Monday, April 10, 2017

A Grimm finale

"Grimm" is finally over.  know there were people who loved the conclusion, and who did not think the show kept getting worse, but they do not write this blog.

There is so much that I want to say that I will inevitably forget something. Even writing two bulleted lists (complaints specific to the finale and complaints that were more general) in my journal may not be enough to get it all down.

It is a completely valid question to ask whether this all has a point, but there are two main themes to the complaints, and they matter to me as a person and as a writer, so I am going to spend some time on this.

One of them is poor characterization, and the way this tends to happen is that things end up being more plot-driven than character-driven. My thoughts on this have been greatly influenced by Carolyn Hinsey in her "It's Only My Opinion" column in Soap Opera Digest. I haven't read it for a while, and she changed jobs a while ago, but I still remember her pointing out plot-driven fiascoes over and over again. In an effort to make cool things happen shows would frequently make characters totally betray history and values.

Soap viewers can watch their characters five days a week for years at a time. They know their character deeply and character inconsistencies can be even more glaring, but I was watching "Grimm" for the characters.

One of the worst parts for me with that is that it led to Nick becoming a worse cop. My feelings about the police may not be entirely positive, but nonetheless Nick started out as caring, professional, and smart. He kept getting worse, not because there was any reason for it, but sometimes that's how you end up with the most dramatic and striking images.

I assume that's also when it became a thing to start using so many long and complicated Germanic phrases, because they sound so funny. Let's say it three times in this scene!

I'm going to hold off on my second major complaint for now, and go over the issues with the final three episodes.

  • Nick ate Blutbad. Really? Your best friend is a Blutbad.
  • While I will not disallow that flashbacks can help drive points home, illustrate connections, or increase poignancy, I believe they were used ineffectively here.
  • Does Renard have to carry Diana to bed every single time? That was just weird.
  • Related to that, she sure got put to bed a lot in a lot of different places. All of the switching around between house, loft, spice shop, precinct, and cabin was not really practical and would not work if these were real locations (or real children).
  • Diana's reactions were very inconsistent, and the problem was not the child actor in this case. It could be okay to have her switch from being scared to being happy to go with the monster to being scared again, but there should be some reason. In this case, when there was a great reason - like the monster killing her parents whom she has killed to protect - she had no reaction at all.
  • What about Black Claw? Oh, they're all gone. Well good, that threat causing worldwide chaos evaporating so quickly was almost too much to hope for.

I also thought that the It's a Wonderful Life ending felt flat, but I believe that is because of other lost opportunities, where with a better thought out, character-driven show, it could have been a huge payoff.

I'm going to try and make my case for that tomorrow.

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