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Friday, March 27, 2015

THE GOOD WIFE Has "Meat"

Article originally published as THE GOOD WIFE Review Season 6 Episode 16 Red Meat on Seat42F.

THE GOOD WIFE Recap Season 6 Episode 16 Red Meat

THE GOOD WIFE gets into some “Red Meat” in this week’s installment on CBS. You may take that title literally, as Diane (Christine Baranski) goes hunting with her husband and his rich, conservative buddies. But there is also ample opportunity to take it figuratively. The Good Wife is always juicy and filling, and “Red Meat” is no exception.

The main plot revolves around Election Day for Alicia (Julianna Margulies). Things are looking good for her, so Marissa (Sarah Steele) and Finn (Matthew Goode) try to distract her with video games so she doesn’t worry too much. Unfortunately, a little worry is necessary when Peter (Chris Noth) blows up Alicia’s chances, sending Josh (David Krumholtz) and Johnny (Steven Pasquale) scrambling. They even considering having The West Wing’s Melissa Fitzgerald (herself) do a robo-call, though they don’t know who she is. Thankfully, Eli (Alan Cumming), almost always a fan of Alicia’s these days, and relatively honorable where she is concerned, convinces Peter to help fix his mistake, and Alicia wins.

Peter and Alicia’s marriage is over. This has never been more clear than in “Red Meat.” When Eli has to convince Peter to help his wife after Peter is the one that screws things up, that’s a sure sign there’s nothing left there. He has little respect or love for her, using her merely as a political tool. She has seemingly shut down most of her emotion towards him as well, and hopefully now that the election is over, they can get a divorce. It might not be what Eli wants, or the most helpful thing for their public image, but it’s time for them to move on.

Alicia has two romantic options going into “Red Meat,” but both seem to be gone by the end of the hour. Although Finn offers to cancel a date to go out with her, Alicia doesn’t let him. And while I think she would take up with Johnny, Johnny sees Alicia and Peter together and wrongly assumes their marriage is still viable, so he leaves town. Either would be good matches for Alicia, but I have to admit, I’m sad that Johnny seems less likely at this point because they were very good together. Thank god Marissa is sticking around to help Alicia, even if she only provides for less physical urges.

Alicia offers Prady (David Hyde Pierce) her number two spot and he declines. This is disappointing, but understandable. He doesn’t believe in Alicia’s approach, and how can he serve an office he doesn’t respect? A friendship of a sort may have formed between the two, and I do hope they come back into one another’s circles in the future. But they are just too far apart in outlook for the District Attorney’s office to be place for it.

While this is going on, Diane is off hunting with Kurt (Gary Cole). She can’t resist turning it into a work trip when she finds out a big name in the tech industry, Gil Berridge (James Snyder, Adonis), is present, but that’s still relaxing for her, as she enjoys her career immensely. Despite screwing things up with Gil, she does find herself in an engaging political debate with R.D. (Oliver Platt, The Big C), who turns out to be even richer and much more open to her pitch, providing her firm stays out of abortion issues.

“Red Meat” is pure fun for Diane. We get to see her out of her element, but also somehow in her element at the same time. She’s surrounded by those she has fundamental disagreements with, but as in her marriage, she makes it work, and she ends up having fun. Diane is a complex, wonderful character, and I’m glad that THE GOOD WIFE gives her this focus, away from cases, to explore her personality.

Back at the firm, that leaves Cary (Matt Czuchry) and David Lee (Zach Grenier) as unlikely partners. Thank goodness Diane will soon be back, as I can’t imagine David Lee getting a position of too much power again, given his recent bad behavior. Still, Alicia leaving the firm will shake things up, especially for her co-founder, Cary, and I look forward to The Good Wife milking the dramatic possibilities.

