilot left off, Grimm’s second episode feels a little more settled in its skin. Really, it’s that star David Giuntoli (Nick Burkhardt) seems a little more settled in his character’s skin.
I’ll reiterate what I said in my review of the pilot: I like the procedural format for this show.
It opens up an exploration of a lot of different myths/fairy tales without winding up with a kitchen-sink plot. It keeps Burkhardt’s personal narrative to a minimum, so the audience won’t get bored with it, and the mysterious history of the Grimms can be spun out as needed.
This episode takes on Golidlocks and the Three Bears, in case you couldn’t tell from the title. I don’t mind the epigraphs and obvious opening scenes, I just mind that having both makes the telegraphing of the origin tale so obvious. Here’s a tip for the producers: we know the fairy tales, they’ve been around for centuries. You really can stop hitting us over the head with the iconography and exposition.
While Nick is trying to keep his aunt Marie (Kate Burton) alive after an attempt on her life that nailed him with a dose of neurotoxin instead, he’s now got to deal with “Jagerbaars,” and an apparent rite of passage that involves hunting humans.
Just a typical day at the office for your friendly neighborhood Grimm.
When not having semi-prophetic dreams about his aunt, Nick continues to enlist the help of reformed Blutbaad, Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) including having him stand watch over Marie when Captain Renard pulls the guards from her room.
Eddie Monroe and Marie Kessler have been the most interesting characters in Grimm, thus far. Monroe is struggling with his essential nature and a bad family history with Grimms, Marie being far more BAMF from a hospital bed than anyone has a right to be. Weir Mitchell and Burton invest their characters with a vitality and purpose that our hero has yet to display.
It’s a procedural, so everything is sewn up neatly in the allotted time. There are a few red herrings, and a sense that perhaps not all of these creatures are necessarily malevolent. Eddie might not be the only one trying to coexist with humanity, and the Grimms might not be 100% heroic when all is said and done.
Not your average fairytale: NBC’s Grimm and ABC’s Once Upon A Time
Watching the leading contenders in network genre-programming back-to-back was illuminating. Grimm is hybrid of horror and police procedural, that uses fairytale elements to ground the story firmly outside our reality. Once Upon A Time in its premiere episode, plays a little bit like the Wizard of Oz as it inter-cuts scenes from the, “Real,” world with life in the Enchanted Forest. This is a show that is a fairy tale, it doesn’t just play one in an alternate reality.
Grimm gives us detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) the next in a line of descendants of The Brothers Grimm who didn’t collect stories so much as hunt down the creatures that were eventually watered-down into what we call fairy tales. There’s a tinge of BtVS, as Nick’s Aunt Maureen, (Kate Burton) the current Grimm is dying and he is called to take her place. Executive Producer/Writer David Greenwalt is clearly applying his experience on BtVS/Angel to Grimm, and I think the show suffers for it. Giuntoli is likeable enough, but he’s out of his depth in the pilot. Russell Hornsby, Sasha Roiz and Silas Weir Mitchell all have more charisma and believability in their supporting roles. Nick’s a homicide detective preparing to propose to his girlfriend, he shouldn’t come off as a clueless naif.
Grimm presents a universe that functions as an allegorical ourobouros: Little Red Riding Hoods are the victims of a serial killer who is both magically and morally inhuman, yet wears the most ordinary of human masks so very, very well. What is extraordinary in this universe, is the ability to see beyond the mask. That pretty blonde on the street can be just as much of a monster as the Big Bad Wolf, and the ability to see that isn’t just supernatural, it’s the way we see what we want to see.
There’s potential here, but there’s a fine line between being clever in using such familiar tropes and drowning in them. Future episodes will determine whether Grimm can move beyond the concept and make a police procedural/fantasy hybrid into a successful show.
Once Upon A Time, is a superficially stronger show. It’s glossier, it’s heavier on the obvious special effects, and it has Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Lana Parilla as the Evil Queen, House’s Jennifer Morrison as Emma Swann and Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin.
Cast notwithstanding, Once Upon A Time is practically dropping anvils on the audience every five seconds. “Happy Ending,” is repeated so many times in the first hour that I wanted to shout, “I get it, they have to find the happy ending!” The show starts with a happy ending, in fact: Snow White and Prince Charming’s wedding. Enter the Evil Queen, looking like she just stepped out of a fetish shop. Lana Parilla makes this a delicious villain, both in the fairy-tale and, “Real,” world settings. The problem I have with the Enchanted Forest vs, “Real,” world problems is that the narrative treats the real world problems like they’re part of a fairy-tale. It’s deeply patronizing to single adoptive mothers, orphans, and. . . yeah.
I want to like Once Upon A Time. In fact, I do like it. The first episode was fun. I just see this more as a mini-series narrative arc and that’s been done. “The 10th Kingdom” unpacked all the parent-child with fairy-tales as metaphor for an emotional journey to adulthood a long time ago. Once Upon A Time has some interesting dynamics to play with, among its female leads, but it doesn’t seem to have a grip on how to overlay the real and enchanted worlds it’s straddling, just yet.
With such a rich history of the varying forms of fairy tale, from Perrault and Grimm, to Disney and Anne Sexton, I need more than just lip-service. Right now, Grimm is edging out Once Upon A Time for me. I’m hoping that both shows prove themselves up to telling the tales.