Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grimm, Season 2, Episode 22: Goodnight, Sweet Grimm

“And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

In their hotel, Eric and Baron Samedi are having a great time preparing for the next night, eating a fine dinner and discussing their stocks of zombies. So intrigued is Eric by zombies that he simply has to have a demonstration – sacrificing a man he’s employed for 7 years so he can see the process himself.

Time for Nick and Juliette to have their awkward and difficult conversation over, well, everything. After some excellent acting and trying to address the hugeness of it all, they settl on they love each other

Elsewhere, Baron Samedi has decided to go all out for the full Voodoo appropriation ensemble. No idea why, he seemed quite capable of directing his zombies without make up and dramatic magic circles before. Maybe they thought they were being too “subtle”?

In Austria Frau Pech is cooking up a spell, including a “doppleganger” ingredient. Adalind, in her hotel, has her meal doctored by Frau Pech (who controls the waiter), knocking her unconscious and allowing Frau Pech to extract what looks like spinal fluid from her neck. Nasty.

And in Portland Rosalie has just made pie for Monroe and proving she can be just as adorably neurotic as he can before the sexual tension finally has them in each other’s arms.

Get your neckbraces because the show is zipping all over – Renard gets a call from his minion in Austria passing over all the details from the files he found – including the photograph-less passports, death certificates and body transport permits.

Got that? Good, zoom to next scene – Zombies on public transport! Zombies in the street! And they’re all fast zombies too which it totally cheating

Nick and Juliette’s happy, lovey-dovey morning gets interrupted by Renard calling Nick in – and probably all the marauding zombies. At Renard’s office Nick learns that Prince Eric, Renard’s brother’s in town; a powerful prince and, oh, his mum totally tried to kill Renard’s mum. Even Nick comments on how that would make family gatherings awkward – not that Renard would know, being excluded. Awwwww. Anyway, Eric’s after the key and Renard hands over the files he was sent because any of them could be working for Eric and have been sneaked into the country. In particular Renard worries about Thomas Schirach because his file is empty.

In the middle of the meeting, Eric calls and Renard asks Nick to listen in, putting it on speaker phone (luckily they don’t speak in French – or maybe James Frain doesn’t speak French). Of course other than the fact they don’t like each other over much and they arrange to meet, they don’t say much – and then Wu arrives with a crap load of 911 calls. Damn zombies are messing up the joint. Wu puts it down to drugs which was their excuse for the last load.

Time for Wu and Nick to go zombie searching (and they don’t bring a shotgun. Amateurs), investigating one of the calls, a shop, with a rampaging zombie inside. Wu gets bitten, the zombie falls out of a high window and she still keeps rampaging. Head shots, guys! They totally fail at zombie apocalypse. Perhaps as a testament to Nick’s skill and strength, zombie 2 is taken out with Nick’s bare hands. When Hank hobbles onto the scene, he and Nick get zombie 2 into Nick’s car and take him to the Spice Shop to see what’s happening.

Meeting with Rosalie they tell her what they know about the zombies, Cracher-Mortel and Baron Samedi and she grabs one of her books that tells her about zombiedom that has 3 stages: paralysis, grogginess, death-like state and then murder and mayhem.  There’s a cure – but it only works during the mayhem phase. Of course. And the cure involves a nasty GIANT INJECTION – funsies.

They leave the zombie with Rosalie and Monroe and go to the station to find the zombie they had, Al Shaner, is but one of many many missing persons. But this guy is the pick-up truck driver who picked up Baron Samedi and was one of the first zombified. And the company he works for has a recording of Baron Samedi’s call and his accent.

At the Spice shop, Al wakes up and causes a little mayhem until Monroe hits him and sets him firmly unconscious again, ready to be injected with the MEGA TRIPLE NEEDLES.

Austrian interlude! Frau Pech completes her little potion and drinks it. She turns into a clone of Adalind and Adalind turns into her – just in time to get a phone call from Stefania telling her that they know how to deal with Frau Pech. Awesome timing there.

Nick and Hank get a report from Wu about the Baron’s car he had towed giving them chance to search it – and an update on Wu having to get a Tetanus shot. Renard is going to see his brother – and not letting them take his weapons because he’s not that big a fool. Time for some reminiscing – like remember the time Renard had to flee the country so as not to be murdered? Ah fun times! Totally not helped by Eric pointing out his mother referred to Renard’s as “that Hexenbiest whore” bound to encourage good will.

Still, Eric claims to want to bury the hatchet (in who?) and he admires Renard’s talents and wants him back in the family. And look he’s even got a fancy dinner ready – of course there’s no way Renard’s going to trust the food or make more pleasant small talk. Time to talk about Nick and how impressed Eric is – sending back Reaper heads in a box and killing a Mauvais Dents and a Nuckalavee. After a brief discussion on Adalind and confirmation they’re giving Renard more time to get the key, Eric again repeats his appeal for Renard to come home and join the family.

Nick and Hank check out the car and find it full of Voodoo paraphernalia (or television’s version anyway) and Nick says he thinks he’s been lead on or manipulated – all the while the camera makes sure to draw attention to the shipping containers in the background where the zombies are storied. Good news, zombie Alan wakes up in the Spice Shop, all alive.

