Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grimm 2.1: "Bad Teeth"

Grimm returned earlier this week with its second-season opener, and I may be biased but WASN'T IT AWESOME?! I'm so, so ridiculously happy this show is back with new episodes. And we were even treated to a snazzy new credits sequence! WIN.

Interestingly enough, this episode doesn't open with a quote from a fairy tale -- it instead opens with a few lines from "The Second Coming," a poem by William Butler Yeats. "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned..." -- ominous words to be sure, and from a poem written in the aftermath of World War I it certainly seems as though the show is hinting at a conflict of global proportions, with its epicenter in Portland. The episode opens to a scene on a cargo ship, just a few short days before Nick's fateful encounter with Kimura (Brian Tee), one of the four men responsible for his parents' murders. Something incredibly violent is locked in one of the cargo containers, something that has ripped stowaways to shreds and painted the walls and crates with bloody graffitti -- including a sycthe, the symbol of the Reapers. When the ship arrives in Portland, a pair of security guards have the misfortune to stumble upon the bloody container and become the creature's next victims -- and we get our first glimpse of a cat-like creature with huge, saber-like fangs.

The action of the episode then shifts to the final moments of the season one finale, when the mysterious "woman in black" (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) arrives at Nick's (David Giuntoli) home to knock Kimura out and drop the little bomb that she's his long-lost mother. At this point I couldn't help but reflect back on how Giuntoli consistently improved as Nick over the course of season one, bringing more feeling, emotion, and depth to the character -- and if this episode is any indication, we're in for a stellar season. I loved how Giuntoli played Nick's reaction to the revelation that his mother let him think she was dead for eighteen years -- he doesn't even try to hide the raw pain. As it is, it's probably best Nick welcomes his mother back into his life with reservations -- because she's been hunting the men responsible for killing her husband, and she wants those pesky, powerful Coins of she can destroy them. Supposedly. Because I'm 99% sure she's holding something back, and I have to wonder if perhaps she wants the coins so she has the power to wreak havoc on her enemies. I have to think that living in hiding for eighteen years would take a terrible toll on one's psyche...

Nick's mother/son reunion is cut short when a host of police descend on his wrecked home, led by Sgt. Wu (Reggie Lee) and Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz). At this point can I just tell you how terrible distracted I am from this point on by Renard's practically unbearable hotness?? YEESH. :P I mean I know the man has an agenda, I know he wants to leverage Nick's status as a Grimm for his own purposes -- but I just cannot bring myself to think that he's completely nefarious. He's so incredibly, freakishly PERFECT. At this point Nick is finally able to fill in his boss on the fact that Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) has been hospitalized in a coma -- in a COMPLETELY UNRELATED INCIDENT, of course, to everything else that has been wreaking havoc in Portland for the last day or so. Renard's response to this news is very interesting -- more on that in a second.

Cut to Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner), still at the spice shop with Adalind's cat, trying to figure out what spell she used to poison Juliette. I LOVE YOU MONROE, SO VERY VERY MUCH...summer was a veritable wasteland without your presence on my television. I love the fact that a Blutbad is freaked out by a cat, and I love how smart Rosalee is about all things Wesen and potions-related -- so very happy she was promoted to a series regular! The couple's cuteness factor aside, the discover the worst-possible news about Adalind's curse -- she infected Juliette with an extremely virulent, powerful memory loss potion, and the clock is ticking in the race to find a cure before the effects become irreversible.

This discovery leads to one of the best scenes in this episode -- Monroe and Rosalee arrive at Nick's home, eager to explain their discovery, and they meet Nick's mother, Kelly -- a Grimm who takes a VERY different view than her son of Grimm/Wesen friendships. Between Monroe calling Nick's mom a b*tch, quickly back-pedalling, and then refusing to SHUT UP because of his nervousness, I was cracking up. I loved the line about brutal family reunions, and the one where Monroe lost two cousins and a sheepdog...and no one misses the cousins. *wink* And I loved how Monroe and Rosalee played their exit -- she kind of pats him on the arm, going "okay," when you just know she's thinking shut your trap already, honey. :P (Side note: When Rosalee tells Nick that the potion to save Juliette's memories takes something like sixteen hours to brew, the first thing I thought of was the Polyjuice Potion from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.)

So back to Kelly Burkhardt for a moment...supposedly she's been absent from Nick's life in order to protect him. I'm thinking that the longer she was gone, the easier it was to stay away, you know (also, my heart just broke for Nick when his mom confessed that Marie kept the truth from him all these years -- like the poor guy doesn't have enough to deal with?!)? I'm really looking forward to seeing how the show develops the history of the Grimms and the idea of a world-wide Wesen/Grimm conflict this season. Kelly hints that she's been involved in the fight against the royal families and their bid to regain the control they once enjoyed -- does this mean she was involved in the Wesen Resistance or more of a free agent? And given that the Grimms are descendants of the knights that once served the royal families, how long will it be before the show starts to introduce some distant relatives of the Burkhardts? One would think this is inevitable given the revelation that Aunt Marie's mysterious key is just one of seven parts that make up a map (how cool is that?!). I LOVE THE HISTORY THIS SHOW IS DEVELOPING! A bit later in the episode Nick takes his mom to Aunt Marie's trailer which gives her the opportunity to relate some of her own history, particularly what it was like to "awaken" to her Grimm abilities. Given that her father apparently took both her and Marie "Wesen hunting" for lack of a better term from relatively young ages, I have to think Nick wouldn't have stood a chance at becoming a more "compassionate" Grimm if he'd been raised in the lifestyle -- make sense?

