Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grimm relationships

Here are two of the journal bullet points that did not make it into yesterday's post:

  • I won't do it, now I'm doing it. (referring to Eve trying to enter the other realm by herself)
  • Eve - Juliette - Eve - Juliette - Eve
 Those may be somewhat cryptic even for watchers. Juliette started the show as Nick's girlfriend and a veterinarian. Involvement with Nick led to her getting kidnapped, put in a magical coma, and losing all memories of Nick, but once she was in on it she got really into it, making friends, helping with research, and even buying the vehicle that Kelly would use to hide infant Diana away from the Royals. That was a bit of a turning point.

Believing that the Royals had her daughter, Adelind used a spell to disguise herself as Juliette and sleep with Nick, thus taking away his Grimm powers and becoming pregnant with Nick's child. Undoing that spell led to Juliette becoming a hexenbiest as well, which was a difficult adjustment, made worse by finding out about the pregnancy. Juliette collaborated with the Royals, burning the trailer, getting Nick's mother killed, and attacking Nick. It looked like she was then killed, but really super-secret organization Hadrian's Wall worked with her to turn her into a weapon whom they called Eve, who - while remembering everything Juliette did - did not feel like Juliette.

I wrote before about not liking that Adelind raped Nick, or that Juliette's transition to hexenbiest should have been a little more nuanced than "I want my life back" "I don't want to go back" - all spoken in the tone of angry. Starting with horror, finding a little bit of elation with the power, trying to find a way to balance it, and then going off the rails when a pregnant Adelind showed up would have been better.

Nonetheless, I thought Juliette being a hexenbiest was a great twist, and even becoming Eve wasn't terrible. It's just that it was mishandled, and that lack of nuance is why it was mishandled. Writers who can handle a complex emotional journey and choose to do so can have characters - instead of repeating the same thing - say different things that lead to the whole. They might get that it will look wrong when people - especially Hank - accept a reformed Adelind so quickly. That should take work. There could have been more emotions about Renard's ping-ponging back and forth. When everyone goes off on a weekend retreat, and as they greet each other Eve is hugging people - that level of relationship has not been rebuilt.

It's that kind of inconsistency that leads to the bullet points. Eve was very firm about not being Juliette, and people got used to it, but then when she was injured, Nick called her Juliette. That seems like it should mean something, but it didn't, because Adelind is the love of Nick's life now.

Except that never seemed real. Nick and Adelind made more sense as that couple that a wacky one-night stand resulting in pregnancy creates, and hey, they are both pretty hot and have some compatibility, but that has a few steps to go through before it gets to the great love story that some scenes tried to convey.

Adelind's attachment made more sense. She was always pretty needy - which was not unreasonable. Her mother withheld approval, Renard would use her but never commit, and alliances with the Royals are always kind of dangerous. Motherhood, the vulnerability of being on the run, and then spending time with good people are all things that could reasonably make a change. Nick's charisma certainly wouldn't hurt, and the coercion that happened in her relationship with Renard could easily kill any previously existing attraction.

But it did not make sense for Nick to be so devoted, or for Eve to be so okay with it. And when they do stuff like that, you see missed opportunities all the time. When the love spell for everyone wore off, she should have found her feelings still there. There were so many times that they hinted at a difference in her after the healing; why not just admit that Juliette's body with Juliette's memories - despite actions she would like to divorce herself from - is Juliette.

That would not mean that they had to reunite Nick and Juliette either. It doesn't have to be resolved. Yes, if a central conceit of a series has been a love triangle, it probably should be resolved in the finale, but that wasn't the case here. Nick was all about Juliette, then all about Adelind. Feelings should be honest, though. If you don't adequately sell those feelings, it won't feel honest.

I kept watching for the characters and cast, but it felt like they were becoming worse actors toward the end. I don't think that's because of a change in anyone's skill level - I think it's harder to make some things work. They tried valiantly.

And that's why the ending felt hollow. Yes, Nick saw what it would be like to lose everyone - and then he got them back - but those relationships had bee undermined by plot-driven writing, and the emotions that the writes wanted to be there weren't.

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