Grimm 1.08 “Game Ogre” Review

Grimm Game OgreThe moment that you get to see tangible evidence of character bonds in a new series can be something else. If a show is lucky enough to get a full first season to explore itself and what it can do (which Grimm has and is doing each week), there’s a time when you notice the progress and how the wayward figures you met in the pilot months ago now have some semblance of kinship, of trust. Of course, it can take some shows a little longer to hit that creative sweet spot, but regardless of whether it’s done in episode 2 or 22, when it happens, you can’t help but get a little excited.

It took Grimm eight episodes to evolve its core bromance, a pairing that came about in the pilot due to circumstance rather than choice. Nick and Monroe have always had friendly banter between them, thanks in part to the fact that each filled needs in the other’s life; Nick needs a toe-hold in the creature world and ever-loyal Monroe hasn’t been shy about teaching him anything, while Monroe’s loneliness subsides by feeling useful and human through interaction with Nick. However, as mutually beneficial as their partnership is, it didn’t completely gel until “Game Ogre”, when Nick let Monroe go into his trailer unaccompanied to get the elephant gun and Siegbaiste Gift to take down the vengeful Stark. Even though there wasn’t a whole lot more that Nick could do in order to save Hank from imminent doom, it takes a certain level of trust to allow someone to bear witness to things about yourself that you haven’t showed others. Monroe could have easily given in to his blutbad impulses and betrayed Nick now that he had full access to enough weaponry to become King of the Blutbaden, but there’s enough respect there to outweigh any temptation and keep the bromance alive.

The two have my favorite chemistry in the show, with their experiences mirroring one another, and having them move to the next level and strengthen what they have can only make future episodes strive for that much more. Tonight’s episode was an example of the show altering the formula a little bit and trying something new, thanks to Stark sending Nick to a hospital bed and keeping him from putting him away once and for all. You’d think that having the main character out of commission would have made for a snooze of an episode, but Grimm going to the “experimental” well early will make it easier to get more creative later. Had they gotten stuck in the typical episode formula, it’d be much harder to break out of it later on, so getting viewers a little used to slight tweaks may allow them to expand even more in the future.

Grimm may be a procedural, but you can be a procedural with a pulse and a little ambition, so I liked seeing that they’re not content to just one way of making an episode.

Grimm Game OgreHowever, I don’t like the fact that we had a second straight “Hank is haunted by an old case” episode. Despite the fact that I’m all for the supporting cast getting some shading and whatnot, it felt too similar to “Let Your Hair Down” in that regard; the tones were different, with “Hair” being a slightly sadder episode and “Ogre” based more on fear/anger, but it all comes down to the same basic (slightly cliche) premise. Aside from the fact that the “cop carrying a case with him” trope is a little overused, it just made “Game Ogre” a little bit of a let down, in terms of personality. Sure, we had some cool fight sequences, even cooler gore (the gavel in the judge’s mouth was a nice touch), and Monroe taking down another creature with a triple-barreled rifle, but “Ogre” felt more like a filler episode with its too similar storyline. I got onto Grimm earlier this season for replicating cases; I don’t mind if two episodes are similar, but if you air them close enough to one another, it can look a little sloppy and thin, like you’re out of ideas and it’s only a third of the way through your season. I don’t think any of those things about Grimm, but it’s a troubling trend to watch from here on out in hopes of witnessing a turnaround.

One thing I did like “Game Ogre” incorporating is that we finally get to see Nick’s Grimm life bleeding over into his home life. Starks came into his house and attacked him trying to get information on Hank’s location when Juliette came home and tried to help Nick fend him off. He had done a pretty fair job of keeping the two lives separate and even though Juliette doesn’t suspect anything but a random home attack, it feels like another piece of the wall between Nick’s lives came crumbling down. Juliette’s been a little removed from the action thus far, almost a parallel to Nick keeping his distance from her emotionally, and having her in the fold a little more could bring another dimension to Grimm. I don’t know how the show would adapt to having more people in the know of Nick’s proclivities, but more events like this (and Monroe almost spilling the beans to Hank) and we’re about to find out.

“Game Ogre” was an episodes where the whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its parts. Though I liked certain aspects of it a lot, it felt a little too serious in tone to get a lot of enjoyment out of. Part of the fun of Grimm is that it’s a supernatural procedural and if you negate the supernatural too much, we’re left with a fairly standard-ops crime drama that, while fairly entertaining, doesn’t stand out as much as it could. I do think that Grimm, as a whole, is moving in the right direction and developing its characters and situation, but the transition from promising new drama to new drama that fulfilled said promise has been a little bit of a bumpy road. A siegbaiste may be able to be taken down by a calcifying agent that eats at their bones, but Grimm‘s “silver bullet” may be not being able to decide what voice to use to tell its stories.

Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“I get it. Be cool, wear pants.”
-“This watch is destroyed. I wanna weep.”
-“These guys, they carry grudges to the grave. And usually it’s your grave.”
-“Okay…he said, somewhat tenuously.”
-The detail that Stark set the watch he left on Chilton’s hand to the time he was convicted was nifty, no?
-I like how we got to see Monroe’s expertise on time pieces come through.
-Poor stuffed monkey.
-Even though I didn’t like the connection, having Hank “lose the tape” was an intriguing move toward moral ambiguity that I didn’t expect. Perhaps he’ll have more questionable moments in the future?
-If you guys missed my article of Grimm spoilers, check it out here.
-Next week on Grimm: Nick deals with a mild-mannered killer with a dark childhood and Monroe is sent a message by the creature community that causes him to question his true allegiance.

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