The "fairy tale" influence on this episode is still the "Sleeping Beauty" story, given Juliette's current condition -- a carryover from the season finale. When Renard learns that Juliette has been hospitalized, he immediately recognizes Adalind's touch and heads to her mother's home to find her, since the one-time Hexenbiest is no where to be found. I love how Catherine (Jessica Tuck) has completely written off her daughter (though I do rather hope Adalind makes a return appearance at some point), and tires to tell off Renard but he's having NONE of it. (I LOVE HIM. I know that is probably all kinds of twisted but I just cannot help myself!) Renard knows that Juliette keeps Nick in Portland, so Catherine agrees to work towards a cure -- and to that end she visits the spice shop with a list of ingredients that Rosalee recognizes. When Nick finds out, he visits Catherine's home and goes all Grimm on the situation, and Giuntoli, you are getting increasingly good at that, just sayin'!

When Catherine calls to let Renard know about Nick's visit, she also tells him that she thinks she has a cure -- but there could be a price. So here are my initial thoughts about the next episode, and a possible story arc this season. Given that the fairy tale influence on this episode is the Sleeping Beauty story, we know there has to be a kiss -- the only question is, in this incarnation of the story whose kiss will awaken Juliette? Nick is of course a very dashing prince stand-in, but given this show's tendency to turn fairy tale conventions inside-out, I suspect that Catherine will finish her cure first, and that cure will be administered by a kiss -- and that kiss will tie Juliette to Renard, bringing some much-needed overt tension to the Nick/Renard relationship. Thoughts? I love Nick and Juliette together, but the whole idea of Renard as some sort of dark prince? That sends me over the moon. (Like the man needs help being hotter...)

In an attempt to wrap things up here (I've forgotten how once I start talking about this show I CAN'T STOP), I need to touch on a few things relating to Kimura and the saber-tooth murders. Mama Grimm is foiled in her desire to knock-off Kimura herself when Nick discovers that someone beat them to it, poisoning his lunch with what looks like the same toxin Nick encountered in the bee-themed episode. During the initial investigation into the bloody cargo container, we get a brief glimpse of Hank (Russell Hornsby), who is putting on a brave front but is still very much haunted by visions of the glimpse he caught of Monroe in his Blutbad-form. Any guesses on how long it will be before Nick has to have a very specific talk with Hank about the strangeness in Portland? *wink*

Now, I'm not going to go into the mechanics of the investigation into the cargo killings, except to say I think it is fascinating that if Kelly is to be believed, someone sent the creature to Portland for the sole intention of smoking out Nick -- and anyone unfortunate enough to get in his way is just collateral damage. The saber-toothed creatures are Mauvais Dentes, smart, canny, killing machines who like to toy with their potential victims before tearing them to shreds. Are we thinking that the as yet unintroduced castle dweller -- played by James Frain, already announced as playing Renard's brother -- is behind the creature's appearance in Portland? Given our introduction to Renard's brother is via a torture scene, early impressions have Renard looking like a saint by comparison! I cannot WAIT until the Renard brothers are on-screen together!

Between the cliffhanger with the Mauvais Dentes creature and Renard being incredibly attractive and Nick being all angsty and DRIVEN, this episode was a fantastic season opener. Hit the comments with theories and observations, I'd love to discuss! :)

*Images copyright Scott Green/NBC


Kaye Dacus said...

I always have to read your reviews because, even though I've watched the show, I never pick up on all the nuances you do.

First, yes, I think that Renard will be the one to deliver the saving kiss. Holy cow, how can being scuffed and scraped and bruised up make him even HOTTER???? :-)

Second, saw a 'ship name for Monroe and Rosalee: "Monrosalee." too cute. Love them together.

Third, Mama Grimm has an ulterior motive, but I'm pretty sure they explained that the reason Grimms are the guardians of the coins is that the coins don't affect them. So would she be able to use them?

Fourth, did I mention that Renard is HOT?!?!?!

Fifth, I didn't know that James Frain (love him in a scene straight from THE TUDORS) was playing Renard's brother. Hope they'll explain the different accents!

And, last, I have a love-hate thing going on with that cliffhanger ending. Love that they're deepening the story beyond an easily wrapped up one-hour case, hate that we have to wait until next week to find out what happens next!

Rissi said...

Glad this lived up to your expectations, Ruth. :-)

Rissi said...

Oh! And, Kaye - you are too funny.

