Grimm: Oh, my god! I officially love this show more than Once Upon a Time. (My thoughts on episode 2×01 “Bad Teeth” and episode 2×02 “The Kiss”)
Usually when I write a review for an episode of a TV show I only discuss that episode of that show, but I’ve decided to do something a little different for my post on the first two episodes of Grimm’s second season. I’ve decided that for this post I’m going to compare and contrast what I think Grimm’s strengths and weaknesses are compared to ABC’s Once Upon a Time in addition to my thoughts on the first two episodes of the season.
When Once Upon a Time premiered last October I was fully expecting to like it more than Grimm, but as both show’s first season continued, I found myself having more and more complaints about Once Upon a Time while Grimm just kept getting better and better in my opinion. The biggest complaint that I have about Once Upon a Time is that I feel like it started out great, but the writers quickly became fixated on the same group of characters (Emma Swan, Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills, Prince Charming/David Nolan, Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold and Henry Mills).
Given the fact that this show was created by two of the writers from Lost, I had high hopes for this show and was expecting it to be a really great show. Don’t be mistaken, I wasn’t expecting Once Upon a Time to be the next Lost, but once I saw what the show’s storytelling format was like, I couldn’t help but think that the two shows had similar styles. Only instead of each episode being centered around one character and having a storyline that takes place on the island and a storyline that’s told in flashbacks, flash forwards or in the flash sideways universe, each episode of Once Upon a Time is centered around one character with one storyline in the Storybrooke world and another storyline in the fairytale world.
The creators of the show keep adding more and more recurring guest-star roles that seem to only revolve around that small group of characters that I mentioned. At times I feel like the creators of Once Upon a Time are aspiring to have the show make it into the Guinness World Records as the show with world’s largest cast. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I do think that there are way too many characters on the show. I just feel like the writers of Once Upon a Time aren’t really giving any of the other characters outside the small group of characters that they are constantly focusing on very much attention at all. If you ask me, that’s a terrible thing for the writers for an ensemble show to do. I was expecting the creators of Once Upon a Time to have learned a thing or two about how to write for an ensemble show during their time as writers for Lost. The more I watch Once Upon a Time, the more I feel like Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz don’t have a clue as to how to write an ensemble show well.
Another major issue that I have with Once Upon a Time is that I feel like the writers haven’t done a very good job of creating a buildup to certain developments on the show at times. For example, in episode 1×03 “Snow Falls” Mary Margaret goes on a date with Dr. Whale that quickly turns into a disaster after Mary Margaret notices that he can’t stop staring a Ruby, so she quickly leaves. However at the end of episode 1×06 “The Shepherd” Mary Margaret apparently resumes her relationship with Dr. Whale, but we don’t see them together again after that episode, and if I’m remembering correctly there’s no mention whatsoever of them being in a romantic relationship after that either. It really pissed me off that the writers dropped the whole thing with Mary Margaret and Dr. Whale having any kind of a romantic relationship without any kind of explanation. Also, it really bothered me that we weren’t given any explanation of what prompted them to go get coffee together and who initiated that in the first place. Since Mary Margaret was a volunteer at the hospital, I’m guessing that’s how they met. The way they handled that just reminded me of how the writers of Gossip Girl and 90210 have handled storylines at times, especially when it comes to the romantic relationships on the show, and I expected the writers of Once Upon a Time to be better than that.
The way the writers handled the death of Sheriff Graham in episode 1×07 “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” was a huge fail in a lot of ways, if you ask me. For starters, they hadn’t really developed the character very much at all at that point for the viewers to really care about the character. My reaction his death was basically out of sight out of mind. Personally, I think they should have taken a page from Lost’s book and should have waited towards the end of the season before they killed him off like the writers of Lost handled Boone’s death in the show’s first season.
Also, the explanation of why The Evil Queen hates Snow White was also a major letdown and once the audience knew why she hated Snow White I didn’t have one ounce of sympathy for The Evil Queen and her hatred for Snow White stemming from the death of the man she really wanted to be with. The reason why I feel this way is that I feel like her anger and hatred was completely misplaced. For starters, Snow White was a child when her mother, Cora, killed the man she really wanted to be with. Children are often very trusting of people so when Cora manipulated Snow White into telling her about Regina’s plans to run off and marry Daniel, Snow White honestly believed that Cora wanted to make her daughter happy. Also, Regina had to have known how manipulative her mother could be, so if she wanted to get revenge for Daniel’s death she should have directed her revenge towards her mother, not Snow White. The fact that she cast a curse that sent everybody in the enchanted forest to “Our World” to get revenge on Snow White for something she did, as a child just seems beyond extreme. The writers seriously should have thought of a much better explanation when it comes to what made The Evil Queen hate Snow White.
This brings me what has made me view Grimm as the better show between the two. The cast and characters on Grimm are without a doubt the show’s biggest strength. All of the roles are very well cast, both the series regulars and the guest-stars. With the exception of Sergeant Wu all of the characters are very well developed at this point in time, if you ask me. After all, the character hasn’t even been given a first name yet. Plus, he hasn’t really had any storylines of his own at this point. He’s basically just a side-character right now. One of the things that I would like to see in season two of Grimm is for the writers to give Sergeant Wu a first name and give him his own storylines in the episodes so they can flesh the character out some more. I can live with Sergeant Wu being an underdeveloped character for now since he’s the only truly underdeveloped character on Grimm compared to the rather long list of underdeveloped characters on Once Upon a Time.
I suppose it could be argued that Rosalee is also an underdeveloped character, but I think that’s very understandable considering the fact that the character wasn’t introduced until episode 1×15 “Island of Dreams” and she was only in five episodes in the show’s first season. The character Rosalee Calvert was definitely a great addition to the show. Given the fact that Juliette was the only female series regular role for most of the first season, it’s great to have another woman on the show that’s a series regular. Also, I like that Rosalee has a lot of knowledge in a different area than what Monroe knows about with her knowledge of Wesen spices and potions. Plus, she makes the aspect of the show that deals Nick adapting to his life as a Grimm a bit more realistic in my book, because Monroe can’t always be Nick’s source for knowledge when it comes to all of the things that relate to him being a Grimm. To me, both the character Rosalee and Bree Turner as an actress are the pieces of the puzzle that I never knew were missing; she really fit seamlessly right into the show from the first episode she was in, and I think that’s quite an accomplishment on the show’s part for them to be able to bring in a new character and cast member fifteen episodes into Grimm’s first season and have them be instantly liked by the viewers.
Another one of the things that I’ve always loved about the show is how it can be very dramatic, but it also has a lot of funny moments as well, especially when it comes to the character Munroe. Also, I feel like a lot the humor in the writing for Grimm is dark humor, and the first two episodes definitely showcased that. The scene where Monroe and Rosalee meet Nick’s mother was rather funny, if you ask me, especially Monroe’s line about family reunions. I also loved Monroe and Rosalee’s scenes together in this episode, but then again I always love watching the two of them interact with each other. I don’t know where the creators of the show got idea for the character Monroe and his personality, but they are geniuses when it comes to writing material Monroe and Silas Weir Mitchell plays the part flawlessly.
As for my thoughts on the first two episodes of season two, I thought that both episodes were a great way to start off Grimm’s second season. I feel like the writers really raised the stakes and upped the intensity of the show. I have to say that I already love Renard’s brother, Eric, just after watching his first scene on the show. That scene once again really showcased why I love the writers tendency to include dark humor when it comes to their writing for the show. I thought it was hilarious that Eric got annoyed with the person who was being whipped and tortured in the background by men who work for him because he was screaming in pain too loud while he was talking to someone on the phone. They also briefly showed him in “The Kiss” I can’t wait to see more of James Frain on Grimm, because I already love the character, Eric.
Speaking of Renard, we were given some more insight into his agenda. Based on the first two episodes of season two, it sounds like Renard wants Nick around so he can get rid of the people that he (Renard) views as a threat to his plans to have the royal families rise to power again. In the season premiere Renard made it pretty clear that he wanted Juliet to live and for her to come out of her coma. Apparently, he believed that if she were to die, Nick would leave Portland and without Nick around he wouldn’t be able to rise to power again. I have to say that I love the character Renard, and I think the writers have done a great job writing the character so far. The writers have handled the pacing of revealing the mystery surrounding Renard very well so far when you consider the character development that they had throughout season one and in the first two episodes of season two.
