Grimm review – 2×01: ‘Bad Teeth’

Courtesy of NBC

In an effort to capitalize on NBC’s Olympics coverage, Grimm gets an early August debut in advance of its regular season in September. Does the tease work?

Let’s bitch it out…When last we saw Nick (David Giuntoli) he was squaring off against the mysterious woman in black, who naturally turned out to be his not-so-dead mother, Kelly Brukhardt (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). The majority of the first hour of Grimm‘s second season two-parter is spent explaining how this is possible as large portions of the show turn into Mama Exposition. On one hand it’s nice because Kelly addresses a number of questions that we’ve had for some time, including the relationship between the Grimm and the seven royal families and the purpose of the key-map that Nick’s Aunt Marie gave him in the first few episodes of S1.

One of the flip side, however, this is all handled a little awkwardly as Mama Grimm dumps a ton of information in a not-so-visually interesting way. Grimm has long been a visually wishy-washy show: some of its location work and nighttime shooting has been exceptional, but the creature effects and directorial style have been hampered by budgetary concerns. In this case a few flashbacks would have helped instead of simply watching Elizabeth Mastrantonio talk…and talk…and talk.

As it is Mama Grimm is relatively easy to integrate into the proceedings, especially since she’s clearly up to speed, including all things Wesen, demonology books and even the Trailer-o-weapons. All of this comes at a price, however as the vast majority of the supporting players, including Hank (Russell Hornsby), Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) and even Rosalee (Bree Turner) and Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), are pushed to the side to varying degrees. It’s not unfathomable that Elizabeth Mastrantonio could stick around for the long haul, although the writers clearly have an exit strategy for her. While it’s good to clarify that there’s a procedure in place to destroy those damned ‘Three Coins in a Fuchsbau’ (introduced in 1×13), which are apparently the cause of Nick’s fathers’ murder 18 years ago, the complicated procedure feels like a failsafe designed to ensure Mama Grimm doesn’t take over the show.

For at least the remainder of the season opener, however, Mama Grimm will be around. Hopefully she’ll help Nick make the connection between the severed heads he sent to France in 1×19 ‘Leave It To The Beavers’ and the appearance of the French speaking Mauvais Dentes before she disappears again.

Courtesy of NBC

Other Observations:

  • James Frain joins the cast in a mysterious role playing a character with no name who tortures people in castles – and speaks French! Given that both he and Sascha Roiz’s Captain Renard speak the language, can we assume that they know each other or were speaking to each other on the phone? (Side Note: Roiz’s French is quite good. Very pleasant)
  • Little to no advancement on the Juliette front as she remains in a coma while the cat scratch poison robs her of her memories. In one nicely done scene, Juliette remembers the dinner with Nick and Monroe (also from ‘Leave It To The Beavers’) but as her memory is erased, so too are Nick’s facial features until he disappears completely. It’s a simply but effective visual that clarifies what it’s like inside her comatose mind.
  • Hank barely appears at all, working the freighter crime scene that introduces Mauvais Dentes (the titular Bad Teeth) and earlier we see him cradling his shotgun at night. Guess Grimm still hasn’t figured out what to do with him yet
  • Although Nick appears to hesitantly trust Mama Grimm, I can’t say that I share his early adoption. Perhaps it’s the way Elizabeth Mastrantonio is playing the character, but there’s something vaguely untrustworthy about her. Sure she cleaned his house, but it seems like she could have just as easily been looking for the coins so she could disappear again. I think Nick is being far too open with someone who has yet to earn that trust
  • As always with Grimm: more Monroe (and Rosalee) please
  • Also, more Adalind Schade (an unseen Claire Coffee)…and maybe her mom (Jessica Tuck, who will likely always be Nan Flannigan from True Blood to me)
  • Is it just me, or were those were some pretty useless FBi agents? Mulder and Scully would be so disappointed with their performance
  • Finally: the new credit sequence. They’re a little ‘meh’ to me, especially the completely obvious voice-over. We’ll see if they grow on me (you know, like a fungus)