Finally, Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) continues to work for Lemond (Mike Colter) in a situation she should absolutely not be in. That Lemond has decided to get out of the drug business after his son is kicked out of yet another school doesn’t improve Kalinda’s position any. Now Lemond wants Kalinda and Alicia to protect him for jail, which will not be easy. I don’t think Lemond will find Alicia all that cooperative, no matter what he did for her campaign, and Kalinda is the easiest one to take his frustration out on. Even if Alicia doesn’t like Kalinda any more, I’m sure she’ll try to protect the investigator from harm. Will she be able to?

We still have half a dozen episodes in this season of THE GOOD WIFE, but “Red Meat’ is starting to build towards the finale, as have other episodes that have come before it. The story is extremely serial at this point, and it’s enjoyable to watch each unexpected new twist.

The only complaint I have about “Red Meat” is, where are Alicia’s children? Shouldn’t they be around while she’s waiting for the results, and certainly at the celebration after?

THE GOOD WIFE airs Sundays around 9 p.m. ET (depending on inexcusable sports overruns) on CBS.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Poor" ONCE UPON A TIME

Article first published as ONCE UPON A TIME Review Season 4 Episode 16 Poor Unfortunate Soul on Seat42F.

LANA PARRILLA, ROBERT CARLYLE, EION BAILEY, KRISTIN BAUER, VICTORIA SMURFIT

ABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME focuses on yet another “Poor Unfortunate Soul” in this week’s episode. This time, it’s Ursula (Merrin Dungey) who is getting a bad rap based on past wrongs. Can our heroes use that to their advantage and peel her away from the other villains? Hopefully before Regina (Lana Parilla) and / or August (Eion Bailey) are lost to them forever?

The backstory between Ursula and Hook finally comes out. When Ursula is young (and played by The Following’s Tiffany Boone), she is promised help from Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). When her father, King Poseidon (Ernie Hudson, Ghostbusters, Oz), interferes in their deal, though, Hook also fails to hold up his end of the bargain. In a fit of rage, Ursula trades tail for tentacles and becomes the familiar evil monster. Of course, Hook makes up for his bad decision in the present, helping Ursula get her voice back, and the sea witch gives up her dastardly quest to return home with her dad.

I don’t know that I really buy this. This is the trade deal Hook is so ashamed of he can’t tell Emma (Jennifer Morrison)? Seems he is at least sort of in the right, even if he’s not noble. Ursula, while plagued by grief, gives up everything because her singing voice is gone, rather than fighting to get it back? Then, a long, long time later, she switches sides again just because she gets the voice back?

And how does Ursula get a happy ending with her father? She’s a villain, right? The rules that ONCE UPON A TIME establishes are that villains cannot have their happy endings. Yet, Ursula gets one, and Hook is having one with Emma right now. Regina would be near one had Robin (Sean Maguire) not been forced to leave, which had nothing to do with the story. This is all quite flimsy and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

That is, unless we find out all of Rumple’s (Robert Carlyle) character development, including his redemption arc from the first two and a half seasons, is magically taken away by the book because of the story rules, and the same happens for Ursula and Hook. That would fix a large number of the problems I and others have had with the last year, and help get ONCE UPON A TIME back on track. Though, there’s no evidence of that happening in “Poor Unfortunate Soul.”

Speaking of the bad guys, the witches and Rumple torture August for information, which they don’t get. However, Regina manages to get a message off to the good guys, who then come and rescue August. Because Rumple doesn’t trust Regina, this actually works in her favor, making sure she’s not around to blame for August’s escape. This is a clever twist.

Will August stay in the show? I don’t think Once Upon A Time will toss in a true Emma / Hook / August love triangle because Emma and Hook are already quite far down the romantic path, so what would August’s purpose be? Honestly, I don’t care; I’d just like to keep him around.

August reveals that the author is trapped inside the book, which makes him much harder for the villains to get to. I don’t know why Regina tells Rumple that Henry (Jared Gilmore) has the missing page, as she should do everything possible to keep from endangering her son, especially after seeing Rumple torture August. But for now, as long as Henry holds onto the page, the author will be safe and the villains won’t get their happy ending.

