Fairy-tale monsters continue to give vampires a bloody run for the ratings in Hollywood — and nowhere is this more evident than on Grimm, which sinks some nasty sabre teeth into a few unfortunate souls in its second-season premiere tonight.
This police-procedural fantasy - inspired by the brothers Grimm's Fairy Tales - revolves around the Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), who's descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as Grimms. His job is to protect humanity from ancient evils and ghastly mythological creatures, whom he can magically see.
While Grimm can be a sparkling mix of humour and horror, season two dives into darker waters right off the pier tonight when a shipping crate, full of mangled corpses and French scribbles in blood on its walls, arrives aboard a boat in Portland's harbour.
The show then picks up where season one ended, with Nick attacking the malevolent jackal-like Kimura (Brian Tee) when a mysterious woman in black (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) breaks into his house and joins him in battle. In a shocker, she reveals herself to be his mother, Kelly; Nick thought she'd died in a crash 18 years ago.
"I'm very angry at my mum. She's been very bad. But I think I'm going to learn a lot from her," says the series star Giuntoli who, as an actor, also found himself in awe of Mastrantonio, best-known for her Oscar-nominated turn in The Color of Money and later The Abyss.
Kelly wastes no time in warning Nick about the fiend in the shipping crate, a Mauvais Dents ("bad teeth" in French) - a human sabre-toothed tiger with black-and-white facial stripes - "a vicious killing machine; one of them can wipe out an entire village. But you better be careful. Mauvais Dents is like a cat. He'll watch. He'll wait. If he figures out you're coming after him, he'll do something to draw you in."
Unbelievably, the big-fanged beast is the least of Nick's worries at this point. His fiancée Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch of The Artist) is a "sleeping beauty" in a magical coma and his police partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) is losing his marbles on the verge of a mental breakdown.
Nick's greatest ally in this monster mash is Monroe, the comedic, cultured Blutbad (werewolf) portrayed with Big Lebowski-style dude-speak by Silas Weir Mitchell. Monroe relies on Pilates to suppress the evil side of his true nature. But that doesn't stop Nick's mum from nearly killing him the first time they meet - unaware that he's Nick's friend.
For this season, David Greenwalt, the co-creator and co-executive producer of Grimm, promises: "You're going to learn a lot about the mother. You're going to learn a lot about the key and the coins - in fact, you're going to learn there may be more than one [key]. Every character's going to go through a life-changing arc this year, too."
The coins he refers to are the Three Coins of Zakynthos, forged on their namesake isle by the ancient Greeks, which imbue their owner with powers akin to the one ring in The Lord of the Rings. Although Nick currently has possession, Grimms are immune to their charismatic, evil-inducing powers.
Should these mystical coins fall into the hands of the evil cabal, the secret order of The Dragon's Tongue, life on Earth won't be worth a plugged nickel.
- Grimm is broadcast at 10pm tonight on OSN First HD