Best Lines:

  • Monroe (referring to the woman in black): “Who the hell is this bitch?” Nick: “This is my mom”
  • Monroe (to Nick): “Family reunions can be brutal. Our last one we lost a few cousins and some sheepdogs. I mean, no one missed the cousins…”
  • Nick (after Mama Grimm affectionately talks about his grandma castrating something with a giant curved blade): “It’s good times”

What did you think: for fans of the show, was this a worthy season premiere? For newbies, is this a show you’ll catch again? Would you trust Mama Grimm or do you think she’s being deliberately shady? Do we have any doubt that Rosalee’s elixir (cooked for 16 hours!) won’t work on Juliette? And what is Captain Renard’s plan for Nick? Theorize below in the comments!

Grimm will air the second half of its premiere next Monday, August 20 at 9pm EST on NBC

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

4 thoughts on “Grimm review – 2×01: ‘Bad Teeth’

  1. I completely, wholly agree with this review. And I mean completely. You nailed it.

    I’ve been comparing Grimm to the X-Files a lot (starts off mythos/procedural…develops more mythology as the show goes along), so the Mulder/Scully joke killed me LOL.

    I don’t like the title sequence either – I don’t think the narration does any justice to the complexity of the show, its mythology and the relationship between the characters. One thing the show worked hard to establish last season is the difference between good Wesen and bad Wesen, and Nick’s choice to treat them as individuals with consequences according to their actions, rather than group them together and kill them all as his ancestors did. The narration just kinda makes it seem that it’s good guy Grimm against bad guy Wesen, when it’s much more complicated than that.

    Great review.

    P.S. Sasha Roiz grew up in Montreal, Quebec. Hence the beautiful French. Heck yeah, Canada! :-)

  2. Oh, and for your discussion questions:

    – Definitely a worthy premiere. Ugh, two-parters, I hate waiting.

    – I think Mama Grimm being duplicitous would be a little cliche, and I’m hoping they don’t go that route. Secretive, definitely, I’m sure there’s something she’s not telling him. But I really, really hope she doesn’t betray him.

    – I saw the previews, so I’m gonna leave this one alone. But holy crap…the previews…

    – I really LOVE that they kept the mystery around Renard. As much as I want to know what the hell he’s about, I love that I don’t know. It makes him soooo intriguing.

    • Ohhh…yeah I didn’t see any promos, so I’m going into next week blind.

      I also hope that Mama Grimm isn’t evil. We’ve established that she’s okay with keeping things from Nick “to protect him” so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of that.

      I’ve enjoyed Sasha Roiz since Caprica (he was easily one of the most fascinating characters on that show). I really hope they continue to build and expand his character. He seems like a great antagonist: he’s not good like Nick, but he’s not bad, either. He just has his own agenda

  3. Throughout the whole trailer scene, I was screaming at Nick “Don’t show her the coins you idiot, don’t show her the coins!” I kept thinking she wasn’t his mother at all – the only reason I accepted she was a Grimm was the dude she fought said she was one and Wesen know their police-dogs. Her backstory just seemed too pat but I guess I’ll bend my head to the writers’ and accept her into the fold, though I seriously can’t see her sticking around very long.

    I appreciated they finally told us about the key and the connection to the Royals, but I also felt it was too much “tell-not-show me” and therefore it fell flat after such a big buildup in S1. At least now I know (one of probably many reasons) why Renard was so hot to trot to keep Nick in his city – also finally makes sense why he would have Nick’s aunt killed. Nick is a very democratic Grimm as opposed to his Aunt (and Mother) who obviously felt the only good Wesen was a dead one. So this begs the question – how did anyone know Auntie and now Nick had the key to begin with? Maybe I missed it last season, but I still don’t get how Renard (and possibly other Royals) know about the Burkhart Key especially given how secretive the clan is (hell, Mama Burkhart was able to escape detection for 18 years!).

    All in all, a decent premiere that definitely whet my appetite for more!