Yet, going directly for the author isn’t Rumple’s plan, anyway. He wants to turn Emma’s heart dark, since the bad guys can’t win as long as the Savior exists. Wouldn’t the Savior, by definition, have to be a Savior? How can she be swayed to the other side? Does that negate what she’s done? I don’t get this bit of logic, or lack thereof, either.

“Poor Unfortunate Soul” isn’t totally bad. A dream sequence Regina has involving Robin and the Evil Queen is cool, even if the writers then have Regina over-explain it to the audience. There are also some good lines and touching moments, including when Ariel (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) returns and saves Hook. The problem is, the story is so disjointed and poorly planned out that it’s hard to see how the show will twist itself into something even resembling a satisfying resolution. Not to mention, when did Elsa get the power to shrink ships and store them in bottles? ONCE UPON A TIME has been driving on the edge of a cliff, frequently teetering, but I think it’s finally gone off completely.

Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Don't Quite "Love" MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Article originally written for Seat42F.



Last night on MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., two people find “Love in the Time of Hydra.” Maybe. At the same time, another relationship or three nearly completely dissolve and things continue to build towards a semi-unknown showdown. What does the rest of the season hold for the team? I certainly don’t know.

Ward (Brett Dalton) finally shows back up, in the company of Agent 33 (Maya Stojan). Ward decides to take 33 under his wing, and step one is to nab Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) and torture him. The problem is, Bakshi is still in Talbot’s (Adrian Pasdar) custody and 33’s face replicator isn’t working. These are surmountable tribulations, and it isn’t long before 33 is trying to repay Ward for his help by allowing him to finally have sex with Skye (Chloe Bennet). Well, have sex with 33 wearing Skye’s face and possibly May’s (Ming-Na Wen) voice, though Ward may just be over Skye and ready to move on with the real 33.

33 and Ward make a creepy pair, and if Ward’s affection for Skye has really and truly evaporated, they are dangerous foes. I’ve been pleased at MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.’s decision to keep Ward around full-time, even if he’s not in every episode, and the set up for him in “Love in the Time of Hydra” elicits a general feeling of fear and uneasiness. It’s not clear what this duo’s plans are, but they are definitely up to something sinister.

S.H.I.E.L.D. has more than Ward and 33 to worry about, though. They also must fear S.H.I.E.L.D. Or, the other S.H.I.E.L.D. See, Robert Gonzales (Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactia), Agent Weaver (Christine Adams, Terra Nova), Agent Calderon (Kirk Acevedo, Fringe), and others decide that Nick Fury keeps too many secrets, and that Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) is going down the same wrong path. Bobbi (Adrianna Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) apparently agree with them, and because they’ve infiltrated our heroes so fully, this could spell trouble, especially if they act at the same time Ward does.

Hunter (Nick Blood) might be able to warn Coulson and company, but will it be in time? He manages to escape his captivity on a ship in the middle of the ocean, twelve hours from land by the sub he steals. Bobbi says she only needs six hours to do whatever she’s going to do, which doesn’t exactly point to the outcome Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. will want. But considering Bobbi says her affection for Hunter is true and she does let him escape, might she be a double double agent, working for Coulson while pretending to work against him?

Let’s hope so, because Coulson is distracted by what’s happening with Skye. He takes her to a cabin where she and the rest of the team can be safe, separated, while they figure out what to do with her. The “vacation” is not punishment, even if she kind of feels like it is. It makes logical sense to isolate her, given how Skye shakes the base down repeatedly, a barely controllable Hulk in their midst. But if there really are two dangers coming at S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson may regret sending away his best weapon, as Skye has talents none of his other agents have. Although most of alt-S.H.I.E.L.D. seems ineffective, Hunter easily overcoming the whole group of them, Bobbi is anything but, and we still don’t know for sure whose side she is on.

