Grimm avoids exploring its really compelling narratives in favour of a paint-by-numbers Golem tale.
Let’s bitch it out…
If you consider the last four episodes of Grimm, it’s clear that the writers don’t have a handle on how to write the series now that their protagonist no longer has powers. We’re 4/4 for using Trubel (Jacqueline Toboni) as the undercover agent pressed into service by Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) to suss out whether the villain is a Wesen. I can understand using this idea once or twice, but we’re approaching the quarter mark of the season and Trubel is basically nothing more than Nick’s seeing-eye Grimm.
This might be more acceptable if the central issue at hand – who is Nick without his powers? – was being explored, but alas that question seems to be uninteresting to the writers. Instead Grimm remains deeply indebted to its maddening case-of-the-week formula, despite lacking a compelling narrative to tell. These last two episodes have clearly suffered because a less than memorable case of the week is allowed to dominate the hour. It doesn’t help that these cases are so stock standard (both boxing and golem tales are standard fare for genre shows); there’s literally nothing new in the story of a mom-ager who presses her child too hard to succeed or how to control a vengeful enforcer made of clay.
The lack of originality in these cases is frustrating because it highlights Grimm‘s reluctance to break from formula to tell the interesting storylines lying on the outskirts. And when you consider what other stories the writers could be telling, it makes it hard to enjoy the show for anything less than simplistic escapist fare. Consider these unexplored topics:
- Nick and Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) are essentially surrogate parents this season to a troubled teenager. What’s that like? How are they adjusting?
- Wu (Reggie Lee) is poking around the fact that his closest colleagues have been lying to him for years, suspecting that their teenage sociology student may be a mass murderer. How does he feel?
- Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) are being subjected to hate crimes for their inter-species Wesen marriage. Are they scared? Mad? Concerned?
- Renard (Sasha Roiz) literally died and was resuscitated by his mother Elizabeth (Louise Lombard), with whom it’s fair to assume he doesn’t have the closest relationship with since she’s never been mentioned before. What’s their relationship like? Where has she been? How do they feel about the their new statuses as father and grandmother, respectively?
- Finally – the biggie – Nick has no powers. How does he feel about that? Why aren’t he and Juliette having long discussions about what this means for them in terms of their future plans?!
It’s absolutely bonkers to me that all of these fascinating stories are being pushed aside in favour of one and two minute snippets per episode, especially the last point which should be the only story that Grimm is exploring. Consider the casual moment at the end of ‘Dyin’ On A Prayer’ when the Spice Shop crew show up at Nick’s house and declare that they have a cure for Adalind’s (Claire Coffee) spell. There’s no pregnant pause wherein anyone wonders if this is even something he wants! Where’s the deliberation and discussion about all of this?!
- Speaking of Adalind, how amazing is the scene as she tries to escape the castle? Faces appearing in the walls, speaking to her like Sirens and then drown her in their tears. It is like something out of Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Island of Lost Children or something. Let’s get some more of that kinda freaky stuff happening, because that sequence is by far the most compelling thing about this episode.
- Usually I bemoan the special effects on the show, but the look of the Golem coming out of the ground and smothering Keith and Nate is actually really effective.
- It’s overly simplistic and fairly predictable, but seeing the kid literally battle his demons and win for the first time is a pretty cute moment.
- The final scene seems deliberately misleading, positioning Juliette as the key ingredient required to reverse the spell. What do you want to bet that it’s actually Trubel (visibly seated in the background) who holds the key to restoring Nick?
- Finally, Trubel has been a boxer and a babysitter so far this season. We know she sucks at being a PI due to that time when Octopus Head made her, but are there other jobs she should try out? Hopefully the writers will make this a running gag and give her a new profession each episode (kinda like the motels on Supernatural).
- Nick (surveying the corpse): “Looks like there’s something coming out of every orifice.” MD: “Clay, by the looks of it.” Umm…duh.
Your turn: is Grimm overlooking its most interesting storylines? Are you in favour of the case of the week format? Hoping for more backstory on Elizabeth at some point? Will Rosalee and Monroe ever get to go on their honeymoon? And should the show dabble in creepy/weirdness like the Adalind scene? Sound off below
Grimm airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC