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'Grimm' Review: 'Stories We Tell Our Young'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
December 9th, 2013 1:13pm EST

Grimm

This episode of Grimm took a few turns without losing any of the intrigue. It begins as a typical exorcism story before taking a turn into what it’s like for a child to Volga for the first time without knowing it. Meanwhile, Renard headed to Vienna for what I thought would be a mostly off-screen adventure with five second check-ins to see where and what Renard is doing. The possibly possessed child looked different from his parents, which piqued the interest of Nick and Hank, who wanted to know more about what happens to the child of different Wesens. Adalind’s pregnant with the child of Renard. Renard’s not hexenbiest. I thought the two stories would connect. I was wrong.

The stories do not connect. Each story diverts mid-episode. Renard and his partner whose name I did not catch run around the sewers after eluding assassins. Renard learns a little bit about new groups in Vienna since the death of his brother. The Royals are in turmoil pretty much. Adalind meets someone important in a seven second scene. Her astonished reaction suggests she sees someone familiar, so it could be Eric despite reports of the actor’s other role on some other show. Nothing actually connects in the three stories. Disparate threads. The case with the boy introduces the Wesen council. The Wesen council are Grimm’s own Watcher’s Council, but with less members. The Council holds a powerful influence in the Wesen community. Rosalee behaves counter to Nick’s interests for hers and Monroe’s safety.

Rosalee informs the Wesen council after Monroe explains what’s wrong with the boy: a grausen took possession of him. Grausens are a kind of demon. Centuries ago the Grimm and the Council agreed to work together to exterminate Grausens. Nick rejects the solution of killing the kid to kill the Grausen. It is here the episode takes another turn that informs the title of the episode. “Stories We Tell Our Young” refers to stories we tell our young. The story takes on a decidedly religious bent in mid-episode. Juliette gets involved. Nick learns the council’s solution is death. Anything that defies explanation faces death, which Nick thinks is backwards and outdated. Nick is the post-modern Grimm.

Grimm touches on a not-so-ancient-but-not-entirely-recent-thing in human civilization. Demons were how people in 28 AD and before and after explained mental illnesses and horrible disease. Some individuals continue to ascribe explanation to demons or the Devil to explain mental illnesses and horrible diseases, unexplainable and scary. The Other is the scariest thing for human beings. The history of human reaction to the Other, which is only that which is hard to understand. I’ll use Caliban as an example, from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Prospero calls him a devil, a beast, one that must be tamed and taught or else killed. Understanding Caliban is not an option. Caliban’s most beautiful eloquence shows he’s more man than beast, naturally, but it’s away from Prospero, uttered as two drunks try to sleep but feel afraid to because of the strange noises on the isle. Fear drives people to extreme actions. Rosalee fears retribution and gives up a kid’s life (basically). The man the council sends acts, does not think, because he’s been taught from a young age what Grausens do and what’s to be done with them.

A Grausen does not possess the boy, which is the final turn of the story. Fear created panic and panic created new problems. The council got a look at Grimm and didn’t like what they’d seen nor what they’ve already heard about him. The boy contracted a rare disease from his time in Jordan. Nick stresses why fear cannot drive a person’s actions. The innocent boy would’ve died had he and Juliette not dug for what was missing from the puzzle. The social-religious commentary rises to the surface rather obviously. Narratively, the story follows one of my favorite themes of the show. Nick-as-Grimm actively enacts change. He works with Wesen. He offers to spare lives instead of take lives. Before him the Grimm was the most feared person on earth for Wesen. Nick has transformed people’s fear of him into companionship. He showed them a different way of handling conflicts, situations, violent or unique. Of course Nick knows what it means to eliminate fear.

“Stories We Tell Our Young” told a nifty story with some thought-provoking turns. David Greenwalt was responsible for my favorite demon possession story during ANGEL. This episode isn’t comparable with “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” It lacks that truly nifty twist in the last act. This one gets anivilcious in the last two acts. It introduced more threats; however, threatening groups in this show are actually non-threatening. The pacing’s so off with the serialized parts. The writers don’t maintain the momentum. The A story was different enough, though, and very enjoyable.

Other Thoughts:

-I suspect a little conflict brewing between network television’s cutest couple. Perhaps we’ll learn more about Rosalee’s history with the council. If I recall correctly, her father was a council member, correct? Perhaps it’s just that.

-I wonder if Bitsie Tulloch kissed David Guintoli without direction. I thought it looked impromptu. It was quite sweet.

-The mid-season finale airs next week in a two hour block. Will NBC cancel Grimm?

-Michael Duggan wrote the episode. Aaron Lipstadt directed it.

Photo Credits: © NBCUniversal, Inc