“Love in the Time of Hydra” has all of the moving pieces mentioned above, but those aren’t the only threads weaving through MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Something the show does well is balance a variety of segments who all have their own motivations, letting them clash at the perfect, sometimes unexpected, times in spectacular showdowns. Roughly two-thirds of the way through this season, it seems likely that will happen again soon.

In the meantime, this installment does serve various characters well. The scenes between Hunter and Bobbi, between Ward and 33, between Coulson and Skye, and between Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), the last of which are still on the outs, make for compelling personal drama. What more could you want?

Well, something. I love this show, but lately it’s felt like there’s just a little something missing for me. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is because all of the stuff I talk about above is exciting. Maybe some of the characters are a little flat or the pacing is slightly off, but season two has just not quite been clicking like the latter half of season one did. When I figure out exactly why that is, I’ll surely let you know.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just "Try" to Resist THE WALKING DEAD

Article originally written for Seat42F.



As THE WALKING DEAD begins last night on AMC, things are tense in Alexandria. With a person lost on both sides, Rick’s group and Deanna’s aren’t exactly happy with one another, especially when those that return from the supply run tell conflicting stories, each side blaming the other for what happened. Will they continue to “Try” to get along, or is this the beginning of the end of the happy town?

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is the best representation of a wild person trying to go back to civilization. He is on edge because of what happens to Noah (Tyler James Williams), but also because Carol (Melissa McBride) keeps urging him to take out Pete (Corey Brill), who is abusing his wife, Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge). The evidence seems to be there, Pete’s son, Sam (Major Dodson), telling Carol bad things that Jessie doesn’t exactly deny. Still, Rick isn’t sure he should interfere, until he admits to himself his feelings for Jessie.

I love that Rick tells Carol she would still be here, even if her own abusive spouse, Ed, hadn’t been eaten by Walkers. Carol is a very strong person, someone capable of holding her own, and even giving back, as she does when arguing for Rick to take action against Pete. Jessie isn’t the same type. She will probably die if no one stops Pete. But what to do? Is she someone Rick should take care of? He decides yes, but admits he wouldn’t do the same for just anyone.

Rick is not part of the community yet. He isn’t interested in protecting all of these new people, seeing them as weak and not willing to do what’s necessary to survive. In “Try,” he tells Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) that they must separate Pete and Jessie, and if Pete doesn’t cooperate, kill him. Deanna says they do not execute and Rick better never suggest it again, which I think is her trying to assert the control she feels slipping away, enhanced by grief and anger at losing her son. But Rick knows what will happen if they let a bad guy escape be exiling him. He’ll come back, and there will be consequences. Rick has seen this before, Deanna has not.

All this leads to a town square brawl between Pete and Rick. Rick gets the upper hand, then rants at Deanna and the others, waving his gun around. He tells them they’re not safe, and that they can’t go by Deanna’s rules any more. It’s quite a speech, though it does come off crazy. I think Rick is just at his breaking point, knowing in his gut that Alexandria is not going to survive unless changes are made, but unable to make those changes. He hasn’t adapted, “Try” as he might, and this is a key moment for his character.

Which ends with Michonne (Danai Gurira) cold-cocking him. Rick may be right that Deanna’s way isn’t right, but Rick’s rules would take away much from the good civilization that is being preserved here. Not everyone wants what Rick wants in THE WALKING DEAD.

Glenn (Steven Yeun), for one, is looking for balance. He tells Nicholas (Michael Traynor) that he will not go out on any more runs, not because Glenn in threatening Nicholas, but because Glenn wants to save him. Glenn isn’t looking to punish; he’s looking to protect. He wants to build upon what Deanna has established, not tear it down.

