Grimm, Ep. 1.12, “Last Grimm Standing”: Renard shows his cards

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Captain Renard has to exert his authority in the Vesen world when a cage fighting ring gets out of control.

Grimm Review, Season 1, Episode 12: “Last Grimm Standing”
Written by Naren Shankar and Sarah Goldfinger (teleplay) and Cameron Litvack and Thania St. John (story)
Directed by Michael Watkins
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC

Suspense is back – this episode contains enough of a twist to entertain. Yeah, the appearance of Nick Chinlund with his X-Files/Buffy/rent-a-villain credentials firmly in place was a bit of a giveaway, but the writers manage enough sleight of hand to keep his part in the story an entertaining surprise.

We’ve known since the pilot that Nick’s boss, Renard, is part of the Vesen world – not a Grimm like Nick, but in a position to tell Reapers to back off in that old fashioned way, by removing a small, non-essential body part and giving it to them to play with. He’s also steered Hank in the direction of finding out what Nick does in his spare time and, unlike others in the Vesen world, doesn’t appear to lose sleep over the fact that Blutbad Monroe is breaking the rules and helping Nick out, which again keeps a nice sense of speculation alive about exactly how he fits in to the story.

Renard is in much the same position as Nick. His human job means he has a firm set of principles he has to abide by, a set of principles that conflicts with his Vesen responsibilities. This episode makes it clear that Renard’s answer to this problem is to bend the rules – the classic weak response. Clean cut, principled Nick is not going to go down that road. It remains to be seen whether he and Renard form an uneasy alliance when he finds out who or what his captain is, or whether the writers decide to make the confrontation a big, messy fight to the bitter end.

Hopefully, they’ll pick the former solution and have Nick and Renard work together. Sasha Roiz rocks as Captain Renard and the creators are going to have to be careful not to let him steal the show from David Giuntoli, who uses his pretty eyes to make us like him, but has the Brandon Routh problem of being a bit too clean and wholesome to be really charismatic. That said, this episode has Nick in a cage battling a rampaging Vesen with a short sword and shield (I kept expecting the Star Trek ‘fight’ music to start at that point), which ups his street cred substantially.

Last week’s Grimm was definitely grimmer and this trend continues, a conscious decision to downplay the twee factor and position the series in darker territory. One obvious change is that the light hearted cop banter has vanished (along with Sergeant Wu, although Reggie Lee fans will be glad to know he’ll be back in the next episode) and the storyline this week goes back to its medieval roots, giving us men on horseback dragging their victims through the mud. Works for me – when the writers try for quirky updates (bees sending text messages, rats becoming DJs), they end up with bad episodes of CSI.

Cath Murphy

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