Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Grimm: Tarantella

“Some people don’t like guns.”

“Some people don’t like spiders either.”

Lots of people don’t like spiders, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before they formed the basis of an episode. Still, the concept may be chilling, but there’s also a large dollop of tragedy in the concept of Spinnetods: the female of the species is more deadly than the male, and, like a praying mantis, needs to feed on young male flesh. The only alternative is premature aging. It’s a fantastic concept, the tragedy of which is brought out superbly in the performance of special guest star Amy Acker. The climactic scene of our spider woman aging in a police cell is deeply affecting.

Intriguingly, this episode is based on an old Japanese short story, The Goblin Spider. The series seems to be casting its net wider and wider in its quest not to be entirely dependent on the limited number of Grimm tales.

The story arc is getting more and more involved, as demonstrated by an unusually long “previously on” sequence. It’s made clear, once again, that the family home of Nick and Juliette is no longer the sanctuary it was this will run and run. The tropes of the show have become well established by now; it is a little amusing, although inevitable that Nick should happen to pick up exactly the right one of his aunt’s books for this week’s emergency. It’s also amusing to see Nick doing that television drama thing of reading stuff aloud for the benefit of the viewer at one point.

This is a particularly excellent episode, making full use of an extremely strong central concept. The series goes for strength to strength; the stories are getting better while the story arc is picking up speed. The series is visibly growing in confidence. One slight niggle, however: the cast is very male heavy with relatively few female characters. I hope this will not be permanent.

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