“Game Ogre” S1 / E8
- B- Community Grade
Grimm is about as minor of a hit as possible thanks to being on NBC, but it’s sticking around admirably. It holds onto a decent Friday night audience week after week, and turns out consistently average episodes that hold my attention, but we’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, where the fairy tales are window dressing, plot movement is still barely taking baby steps, and Nick is literally sidelined at the most important time during a case. Stranding a protagonist with a witty, knowledgeable buddy instead of a mentor is already tenuous, but Grimm feels even more in flux than that, almost so surprised of how assured its status is through the end of the season that it doesn’t know which direction to go. Does it need more character development for the soon-to-be-engaged couple, retooling to make Eddie Monroe more of a lead, or a toned down amount of fairy tale references? Tonight’s episode was a mix of all three, and only the Monroe change made a positive difference.
The case of the week involves a prison escapee out for revenge on the judge, district attorney, and others who were responsible for sending him to prison. The guy happens to be a Giant, referred to as a Siegbarst, with abnormally dense bone structure and a medical condition that makes him unable to feel as much pain as a normal person. Hank worked the case and made the initial arrest, and it’s increasingly clear that he’s the Giant’s next target. Since the captain puts Hank into protective custody against his will, the Giant attacks Nick’s house in order to get information. Nick’s wounds from that battle – delayed after Juliet comes home and splashes boiling water across the Giant’s face – put him in the hospital, where he then directs Eddie Monroe through obtaining an Elephant Gun from Aunt Marie’s trailer, and trailing Hank in order to take out the Giant.
Unlike other, stronger episodes of Grimm that took a fairy tale and updated the fundamental elements to modern Portland, this week only uses one character from Jack and the Beanstalk. Instead of finding some way to make that story work, like the writers did with Bluebeard, Goldilocks, and others, Grimm just slid a Giant into a murder case that would fit pretty well into any other procedural show. A bitter convict seeking revenge on those responsible for imprisoning him – you could find that on any other show – and the supernatural elements sprinkled in at convenient turns gave the impression that this idea came from some Law & Order script instead of a new way to retell Jack and the Beanstalk.
In that way, it was similar to the last episode before the winter hiatus, which had a few parallels to the Rapunzel story, but mostly had Eddie Monroe trying to calm a young Blutbad girl who didn’t understand what she was. I didn’t realize before researching the Brother’s Grimm that there are so many stories in the various editions of the Fairy Tales, but episodes like this end of as a bit of a waste of that incorporation. The only reason the guy needs to be a Giant is because of the premise, and while Eddie Monroe makes his material work consistently, for once I found the fantastical elements of the show unnecessary and phoned in. The climactic battle was predestined, expected, and completely lacking any tension. Eddie succeeds, stays anonymous, and Hank survives with a slap on the wrist and a sly nudge in the direction of investigating bullet evidence that will trace back to Nick and his status as a Grimm.
As usual, Silas Weir Mitchell’s scenes are the strongest in the entire episode. He’s managed to make a compelling character out of Eddie, who is probably my favorite character on a new show this year. He even gets involved in the case of the week in an official way, since he fixes clocks. Hank and Nick need help identifying a rare watch in relation to the case. He's funny when trying to hide the fact that he and Nick spend so much time together from Hank, and even better when he gets so into the watch facts that neither of the cops are interested in hearing. His delivery cracks me up more than anyone else on the show, who appropriately take their often very gruesome cases very seriously, but the lighter mood Eddie Monroe brings is definitely what keeps me excited to watch this show every week.
Nick still hasn’t become a very interesting character, which showed a lot more when he got taken out of the equation for the final scenes, relegated to a hospital bed. Hank has an emotional angle, Eddie has humor, the captain has mystery, but Nick seems to be sleepwalking through a scenario dripping with intrigue with little urgency until something drops in his lap during his day job. He seeks out information from the Magic Trailer only in relation to his cases, but part of that problem comes from the fact that the world isn’t converging on him as a Grimm. The overarching plot elements have laid dormant for so long that they’ve become irrelevant, and when they pop up – as in Castle, Psych or several other shows that employ this particularly unsatisfying blend of episodic and serialized structure – it feels incredibly forces. It’s as though the writers suddenly realized they haven’t moved anything forward in a while and threw something together in order to give the appearance that there’s some kind of endgame.
When Eddie Monroe makes me laugh, or Hank convinces me that he wants to do the right thing no matter the cost, I can ignore those questions that are still at the forefront of my mind, but when Juliet and Nick share a scene about how Nick regrets endangering his girlfriend that probably belonged in the pilot, or the lead of the show doesn’t appear in the climax of the episode, there are bigger problems at hand. Grimm has a lot of ideas to work with, but it just doesn’t know where it wants to go with any of them, choosing instead to try and achieve several different goals at once, and coming up short because it’s spread too thin.
“I get it. Be cool, wear pants.”
“Okay…he said…somewhat tenuously”
Juliet and Nick both reliving the Giant attack seemed like overkill. I thought Juliet’s was better, still very much in shock at what happened, but Nick’s nightmare was just a way to make Eddie’s entrance artificially more dramatic.
When Nick calls Eddie to tell him he’s in the hospital, Eddie is drinking a glass of red wine alone and listening to jazz. I find Silas Weir Mitchell very funny, and he’s absolutely my favorite new television character of the year.