When “To Be Continued” flashed at the end of the second season premiere of Grimm, right as the vicious Mauvais Dentes was pouncing on Nick after luring him to an abandoned warehouse, I admittedly had mixed feelings. After getting over my initial frustration that came about solely for selfish purposes and wanting to see what happened next, my thoughts came down to two things: inventiveness vs. cohesion. Grimm taking a chance and continuing to build arcs rather than pure standalone episodes with mythology cobbled on was a refreshing and necessary step if they plan on growing this season; however a two-parter that didn’t air together is a little more risky than you might think. You have to have the episode be able to stand on its own while continuing in the footsteps of the first part, bringing about a little closure while setting things up for the next run of episodes.
“The Kiss”, the second half of the Grimm premiere, definitely gave the show a major jumping off point for next week, as Juliette has been awakened…by a kiss from Captain Renard. And no longer remembers who Nick is, the chilling “Who are you?” punctuating the episode nicely. Renard needed to be weaved into the main story a little more, having been the electron in the Grimm nucleus all season, and tying him to Juliette will make him closer to Nick, upping the danger of Nick being targeted by the royalty and bringing even more tension to his interactions with the Captain. The overt fairy tale reference may not have been totally unexpected, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t offer a lot of cool stuff, particularly with the complication to Nick’s already complicated life and the torment that it caused Renard. The latter had the normally unflappable officer rather unsure of what his next move might be, having to deal with a frustrated royal family and failing to control the creature within in a powerful transformation scene.
We knew that Renard was a monster inside that puts everything into the upstanding, honorable persona that the public at-large knows, but he had always known how to handle himself…until the revelation of the second Grimm. With the knowledge that Nick has a stronger support system and a potentially equally dangerous ally, Renard’ll have to find the proper balance between becoming friendlier with Nick and prying him for answers that will help the royalty take him out. Once it becomes clear that the only reason Juliette woke up from her coma was Renard, he of (current) pure heart following a nasty concoction, I don’t know if there’ll be much time for inter-office pleasantries and willful ignorance.
Aside from the scenes with Renard falling apart physically and Juliette falling apart mentally, “The Kiss” had a bunch of nice ideas that never developed beyond that stage. Bringing over the Mauvais Dentes from the first episode was an interesting choice that could give every Wesen interaction another layer from here on out, as they might not have to die/be captured/escape at the end of their episode, but killing it off not long into the episode felt like a bit of a waste. You have this blood-thirsty, destructive villain at your disposal – you made the effort to carry him over into another episode. Give him more to do than a brief fight scene before being put down, even if that’s the obvious end result. We saw a little bit of the wrath that he can unleash in the prior episode, but if this thing can demolish an entire city, it can escape a couple of Grimms and prolong the final battle until a little later in the episode.
The “FBI arrests Nick but lets him go…for now” storyline was also a little underserved. I liked the idea and think that bringing in a whole other squadron of officers could tighten the noose around Nick’s neck, making him have to be that much more careful with his actions; it instills real world consequences that he hasn’t really had to face yet and serves to bring his two worlds that much closer together. But at least in this episode, it didn’t really go anywhere nor did you ever think that Nick was in any danger of finding out, so the questioning scenes and subsequent release didn’t have much power on their own. Nick losing the gun and getting a little off his game might have been a nifty swerve from the cool, collected Grimm that he became toward the end of the first season, but unless the threat of the FBI lingers for multiple episodes, it’ll all have been for a briefly shocking arrest scene.
And that’s it.
I did like the continued presence of Nick’s mother, who brought a different perspective on the Grimm lifestyle, some rather fun fight moves in her battle with (and victory over) Adalind’s mother and a layer of intrigue regarding the coins to “The Kiss”. In a way, Kelly Burkhardt became Aunt Marie 2.0, a stronger, more experienced Grimm imparting life lessons to Nick before departing to places unknown. The only difference is that Kelly brought more personal knowledge to a fighter that had spent 22 episodes growing his skill set, so she rounded out his understanding of this world and helped to prepare him for what’s to come before taking off with the coins. Although I have to admit that I’m disappointed in only having Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio around for such a brief time, considering how well she fit into the Grimm-verse and the different dynamic the show had accordingly, this might be the thing that Nick needs in order to get stronger. He found closure through his interactions with his mother and the major part of himself that always wondered what happened, if she had made it, if any of this was his fault, can rest. It can give way to the new terrors in his life while making his actions have more meaning, more context. Nick knows what he’s fighting now, both in terms of present dangers and past demons, and that can go a long way to helping his cause.
Though “The Kiss” was a fairly entertaining episode that packed some nice emotional moments, more supporting character integration, and an intriguing twist ending, I don’t think that it was up to the standard that the premiere set. The pacing noticeably fell off (even considering the exposition heavy premiere), while a couple of the plots were non-starters and Nick became an afterthought in favor of a tormented (and still unraveling) Renard. (It didn’t help that Renard had been one of the show’s major question marks heading into the season, making each revelation about him that much more appreciated and effective.) Grimm came out of the hiatus on a mission with a focused, furious premiere that sought to provide answers and illustrate the stakes of the remaining 21 episodes, an approach that filled me with the type of hope I had around the end of last season and before the underwhelming finale. “The Kiss” may have shrank a little from the episode in several aspects, but it didn’t deter the feeling that I have that Grimm will put it all together this season and add a little complexity to the procedural and a little coherence to the mythology to create a fun, spooky adventure every Friday night.
Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-Programming note: Next week, rather than a review, I’ll be recapping Grimm. Please stick around, even though it’ll likely be a couple of hours before anything will be posted.
-Hank’s whole “don’t hang me out to dry” thing – do you think he knows something’s up?
-Oddly, one of my favorite things about the episode was that Adalind’s mother’s neighbors called the police. A lot of the time on supernatural shows set in a small town, there’s a huge brawl that never gets addressed by the general public, despite something having obviously went down.
-I think that this would have played better following the premiere and not over 2 weeks, only because combined, they feel like a prologue to the next chapter of Nick Burkhardt’s life.
-Renard ripping his shirt off while purifying his heart – hot or not? Obviously the screaming and searing pain isn’t too appealing, but aesthetically, what say you?
-Next week on Grimm: Hank’s old friend comes to town and needs his help, while Nick looks into a string of disappearances. To continue the conversation about “The Kiss”, you can head to the TVOvermind Grimm discussion forum.