The entire season of Grimm comes down to being able to answer one question: did it fulfill its potential? Ever since its sufficiently creepy pilot, the show has been trying to stretch and grow into something a little more serial and a little more storytelling-based. Everything was there for it to add complexity without taking its foot completely out of the procedural world; it had a base of being interesting visually with an entire world of creatures at its disposal and hundreds of fairy tales to put its big fat signature take on. Establishing a tragic back story for its main hero and power structure for the Wesen world gave Grimm much needed complexity, but it never backed away from using its case load to keep Nick on his toes and constantly learning new skills to protect himself. Going into the finale, after a solid run of 10-12 episodes that hinted at a deeper show that we had seen before, you had to be a little optimistic that this was the time that Grimm would put it together.
But did they? Did Grimm take a much-needed step forward?
Yes and no.
Having Nick explain everything to Juliette, going as far as taking her to the trailer (and Monroe), had been a long time coming and though the scene felt very much like Grimm’s Greatest Hits: Volume One, you felt the forward momentum. You felt the plot heading into new and exciting places, you felt the expansion of Nick’s support team now that he could lean on his girlfriend in addition to Monroe. And it felt good, like season two’s chances of hitting the ground running just got raised exponentially. But Juliette rejecting the information, fainting, and going to the hospital from the cat scratch was such a cop out. Yes, I know that she heard everything he had to say and that the final time she opened her eyes could mean that she’s a Wesen now, but still, you wait 22 episodes for something to be said and when it is…it doesn’t stick. There’s a very slim chance that she’ll be remembering anything that Nick told her, especially something as outrageous as “I hunt creatures in my off time”, and that took away any of the power that that scene had accumulated. It almost makes me wish that they didn’t have Nick confess in the first place, since it didn’t become the Moment that it could have been. This could have been an emotional, cathartic moment for both the audience and Nick & Juliette, but it felt a little cheapened and tossed aside, especially after weeks and weeks of building to it.
Juliette maybe having power now could be a good enough twist to make up for that, though. It’s still unclear what exactly happened once the cat scratched her; did she become possessed by the cat? Or is she now part-Wesen? Why would Adalind want to connect them that closely? To toy with Nick? I like Adalind’s continued presence in Nick’s life and I hope that this new development is something a little more permanent than the one episode speedbump that I’m dreading. If they’re not going to have Juliette become a part of Nick’s life as a Grimm, active or not, making her into some type of creature or giving her a connection to that world could be the next best thing. (It brings on a bit more moral complication to his duty, potentially having him face off with his love.) But if she’s just going to be cured within an episode or two, it felt like a time waster. Juliette needs to have something to do besides being the doting girlfriend; they already reneged on her recent inching toward believing in unexplainable events, so the least they could do is give her a little edge and this could be just that.
The finale also saw the introduction of The Woman in Black, aka Nick’s long-thought-dead mother. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming until only a couple minutes beforehand and the reveal still made me gasp a little and break out a big grin. Nick is a very closed off character and the more first-hand information we can get about his life, the better. His mother provides a link to the past that we haven’t had since Aunt Marie and could be the one to take Nick’s Grimm skills to another level, partnering up with Monroe to become the team that Juliette could have been a part of. And by the looks of things, Nick’s mother is kind of a bad ass in her own right, so this will lessen his load and maybe allow him a little breathing room. I just didn’t like that she did next to nothing in the episode and that we didn’t get to see enough of her for the reveal to really have an impact. It was a shocker, most definitely, but it could have had more impact had, say, this not been her first appearance. With the character making multiple (mysterious) appearances, we could have gotten to “know” her more and thus could have been invested in finding out who (or what) she was.
Her role in the episode was nice and creepy, if slight, particularly the scene where she almost ran into Nick on the street, and I think that she’ll be a valuable asset to season four, but again, I’m left feeling a touch underwhelmed overall.
I did, however, like everything they did with Hank, giving him a Grimm-ified post-traumatic stress disorder after his encounter with Monroe last week. It makes sense with his character; Hank has had cases stick with him for years and he couldn’t get enough of Adalind, pre-cookie even, so the combination of what Adalind did to him, the broken glass at the police station, seeing a woge, and being face to face with a blutbad would really get him riled up. Or, in this case, paranoid-ed up, the final shot of Nick’s partner with a shotgun in hand. I’ve wondered about the effect that being gradually exposed to the Wesen world would have on Hank. He’s a practical, by-the-book type of thinker that goes off of experience and protocol in terms of making a move; how does he reconcile that with seeing the unexplainable, the fantastical, the other worldly? I kind of expected him to have more of a Juliette-type reaction, pushing the possibility of bad things that go bump in the night being real out of his mind through some type of “rational” explanation. But no, instead, he got in his own head too much and made himself pretty helpless in the process.
It leaves Hank in an interesting position going into next season. How deep does he sink before he gets help? And if he chooses to do something about it, will Nick have to explain what exactly he saw?
In the end, did Grimm fulfill its potential? Yes and no. It has great ideas, a nifty color palette, and seemingly intriguing plans for next season, but in terms of season one, the finale fell a little flat for me. It felt less like an answer-unveiling finale and more like the first part of a two part finale, heavy on exposition/tying up of loose ends and relying on a shock ending to get you to come back for part two. A lot of good stuff got introduced in “The Woman in Black”, stuff that I have the fullest confidence in saying will pan out beautifully in season two, but the finale was a missed opportunity, to me. It could have been a major revelation, an episode that laid all the cards out on the table, but instead, we have a confession that didn’t really count, a reveal that was good (but not great), and a one-note villain that only left the most ancillary of bodies in his wake. Grimm has the goods to be a great show in the near future, but season one ended with a bit of a whimper rather than the roar that I was expecting.
Thoughts, Quotes, & Observations:
-“What a pleasant surprise…I think.”
-“Maybe it just doesn’t like me.”
-I loved the “122” room number and the quote from Monroe that tied back to the pilot.
-Awesome moment: Nick finding the pictures of himself and Hank on the computer. Very unnerving.
-Thank you guys for continuing to read, comment on, and share my Grimm reviews this season. Hopefully, they provided a little entertainment to go along with a show that, while not all the way there, grew mightily in its final 10-12 episodes.