Monday, March 30, 2015

Break Your "Date" With GRIMM

Article originally written for Seat42F.

The latest installment of NBC’s GRIMM, “Double Date,” introduces us to a Wesen with multiple personalities. It turns from a male (Mark Famiglietti, Terminator 3) to a female (Briana Lane, The Real Housewives of Horror) and back again, both forms being completely separate individuals. This make the creature especially dangerous when it starts preying on horny guys, and the deadly liquid it secretes in its Wesen form is pretty bad, too.

There are actually some very interesting moral quandaries raised in “Double Date.” To arrest the Wesen, Nick (David Giuntoli), Hank (Russell Hornsby), and Wu (Reggie Lee) must trap it in its male form, which doesn’t sit right with Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). While the Wesen doesn’t have an equivalent in the real world, there are definitely shades of gender rights, mental illness, and transsexuality built into the story, and a general feeling of icky-ness when the cops take the ability away. While GRIMM doesn’t delve too deeply into the issues it raises, at least this case makes one think.

It also paints Nick as a bit of a bully. Being a Grimm is his job, and sometimes he has to go outside of the legal boundaries in order to get that job done. Yet, Nick shows no remorse over what he is doing to this Wesen, nor worries about its state of mind after it is caught. While Nick doesn’t kill Wesen like other Grimms, he has definitely developed a professional detachment that makes him seem cold and cruel. I hope this is an angle the show examines more in the near future.

I’m not super hopeful that will be the case, though. “Double Date,” like many recent installments, concentrates a lot on the case-of-the-week, minimizing the serial arcs of the show. This hour is a little less procedural than the last few, but still majorly falls into the formulaic column, a huge disappointment. I feel like I could copy and paste many of my complaints about GRIMM in recent columns and reuse them this week, though I’ll refrain from doing so. It still bums me out to see a program fall this far in quality and story freshness as GRIMM has this year.

In the serial bits that do exist, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is sleeping in her car, refusing to come home. Nick didn’t kick her out, but she isn’t happy with herself, and won’t let him care for her. Their separation is purely her decision, which is frustrating since she is doing nothing to work through it. Even worse, she goes to Renard (Sasha Roiz) for help. Renard may be the one person who can understand her, but given her past with him (under the influence of a spell, but still…), this won’t sit well with Nick.

Not that it sits that well with Renard. He has his own issues to worry about, finding himself inexplicably covered in blood with no medical explanation. Whatever is happening is a result of what his mother did to him, but neither he nor the viewers quite understand what that means yet. If only GRIMM would devote a little more time to this, it could be a very interesting subplot.

Adalind’s (Claire Coffee) segment of the episode is smaller and less intriguing. She decides she’ll get Viktor (Alexis Denisof) to sleep with her so she can frame him for her current pregnancy, which seems a dumb idea, given the issues she’s had with the royal baby she birthed already. Before she can seduce him, though, Viktor is sent away. I don’t know why Viktor is being replaced by another royal, who is not seen in “Double Date,” but the way the camera just misses him makes me think he’s leaving due to an actor availability issue, which stinks and is poorly handled.

Will GRIMM gets its act together before the May finale? Or is it destined to be a much weaker show for the rest of its days, favoring crime-solving over character-development? Sadly, all signs seem to point to the latter.

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

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