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Grimm: Pilot Review

Written by Christian Hoffer on Saturday, October 29 2011 and posted in Reviews

The Outhouse reviews the first episode of Grimm!  How is it and how does it compare to Once Upon a Time?

Grimm was the second fantasy television series to debut this week that focused heavily on fairy tale elements set in the modern day. While Once Upon a Time took many of its characters straight out of the fairy tales and placed them into a modern setting, NBC's Grimm took a slightly different approach, using the fairy tales more as a starting point/inspiration to build the show's mythology upon rather than actually using the characters themselves.

Grimm stars David Giuntoli as Nick Burnhardt, a detective from Portland, Oregon who sees an attractive executive briefly transform into a grotesque zombie-like creature. Nick and his partner, Hank Griffin, played by Russell Hornsby, begin to investigate the violent death of a local college girl. After a futile search, Nick goes home to propose to his girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) but is surprised to see his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) at his home. Marie is dying of an unspecified illness (probably cancer) and tells Nick that he is a Grimm, a person who can see supernatural creatures for who they really are. Being a Grimm is a hereditary trait and the abilities are passed along to another family member shortly before a Grimm dies. Before Marie goes into much detail, a trollish creature named Holda, who injures Marie before being gunned down by Nick, attacks the two.

Marie is taken to the hospital, where she gives Nick an antique green key and tells Nick to look in her antique Airstream trailer, parked outside of Nick's home, for more answers. The trailer is filled with weaponry, knick-knacks and a large book with pictures of the many creatures that apparently inhabit our world. However, Nick's search for answers is cut off by Juliette, whom Nick is reluctant to tell anything.

The next day, Hank informs his partner that they've traced a bootprint found at the scene of homicide to a specific type of boot. That type of boot happens to be worn by a postman who's oddly attracted to the color red. After said postman captures a young girl, Nick and Hank are called in to investigate the girl's disappearance, believing that it might be linked to the homicide they're currently investigating. Hank and Nick discover the girl's backpack in the park and follows a set of bootprints to the house of Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who Nick discovers is a wolfman-like creature.

The police futilely search Eddie house on Nick's suspicions but find nothing. Nick is not convinced and stakes out Eddie's home. However, Eddie notices Nick watching him pee and confronts the cop, explaining that he is a reformed "Blubodden" (or a big, bad wolf) who doesn't kill for pleasure and reveals that there are many supernatural creatures like him in the city, most of whom are aware of the Grimms and have been raised to be fearful of them. Nick recruits Eddie to help him in his search for the killer, as Eddie is able to detect other wolfmen with his heightened senses. Eddie traces the killer to a secluded cabin, but refuses to go inside out of fear that he might lose control and attack Nick or the girl being held inside.

Nick turns to Hank for help, who reluctantly assists in interrogating the postman. The postman, who has inexplicably hidden his boots and gagged the young girl and imprisoned her in a hidden room, appears to be a mild-mannered needlepointing postman with nothing to hide. However, Hank realizes that he's the killer after hearing him hum "Sweet Things" by the Eurythmics, which the first murder victim was listening to before she was killed. A short scuffle ensues, leading Hank to shoot the postman and Nick to find the little girl.

The episode ends with Nick visiting his aunt in the hospital to monologue about how being a Grimm could change his life. A doctor walks into to inject Marie with a sinister looking fluid before being stopped by Nick, who recognizes her as the woman he saw at the beginning of the episode. The woman stabs Nick with the syringe and escapes the hospital, making a getaway in a car driven by Nick's boss, the captain of the police force, who orders the woman to make another attempt on Marie's life.

The pilot episode of Grimm is a decent opener to a series that lays out everything for the viewers in a straightforward fashion. The episode felt very much like a procedural cop show such as Criminal Minds mixed with a slight dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural. I enjoyed most of the scenes with Hank and Eddie and felt that they provided most of the acting strength in the show. Grimm also presented an interesting mythology that looks to be much more complex than Once Upon a Time's. However, there's plenty of room for improvement. David Giuntoli was a rather lifeless lead and it was a little unusual to see both bad guys taken out so easily with a few bullets. The show also didn't properly explain why the Grimms exist and what's so evil about the monsters they hunt down. While the procedural aspects were a little dull at times, the show's premise was interesting enough and left enough of an impression on me to watch at least a few more episodes to see where the story goes.

Overall, I enjoyed Grimm and will tune in next week. While it didn't quite hold my interest as much as Once Upon a Time, I feel that this show has more of a chance to grow into something stronger since Once Upon a Time has a very specific direction towards an endpoint already mentioned in the first episode. With a little work, Grimm could become the next Chuck, an NBC show with a solid fanbase that defies expectations and lasts much longer than anyone expects.

Written or Contributed by: Christian Hoffer

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