March 9, 2013



GRIMM:  Fridays 9PM on NBC

NBC took a risk in placing GRIMM, one of its few successful shows, onto its microscopic bench for months of midseason hiatus, but at least it broke off with a solid cliffhanger.  Without overdoing the backstory:  our hero, homicide detective and erstwhile monster-hunter (aka “Grimm”) Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) was about to discover that his fiancee Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch)–who no longer remembered who he was, since being awakened from a supernatural coma–had been stricken with uncontrollable lust for his own boss Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz).  That discovery was inevitably going to lead to the realization that Renard was himself a “wesen,” one of the beings that Grimms like Nick hunt down.  And all of that was connected with some magic keys in Nick’s possession that Renard’s European (so extraevil) brother was seeking through witchy wesen Adalind (Claire Coffee) in order to destroy humanity and take over the world.

The show’s midseason premiere, written by series co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf and directed by Terrence O’Hara, pulled the trigger on most of this, and by the end of the hour Nick knew all about Renard’s various identities.  The major narrative decision that will color the rest of the season is that Renard has, temporarily at least, joined forces with Nick and his allies Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) to save the world from his brother, and by the end of the episode they’re all trying to cure Renard and Juliette of the lust curse they’re under.  Oh, and Adalind is pregnant, presumably with Renard’s wesen-baby, so that can’t be good.

Although Grimm is far more serialized and mythologized this season than it was when it began, it’s not as daring or inventive with its storytelling as Once Upon A Time, so the decision, after a season and a half of playing Renard as a dormant Big Bad, to put him on Nick’s team is an interesting one, and we’ll see how it plays out.  At least the recent run of episodes have finally given Sasha Roiz and Bitsie Tulloch meaty parts to play, a relief after he seemed to be locked into indefinite scowling mode and she was nothing but a sweet, understanding girlfriend.  Their scene in tonight’s episode bouncing all over her and Nick’s house with sexual compulsion and self-disgust, culminating in Juliette firing Renard’s service revolver in his general direction to keep them off each other, was one of the season’s strongest.  (Imagine the kitchen scene in the Jack Nicholson/Jessica Lange version of The Postman Always Rings Twice if it had never quite gotten to the sex.)

Grimm still isn’t a great genre show in the way that Vampire Diaries and Once Upon A Time are–there’s something a little tacky and second-hand about it, from the digital morphing of every wesen’s face (it’s become like the old “Dr. Tongue” sketches on SCTV, where the actors leaned toward the camera forward and back, forward and back, to demonstrate the wonders of 3D) to the gimmick of the magic keys, and with the exception of Monroe’s character, it lacks anything much in the way of wit.  What appears to be the upcoming climactic invasion of European monsters already feels like something we’ve seen before.  Still, it’s found a comfortable place for itself on Friday nights, where with Fringe gone, there’s very little worth watching, and it represents one of the few things NBC’s done right in the past several seasons.  All in all, it’s a generally satisfying hour, and on NBC, that’s no small thing.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."