Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Grimm: “Let Your Hair Down”

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Rapunzel isn’t the easiest fairy tale to translate into the unique fairy tale world that Grimm creates, because every one of the characters from those tales are reimagined as creatures hiding their true identities from the world. A princess with long hair doesn’t exactly fit into the whole hidden creature dynamic. Despite an opening quote from that particular tale, Grimm’s version of Rapunzel is Holly Clark, a Blutbad like Eddie Monroe, who disappeared from her adopted parents and has been missing for nine years. She has the typical long hair, which she uses as a rope or a whip, and lives in a tree house that is supposed to recall Rapunzel’s tower. Unfortunately all of that just comes off as lip service, a wink at the original tale that wants to just shed the one-fairy-tale-per-episode conceit and reveal more about Eddie Monroe and his developing partnership with Nick.

Since this is Portland, Oregon, there’s a big marijuana grower out in the woods. When two hikers make the unwise decision to walk near his crop, this guy just takes them captive at his camp. This initial scenario didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why is he growing pot so close to hiking trails? Wouldn’t a far less-travelled location be a better idea? Or were these hikers really off the beaten path? Grimm establishes none of those details, but has the Rapunzel Blutbad swing in, kill the pot farmer, and disappear, leaving only a few hairs behind for Nick and Hank to begin their case.

I actually liked the way the investigation split off into groups, with Nick and Eddie getting a chance to do the heavy lifting on the search, and Hank digging into the background of a case he previously investigated nine years earlier. Instead of the same old formula, this diverged from finding some kind of criminal. Nick needs to find a missing girl, not unlike the pilot, but there isn’t a clear path to holding someone responsible. The scene where Nick goes to find Eddie and convince him to help track down the girl was great, as it revealed Eddie’s affinity for Christmas decorations – and antique train is the cherry on top – and gave some insight into how creatures discover that they’re different. We’re finding out more and more about Blutbaden and Monroe, and very little about Nick’s own past with his Aunt Marie and making very scant progress on whether or not he will become a feared Grimm like his aunt, or something entirely different. From the ancillary scenes with the plumber from a few episodes back talking to his bar buddies, we get the gist that most creatures are scared to death of even knowing a Grimm is in their midst, but Nick doesn’t really get that. Wooden as he is, with Eddie Monroe around Giuntoli loosens up and gives a much better performance. They have a nice rapport, and it helps this episode that they spend a lot of time working with each other.

The Captain’s scenes have become increasingly superfluous since his one intervention with a Reaper a few weeks ago. Tonight, Hank and Nick summarize the case so far, and then in the final minutes the Captain reports what we already know to the media. It filled more time, but provided nothing other than a pulse check on that character. He’s done nothing of substance since for too long, so that when he inevitably becomes more of a shadowy threat in later episodes, there will be a lack of justification as to why he laid low and waited as long as he did. Juliette also gets her stock appearance of the episode, as she and Nick get into bed and make inconsequential observations about Holly Clark. Nick doesn’t realize something new or reveal anything about him or his relationship, it was yet another filler scene to remind us that he has a girlfriend, who cares about him and stuff, and might be getting engaged to, if this show remembered anything from its pilot. A few commenters have suggested that Grimm is operating under the idea that the first two episodes of the show were halves of an extended pilot, and one that the subsequent episodes have disregarded in terms of a backstory. I’m finding that harder and harder to ignore, because very few of those initial aspects have remained true up to this point. Retooling has produced a better episodic version of the show, but at the cost of an almost incoherent lack of an overall story. I have no idea where any of this is going in further episodes, but I know almost exactly what beats the show will hit once the guiding fairy tale becomes apparent.

There are more loose ends than any other episode of Grimm so far. For one, that hiker guy is still in the Blake basement, a kidnapping plot that made absolutely no sense in the plot other than as filler. The Blake brothers are the episode’s most unnecessary characters, who seem to be included only to ramp up the drama at the end when Nick and Eddie are trying to get help for Holly. Addison reveals that Holly was the one who bit him, so now Hank is suspicious about how that happened, bringing him closer to the supernatural side of the cases. And that very last shot, where Holly identifies Addison as the man who abducted her, leaves things in a very unfinished place. I want to believe the show will pick up right where it left off and deal with these problems, but the only way to do that in a way that keeps up with the format of the show is for Addison to be some other creature with his own fairy tale, and for the second part to intertwine with the Rapunzel touches. That would be the first attempt at that kind of structure for Grimm, and I’m not convinced in any way that it could pull that off.

Grimm has too many threads to follow right now, and it’s painted itself into a corner where even a few great scenes that move the episodic plot along and tease out some details of the creature world leaves something out, and tonight that was the slow crawl of the season-long arc. There is very little narrative drive beyond a weekly case and some background information from Eddie Monroe. Once Upon A Time finds itself in a position where it’s using flashbacks to serve a constant drive forward in an ongoing story, and not focusing as much on the episodic conflicts. Grimm is getting too bogged down in the Law & Order case-of-the-week and not providing enough in serialization. It’s still in a state of flux, and doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. I’m along for the ride, and any episode that features Silas Weir Mitchell in a bigger role can’t be all bad, but “Let Your Hair Down” is a warning sign that Grimm has too many plates in the air, and if it isn’t careful, they’re all going to come tumbling down and make a huge mess.


Stray observations:

  • I really liked the scene in Eddie’s house, and just how intensely he gets into Christmas.
  • Also from that scene: Santa Claus is a type of creature in this world, just like the blutbaden.
  • Whatever happened to Hank having dinner with demon blonde girl? It’s been a while since that happened, and it’ll come back eventually, but again, it’s been too long.
  • I’m nervous that adding too many plotlines to an episode, or too many diverging character storylines, will create an atmosphere like what goes on over on Glee, where some characters just get dropped for a few episodes in favor of others, then picked up again whenever the show deems it to be convenient to come back.