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GRIMM Season 2 and Trick-Or-Treat Crime
Two items collided on my desk today.
The first, a press kit for Grimm, season 2. I scanned it. We’ll get to its reveals in a moment.
The salient revelation came when the second scrap from the interwebs floated across my Facebook news feed. It was an article from Malachi Stone, masked mystery man author. Typical for Stone’s fare, it featured a pervert snatched by the long arm of the law.
The post and the comments made fun of this punk. They joked about how this 43-year-old headcase had been grabbed for spanking it in front of a pair of teen girls.
And it hit me – as it probably hit you, dear reader – that it was a little weird to chuckle about that sickness.
Then Grimm came to mind, and I remembered that we’ve been laughing at the sickos, sociopaths, and sad disasters since we first learned how to paint a cave.
That breed of humor has many faces. Halloween. Demon possession. Obon, the Oriental holidays that ward off “hungry ghosts.”
It’s an atavistic impulse: You laugh about the darkness or you go a little mad with worry.
That’s why Grimm is a legitimate crime show, just as much as CSI or Rizzoli & Isles. They’re all make-believe, crafted to lull us with the security of a story structure and the lullaby of fantasy.
The swaddling of a beginning, middle and end to the horrible keeps our inner ghosts in their chains. You know the deal: In the beginning, bad things happen. The middle features good people tracking the culprits down. By the end, a big punishment tucks our subconscious in, and promises the next bedtime story will be even spookier.
It isn’t the Grimm fans who are kidding themselves when they declare the show to be crime TV. No more so than the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans or the Dresden Files fans.
No, it’s the Burn Notice, CSI or NCIS fans who are kidding themselves when they profess their shows are realistic.
In the case of Grimm, Season Two, any seasoned TV viewer can tell you what’s going to happen. The show hasn’t hit third season, so there won’t be any major shakeups in the cast. The starring characters won’t be going to the grave only to rise again – that’s season 5 kind of shenanigans.
No, Grimm season 2 will feature a few family members showing up to stir the standard relationship dynamic, a few raised stakes and a shocker ending. This bit of fortune telling is brought to you by the press kit and by simple savvy: TV dramas telegraph their punches like a glue-huffing George Foreman.
So for all of you out there who follow the saga of the Grimms, the Houses and the spooks causing Hell in between, there you have it. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio will be coming back as Mama Grimm, Kelly Burkhardt, and the FBI will be meddling all the more.
Does this come as a surprise to anyone?
No? Then here are a few more spoilers: The estranged brother comes back. Juliette’s coma persists. And an epic showdown is in the works.
That covers the press kit’s tidbits, but here’s an additional glimpse in the crystal ball from yours truly – that whole coma thing will be wrapped up by, oh, episode 4 or so. By mid-season, it’ll hardly be a memory.
It’s what’s called “act structure,” folks. The first third of a season wraps up the loose ends of the prior season. Halfway through, new trouble brews. By the end of the second third, that trouble has been resolved, but a new complication spawns from it like a hydra head. It’s a twist with build-up, and it leads to another explosive confrontation in the final third of the run.
Then mix in some new characters, maybe bump off a few who want to migrate on to feature film work, and do it all over again.
And, yeah, don’t forget to ice a member of the starring cast by season 5. The audience’s appetite for high-stake surprises has to be fed something substantial once in a while, after all.
It’s a formula as old as human fear, folks – a one, two, three step recipe for a sleeping potion to quiet the hysteria that comes from actually tuning in to all the danger around you.
We need it the same way we need to eat, because like our hunger, the danger is limitless. Horatio Caine can’t blow it up and then walk away wearing shades. Mark Harmon can’t stick it in a cell using science magic. Buffy’s never going to drive a stake through the heart of drunk driving deaths, pederasty, or random gang violence.
So we cordon the whole hostile mess off, locked behind the bars of a well-constructed narrative. We slap an actor’s mask on it, tune in until the villain gets tossed in the pyre, and sleep easy.
Grimm is just more honest about how fake it is. The wolfmen, pigmen and trolls are just a different sort of mask. The transgressions they represent – and conquering them in our minds, if only for an hour-long episode – are what it’s all about.
All crime shows are Trick-Or-Treat crime shows. And when we get tricked, well, it’s only until the next season premiere.