Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Bad Luck" For GRIMM Fans

Article originally written for Seat42F.

GRIMM returns on NBC this week with “Bad Luck.” It begins by picking up right where the previous installment left off, with Nick (David Giuntoli) finding out that Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is a Hexenbiest. From here, there is some play on the program’s serial arcs, but most of the hour is taken up by yet another case-of-the-week that really doesn’t figure into the large scheme of things.

I don’t know why GRIMM has reverted to all of these stand-alone stories, but it’s becoming quite frustrating. At its best, the show unravels a cool narrative with a deep mythology. But far too often the concentration has been on isolated crimes that are solved at the end of an hour, reigniting a worry I had at the start about the direction the show will take. This worry was alleviated for awhile, but has now returned stronger than ever. This seems especially apparent this season, as in the past there were fewer of these type of hours. There are plenty of formulaic crime shows on television; we don’t need another one, even if Nick is technically a cop. Why is GRIMM wasting our time?

“Bad Luck” is a prime example of my complaint. It teases us with a Nick / Juliette story, then immediately starts following a murderer that is hunting rabbit-like Wesens. He cuts off their left foot, which is supposed to bring good luck in fertility. It’s a brutal, archaic practice, and Nick, Hank (Russell Hornsby), and Wu (Reggie Lee) track him down and stop him. Case closed, and we’ll likely never see these characters again.

What’s the point of that? Besides getting a too-brief glimpse of Romy Rosemont (Glee) playing the matriarch of the hunted clan, what benefit does the central plot of “Bad Luck”provide? Does this story matter in the larger picture of GRIMM? No. While viewers long to get back to the crumbling relationship, with Nick making an effort to accept the new Juliette and Juliette not allowing him to because of her own anger at the situation, instead we waste time with a local murder and kidnapping. Nick isn’t the type to just take Henrietta’s (Garcelle Beauvais) word that Juliette can’t be saved. Why isn’t he devoting more effort into solving the problem?

The episode further messes with fans by dropping a Renard (Sasha Roiz) / Adalind (Claire Coffee) scene in the middle in which Adalind has seemingly switched sides, turning on Viktor.  This is a pretty big development, if true, and shifts the dynamics of the struggle. The threatened revolution against the royal family only gets more intense as a baby’s life hangs in the balance. So why can’t we spend time on that? It certainly rates more than a minute or two in the middle of a full hour.

“Bad Luck” ends with an even more startling revelation: Adalind is pregnant with Nick’s baby! This is huge! We don’t know what a hybrid Hexenbiest / Grimm would look like, or how that could affect the balance of power in GRIMM’s universe. We also don’t know how this will affect Nick and Juliette, who are already on the outs, though I don’t see Nick taking up with Adalind, even if she is bearing his child, because they hate one another. 

Unfortunately, rather than exploring the vast implications of such a development, I’ve lost faith in GRIMM seeing it through. We’ll probably still continue to get a few minutes per episode that deal with the bigger arcs. But when the vast majority of the time is spent on matters that don’t pertain strongly to our leads, keeping us away from the far more interesting stories, it becomes hard to continue to watch. GRIMM was a solid series and could be so again, but right now, if I wasn’t writing about it, I’d seriously consider quitting watching it. A few great bits, such as the tie-in to the lucky rabbit’s foot myth, a character that could be called Peter Rabbit, and the young girl in distress defending herself instead of letting holier-than-thou Nick save her, do not make up for the larger mess.

GRIMM airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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