Michonne also wants to hang onto the promise of a semi-normal life. She chases Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) out into the woods, alongside Rosita (Christian Serratos), sans police uniform and sword. Sasha is angry and needs to blow off steam, feeling guilty for telling Noah he wouldn’t survive, which only builds upon her struggle at losing Bob and Tyreese. As Michonne helps Sasha, though, it’s not anger Michonne feels. She remembers her past, remembers what it’s like on the outside. Not bringing her uniform reveals her doubts about fitting in, but not bringing her sword is a rejection of who she was. Michonne is reminded of what’s outside the walls, and after bringing Sasha home, she chooses Alexandria. This leads her to don the uniform and knock Rick out, as mentioned, to preserve the peace.

Carl (Chandler Riggs) is part of the fitting-in group, too. He tries to stop Rick’s fight. This is after he shares a moment and almost-kiss with Enid (Katelyn Nacon) in the woods. Carl realizes the danger, but like Enid, he also wants to live in a world where he can run and enjoy himself. Alexandria offers a chance at that.

What will happen next? Deanna seems very close to kicking out at least Rick, if not the group, knowing she needs them, but coming close to rejecting the price of their assistance. However, seeing Carl and Glenn and others “Try” to fit into Alexandria, witnessing Michonne exert control over Rick when it’s necessary, perhaps Deanna will be tempted to punish only Rick, leaving the others alone. If Rick’s people can help him find the middle ground, as they have done, the entire group stands a chance at making Alexandria a home. Will Deanna allow that to happen?

Outside the walls, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) find mutilated Walkers with Ws carved into their foreheads. This continues a trend that started at Noah’s family’s neighborhood. Periodically we’ve seen scenes of disturbing brutality. I haven’t made a thing of them in my reviews because they’ve been minor foreshadowing in very full episodes, but in “Try,” it’s clear that THE WALKING DEAD is heading somewhere with this sooner, rather than later. Who is doing this, and what do they want? They surely won’t be friendly to the good people of Alexandria.

THE WALKING DEAD continues to masterfully balance deep character stories with larger plots, spooling out an arc patiently and artistically. Some of my fellow fans have mourned the loss of the hours focusing on one or two characters that were so brilliant last year, but I think the current structure matches what’s happening now better. THE WALKING DEAD has continuously shifted and morphed over the seasons depending on the needs of the story, and I think it is brilliantly continuing to do the same this year.

THE WALKING DEAD ends its fifth season next Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GLEE's "Dreams Come (Almost) True"

Article originally published as TV Review: 'Glee' Series Finale - '2009' and 'Dreams Come True' on Blogcritics.



TV Review: ‘Glee’ Series Finale – ‘2009’ and ‘Dreams Come True’

FOX’s Glee comes to an end this, week after six seasons on the air . The first hour of the two-part finale, “2009,” takes place during the pilot of the show, revealing different perspectives as the audition process for the brand-new New Directions begins, and filling in some of the gaps in motivation between these early characters and who they become. The second half, “Dreams Come True,” goes slightly into the future, glimpsing the fates of several key members of the cast, before ending about five and a half years down the world in a nearly-perfect world.

Glee’s quality is inconsistent; something that remains through the end. However, the series almost always hits the emotional points it needs to hit, which it does in “2009” and “Dreams Come True.” Honestly, there was little point to “2009,” having no real purpose to its flashbacks, other than to evoke nostalgia. In that, it succeeds, forcing fans to remember where Rachel (Lea Michele), Mercedes (Amber Riley), Kurt (Chris Colfer), Artie (Kevin McHale), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), Will (Matthew Morrison), and Sue (Jane Lynch) come from, providing context to where they end up by the series end. And while it was a completely unnecessary episode, it was also a very moving remembrance, especially when including memories of Finn (Cory Monteith, whose untimely death forever changed the show).

G2Some of the songs were recycled from the pilot; “Mister Cellophane,” and “I Kissed a Girl” are the songs with which Kurt and Tina auditioned, respectively, and the series wastes precious on them. I won’t complain about Glee using “Don’t Stop Believin'” yet again because it is the show’s signature song, and it does allow us to see Finn again, the rest of the episode masterfully matching up the re-used footage. Rachel and Kurt’s “Popular,” Artie’s “Pony,” and Mercedes’s “I’m His Child” are better because they’re new and they fit, at least adding a little bit of something to “2009.”

