Every week I write about Grimm, there’s usually an area or two where the episode could have improved. It’s completely understandable, considering how much the show tries to do and it’s only been “alive” for 12 episodes, but for every two steps forward Grimm would take, there’d always be one step back. Any forward creative progress is better than none, of course, and it’s been fun watching this little-show-that-could find its way and figure out the delicate balance its striving for each week, but you had to wonder when you could say that Grimm had a great episode without any qualifications.
I think Grimm finally shut me up, as “Last Grimm Standing” was the show’s first great episode. It’s had a couple of very, very good ones (“Danse Macabre”, “Organ Grinder”), but Grimm had yet to really put it all together like it did on Friday night. Part of that had to do with how interesting the case, involving an underground Hunger Games-meets-Fight Club Wesen fight club, was. A lot of the Grimm cases have been a little same-y and thus not very distinctive, but the Lowen Games capture just how good the show can get when it goes dark and strange. It brought a lot of personality and edge to the show that some of the more straightforward cases haven’t been able to do and raised the stakes from what we’ve come to expect on Grimm. I mean, Nick and Monroe have taken out plenty of creatures before, but never has there been the threat of being rushed by an entire arena full of them, something that made the actual fighting scenes carry more weight and tension. That tension made the entire time in the warehouse absolutely pop off the screen, including the in-fight bonding that the two managed to get in.
We know that Nick and Monroe have been through a lot, but they each got a chance to “prove” how much they mean to one another by saving the other’s life and it’s about as sweet as an episode can get while wielding medieval weaponry.
Additionally, the case managed to deepen the show, as we got a major look at the Wesen world after only being exposed to it here and there previously. Grimm has slowly been letting us see the machinations of that world, having Nick’s reputation spread through various Wesen communities, basing an entire episode on a rivalry between creatures, and taking us to various hotspots they frequent in Portland, and by doing it that way, the show has been getting us more acclimated to the realities of what Nick will be facing from here on out. While I think a case doesn’t have to uncover something every single week, as Grimm is such a visceral show that an hour of scares and a creepy atmosphere can sometimes be enough, I appreciate the fact that the Lowen Games had more of a purpose.
Captain Renard’s involvement in “Last Grimm Standing” may have been the ultimate highlight for me, though. Thus far in the show, Renard has had this air of mystery about him, with the show only bringing out new information relating to him very rarely. In Friday’s episode, a lot was added to Renard’s character that provides interesting wrinkles going forward. Nevermind his ability to speak Latin or prior ambition to become a doctor; how about the fact that he was the man responsible for deciding who got picked up for the Lowen Games? Or his friendship with the priest that took out Leo in the chilling final scene? Renard’s been an enigma of a character from day one, a pokerface that you knew had to be hiding a sinister streak, even more sinister than chopping a man’s ear off as punishment, and I’m glad that “Last Grimm Standing” lifted the veil on his personality and shady dealings. Now that we know how powerful and ruthless he can be, both in the human world and Wesen world, that’ll change the dynamic of the police station scenes going forward. We may not know the full extent of what Renard can do (or has done), but his mere presence now means more than it did before.
Does he have any involvement with the criminal that week? Is he going to, perhaps, try to cover up a crime/mess up an investigation for an ally? How close can Nick get before Renard has to do something about it? You’ll never not wonder what’s going on with him and that has some serious dramatic possibility.
Juliette’s role in “Last Grimm Standing”, meanwhile, may not have amounted to a whole lot in the moment, but going forward, I think it’ll have pretty sizable aftershocks. Her obvious dissatisfaction at Nick’s long hours, coupled with her finding the ring from the pilot, will likely lead to some type of domestic unrest for at least an episode or two, so Nick may not be on his game in a future episode. He’s been lucky to be such a quick learner and to have Monroe guiding him through everything, but this is with his home situation being fairly calm and a nice de-stresser. What happens when his relationship might not be as secure as he once thought? Putting on my Official TV Critic Tinfoil Hat, I have a hunch this will be what causes Juliette to enter the fold and become aware of Nick’s other life. Ultimately, she’ll provide him with an ultimatum (job or her, using the ring/engagement as incentive), considering her disappointment and the recent stalking/break-in, and fearing that he’ll lose his “rock”, Nick’ll tell her that he’s not just doing regular police work at night.
One could argue that the purpose of the Lowen Games (and “Last Grimm Standing”) was to show just how far the Wesen world extends. A lot of the creatures we’ve met thus far have been loners, societal outcasts, or people that don’t leave that much of a footprint, so showing that they’ve “infiltrated” the Department of Corrections (through Leo)/Portland PD (through Renard) makes the main characters feel a little less safe/secure. Nick and Monroe may be able to battle high school kids or isolated business owners, but can they handle having to fight government institutions? Just how high up in the food chain do the Wesen go? It may be a little strange to think about, but Grimm has taken on a hint of sociological perspective amid all the blood, gore, and disemboweled old guys just looking for their dogs. Aside from an intriguing real world metaphor, “Last Grimm Standing” was everything a Grimm episode should be, combining trace amounts of humor with an unusual case and forward movement in the show’s mythology. It was funny, it was dark, and, yes, it was great.
Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“You know the great thing about getting married? I never have to make a decision.”
-“Wow. I love you, I think.”
-“That’d be some pretty big chickens.”
-More bad ass quote: “They don’t even know how to die.” or “I need your wrath.”?
-I tried to catch some of the Latin that Leo kept speaking, but I could only get one phrase. For those interested, “arma sumo vestri” that means “choose your weapons”.
-There was a gloriously cool shot of a creature on horseback while Bryan was running in the woods, hidden in plain sight.
-Nick’s wardrobe has been pretty enviable all season, but I own the brown shirt with white stripes he wore tonight.
-Here’s an LA Times article talking about Grimm‘s surprise success and the current state of affairs on NBC.
-Next week on Grimm: Nick and Hank are on the hunt for rare coins following a jewelry store robbery. An old friend of Aunt Marie brings information about Nick’s parents.