'Grimm' Review: 'Face Off'
March 9th, 2013 8:10am EST
NBC premiered Grimm's second season in August, right after the summer Olympics concluded. NBC launched new series early, along with Grimm, in hopes of sustaining the ratings of the Olympics. The initial returns of their idea were worth the early premieres. Go On didn't have miserable ratings immediately. The sitcom about a veterinary hospital got episodes aired in 2012. Grimm continued to perform decently for the network. 'Decently' for NBC is like having a massive hit since every scripted show seems to fail. Revolution was one of NBC's most viewed dramas in a few years. Naturally, NBC shelved Grimm and Revolution for five months, effectively destroying the momentum of both shows. Now, Grimm is back
Grimm picked up immediately from where the story left off in "Season of the Hexenbiest." Renard and Nick were set for a confrontation, which got delayed and then delayed some more and, you know, delayed and delayed. Their confrontation could've gone a number of ways. They could be bitter enemies working on the force together, completely aware of one another; they could be doing the same things they've been doing since the "Pilot," which is nothing. Nick would bumble along, and Renard would speak in French and do shady stuff. Juliette's involvement with Renard brought the men together in a significant and urgent way. Indeed, it's been way over due for Renard and Nick to stand face to face, throw a few punches, and come clean about what's going on outside of the case work. The story couldn't progress if Nick did not act and if Renard did not act. Active characters move stories forward.
The central issue of "Face Off" is Juliette and Renard's romance. The consequences of waking Juliette up with a kiss are dire. Firstly, Renard's losing his mind because of his repressed sexual urges for the woman. Secondly, Juliette's losing her mind and confusing sexuality with physicality. Renard and Juliette's sex scene went from typical TV sex scene to Buffy season six sadomasochistic really quickly, culminating in her firing five shots around Renard. Nick later learns that the passions of both parties will get so intense that they'll kill each other. Nick's arc is full of turns and shifts. Whenever he's near the edge, Monroe brings him back. Nick struggled to deal with Juliette's amnesia. Juliette's amnesia created a significant divide, but the reason she's drawn to Renard is similar to sire bonds on TVD, i.e. she can't help but fall for Renard. She can't fight the mojo, which is what Nick comes to accept. Nick's anger shifts from being cuckolded (actually not really since they aren't married) to getting played by Renard for quite awhile.
Renard and Nick's confrontation touches on the major plot points, dating back to the earliest episodes of the episode, specifically Renard's attempted murder of Nick's Aunt. "It was all about The Key," Renard explains. Adalind spent the episode trying to get the key for her brother, even sleeping with Renard to regain his trust and relieve his intense sexual desires. Renard and Nick throw a few punches until Renard explains why he took the key as well as why he's returning the key to Nick. Nick doesn't understand what the key is for. Renard feels strongly about Nick protecting the key. Co-workers become enemies and then allies. The last bit of business is curing Renard and Juliette, which requires Nick to drink the purification. The episode, of course, ends on the cliffhanger of Nick lying on the floor, purple; meanwhile, Adalind learns she's pregnant with Renard's son.
"Face Off" should've capped the 2012 run for Grimm, especially since NBC kept it off the air for five months. The episode is climatic, exciting in parts, and a payoff to what's been meticulously built for a season and a half. The episode opened with action and didn't skip a beat but the five month break hurt the momentum of it. There were several cut-ins of plot points the characters addressed because of the five month break. Monroe's involvement in the Verrat murders insofar as whether or not he'd be tracked down by the police was an element of suspense, but that storyline was dropped once Rosalee came back to Portland. Hank didn't have much to do besides look confused and follow orders.
I'm glad Grimm's back, though. The quality's consistent. The show's come into its own since its struggles in the early part of season one. The first half of season two had its ups and downs; perhaps the extended break allowed the writers, cast and crew to re-charge and re-energize.
-So nice to have Bree Turner back full-time as Rosalee. Bree Turner was pregnant during parts of production for season two. She is lovely.
-Monroe was exposition man tonight, which was disappointing. Monroe's terrific as the funny man. Silas Weir-Mitchell works wonders with exposition, though.
-David Guintoli played every beat pretty damn well. I compared Arrow's Stephen Amell to David Boreanaz already, but Guintoli has a Boreanaz quality. He hasn't had the chance to show as much range as Boreanaz showed during ANGEL and Buffy. Guintoli's highlight in the episode was when he answered the phone call from Renard.
-How long until Wu gets clued in?
-Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt wrote the episode. Terrence O'Hara directed it.
Photo Credits: NBC Universal