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'Grimm' Review: 'One Night Stand'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
November 16th, 2013 10:39am EST

Grimm

NBC originally advertised Grimm as a series that modernized and/or reinvented Grimm fairy tales. NBC doesn’t advertise Grimm as modernized Grimm fairy tales. The series moved away from strictly reinventing fairy tales. Grimm used that conceit to launch but it’s basically a semi-serialized genre show now, more like ANGEL than Once Upon a Time. “One Night Stand” was advertised like this: various scenes from the episode with the anonymous narrator promising a ‘mystical creature comes to town.’ I think anyone watching Grimm expects a mystical creature every week. The main character is a Grimm who fights creatures from fairy tales. Is Grimm pushed a police procedural with ‘bizarre’ elements now? I know it’s not, but the emphasis on ‘mythical creature’ is a preposterous way to advertise the newest Grimm episode.

“One Night Stand” introduces a mystical creature—creatures actually—as the writers do every single episode, as already noted. The teaser sucked me into the case-of-the-week. It may be the most effective teaser the show’s done, though what follows is predictable. The decent acting, and the awesome writing for the one-off characters, specifically Ellie and Jake, offsets the predictability of the story. Jake’s introduced as the Bro-est Bro who ever Bro-ed. He’s got that west coast blonde hair, hangs out at a lake, and has a pretty blond girl all over him. The character transforms once he sees his friend pulled under water. Jake swims over to try to save him, while is friend’s lady friend, Anna, swims away. The key to the scene is the girls’ reaction. Their cries of ‘Get out of the water!’ aren’t fearful but rather a warning to the boys. Get out of the water or die.

Jake and his friend made sexy friends with water nymphs, or naiads. Naiads live near the water, need to swim in water to live or else naiads dry out and die. Female naiads possess a transfixing sexual allure. Mating happens in the water. Male naiads cannot procreate. The husbands must raise another man’s child. The murders of the episode are male naiads upset with having to raise another man’s baby. The male naiads attack Jake and his friend who were copulating with the ladies in the water.

The third sister, Ellie, is the damsel in distress, the innocent, deaf, and sublimely beautiful. I cared about the naiad story because of Ellie; her introduction in the teaser’s so, so sweet. She hides behind some bushes watching Jake. She pleads with her sister, the blond with Jake, that she choose another boy, any other boy, just not Jake, because she loves him. Ellie saves his life after he’s left for dead in the water. Ellie’s sisters scurried off, fearful of the male naiads. Ellie’s easy to root for: her sisters accept tradition, but Ellie fights it. Sarah and Anna won’t risk their lives for others, but Ellie will and does.

I especially liked the case-of-the-week because the story’s more formed than many other cases-of-the-week in Grimm. The naiad story works as a stand-alone short film. Cases-of-the-week don’t usually stand on their own. These cases depend on the core characters. Nick and Hank’s role in the story, which is solving the case as always, actually detracts from the story. A short film would’ve allowed for Ellie to kick the asses of the Alaska naiads herself. Nick and Hank wouldn’t have had to save her life. Those characters wouldn’t be the leads of the short film. It’d be Ellie’s. I struggle to invest in many case-of-the-week stories. Most of those stories are fragmented, underdeveloped narratively, forgettable. The story doesn’t matter past the hero solving the case and is never thought of again. This particular story wouldn’t matter past this episode either, but Jake tells Hank and Nick that he saw Ellie transform into something strange he couldn’t describe. Nick reminds Jake that no one’s normal in Portland, which is the first admission to a tertiary character about what’s been going on in the city. Not only that, though, since Nick’s line suggests the citizens realize the strange things in their city. It’s a bit reminiscent of “The Prom” episode of Buffy. The audience learns that Buffy’s classmates knew how she saved them, but Grimm’s not as touching as that Buffy episode.

Nick and Hank barely figure into the story. They trace the clues and find out who murdered Jake’s friend. Nick continues to experience problems from what happened at te end of season three. A swim to save Ellie’s life should’ve killed him. Once he surfaces he looks dead. He’s visibly pale but in a second his healthy complexion returns. Hank wants to know what happened. Nick looks bemused. Juliette researches Nick’s condition; however, she reads last week’s diagnosis, the one the audience heard in the teaser. So, the A story adds to the persistent mystery about what’s wrong with Nick.

Other Thoughts:

-Monroe and Rosalee move in together. The change is significant, which makes Monroe anxious about himself and his habits. Rosalee’s incredibly sweet throughout Monroe’s anxiety about the move-in.

-Steven DePaul directed the episode. Sean Calder wrote it.

 

Photo Credits: © NBCUniversal, Inc