TV Review: ONCE UPON A TIME 1.3 “Snow Falls” and GRIMM 1.2 “Bears Will Be Bears”

We’ve decided to handle ONCE UPON A TIME and GRIMM with traditional reviews instead of TV Talk. Let us know in the comments what other television you’d like to see covered on BAD!

We’ve decided against continuing TV Talk for Once Upon A Time and Grimm–frankly, because these shows don’t deserve three posts a week. But for those of you still interested, we’ll continue discussing the shows in a more traditional reviewing format. And! Let us know in the comments what other television you’d like to see covered on BAD, either as TV Talk treatments or straight up reviews. We’re here to please you, dear readers!

Once Upon A Time 1.3 “Snow Fall”

 

“Snow Fall” represents a modest improvement for Once Upon A Time. The episode was not laughably bad, only a straight-faced amount of bad. The dialogue was relatively digestible and the fairy tale scenes were more subtle–although fear not: the wigs were as grotesque as ever. In “Snow Fall,” Henry The Excessively Precocious Child wants Mary Margaret Blanchard to read to the comatose John Doe so he’ll wake up and she’ll find her Prince Charming. He does wake up and makes for the hills, leaving everyone in a tizzy because he’s wandering around the woods in a weakened state. Emma, Henry, Hot Sheriff and Mary Margaret search through the woods and find Prince Coma unconscious in a river. Mary Margaret wakes him with True Love’s Kiss, also known as Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. He’s got amnesia and, as it turns out, a WIFE! This development is clearly engineered by the Mayor, because everything in Storybrooke is engineered by the Mayor. But that doesn’t stop Prince Coma and Mary Margaret from making with the bedroom eyes at each other.

The fairy tale scenes this week tell the story of Snow White and Prince Charming’s first meeting. He is betrothed to a snooty twat (who turns out to be his wife in Storybrooke) and Snow is a bandit, stealing treasure in order to save up enough money to escape the Evil Queen’s realm. After she steals from Prince Charming the ring intended for the snooty twat, they find themselves on a little adventure together. It sounds cool, like maybe Snow White is this modern version of the fairy tale princess, because she’s wearing (hideous) pants and has a saucy attitude, but the Prince still has to rescue her at least twelve times in twenty minutes.

Mary Margaret is even more traditionally rendered than her fairy tale counterpart. She finds herself rattling on about wanting “kids, marriage, true love” on a first date with some random creep. She later insists multiple times that she doesn’t believe in true love, love at first sight or “first kiss”–she says this twice, that she doesn’t believe in “first kiss.” I don’t know what that means. Isn’t the first time you kiss someone a first kiss? What’s not to believe in that? But she decides really quickly that this coma patient is the love of her life, and mopes over him terrifically when it turns out he’s married. I just find the presentation of Snow White so disingenuous this week. She’s a feminist! She wears a ratty fur vest and likes to verbally spar! She doesn’t need a man for about ten minutes, until she totally does! Once Upon A Time‘s Snow White doesn’t have to shatter traditional gender roles, but I’d rather the writers not pretend that she’s a modern, independent lady for one half of one episode before quickly returning her to her old-fashioned roots. Superficial, half-assed bucking of patriarchy is worse than no bucking of patriarchy at all.

Nothing else much happens in “Snow Fall”–no real developments for Emma, the Mayor, Henry or anyone else. Hot Sheriff is still hot. Emma’s eyelashes are still the least realistic thing on this show. I’m still assigned to write about it. So here we are.

Grimm 1.2 “Bears Will Be Bears”

 

This week’s Grimm episode did little to disprove my theory from last week that the show will do no more than follow a typical procedural format, shaken up just a bit with the supernatural element. In other words, bo-ring. This week we had the modern, gritty (ugh) version of the three little bears. Golden-haired Gilda and her boyfriend break into a home decorated floor to ceiling with a southwestern bear motif. It’s as classy as that sounds. They eat the food, drink the wine, make out in the bed, and then her boyfriend is grabbed by something unseen and she takes off. Portland’s handsomest detective Nick Burckhardt is on the case! Never mind that we don’t actually care if he solves the case because, much like Goldilocks, burglarizing Gilda and her boyfriend totally deserve whatever’s coming to them. Also, you should know that the bear family is named Rabe. Which is a motherloving ANAGRAM FOR BEAR. And Baby Bear is a swarthy teen named Barry. Barry Rabe. The writers of Grimm apparently enrolled in the Once Upon A Time School of Tragically Obvious Character Naming.

Nick learns a bit more about being a Grimm from his aunt, but nothing meaty enough to be repeated here. It’s in his blood, it’s up to him to stop the bad guys, etc.  Aunt Baldy dies at the end of the episode, so we’re apparently left with very little else in the way of back story for Nick’s ancestors. I honestly still cannot find a trace of interesting narrative here. This show is simply not concerned with presenting a compelling mythology. Every episode will follow the same pattern: there’s a mystery, there’s a little bit of fairy tale talk, there’s a solution.

But! There’s also a bright spot. Silas Weir Mitchell as reformed big bad wolf Eddie continues to be delightful. He’s salvaged two episodes now with his charmingly neurotic delivery. He does pilates and he offers onion bagels and French-pressed coffee to guests. (I will never forgive Nick for running out without taking the politely offered onion bagel, no matter how handsome he is.) Eddie’s like a Big Bad Special Agent Dale Cooper, and I love him for it. He alone makes this show worth watching.

But what did you guys think? Speak up in the comments, and don’t forget to chime in with other TV you’d like to see covered here.

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