I also think the writers did a pretty good job of how they handled Juliet getting caught in the middle of Nick’s life as a Grimm and slowly becoming more and more aware of the fact that something was going on with Nick and that he was keeping something from her in season one. Most of the time Juliet seemed like a nice, mild mannered woman, but at times the writers made it clear that she’s also capable of defending herself when she and Nick got attacked in their home. Also, I have to wonder if there’s perhaps more than meets the eye when it comes to Juliet, especially when you consider how she got the hang of how to shoot a gun almost instantly when Nick was teaching her how to shoot. Nick seemed pretty surprised by how quickly she was able to learn how to shoot, especially after she told him that she’d never used a gun before. I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers reveal that Juliet has a secret of some kind this season. The writers of Once Upon a Time could definitely learn a thing or two from the writers of Grimm about character development and how to really deliver a nice payoff when it comes to when they have pivotal reveals and moments on the show.
In episode 2×02 “The Kiss”, was obviously the writers’ take on the story of Sleeping Beauty with how Juliet was brought out of her coma. The potion that Rosalee made for Juliet was only meant to stop her from losing her memory, not wake her up, and the potion would only be able to work for a small window of time. Unfortunately, Nick had his hands full with a case he was working on, which felt more like a subplot than the main plot of the first tow episodes. That didn’t bother me though, because the real action in both episodes was Nick dealing with the discovery that his mother was alive and Nick, Munroe, Rosalee and Renard all trying to save Juliet. Fortunately, Nick was able to give her the potion basically as if they were eye drops before it completely lost its effectiveness.
Personally, I thought it was a very clever twist to have Renard be the one to give Juliet a kiss to wake her up like the prince did in the story of Sleeping Beauty. Apparently, Juliet had to be kissed by someone who’s considered royalty, which I suppose is why Renard was able to wake her up since the writers have strongly hinted that he’s a member of royalty. Another thing that the writers hinted at was that Renard is some kind of beast-like creature give his reaction the concoction that Adalind’s mother, Cathrine, gave him because he had to be pure of heart before he could way Juliet up with a kiss.
I have to say that I’m not entirely surprised that Juliet couldn’t remember anything about Nick at the end of the episode, because it draws out the inevitable fallout from Juliet finding out about Nick’s life as a Grimm even though he was telling her about everything before she went into a coma in the season one finale. It will be interesting to see how the writers handle things with Juliet losing her memory and when she’ll either remember everything including what Nick told her about being a Grimm and believe him at that point, or if she’ll get her memory back for the most part, but Nick has to tell her about being a Grimm all over again.
Maybe it’s just me, but the writers seem to have really amped up the action on the show. There were quite a few fight scenes in the first two episodes, and I thought they were all very well done. Nick’s mother, Kelly, is definitely a major badass when it comes to her fighting ability. They also seem to have really raised the stakes in terms of everything that happened in both episodes, especially when it came to Nick, Monroe and Rosalee working against the clock to try and save Juliet.
One of my favorite scenes in “The Kiss” was definitely the scene where Munroe was driving his car with Kelly sitting in the backseat. That scene was full of tension, and as whole I thought that both Silas Weir Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio did a great job in that scene. I have to say that I was really disappointed that Kelly left Nick at the end of “The Kiss” since they had just introduced Kelly at the very end of the season one finale. Hopefully that’s not the last we’ll see of Nick’s mother, because she’s obviously not a very trustworthy person, especially considering the fact that she lied to him about where she was going and ended up stealing a car after they had said goodbye Nick left her towards the end of the episode.
One last thing that I’d like to comment on is the new narration that they have giving a brief description of the premise of the show. I definitely have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I loved the quick title card paired with the creepy music that they had last season, and I definitely miss it. I also feel like the producers are kind of trying to copy Once Upon a Time’s method of a recap of the previous episodes paired with the brief narration that gives a quick description of the premise of the show with the new title card sequence. At the same time, I do think it’s kind of cool and a nice way to quickly explain the premise of show, which is nice for anyone who might be watching the show for the first time.
All in all, I thought that “Bad Teeth” and “The Kiss” were both a great way to start the second season of Grimm. Both episodes were very well written, well acted and nicely shot in terms of the camera work. They also completely exceeded my expectations for season two and officially confirmed my opinion that I love Grimm more than Once Upon a Time now. That opinion brewed as I read all of the spoilers and casting news for both Grimm and Once Upon a Time that were released throughout the summer and as I went back and watched every episode of Grimm’s first season again twice, and the first two episodes Grimm’s second season officially confirmed that for me.
That being said, I give episode 2×01 “Bad Teeth” a rating of an A, and my rating for episode 2×02 “The Kiss” is also an A.
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