Sunday, March 4, 2012

Grimm, Season 1, Episode 13: 3 Coins in a Fuchsbau

“For there are neither locks nor bolts, whatsoever I desire is mine”
So, we begin with an extremely well armed and equipped jewellery robbery with the shop owner running to protect not his jewels  - but 3 coins. The perpetrators are 3 fuzzy Vesen that come from 3 different countries (Ireland, Spain and Austria) and were looking for those 3 coins – and don’t get them which is most frustrating for them. Especially since they don’t like each other very much judging by the constant holding each other at gun point. Certainly it shows when a strange new bird Vesen (a Steinadler) is able to use their paranoia to have the Irishman and the German shoot each other in the darkened room

In come Nick, Hank and Sergeant Wu to find the shop owner’s dead body – Hank knows him as a collector of rare coins (in case we didn’t guess from  the large number of coins, y’see).  Which helps Nick see the Spanish Fuzzy Thief through his Grimmvision when he comes back to try and get the coins they missed (not guessing it would be a crime scene by now, for some reason). This also allows Nick to catch a glance of the car he’s driving which in turn allows Sergeant Wu to use magical science cameras that can read the number plate of a car using the blurriest of blurry images.

The pathologist (one of the 2 token recurring women) has found those 3 coins in the jeweller’s stomach – and swallowing them apparently killed them. The coins seem to have some kind of stylised swastika on the back but seem older than Nazi Germany. Both she and Hank start acting very possessive of the Coins and want to keep them

Anyway Nick and Hank find the car and rush in to the hideout, the surviving Fuzzy Thief (a Schakahl) gets away but the Steinadler who is also looking for the coins gets captures – and roughed up by Hank who seems to have developed anger management issues (or possibly excessive stereotyping issues).

Back to base and the coins end up in the hands of Reaper-Maybe-Evil-We-Don’t-Know-Because-We-Never-Get-Any-Damn-Meta-Plot Police Chief Captain Renard (can you see I’m bitter about the meta? Yes I am) who reports his finding to a mysterious French blokey (French seems to be the Reaper lingua franca. Which we’d know more about IF WE HAD MORE META!)  They are the Coins of Zakynthos.

We must return to Nick’s case of the week where he get the identities of the 3 Fuzzy Thieves from Harley Colt (the Steinadler) where they have a nice off-the-record conversation. The coins were mined a long time ago in Greece passed through history (and the Third Reich) – all the while giving great charisma to the carrier but having bad consequences for them in the long term. They disappeared since the Nazis and then entered the custody of the Grimms, since they were less susceptible to their magical influence. And the last Grimm to be custodian of the coins was Nick’s mother – before she was killed for them. And Harley Colt knew and loved Kick-arse Aunt Marie, the woman who raised Nick.

Meanwhile a lot comes together. Nick & Hank search Harley Colt’s hotel room and find ancient CIA letters about the coins, Nick interviews Colt more and finds out that Soledad Marquesa (Fuzzy Thief) killed Nick’s parents for the coins. Soledad is kidnapping the pathologist, pistol whipping her then killing a policeman in another hotel to steal his uniform so he can go hunt Renard. And the coins are going to Captain Renard’s head.

Gun fight time! Much battling later, the coins are back in Grimmy hands leaving various people dead or jonesing after them

Ok, there’s a lot to cover on this episode!

Actual back story! Ok, it’s not exactly meta, but we learn more about Nick’s family. Nick goes to the Grimm Caravan (which is still infinitely less cool than the Bat Cave) with Grimmopedia Eddie to study Steinadlers and Schakahl. I do love Eddie’s geekery over the Grimm paraphernalia and his snark.

Sergeant Wu is back, but has no real role. And we learn by passing comment that Hank has been married at least twice. Part of me is pleased to have random references like this to flesh out a character and part of me wishes we could learn more about a character without having to rely on these tiny references. Of course the elephant in the room is the Coins affecting Hank to make him angry and out of control and needing Nick to talk him down repeatedly. Not ideal at all

While I am intrigued to see some acknowledgement that the swastika has a greater and wider history than most remember, I dislike the idea that the Coins were part of the force behind the Third Reich. And this is only exacerbated a thousand-fold by showing Hitler as a Vesen. I’m always leery of people connecting the supernatural to real world evil like the Nazis. Humans do evil, don’t blame the mystical for it, don’t create a fantasy world that ascribes that evil to something other than the true guilty party even be implication or minor degree (and this was far more than a minor degree) – let the blame and the full extent of it rest in the hands of those who were responsible. Don’t distract from that by putting a magical explanation for human evil.

We have two women, in this whole episode. First Juliette who is a sounding board for Nick’s angst and his behind the scenes investigator. I think she got 2 minutes of screen time. And the pathologist. And yes, she does have a larger role than she’s had before. She gets kidnapped and pistol whipped. The (lack of) role women play in this series is inexcusable.

There remains no GBLT people at all.

I also have a niggle – Grimm is supposed to be part police procedural and this is often passed as a reason why there isn’t much meta. But the police work in Grimm is pretty shoddy even as far as procedurals go and the writing borders on lazy. It’s not as bad as the stretched coincidences in Tarantallia, but still it’s pretty bad. The story’s continuation rests on Fuzzy Thief returning to the scene of the crime, while it’s being investigated AND Nick catches sight of him and hones in on him being the perpetrator. Especially after weeks of us being told that a Vesen isn’t necessarily evil, Nick just assumes this guy is the thief/murderer because he’s a Vesen. What, don’t humans steal and kill in Grimm world? This allows them to track the car they were driving (and their crime car was a flashy black BMW with New York plates in Portland – just to make sure it REALLY stands out), use really dubiously effective software to read the plates and then track the Distinctive Car down to the hideout because it is parked right outside – literally on the curb. The criminals parked their getaway car on the curb outside their hideout.