Writing about NBC’s new fairy tale police procedural ‘Grimm’ presents a puzzling challenge. How do you describe what happens in an episode without making it sound like the dumbest thing ever? Because it’s not, really. It’s not the greatest show in the world, but it has some potential. Yet how do I say that, in the second episode, detective Nick has to investigate the case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears without eliciting derisive laughter?
That’s essentially the gist of ‘Bears Will Be Bears’ (which I happen to think is a hilarious title, actually). Blonde bimbo Gilda (Last name Lox? The episode doesn’t actually go that far) and her boyfriend break into a rich family’s home to eat their food, sit in their chairs, and give their beds a test run. Little do they realize that the house in question actually belongs to a family of “jägerbars.” Basically, they’re were-bears. There’s a momma bear, and a poppa bear, and a teenage son named Barry (yes, Barry the bear – c’mon, that’s fantastic!) who has a couple of friends of the same persuasion. The family comes home early and captures the boyfriend. Gilda gets away and makes her way to the police, but complications ensue that result in her going back to get captured as well.
The young bears decide to use the trespassers as the prey in a rite-of-passage hunting ceremony. (Nick’s friend Eddie describes it as a “jägerbar mitzvah.”) This is an ancient and largely ignored ritual that the family’s father treats with disdain, but momma bear supports.
So, Nick needs to rescue Gilda and her boyfriend before the studly, shirtless teenage were-bears eat them. The father agrees to help in this, but momma bear accidentally falls into the boys’ tiger-pit trap and winds up getting impaled on stakes when she tries to stop Nick. Whoops.
As with the pilot, the second episode has a fair amount of cheese and some embarrassingly bad visual effects. But it’s also reasonably clever and kind of entertaining, and lays some more groundwork for the show’s mythology backbone. In this one, we learn that the people trying to kill Nick’s aunt Marie are called “reapers.” Marie say that they’re essentially “anti-Grimms” who are devoted to hunting down and killing the Grimms, just as the Grimms are devoted to hunting down the evil creatures of the world. Soooo… Grimm Reapers, then?
Once again, the highlight of the episode is reformed blutbad Eddie. Nick assigns him to guard Marie at the hospital, which Eddie is not happy about at all. Upon sniffing out some baddies, following one to the basement and (perhaps overzealously) tearing the guy’s arm off, Eddie admits, “OK, that went a little too far.” This scene is kind of awesome.
Unfortunately, Eddie can’t stop all the bad guys. An evil priest gets to Marie. She rallies enough strength to fend him off and hill him herself, but promptly dies afterwards.
The second episode isn’t a huge improvement over the pilot or anything. It’s pretty much just like it, but maybe a little more confident. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but… I don’t know. I’m kind of digging the show. It reminds me of the early seasons of ‘Buffy’. Although it’s very rough around the edges, there’s something there. I’ve decided to commit the show to a series recording on my DVR, which I never would have expected a few weeks ago.