Grimm: “Face Off” (Season 2 Episode 13)
After what has seemed like an eternity, Grimm has returned to the airwaves. One of my three favorite shows from last year, Grimm take on the fairy tale genre in fresh, modern, and violent way. With an ensemble cast of veteran actors, including Silas Weir Mitchell (Prison Break), Reggie Lee (Prison Break, No Ordinary Family) and Sasha Roiz (Caprica, Warehouse 13), the story revolves around Portland police detective Nick Burkhardt, who is a direct descendant of the legendary Grimm family, hunters of frightening beasts. Investigating brutal murders often leads Nick to discover a Wesen (a supernatural creature that appears human but is actually a animal-based humanoid that can only be seen in their natural form by a Grimm. When Nick’s Aunt Marie showed up in the first season, she accelerated the process, and Nick began to use his new-found abilities to hunt down and capture or kill Wesen. The main characters are his partner, Hank; his girlfriend, Juiliette; Renard (Roiz), the police captain who is secretly a Wesen himself; Sgt. Wu (Lee); Monroe (Mitchell), a wolf Wesen who Nick befriends, and Rosalee, a spice shop owner and Monroe’s love interest. Loaded with mystery, action, decent special effects, and a great cast, I always looked forward with great anticipation to new episodes.
After an outstanding first season that did become a bit repetitive in its serial Nick-and-Monroe-hunt-down-the-killer-of-the-week format, the second season left that format and began to explore the underlying main plot, which took the show to new heights. However, as the show wound up for its long hiatus, I was incredibly frustrated with the way the writing began to devolve. An ill-advised side plot featuring Renard and Juliette having a love affair (along with Juliette losing her memories of Nick) due to a magic potion, combined with a sudden and inexplicable inability for characters to communicate with one another (done awkwardly to advance the plot), had me wondering if the show had lost its mojo. I wasn’t alone in my concern, as many fan boards were expressing the same sentiments. I watched “Face Off” with great relief, however, as it made baby steps in rectifying these problems. Communication among the characters gets better, the Renard-Juliette side plot is almost over, and the action returns fast and furious with the confrontation between Nick and Renard that has been building for most of the season.
When Nick finds out that Renard has taken a key given to Nick by his Aunt Marie, the two square off in a great fight scene, with Renard revealing he is Wesen. Renard reveals he is a Royal, the ruling family of the Wesen, but is also aligned with the Resistance, a group fighting the Royals. Renard believes the Royals are evil, and he wants to establish Portland as a safe place for Wesen from the Royals (this somewhat helps explain why there are so many Wesen in Portland). It’s a great sequence, because now there’s tension from Nick being unsure about whether he can trust Renard, but also from the fact that he is (and has been) taking orders from a Wesen. You can already see little moments in which Nick challenges orders from his captain that he normally would have followed.
The return of Rosalee was also welcome – I enjoy her character a great deal and she seems to have come up with an antidote for the love potion. Here’s to hoping the show gets back on track and becomes better than ever…
Note: since this show is filmed in Portland, I like to try to figure out where certain scenes are shot, and I would love to answer a casting call to be an extra…
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