Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grimm, Season 1, Episode 14: Plumed Serpent

“Said the dragon, “Many knights have left their lives here, I shall soon have an end to you too,” and he breathed fire out of seven jaws.

So we have 2 guys looking to steal copper from an derelict factory who are apparently consumed by fire and an apparently reptilian Vesen. Looking up at the quote that began this episode and I think we have a Clue.

In comes the Grimm team – Nick, Hank and Sergeant Wu, who has thoughtfully brought smell suppressing stuff (oh so useful – and a nice authentic touch). And an Arson investigator called Jordan (now, if I were cynical, I’d say that, since this person got a name, he’s probably involved in some way). And the 2 very charred bodies that were burned in a super hot almost explosion – as have all the locks (in this and other derelict sights) - and Hank finds some oily residue that burns super quick.

Back at the police station analysis shows this residue contains human fats and that all this copper being stolen isn’t being sold. And a witness who saw an apparent homeless man with burn scars fleeing the scene which he gets a sketch artist to draw (and she’s a woman! I was beginning to think this Portland only had 10 women in the whole city).

Said burned man decides to hit Lance Truman – the guy who owns these derelict properties – across the head with a metal bar. All 3 of the Grimm team go to investigate and find Homeless Dragon guy – who nearly burns Sergeant Wu with his oily firebreath. That has to be bad for the environment. This allows Dragon guy to flee to his big coppery stash while Sergeant Wu is sarcastic and amusing even with gunk in his eyes/ears/nose.

For reasons that escape me, the arson investigator has done a background check on the DNA found in the human fat oil – veteran and ex-welder Fred Eberheart and his next of kin, Ariel Eberheart who Nick goes to speak to – alone (coincidentally because the grimy stuff is starting ow so Wu and Hank get put into their plot box). And it’s a club with lots of scantily clad female dancers – and lots of Vesen. Including Eddie, the Grimmopedia and Ariel herself (who is doing fire tricks, which I’m sure we’re all shocked about).

Eddie calls her a Damonfure – dragon-like lineage that are very rare. And that they vomit their own fat that is extremely flammable. Interviewing her involves lots of flirting and learning that her father Frank’s life fell apart when his wife died and she hasn’t had much contact with him. This leaves Nick with the option of very unsubtly stalking her home (really, he may as well have leaned out his window and yelled “hey, I’m going to follow you, can I get directions?”) which leads to more flirting and sexy pushing from Ariel – it’s actually several kinds of amusing to see her refuse to cower away from the stalking Grimm. And she gets to answer a call from Juliette on Nick’s phone allowing her her cursory appearance this week as Nick gets to explain things to his jealous girlfriend.

Ariel isn’t done, of course, and invites Nick to her house (while making the call naked, of course), ostensibly to help him find her father. Nick, fearful of her sexy wiles (and Juliette’s wrath) brings Hank along (Hank, you do have a role to play!) And find that her house has lots and lots of copper in it (and actually looks all kinds of cool with it). But no Ariel.

Because Ariel is at Nick’s house, kidnapping Juliette (Juliette, you got upgraded to Victim!) and fixating some more on Nick. It’s her plan to help heal her disturbed father – which Eddie (and of course Nick has to pick up Eddie) puts down to a full on quest dynamic – dragon, knight and (of course) the poor damsel in distress. We also learn that nick has the LOUDEST mobile phone in the whole world –being able to hear it outside in the street despite him having left it in his bedroom.

On to the Damonfure copper cave! Where Eddie meets Juliette and rescues her from the loosest bonds and the most useless gag I’ve ever seen. Seriously, she has the gag between her teeth and the bonds don’t even need untying, they can be slipped off her wrists. Juliette redeems herself somewhat by punching Ariel (though why the Blutbad Eddie doesn’t rip off her arm, I do not know) but still doesn’t really get kudos for rescuing herself.

There follows a brief, rather disappointing fight scene between Nick and Frank, with Nick deciding to leave all his many many medieval weapons at home in order to battle with improvised scrap – but he does find a copper shield to hide behind that doesn’t get hot when exposed to super-heated flame. Ariel then decides to immolate herself, because of loyalty to her father. But I’m beginning to see why this species of Vesen is rare. But apparently she’s not dead in the dramatic credits afterwards. I have no idea why not, necessity of drama perhaps.

In something that looks like it could be meta-plot, Eddie has heard of a Grimm that has died in Belgium – decapitated and the head missing. Killed by the Reapers. This is apparently reason to warn Nick, who has never expressed an interest in other Grimm before, to watch himself in Portland. Yes, I am unimpressed by the paltry quality of this meta. Do I even have to mention how much this show need to get itself some meta-plot?

Eddie and Nick bicker and bounce off each other so perfectly. It really is one of the main reasons to keep watching this show because those 2 make such a great team. Honestly, they have more of a bickering couple dynamic than Nick and Juliette – though Juliette and Nick having any kind of dynamic would require her to actually be on screen long enough to have more than a couple of lines.

I actually saw an article this week that described Bitsie Tulloch, the actor who plays Juliette as Grimm’s “leading lady” oh how I laughed. I suppose it’s true, her 2 minute appearances once every other week do give her a greater role on the show than any other woman.  Especially now she got upgraded to Victim!

But we do have a new role for women on the show! In addition to Villain, Victim and Love Interest we also now have Temptress.

For some added problems – all of this episode is down to healing Ariel’s “crazy” father. Simplistic to say the least. And Ariel is dismissed as “crazy” as well. Ugh mentally ill people are constantly portrayed as dangerous – and it’s stigmatising, inaccurate and dangerous.

Sergeant Wu and Hank continue to be closed out of much of the show because of the big Grimmy secret that is STILL a Grimmy secret. Juliette is still out of the Grimmy secret but the danger Nick being a Grimm is making their relationship shaky. Frankly, I wish they’d drop it and give up the pretence.

I want to like this show but I am getting so tired of monster of the week episodes - especially since this refusal to move forwards means the marginalised characters of the show continue to be sidelined