The episode is fun. Seeing Will married to Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) again, remembering how neurotic and in-lust Emma (Jayma Mays) first is, hearing the Tina we know justify the Tina Glee starts with, and having Howard (Kent Avenido) around for comic relief are all enjoyable. An unexpected glimpse of Blaine (Darren Criss) is welcome. There are a few poignant bits: seeing Will and Sue’s friendship sort of fall apart, and reminding us how poorly Kurt and his father (Mike O’Malley) communicate, as well as showing Kurt at an extremely low point, mean something. But overall, “2009” doesn’t serve much purpose in the grand scheme of things.

I would have had less of a problem with this bit of nostalgia if “2009” had not been part of the two-hour series finale. Had it aired last week, it would have been better. The issue is, after spending a full episode in the past, there isn’t a lot of time to tie up the endings, which means that many, many deserving characters don’t get their earned send-offs, some of which could be very brief, but aren’t present at all. These two hours do re-focus the story on the core cast, but even they aren’t all given their due, with Artie and Tina, arguably the least necessary characters, shafted in the second hour in favor of allowing Sam (Chord Overstreet) and Blaine some pay-off.

“Dreams Come True” presents an idealized version of the future. Rachel wins a Tony, for which she thanks Will, carries a surrogate child for Kurt and Blaine, and is married to Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff). Kurt and Blaine are on Broadway, and doing school visits in their spare time. Sam takes over the New Directions, something in which he’d never before shown, but does seem oddly fitting. Mercedes is on tour with Beyonce. Sue is winning a second term as Vice President under Jeb Bush. The last is a bit nightmarish, but it’s the outcome Sue would want.

The most optimistic vision of all finds Will taking over as principal at McKinley, now a school for the arts, and turning it into a model copied nationally. Glee has always championed arts education, positioning music as the magic bullet that can fix a severely broken system. As someone heavily involved in music and drama while in school, I am sympathetic, but Glee takes it all to the super unrealistic nth degree. I certainly appreciate what the show is trying to do, but by tossing believability so far out the window, it pretty much undermines its own message.

G1What I’d have preferred from the finale is something the two hours do in half measures. Mercedes gets to say goodbye with “Someday We’ll Be Together,” Will croons his “Teach Your Children” thank you to the alumni, Sue lets “The Winner Takes It All” express her emotions to Will, and Rachel is sent off in the penultimate number, “This Time.” All of these are great, especially the Sue song, and they are good ways to let these characters depart. Kurt and Blaine’s “Daydream Believer” is at least as enjoyable as these others, though feeling less final. There are non-singing moments, too, such as see Sue and Will watch the Tonys together, Blaine worrying about Sam, and Tina and Artie’s kiss, that are touching. But there are other characters who matter besides them. Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) arguably get their due in their wedding episode, but others in the cast are not featured, and that’s a shame.

“Dreams Come True” ends with a huge group number honoring Will and the auditorium named for Finn with “I Lived.” This is terrific, with almost all of the previous glee club members (sans Rory and Marley, most noticeably) coming back to be with Will. Such faces are glimpsed as Zizes (Ashley Fink, whose return I long yearned for), Joe (Samuel Larsen), Matt (Dijon Talton), Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.), Ryder (Blake Jenner), Jake (Jacob Artist), Puck (Mark Salling), Quinn (Dianna Agron), and many more. That it should include kids that come after them is debatable, since Will gives up coaching in the near future. But I would have liked to have seen a more full Mr. Holland’s Opus press, with all of the alumni parading past their teacher, showing viewers how they end up, while honoring the legacy Will builds.