Heidenkind said...

I love this show so hard. And yes, Renard is hot. :) I think what I like most about him, though, is that he's a great captain; even if he does have an ulterior motive he always supports his detectives.

First of all, I do think Nick's mom has an ulterior motive. I was like, "Don't give her the coins, Nick!!!" And poor Nick--I seriously wanted to cuddle him during this ep. ::(

Thirdly, I like your idea of Juliette being awakened with a kiss, but I don't know if it's going to be Renard. I think it's going to be Hank or Monroe. Renard doesn't want any overt conflict between him and Nick (although seeing him kiss Juliette awake would be totally dreamy :).

Did it bother you that Nick doesn't spend more time with Juliette in this ep? I know he's busy, but come on, your girlfriend's in a coma!

Unknown said...

@Kaye - LOL, thanks! :) And I completely agree with you about Renard. Getting beat up just makes him MORE appealing.

I LOVE Monrosalee as their 'ship name. That is too cute, and they are ADORABLE.

I do remember an earlier episode talking about how Grimms could guard the coins because they weren't "as" affected by them. Nick seems pretty immune...but I'm wondering if Mama Grimm has become a bit, um, unhinged?

EXCELLENT point about the different accents between Renard and his brother...maybe Renard's been disguising his all along?

Also...I completely agree with you about the ending. Love that the show is going "big," hate it for my patience. :P

@Rissi - Oh, it DID it DID!! :)

@Tasha - You and me both. And EXCELLENT point about Renard...he really seems to want to do right by his people...which is why I keep holding out that he is secretly not completely nefarious. ;)

I kept thinking throughout this episode that Nick just needed a hug! I would've been more than happy to oblige. :)

Interesting thought about Hank or Monroe being the one to awaken Juliette...I can't see the show going their w/ Monroe, but Hank is a possibility. He didn't have all this much to do in this episode. The reason I think it is going to be Renard, though, is because getting Catherine involved seems to point to the possibility that she's going to get HIM to carry out the cure.

Also, point taken about Nick's lack of quality time with Juliette...but things are pretty crazy right now...and the last two episodes have covered what, a day and a half? We'll have to see how things progress!

Unknown said...

@Ruth, I don't like how the writers retconned how the Grimm abilities are passed on in this episode by saying they are random when it's already been established in Season 1 how they are passed between members of the Grimm "family".

Nor do I like the confirmation that the Grimms are descended from 7 Wesen Knights who policed other Wesen for the 7 Royal families - I don't like how Kelly is ok with this.

I don't like how Kelly wants to kill all Wesen when Aunt Marie told Nick specifically to "...kill the bad ones..."

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

So am I the only one who has a serious problem with the no-means-no* attitude of having someone Juliette didn't choose be the kisser?

(*Consent is assumed, in absence of a "No." as the default. A woman is always available. As opposed to yes-means-yes, where consent, ie, the woman's active agreement, is verified each time.)

I mean, I know she's all audience-surrogate and stuff, and the only way you'd get that steamy kiss out of an honorable woman is for her to be unconscious, but I find it creepy that "hotness" is enough license to kiss whoever "needs" it. Too many Unfortunate Implications (to use the TV Tropes vocabulary).

Unknown said...

@Chris Hall - I thought that was interesting. I can buy the idea that not every member of the family will inherit the Grimm abilities...that doesn't bother me. But you are right, to going from one "family" to descendants of the seven knights (who I seriously doubt were all related) is more of a stretch.

I think the fact that Kelly is more of a "loose cannon" supports the idea that she has a hidden agenda...what that is, of course, remains to be seen...

Unknown said...

@Amy Jane - If this wasn't a twist on the fairy tale, I think I'd be more inclined to agree with you. IF Renard's kiss is the one that awakens Juliette, I don't think it stems from any romantic overtures on his part (though I do think the show could benefit from some tension in that department, at least for a short run of episodes).

I suspect (will have to see if tonight's episode bears this out) that the kiss of legend will be the vehicle by which the "cure" is delivered to awaken Juliette...this to my mind diminishes the romantic connotations of the traditional story.

Unknown said...

@Ruth, I have it on good authority that the 7 knight's were brothers hence being the original Grimm's - my friend confirmed that it's taken from an obscure "Brother's Grimm" story.

Unknown said...

@Chris Hall - Oh now THAT is interesting...thanks for the intel! :)

Kaye Dacus said...

They have already established the kiss as a non-romantic gesture in this show---after all, Nick "stole" Adalind's Wesen ability with a kiss. There was obviously nothing at all romantic or sexual about that kiss. So to me, that set the precedent that kisses in this show don't have to have any kind of connotation like that, nor is a stolen kiss tantamount to rape---the stolen kiss/kiss from a stranger is a major trope in both the fairy tale and romance genres and is not something I'd consider a violation.

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

Thanks for actually answering my concern and not taking me for a troll.

Still not comfortable with it myself, but it helps me relax a bit about the story to hear an in-story explanation that seems reasonable.