Sunday, April 3, 2016

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Fifteen: Skin Deep

"It is amazing how complete the delusion
that beauty is goodness."

My ongoing complaint with Grimm is how little we focus on the meta and instead focus on a Wesen of the week.  I didn't mind it as much in last week's episode but this week, it once again became tiresome. Spending just a few minutes on meta to tell the story of characters we are never going to see again is ridiculous.  I get that this is the format that crime dramas often take but Grimm doesn't have to be mired in this kind of muck because it has such interesting stories to tell.

Summer is trying on makeup in the mall when she is approached by photographer Malcolm Caulfield.  Malcolm tells Summer that she has a great look and asks her to pose for him.  Summer quickly gets dizzy from the flash and is forced to lie down for a rest.  When Summer passes out, Malcom woges and drains her.

Later, Summer returns home, and starts to freak a little when her roommate notices that she has developed a wrinkle.  Aimee heads out for her hot date and when she returns, she finds an aged and dead Summer on the floor.  Well it's time for the cops to investigate.  At first they don't understand why Summer is missing and a dead 90 year old woman is there wearing her clothing and jewelry. After taking prints from the body, they discover that the 90 year old woman is in fact Summer and therefore this must be a Wesen issue.

Naturally, Hank and Nick turn to Rosealee and Monroe.  After reading through the Grimm sources, they determine that Malcolm must be a Musasat Alsh-Shabab.  It seems that a Musasat Alsh-Shabab drains the youth from its victims and the byproduct of the feeding has the ability to make others young; however, along with youth, the victims slowly become addicted and lose their mental faculties.

At this point, I really felt as though Grimm was lecturing the audience. They very much suggested that women in particular should be comfortable with aging and that it's ridiculous vanity to seek youth.  Here's the deal, from a very early age, girls are taught that beauty is power and we all know that it's a declining power.  Those who are thought of as youthful and attractive get better life options. It's an unearned privilege and while it may be wrong, it's a fact.  There's a nuanced conversation to be had about beauty, sexism and privilege and what Grimm did was to simply moralize without engaging in anything important.  Shame is not the answer to why people seek youth and beauty.  Shame is not the answer for why people feel compelled to conform to an impossible standard for anyone to maintain.  When the media airbrushes supermodels how the hell does it make sense to then moralize to people when they have an unrealistic view of what a woman looks like, let alone a woman who is aging?

The cops end up tracking down where Malcolm is selling his byproduct.  Monroe, Hank and Nick send in Rosealee for a treatment.  I like Rosealee's surprise when the doctor started pointing out nonexistent flaws, claiming that it's never to early to stop the ravages of aging.  When Rosealee refuses the treatment, the doctor slathers it on his face manic about how young he looks.  A shocked Malcolm arrives and demands to know what is going on with Rosealee.  The cops quickly follow with Monroe in tow and a fight breaks out.  The doctor ends up killing Malcolm and then simply dissolves.

Some could argue that because a man payed the ultimate price for wanting to look young rather than a woman, that this episode could be seen as progressive, because to some degree men are less pressured to conform.  We are seeing more and more beauty products being aimed at men and even shaming for things like dad jeans.  I don't see the fact that a man was chosen to pay the ultimate price as progressive, as much as I still see the heavy handed way that Grimm dealt with this subject matter.

In the very little meta we got this week, Eve called Nick to talk about the fact that she took Manwar's cellphone and then set him up to be taken to the hospital. Had Manwar survived, Hadrian's Wall would have had access to all of his contacts. Eve is super suspicious of Renard because he was the one who killed Manwar. Eve believes that Renaard either killed Manwar on purpose or he was set up to do so. At this point, Nick and Hank are still trying to give Renard the benefit of the doubt.

Eve decides to take action on her own.  Eve is absolutely not to be played with.  She replicates the spell which Adalind used to turn her into Juliet so that she could rape Nick.  Eve becomes Renard (thanks for the shirtless Renard Grimm).  Somehow I think that this is going to be a problem.

One of things I found interesting was Eve thinking through her life as Juliet and then getting up and grabbing a witch hat.  Did Juliette always have a dark side that she kept hidden until she became a Hexenbiest?  Are her actions actually more in line with who she really is woo woo aside? I really think that this might be something to think about.