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Saturday, May 2, 2015

GRIMM "Jack"ed Up

Article originally written for Seat42F.

This week’s installment of NBC’s GRIMM finds Nick (David Giuntoli), Hank (Russell Hornsby), and Wu (Reggie Lee) tracking a serial killer who slays prostitutes. The style of these killings seem to match the notorious Jack the Ripper, who is not thought to be a Wesen, but has been around for hundreds of years. I guess “You Don’t Know Jack” as well as you thought you did.

“You Don’t Know Jack” is a little bit better than previous weeks, continuing a slight upward trend for GRIMM. After far too many cases-of-the-week, reducing what was once a clever serial story to a boring procedural, GRIMM is finding its legs again shortly before the finale. Lots of crime shows go for bigger arcs near the end of the year, so I wouldn’t count on this one sticking, though I certainly hope it does.

The meat of this hour is really about changing Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) back into a normal person, not Jack the Ripper murdering women. Adalind (Claire Coffee), Rosalee (Bree Turner), and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) dig up Adalind’s mother to make a potion. They then test it on Adalind, removing her Wesen side once again, before unsuccessfully trying to get Juliette to drink it.

I don’t know why Nick and his friends ever think Juliette will agree to down the liquid. She has made it quite clear over the past few weeks that she likes who she is now. She may not be in her right head; the old Juliette that viewers are familiar with would never act like this. But by now, even the densest or most blinded-by-love character on GRIMM should have realized this, too, and Nick doesn’t even seem all that upset by the change in her. This approach to Juliette does not work, and it makes no sense that the characters go about things this way.

Adalind isn’t handled all that well, either, instantly earning sympathy from the group, whom she goes along with. While once Adalind may have been able to work with these people, by this point in season four, they should be very far apart, and were just an episode or two ago. I understand circumstances have forced them to rely on each other, but that does not justify Adalind spilling out her heart to her mother in front of others or Nick’s tender way of helping Adalind lie down. This is weak storytelling.

It also doesn’t feel right that everyone just allows Adalind to drink the potion. She is super concerned with protecting the unborn fetus within her in other scenes, but swallows without hesitation when the time comes. Nick doesn’t seem to want the child nor intend to be involved, but he watches out for pregnant Adalind, except at this moment. Given the lack of confidence in everyone that the plan is going to work, why doesn’t anyone try to talk Adalind out of being the lab rat? They now value her baby over Juliette?

The case is actually the more interesting story, though I’m not complaining about the scant screen time it gets in “You Don’t Know Jack.” When the first two women die, I didn’t find myself caring, but then Jack takes out Henryetta (Garcelle Beauvais). Granted, she isn’t truly important to the story, but she is a familiar face, and one that doesn’t fit Jack’s victim profile. Why does he kill her?

This is important because it’s hard to know what this means for Renard (Sasha Roiz), who is still suffering from hallucinations and random bleeding. He runs away when Henryetta tries to talk to him about his condition, but he’ll come to his sense eventually and return for her help. Unfortunately, it’s too late for that now, her body already growing cold.

I can’t say I feel a lot of suspense with the cliffhanger of the gun going off. Monroe seems the most obvious person that could be shot, but he’s fine in the preview NBC ran for next week’s GRIMM at the close of the hour, yet another reason why I don’t usually watch those. Still, despite GRIMM promising a significant death coming, and I hope to hell they aren’t trying to pass Henryetta off as “significant,” the concluding scene just doesn’t feel big enough to off a main character in.

I’d also like to lodge a complaint about how much of the trailer’s contents survive the fire. Metal weapons, sure, I guess, but books? Come on! They would be nothing but ashes. Unless there’s some magical protection on them, which doesn’t seem likely, given the portions of pages missing.

“You Don’t Know Jack” is an improvement because it concentrates more on the mythology of the series and deeper story, but its plot holes and skimming over what could be emotional growth moments cheapen it, not at all rehabilitating the negative view I’ve come to have of this series.

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

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