Nick goes home to Juliette - and it is home since she asks him to move back in again – and Nick and Juliette awkwardly try Nick telling her about his day – wesen zombies and all. When Monroe rings with the news about Alan, Juliette insists on coming with him; she wants to learn.

Back to Austria where Fake!Adalind goes to see Stefania to hear how they plan to take down Frau Pech. Stefania has a plan – especially since they need Frau Pech’s still beating heart to restore Adalind’s powers. She’ll pretend to double cross Adalind, call in Pech and when she’s distracted her son will wrap a cord around her neck. Hah, fake!Adalind doubts that can work – just as one of Stefania’s sons wraps a cord around her neck. Hey, looks like it’s working. Once strangled to unconsciousness, Stefania stabs her, to pull her heart out through her stomach. Pech returns to her true form and in the hotel, Adalind is restored as well. She wakes up, sees Frau Pech’s old, discarded clothes and smiles “ding dong the witch is dead.”

And Stefania is hereby awarded the medal for the most chutzpah ever – telling your victim your plan as you implement it.

To the spice shop, while everyone is surprised to see Juliette, the “learning curve” explanation is accepted by Rosalie and if she agrees you know it’s a good idea. Questioning Al, Nick gets some basic info we all knew about Baron Samedi – and a link to the container yard. And that there’s a lot of others - requiring a lot more antidote. Juliette insists she can help and, since she’s a vet, they decide mixing cures and giving injections is just up her alley. Nick also tells them Eric is visiting and making a play for the key and that a previous Baron Samedi had been involved in a revolution – yes they have cunningly discovered the cunning plan. Nick gives Rosalie the key to hide.

They drive to the container park, witnessed by Baron Samedi. He unleashes the horde of zombies and they attack – Nick and Monroe stepping up to fight, knocking several unconscious while Juliette and Rosalie cure them. But Samedi has more containers of zombies to unleash. Monroe suggests shooting them but Nick sees victims – and they realise it’s a trap.

As they run, Nick gets split off from the group. Juliette panics but Monroe points out Nick’s a Grimm and perfectly capable of looking after himself. Besides they’re the ones being chased by zombies, Nick’s managed to lose his followers and track down Samedi himself – who is conveniently laughing in a sinister manner to make it easier to find him.

Chase and fight scene follows, with Samedi laughing all the time. And he has a swordcane (and I think the actor can’t speak French. I mean, how many times canhe say “voilà?” Surely “En garde” would have been more appropriate!) They fall into another container with an altar set up – and a metal coffin. Inside there is no body – but there are the documents from the Thomas Schirach file – only the passport has a picture: Nick (describing him as Austrian and born in Norway). Which is when Samedi manages to slime him.

Juliette, Monroe and Rosalie make it to the car – where they’re besieged by zombies

In the container, Eric arrives saying “Mr. Schirach” has a plane to catch. Nick is paralysed and dead-seeming in his coffin.

Well, that season finale certainly ended with a cliffhanger. In fact, it had too many. The season finale didn’t exactly finishing anything, which is sort of the point of the finale in the first place. All of the storylines – Juliette, Adalind, Renard & Eric are still in the middle. They’re all developing well but nothing has ended this season. Maybe this is Grimm’s habit.

I’ve said before about the depiction of Vodou in media in the last episode and the same certainly applies here. Beyond that, the episode itself was good with some powerful acting Nick and Juliette finding their new relationship with the eagerness and the anxiousness that comes with it. And Juliette being eager to embrace and catch up on the whole Wesen world. I very much like how both Hank and Juliette were introduced to the Wesen – neither rejected it, neither ran from it. They had appropriate emotional reactions but they took it in, learned, expressed curiosity and worked with it.

I am hoping that Juliette follows Hank’s path in becoming more involved in the story. Hank had a much greater showing in season 2 than he had in season 1 once the secret was spilled – it has been tapering off in later episodes, but to be fair to Grimm, Hank isn’t hobbling on crutches because of a storyline - the actor, Russel Hornsby, has injured his leg. I dare say his drop in involvement wasn’t the plan. Perhaps he could be more pro-active but being human in a world of Wesen and Grimm, I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a sidekick; more of his own storylines focus and activities would help.

With Juliette now informed, she and Rosalie go a long way towards balancing the awful depiction of women that plagued Grimm in the first season. Rosalie is intelligent – in many ways more so than Monroe – and bounces off Monroe excellently so she is neither competition nor replacement. There were a few episodes where she was shunted out of the picture for no apparent reason, but she came back strong towards the end of the season. Next on my wish-list of inclusion will be for Wu to be more than comic relief. And for them to get a GBLT character – with 44 episodes and between 12-14 named, important characters who appeared multiple times (to say nothing of the innumerable larger cast) not having a single GBLT character is glaring in its erasure.

I think the main step up for season 2 was the meta. The key actually meaning something. Hank and Juliette learning the truth. Renard working with Hank and Nick. Adalind’s plotting. It took a little while to get going but when it did we had considerable development and overarching plot in season 2, especially the second half, linking the episodes together and ensuring that the random monsters who show up each week are still part of a greater whole. After season 1, with its endless  string of truly pointless episodes, this sustained meta was an immense improvement and sorely needed. In all I would say season 2 is a distinct improvement over season 1.