Thursday, April 09, 2015

Grimm: Mommy Dearest – review

Director: Norberto Barba

First aired: 2014

Contains spoilers

I have to admit that I don’t watch Grimm (see NOTE below). I am aware of it though; a series about a hidden world of creatures – collectively named wesen and based on the Grimm fairytales and other popular monster myths – and the hunters of such creatures known as Grimm.

In essence it is a police procedural drama with a supernatural twist. Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is the Grimm, blessed with the ability to see the creatures’ true form, with them becoming visible to him when their emotions peak, and the programme charts his adventures with his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby).

David Giuntoli as Nick
Now, regular readers will be aware that, when reviewing the vampire episode of a TV series, I try to see it in isolation. I had not much choice with this one as it was really in isolation. Therefore the prologue about a woman/wesen giving birth in the Swiss Alps that was flashed back to a couple of times, meant nothing to me at all and seemed to be part of an overriding arc. However it was not distracting and the core episode stood up really quiet well.

at the window
Not that it was entirely a vampire episode, rather it was an aswang episode (of the viscera sucking/child eating variety). It begins with a creature and a ticking noise. A couple, Sam (Alain Uy) and Dana (Tess Paras), had just eaten dinner and he is asked to pick up some pre-natal meds for her (she is heavily pregnant). As he goes out she goes to bed. The creature, which is in a tree, goes to the bedroom window and opens it.

extended tongue in stomach
The aswang’s long tongue passes through the open window and under the sheet where it attacks Dana, waking her. The tongue enters the body via the stomach. Dana pulls herself away and the aswang climbs in the room and fastens itself to the ceiling. It attacks Dana’s stomach again – the woman’s screams alerting a neighbour – Dana is able to cut at the tongue with a broken shard of a lamp that has been smashed in the kerfuffle, causing the aswang to bolt before the neighbour gets upstairs.

Reggie Lee as Wu
One of the first responding cops is Sgt Wu (Reggie Lee), a friend of the couple and (apparently) series regular. He had suggested to the couple that America was a safe place to move to. Before Dana totally passes out she mumbles “aswang” to him. Later she is found to have been drugged by valerian root and remembers nothing of what happened. Wu is not aware of the wesen and Nick tries to keep it that way, even though he is close to the case.

Sam in aswang form
I won’t go into the story but it perhaps is not a spoiler (given the episode title) to reveal that Sam is an aswang and the attacking creature is his mother (Freda Foh Shen). I spoil this so that I can offer the lore that, in this, aswang children are meant to offer their parents their firstborn child as that will help prolong the elder's life. His mother suggests that, without the child, she will die within the month. Her first attack managed to not harm the baby but did drain a lot of the amniotic fluid from the wound (presumably this was drunk through the tongue) without rupturing the amniotic sac.

Russell Hornsby as Hank
Over all this was a well done episode, certainly watchable as a standalone. The creature effect was generally very good – though a struggle at the end led to the creature looking a little too cgi and flat in places. It is always nice to get a bit of aswang action – though, to be fair, this could have expanded on the myths a little bit – especially nice would have been adding a little bit from lore about the volume of the tiktik sound. 6 out of 10.

The episode’s imdb page is here.

NOTE: When I drafted the review of this episode and Season 4’s Chupacabra episode I had not seen any more of the series but, becoming intrigued, by the time of posting I had caught up as far as Season 3. The body of the review was left as drafted to capture my uninitiated thoughts.

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