For some inscrutable reason, Grimm decided not to suck last night. Going into the episode, I had a feeling of resignation, that would just be another installment of a C-grade cop show with fantasy creatures thrown in for window dressing. It wasn’t. Last night’s episode was actually kind of good. Was it brain-shatteringly awesome? No, not at all. But, it was well-crafted, fun to watch, and if every episode were like this, Grimm would be a pretty solid horror/fantasy show.
The plot revolved around fairy tale beasties using ground up human organs as herbal enhancements of sorts. Monroe mentions that dried and ground up man-balls apparently work just like Viagra for him and his, and that lots of beasties will pay copious amounts of dollars for the opportunity turn people-parts into tea. The organ traffickers are found to be preying off of homeless kids (more specifically, these homeless kids) by getting them into a free clinic. From there, the evil beastie-doctors drag them out to the woods, harvest their organs, and sell them in an herb shop to fairy tale critters who want to snort ground-up gallbladder. Nick and Hank of course busted up the organ ring, saved some cute homeless kids, and along the way some real, actual character development and world building happened. Imagine that!
This episode also showed off a whole lot of Portland. The details about what parts of our fair city got spackled onto the TV, as well as my blitheringly enthusiastic exclamations about why this episode didn’t suck, after the jump.
So here, in exclamatory list form, is what I didn’t hate (and in fact enjoyed) about last night’s episode:
-Old Town! The Skidmore Fountain, the New Market Theater, Oregon Leather, and the Merchant Hotel (i.e., the building with Old Town Pizza in it) all appeared in this episode. Seeing the New Market Theater in a shot was kind of amusing, given that the office for my day job (and weirdly enough, the Mercury offices) are located in that building. Squee!
-They finally used those really convincing fake storefronts! If you’ve been around the corner of NW 2nd and Couch at all recently you might have noticed storefronts labeled as the Mountain View Diner, an envelope and package store, and an herb and spice shop. The various storefronts look fairly real- I’ve seen people peer in and wonder why they’re closed. The storefronts are not real, though. They are, in fact, Grimm sets, and were all put to use in last night's episode. (Also: NBC has just been renting that space for months now, and only sporadically doing stuff with it. That just drives home how even if a TV show is only sort of mediocre, you can rest assured that it has a budget that's astronomically greater than whatever paltry sum you can hope to accrue in your entire sad, meager life. Back to unreasonable enthusiasm, though...)
-Cannibalism! The whole plot revolved around beasties consuming human organs, and as such the fantasy elements were integral to the plot, instead of being just a sideshow. The show was playing around, thinking about, and having fun with the fictional world in which it is set, and it finally seemed like a fantasy show instead of just one more cop show.
-Gory stuff! Up until now, Grimm has not done a very good job of convincing the audience why the various beasties are any kind of threat or menace to humanity. Until last night, they’ve mostly just seemed like normal folks who happen to have animalistic sides to them. Last night’s episode, though, actually made them seem dangerous. They weren't just ordinary criminals with animalistic sides- the beasties actually presented a unique threat, and therefore it was important that someone with unique talents, like Nick, actually dealt with them.
-Juliet actually did something! Well, not much. But she actually spoke to a character who is not Nick. She’s still the most boring part of the show, but it was something.
-Character development! Nick actually seems to be embracing (and enjoying) his status as a Grimm. Instead of being wishy-washy and boring, he actually kicked a little ass. On two occasions in the episode he scared the pants off of beasties by revealing who and what he is, and subsequently wrecked their shit. Seeing that, I was actually able to buy why Grimms are such a big deal in this world, and why beasties should would be at all afraid of them. For a brief moment, I hoped that Nick could become something other than a slice of milquetoast with a haircut, and actually develop into a competent monster-puncher.
-Mystery! The show ended with the police captain (who is a beastie of some kind, and a powerful-seeming one) having a phone conversation with a nasty sounding individual. The episode ended with the promise of a larger, weirder world out there. The next episode airs on Feb 10th. Hopefully, it will live up to that promise. Hopefully.