Grimm Episode 101
Written By: David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf
Directed By: Marc Buckland
Original Airdate: 28 October 2011
In This Episode...
Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin are homicide cops in Portland, Oregon. Nick starts noticing that some people he encounters on the street have a weird, shapeshifting monster face that comes and goes, and only he can see it. His aunt Marie, who raised him since his parents died when he was young, comes into town. Marie has cancer and doesn't have much time left - which means it is the perfect time to tell him about their family secret.
Nick is one of the last remaining Grimms. He comes from a long line of Grimms. The fairy tale stories are real, and his family has been tasked with killing the fairytale monsters that hide amongst regular humans. He goes for a walk with Marie one night, and a man jumps out of a car and attacks her with a scythe. He is some kind of fairytale baddie with a monstrous face. Marie fights mightily with a dagger she pulled from her coat. Nick fires instinctually, but empties his clip before the monster drops. In death, the human countenance returns to the monster. Marie gives Nick a necklace and tells him to guard it with his life. Then she drops into unconsciousness.
At the hospital, Marie tells Nick there is not enough time to tell him everything, but everything he needs is in the trailer she lugged here behind her car. She can tell him that his parents were killed by monsters, not a car accident; they can see the monsters' true faces when the monsters lose control; and he needs to dump Juliette, his live-in girlfriend that he is about to propose to. None of this sounds particularly pleasing to Nick. That night, Nick is kept awake by nightmares, so he starts to investigate Marie's trailer. The necklace she gave him is a key, and he quickly becomes engrossed in the material.
Meanwhile, Nick and Hank have a case: a young woman went jogging in the woods and was killed, torn limb from limb. A couple days later, another girl goes missing, a child. What do they both have in common? They are wearing red hooded sweatshirts, and both went missing around the woods. Nick sees a guy who lives woods-adjacent and sees a brief morph into a wolf. He calls in the cops, but after tossing the home thoroughly, there is no evidence the girl was ever there, and they have nothing incriminating on the man. Nick doesn't give up, and that evening, he watches from a distance. The man leaves his house and starts marking his territory in the yard. Nick moves in, and the monster attacks. A few moments later, and his human visage returns. "I was just making a point. Let's grab a beer."
This dude is Eddie Monroe, a "blutbad" (aka - a Big Bad Wolf). He is a reformed monster who controls his Grimm side through diet, drugs, and pilates. Nick is the first Grimm he has ever met, but his parents used to tell stories that scared the hell out of him. Nick is just looking for the missing girl; Monroe doesn't really socialize with other monsters. Despite distrust between the two, Monroe drives around the woods with Nick, trying to sniff out this other blutbad and the little girl. They can only get so far before Monroe feels unable to maintain his calm. But they found a cute little cottage that is surely where the girl is being kept. Nick returns with Hank, not wanting to bring in the rest of the squad for fear of being wrong. The pair go speak to the homeowner, who is polite and mild-mannered almost to a fault. With nothing suspicious, Hank insists that they leave. As they do, Nick recognizes the tune that the homeowner is humming - the same tune that was playing on the first victim's iPod - and they bust back in. The guy is now full-on monster and tries to escape; Hank guns him down. Back in the cottage, the two tear the place apart, looking for the little girl. Just as they are about to give up, Nick notices water from a broken vase dripping through the floorboards. He finds the hidden door and within, the girl.
At the hospital, a young woman who was the first Grimm creature Nick ever saw, is visiting Marie. Well, killing Marie with an injection into her IV. Outside the hospital, she gets in a car, without the key that she was sent in for. "We better get it before he figures out how to use it," says her companion - Nick's police captain.
Dig It or Bury It?
I will give it the same admonishment I give with all pilots: let's wait and see. It's high concept, and it could go either very cheesy or very dark. Creator David Greenwalt is well known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and his humor is evident. The character Monroe reminds me a lot of Lorne from Angel. Co-creator Jim Kouf also worked on Angel, but he also wrote Snow Dogs, so take from that what you will.
I will say that the acting is underwhelming. It's not bad; it's just generic and uninteresting. The monsters, however, are pretty awesome and the fight scenes are well choreographed. NBC definitely didn't skimp on the FX budget, and that goes a long way towards adding polish to the show.
...Wolf. While Monroe is a reformed creature, the "Mailman" (so dubbed because of his profession) is not. Honestly, he is pretty much the stereotypical pedophile: mild-mannered, a bit of a loner, a little too perfect. Plus he wears loafers and for some reason, I find that alarming.
Fables and Folklore
Monroe uses wolfsbane to hide his and Nick's scent from the blutbad.
Nick will accept his fate and start hunting Grimm creatures in a very procedural fashion. I just hope they aren't all blutbads.