While some of what I suggested is personal preference, and Glee is, of course, free to handle its swan song any way it wants, the way it did feels a little weak to me. By ignoring so many of the characters that made the show important and going overboard in its support of arts education, it just doesn’t live up to its potential. And yet, it hits emotional note after emotional note, and tears are flowing for much of the two-hour running time. So does it succeed at capping the six-year run, being as almost-great as the rest of the show? Or does is squander a chance at a lasting legacy by not entirely sticking the landing? I guess that’s up for each individual fan to decide for themselves.

It is with some relief that I end my last Gleekonomics column, but there’s no denying, Glee and its characters, despite all of their flaws, will be missed.

G4

"Bad Luck" For GRIMM Fans

Article originally written for Seat42F.



GRIMM returns on NBC this week with “Bad Luck.” It begins by picking up right where the previous installment left off, with Nick (David Giuntoli) finding out that Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is a Hexenbiest. From here, there is some play on the program’s serial arcs, but most of the hour is taken up by yet another case-of-the-week that really doesn’t figure into the large scheme of things.

I don’t know why GRIMM has reverted to all of these stand-alone stories, but it’s becoming quite frustrating. At its best, the show unravels a cool narrative with a deep mythology. But far too often the concentration has been on isolated crimes that are solved at the end of an hour, reigniting a worry I had at the start about the direction the show will take. This worry was alleviated for awhile, but has now returned stronger than ever. This seems especially apparent this season, as in the past there were fewer of these type of hours. There are plenty of formulaic crime shows on television; we don’t need another one, even if Nick is technically a cop. Why is GRIMM wasting our time?

“Bad Luck” is a prime example of my complaint. It teases us with a Nick / Juliette story, then immediately starts following a murderer that is hunting rabbit-like Wesens. He cuts off their left foot, which is supposed to bring good luck in fertility. It’s a brutal, archaic practice, and Nick, Hank (Russell Hornsby), and Wu (Reggie Lee) track him down and stop him. Case closed, and we’ll likely never see these characters again.

What’s the point of that? Besides getting a too-brief glimpse of Romy Rosemont (Glee) playing the matriarch of the hunted clan, what benefit does the central plot of “Bad Luck”provide? Does this story matter in the larger picture of GRIMM? No. While viewers long to get back to the crumbling relationship, with Nick making an effort to accept the new Juliette and Juliette not allowing him to because of her own anger at the situation, instead we waste time with a local murder and kidnapping. Nick isn’t the type to just take Henrietta’s (Garcelle Beauvais) word that Juliette can’t be saved. Why isn’t he devoting more effort into solving the problem?

The episode further messes with fans by dropping a Renard (Sasha Roiz) / Adalind (Claire Coffee) scene in the middle in which Adalind has seemingly switched sides, turning on Viktor.  This is a pretty big development, if true, and shifts the dynamics of the struggle. The threatened revolution against the royal family only gets more intense as a baby’s life hangs in the balance. So why can’t we spend time on that? It certainly rates more than a minute or two in the middle of a full hour.

“Bad Luck” ends with an even more startling revelation: Adalind is pregnant with Nick’s baby! This is huge! We don’t know what a hybrid Hexenbiest / Grimm would look like, or how that could affect the balance of power in GRIMM’s universe. We also don’t know how this will affect Nick and Juliette, who are already on the outs, though I don’t see Nick taking up with Adalind, even if she is bearing his child, because they hate one another. 

Unfortunately, rather than exploring the vast implications of such a development, I’ve lost faith in GRIMM seeing it through. We’ll probably still continue to get a few minutes per episode that deal with the bigger arcs. But when the vast majority of the time is spent on matters that don’t pertain strongly to our leads, keeping us away from the far more interesting stories, it becomes hard to continue to watch. GRIMM was a solid series and could be so again, but right now, if I wasn’t writing about it, I’d seriously consider quitting watching it. A few great bits, such as the tie-in to the lucky rabbit’s foot myth, a character that could be called Peter Rabbit, and the young girl in distress defending herself instead of letting holier-than-thou Nick save her, do not make up for the larger mess.

GRIMM airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.