Grimm: “Island Of Dreams”
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Grimm: “Island Of Dreams”

I’m now willing to accept just how average Grimm can be as a positive. There are a great many television shows on the air right now that use the same kind of structure as this one. But honestly, I’d rather watch Grimm over Bones, any part of the CSI franchise, and pretty much anything other than Psych on USA. That isn’t because of humor, or character chemistry, but because Grimm has to build a world, and I find the slow widening scope of Nick’s forays into the Wessen world more interesting than the standard male/female cop pairing that slowly builds into romance, or the usual ripped-from-the-headlines case structure.

Instead of staring with a setup of this week’s case, the opening scenes tied into the serialized plot, which was a nice change of pace. First, Captain Renard and Adalind stare at a painting that used to belong to Renard’s family — unless I’m misinterpreting the opening lines of their conversation. It’s still incredibly unclear exactly what Renard is from the bits and pieces he’s dropped throughout the series, so despite the spoilers on NBC’s own website, anybody that only watches the show has no idea whether he’s a creature, a Grimm, or some other category yet to be encountered. This episode picks up a plot from a while back, where Adalind was trying to find a way to Nick through Hank, but normal routes of seduction have somehow failed.

In order to keep up with Renard's plans, she goes to the same Wessen apothecary we saw a few weeks ago, purchasing ingredients to make a hallucinogenic batch of chocolate chip cookies, which she gives to Hank in order to set him off on a wild hallucination trip obsessing about her. Luckily for her, she gets out of the store right before two drugged-out snake creatures bust in trying to rob the place of a Wessen-opiate, which sets off the case-of-the-week. The Fuchsbau first made an appearance in “Organ Grinder,” my favorite episode of the series so far, and even though the Wessen apothecary is murdered within the first fifteen minutes, his sister Rosalee - played by the delightful Bree Turner - gets much more screen time as a romantic interest for Eddie.

Rosalee brings up some important questions about the division of labor in Nick’s life. He has to divide himself between his home life and his work life in order to do anything in the creature world as a Grimm. The “tea and spice shop owner” is a case that can’t be solved by a normal cop, because they just wouldn’t know how to go about looking for these guys, since talking to creatures about a drug that only has an effect on them would exclude that line of question from human cops. I recognize that creating that separation is kind of a gimmick as well, but it’s still entertaining to see Nick and Eddie team up for this investigation, ending up in an eerily large Wessen opium den chasing down the guys who robbed the store.

For whatever reason, I’m wired to like serialized television. I just prefer a story that constantly moves forward, but I’m interested enough in the creature side of Portland Grimm is building to look past the glacial pace of the overarching season plot. Procedurals like Grimm and Castle that delay overarching plot development for so many episodes try my patience. Castle has a lot of humor to keep that slow advancement at bay, but Grimm uses world building to delay revealing too much in any one episode. We see new creatures, or new developments from old ones, like the beaver creature who freaked out while repairing Nick and Juliette’s refrigerator. He comes back delivering gifts ins some strange form of tribute, also fixing Nick and Juliette’s door, setting a strange precedent that will probably continue where the meeker creatures offer tribute to the local Grimm, and Juliette becomes increasingly confused at what’s going on.

My favorite minor character on Grimm is Sgt. Wu, and this week he got tossed into a much more intense plot than he’s been in before. He takes a bite of one of Hank’s cookies, and since the potion in the batter wasn’t meant for him, he has a really bad reaction. Luckily, Nick assigned Wu to go check on Eddie and Rosalie at the apothecary, so she can jump into action and save the guy’s life. When Nick talks to him later, Wu seems fine, and doesn’t remember anything, but then takes something out of a couch cushion to eat it. I thought it was more of the killer cookie, but perhaps there’s a lot more to that character than previously thought. Hank ends the episode still hallucinating up a storm, but now that his plot with Adalind has progressed to this state, the show can’t afford to put it on the backburner very long. Hank can’t just be messing up cases every week because he sees a vision of Adalind walking through a house.

In the end, Rosalee decides to stay in Portland and keep the shop open through the trial of her brother’s killers, and I hope the show decides to keep her around. She draws out something interesting from Eddie Monroe, and she asks the right kind of pointed questions about Nick’s life and the Nick/Eddie partnership. The three little pigs episode from the fall also brought out the strange romance/beastly side of Eddie, and as the show’s best character, it would be nice to have that part of his character on display on a weekly basis instead of once or twice per season.

So like I said, I’ve settled into meager satisfaction at the average state of affairs on Grimm. I can laugh at some of the ridiculous creations and the oh-so-typical police investigation aspects of the show, but I stay for the interesting takes on folk tales, how the show chooses to interpret that fiction into a modern Portland setting. Just like any other procedural that means how much anyone likes this show will depend on how much they enjoy the case of the week, but I remain curious about the larger fabric of the show’s mythology. At least I care about it enough that I know I’m going to be frustrated by a long summer break when only scruples have been revealed so far.

Stray observations:

  • Juliette learns how to shoot a gun, and she’s actually pretty good. Nick wonders if she’s shot a gun before, which is another piece of evidence in the “Juliette’s hiding something” category.
  • Wild theory of the week: Juliette is somehow related to whatever line Captain Renard is from, which is why she’s so good at hiding her relation to the creature world.
  • I still think making the Beaver Wessen Oregon State fans is a hilarious touch.

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