Having missed last week’s review, we’re doubling up on Grimm coverage. That means more Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) kicking ass, more Rosalee (Bree Turner) / Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) adorableness and more cases of the week.
Let’s bitch it out…
3×10: ‘Eyes Of The Beholder’
This is a bit of an unusual episode for the series in that both plots are deeply personal. In fact I didn’t even realize that the Royal baby storyline wasn’t addressed until the end of the episode when I realized that Sasha Roiz hadn’t even appeared!
The A-plot featuring Hank’s (Russell Hornsby) physical therapist Zuri (Sharon Leal) plays out like a routine case of the week, but is actually heavily dependent on Hank’s attraction to her. There’s a great deal more character development here than we would normally see, so even though the case itself isn’t all that different from any other, it does shines a light on Hank that’s traditionally absent. If you think about how much time has been dedicated to Hank over the season, he is most often defined by his relationship to Nick (David Giuntoli). His most significant storyline was the Adalind (Claire Coffee, unseen) romance back in S1 and that was really all just elaborate revenge plot against Nick.
That’s why I found the ending of ‘Eyes Of The Beholder’ strange. We’ve spent so much time establishing a potential romance between Hank and Zuri that it’s bizarre for Hank to simply walk away. Considering he just watched her murder a perp, it’s not entirely surprising, but it does make the preceding 40 minutes or so feel less valuable. Grimm wanted us to invest in a relationship that the writers had no intention of seeing through, which feels a bit like a bait and switch. Hopefully we’ll see more of Hank’s personal side moving forward as he really is one of the most isolated, lonely characters on the show.
Isolation is an apt word to describe the B-plot as Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) struggles to bridge the divide with her old College friend Alicia (Alicia Lagano). Of course she might have had more luck appealing to Alicia if she had opted for a more tactful approach instead of using the blunt hammer approach. I mean, how did she expect Alicia to respond when she just randomly blurts out that she knows the truth? (Side Note: the German may not have helped either. Do all Wesen know German?). Thankfully violence bonds people together on this show, so Juliette and Alicia’s combined show of force when Joe (Tom Walton) breaks in certainly helps them reconnect. I’ll admit, the moment that Alicia wogs out for Juliette and the redhead immediately sweeps her into an embrace warmed the cockles of my grinchy heart just a little.
It’s a good episode for Juliette, whose character has come a long, long way over the last three seasons. If any character needed a good “eff yeah!” moment, it’s Juliette. Let’s overlook the fact that she’s suddenly an MMA fighter and celebrate in her ability to beat the ever loving hell out of an abusive husband. ‘Cause at the end of the week, what’s better than seeing Juliette smack someone in the head with a frying pan, amirite?
- I like the subtle callback to Rosalee’s (Bree Turner) sordid past when she displays a shocking amount of insight into the gangs of Portland and Seattle to Nick, Hank and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). Anything that encourages cutesy couple-y interactions between Rosalee and Monroe gets an A+ in my book. I’ve said it before, but these two are magic together.
- Monroe (when Nick asks about street gangs): “Groups in general make me constipated”
3×11: ‘The Good Soldier’
It’s extremely disappointing to go from ‘Eyes Of The Beholder’ to ‘The Good Soldier’, because so many of the things that got me jazzed in the former are absent in the latter. I was geared up by promos for a big Rosalee and Monroe episode and while those parts of the episode are more than solid, the episode is principally dominated by a case of the week that feels completely unnecessary. Despite appearances by Emily Rios (of Breaking Bad and The Bridge) and Kirk Avecedo (of Fringe), the case is a straightforward affair that has no bearing on any other aspect of the episode and that feels like a huge wasted opportunity.
The predominance of the procedural format is my biggest pet peeve about Grimm. Anyone who reads my reviews knows that the episodes I like best are those that focus on character development and/or mythology, so when too much of a single episode focuses on a case that we’ll never revisit and there aren’t any significant character beats, I grow weary. ‘The Good Soldier’ is one of those episodes. It’s also the halfway point of the season, which makes me take stock of what we’ve accomplished so far.
In terms of Monroe and Rosalee, it’s good stuff. All of the scenes of Rosalee interacting with her mom and sister are solid, as is Monroe’s attempts to diffuse the tension and support Rosalee at the same time. The big issue: there’s very little resolution following the dinner scene. I gather that we’re meant to take Deeta’s cliché threat about killing Monroe if he hurts her sister as a sign that the Calvert women have forgiven each other, but frankly that sucks. The fact that we never revisit the visit to satisfactorily tie this storyline up is a big disappointment. Instead we go back to the case of the week so we can watch Manticores battle it out in a bar. Whaaa?
Faring even worst are the Vienna scenes with Adalind and Meisner (Damien Puckler), which are so arbitrarily shoehorned in that they’re laughable. I’ve been super interested in this part of the show since Adalind jumped shores, but I’ve got to wonder: why is this even included?! Two brief scenes demonstrating that a) Adalind’s powers are returning and b) the baby is nearly due – sure it’s interesting, but it could have easily been inserted into another episode without missing a beat. Therein lies the big problem with the entire Adalind storyline this season: it has the potential to be the plot, but Grimm‘s writers are so terrified of focusing too much on it at the expense of casual viewers that instead they’re draaaaaaaaaaaaaaagging it out. In the process they effectively removing any kind of urgency or relevancy to the proceedings – to the point that it’s like “oh right, the stuff in Vienna”. I don’t know about anyone else but I don’t feel like I have any idea what’s happening with the power struggle between the Royal Families, or who might be after Adalind’s child. Hell we’ve only seen Alexis Denisof once and he’s meant to be the Big Bad!
I get that Grimm will never let go of the procedural elements – it’s what allows casual fans to drop in and out. But for those of us who diligently follow the show, it sure makes it hard to get excited and invest in the mythology because it’s so clear that it will barely play a role until mid season or finale time comes around. There are so many fascinating stories that could be told that could feed into these season-long arcs without turning Grimm into a mythology-driven show, but the writers refuse to experiment outside of their case of the week comfort zone. They want to have it both ways, and as a result do such a poor job on the mythology that episodes like ‘The Good Soldier’make me wonder why I give two shits about the larger story. It’s frustrating to the max.
- Monroe (after Rosalee admits she shoplifted a watch): “Really? What kind?”
- Hank (upon hearing Juliette’s description of the Manticore): “I don’t like that ‘no fear of death’. It’s unhealthy”
Your turn: what did you think of Juliette’s fight last week? Have you liked Monroe and Rosalee’s character development? Are you hoping Hank gets a bit more personal stuff to play to? How do you feel about the balance between case of the week and mythology? Sound off below
Grimm airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC. Click on the preview below for a spoilery look at next week’s episode.