Sunday, April 19, 2015

Slightly Less GRIMM

Article originally written for Seat42F.

This week’s installment of GRIMM is called “Mishipeshu” (pronounced similar to the car, Mitsubishi). Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) are joined by Deputy Sheriff Janelle Farris (Toni Trucks) as they investigate a couple of grisly murders. Rather than a Wesen being responsible, though, it’s a ghostly Mishipeshu, which possesses a person and takes revenge for them. Since three men killed the boy’s dad, the reason for this summoning, our heroes have to hurry to save the last undeserving criminal.

On its own, “Mishipeshu” is fine. It brings an interesting, new creature into the picture. More of the running time is given over to Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) being self-destructive, an arc that begs for more attention, and there are some great lines. Farris shakes up the dynamic of the detectives, and I hope the tag with her at the end has lasting implications (though it probably won’t). The whole hour ends up being far more enjoyable than most recent hours.

But you can’t take a single episode of GRIMM on its own, and even when you do, there are plot holes.

First, the Mishipeshu is a Great Lakes creature, so it has no reason to be anywhere near the West coast. Serving the Native American mythology is a good idea, but GRIMM should stick to the beasts that actually belong in their part of the world, as there are plenty of those. While Wesen from other parts of the world come to Portland, it makes less sense for a ghost to move, as it isn’t an individual with its own life goals. Though, I have to admit, the Mishipeshu is one of the coolest looking things the show has done lately.

Second, while this isn’t the first time supernatural non-Wesen have entered into the show, we’re still lacking any type of explanation for them. GRIMM has a certain set of rules and logic it mostly follows, and whenever it ventures outside of that realm, it does so without any attempt to justify it or explain it. It would be interesting for the series to expand its world, but the why and how must be dealt with if it wants to be a quality show.

Third, it still makes no sense that Nick and the others, who are supposed to be very good at their jobs, don’t notice any weirdness in the world prior to Nick discovering he’s a Grimm. Wu (Reggie Lee) asks Renard (Sasha Roiz) this week how much of crime is Wesen-related. Renard replies that most crime is, in most places. And yet, we’re still expected to believe the vast majority of the population has no inkling of such a huge, visible grouping constantly drawing attention to themselves? Renard’s words just don’t make sense.

Fourth, the episode opens with Hank being possessed by the Mishipeshu and Nick trying to fight him. This doesn’t work because Nick and Hank are friends and Nick would need a very good reason to battle Hank. If GRIMM were to do an arc where Hank became a problem that Nick must solve, they wouldn’t tease something so heavy in a hokey opening. Plus, as I’ve mentioned in other columns in the past year or two, this “starting at the end” convention has been done to death and needs to be retired.

For all of these reasons, “Mishipeshu” doesn’t fix what’s wrong with GRIMM. If anything, it adds to the problem. It may be entertaining, but if it can’t present a story consistent with the world it takes place in, then it’s not worth much.

By contrast, I think I finally understand where GRIMM is going with Juliette. Her personality has changed so much because power corrupts, and she likes the power. She’s like a teenager, testing her boundaries to figure out how to live a life she doesn’t fully understand yet. Nick leaving her in jail after she causes trouble in a bar is smart because it keeps the problems she poses contained. But like most teenagers, she probably won’t take kindly to the punishment, which should ramp up the drama even more moving forward.

Unless there’s some magic cure that restores personality as it takes away the Hexenbieste, this is probably the end of the line for Juliette and Nick as a couple. I wouldn’t want such a neat reset, anyway, as it would feel inauthentic. Breaking up the primary duo is sad, but it opens up a lot of possibilities for the show. I just hope Juliette isn’t (SPOILER) the major character that GRIMM reportedly will kill off this year, as the conflict surrounding her is too juicy to throw away.

GRIMM airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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