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'Grimm' Review: 'The Good Soldier'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
January 20th, 2014 10:12am EST

Grimm

I guess Grimm’s last two episodes weren’t a radical departure from the established structure of the series since “The Good Soldier” nestles back to the most familiar structure, which is straightforward procedural with a wesen element and barely notable scene involving Renard/Europe/Adalid. Juliette’s friend, Alicia, is gone and will, presumably, never be seen or heard from again. Hank’s leaving Zuri alone, which means she’s neither seen nor heard from again, or even discussed. This week, Grimm introduced a possibly psychopathic ex-soldier on a murderous path to kill those who wronged her while in the service together. Nick and Hank investigated the murders and the suspects and all that. Sgt. Wu barely did anything; ditto Renard. Grimm’s back to normal, though it never strayed. The most to expect from Grimm, now in the middle of its third season, is not drastic change from what it is. Basically, Grimm will not gel its hair one week, or will gel its hair if you’re the type to let the hair go.

Discovery for Nick in his cases was prominent in the first season as he learned about himself and the new world his Aunt abruptly threw him into before and after her death. Nick’s a learned Grimm in the third season. In the last act when he and Hank question Frankie Gonzalez, the suspected ex-soldier and killer of the ‘Cowboys,’ about what kind of Wesen she is, she shows she’s not that type of Wesen by Volga-ing out for Nick. Nick’s able to identify what she is by sight. More and more he masters what and who he is and what and who his potential enemies are. “The Good Soldier” is another episode to show not all Wesen commit horrible crimes. Most notably, it shows two of the same behaving differently—these scorpion-like creatures, known as soldiers in the Grimm books. The introduction of the Wesen soliders is cool. Nick’s books name them soldiers, used pejoratively in the text. That’s why incredible emphasis is given to the usage of ‘good soldier.’ Frankie says that about her old CO, and her old CO says it about her. I think the idea goes back to something I wrote about last week or two weeks ago: that whatever Wesen a person introduced is isn’t reflected by what it is, or something.

Nick and Hank don’t figure much into the investigation. They get it wrong actually. Frankie herself breaks the case open for them. The writing’s pretty good. The red herrings, the threats, the panicked ex-soldiers, make it seem like the murderer is Frankie. I don’t think that straightforward story would be received well by modern audiences, since modern audiences want more and more depth from their stories. Executives want more from a story, as Damon Lindelof discussed in a magazine article several months ago about the summer blockbuster. Frankie was raped by her compatriots four years prior, but the army covered it up. The renegade soldiers, called Cowboys, lived their lives without remorse. Frankie carved the date of the gang-rape into her arm and went to each man’s house to push them towards a confession. None would except for one, who is soon murdered by a fellow soldier. Frankie’s former CO took to killing the men who raped her after learning he had three months to live—this CO didn’t do enough for her at the time and regretted it. So, there’s a redemptive element to the story, a display of sorrow and remorse, a love for Frankie, a sadness about what he put her through, and then he sacrifices his life to put the last Cowboy behind bars. It’s all there. Modern audiences can rest easy, and Damon Lindelof can take a shot of whiskey.

“The Good Soldier” also told part one of a two-part ‘Meet the Parents’ story. Monroe met Rosalee’s mother and sister. Monroe learned more about Rosalee’s drug-ridden past. Rosalee’s character development has been impressive. The writers may’ve been more interested in deepening her relationship with Monroe. Since they coupled, it’s been a fairy-tale relationship. The Krampus episode introduced tragedy into Rosalee’s back-story. Lately the writers have made stories out of her past. At dinner she deals with her mother and sister, still mad that she didn’t attend her father’s funeral. Rosalee reveals she didn’t go because she went to jail for shoplifting. Monroe observes throughout the tense dinner and then comforts her outside. Before she goes inside, where she reconciles with her mother, her sister threatens him. Next week will introduce Monroe’s parents. I imagine a wedding ceremony quite like Buffy’s “Hell’s Bells” already.

Meanwhile, Adalind begins regaining her powers. Renard learns about this through a phone call. You know, I’m going to miss these short scenes in which an unfamiliar character calls Renard to deliver him exposition we’ve seen a scene earlier.

Other Thoughts:

-NBC’s promos for Grimm next week suggest a wacky hour of ‘Meet the Parents’ silliness; however, these promos preview the story with the least scenes. I assume four scenes at the most for ‘meet the parents’ subplot.

-I hope Adalind returns soon. Nick needs a familiar adversary once in awhile. Of course, Adalind needs to give birth before that. With the way Grimm plots, she won’t be back in Portland until this time next year.

-Rob Wright wrote the episode. Rashaad Ernesto Green directed it, his TV directorial debut. (I think).

Photo Credits: © NBCUniversal, Inc