November 17, 2012



GRIMM aired its 12th and last episode of 2012 tonight, although NBC isn’t being specific about just when in 2013 it’s due to return with its remaining 10 hours.  The series has been markedly better in its second season that it was in its first, largely because although most episodes still feature a creature (or “wesen”) of the week, it’s played down the original “fairy tales are real!” gimmick (wisely leaving that to Once Upon A Time), and embraced and tried to develop a mythology of its own.  The serialized thread has moved in two directions, one more successful than the other, which converged in tonight’s episode, written by series co-creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf (from a story by Kouf), and directed by Karen Gaviola.

The more promising plot developments have concerned the relationship between hero Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a Portland homicide detective who’s also secretly a “Grimm,” able to see and combat the supernatural wesen among us, and his live-in girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch).  Their romance had been as dull as a very old butter knife, but at the end of last season, Juliette was cursed by witch Adalind (Claire Coffee) via a cat-scratch, and put into a coma.  This season, she was cured with a remedy concocted by Nick’s werewolf buddy Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and his new love Rosalee (Bree Turner), but with some cost:  all memories of Nick were wiped from her memory (including the fact that he had confessed his Grimm-ness to her), meaning that as far as she was concerned, the two of them were strangers, and she became imprinted by the “prince” who awakened her, who also happened to be Nick’s boss Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz), as well as a secret wesen in his own right.  Among other things, this storyline has given Roiz and Tulloch much more to do than they had in Season 1, and it’s particularly made Juliette into a considerably more interesting and complicated character.

The other mythology storyline has been sketchier and more familiar, as it turns out Nick has in his possession one of the magical keys that the royal wesen (headed by Renard’s brother in Europe) need in order to destroy the human race, yadda yadda, and they’ll do anything in order to get it, which mostly means they periodically send wesen assassins to Portland who fail to murder Nick.  One of the problems of this plot, besides the fact that it seems to come from the “TV fantasy series” textbook, is that there’s been a strangely patchy depiction of the European supervillains, with James Frain introduced as Renard’s evil brother early in the season and then abruptly dropped.  In the fall finale, Adalind returned to the show as the brother’s representative, generally wreaking havoc and specifically letting Renard know where Nick keeps all his Grimm apparatus–including the magical key–in Nick’s deceased aunt’s old trailer.  The other shoe that fell was Nick finding out that Renard is the mystery other man in Juliette’s life, which should keep things busy in the season’s second half.

The showrunners have largely made good decisions this season.  Apart from the “Sleeping Beauty”-tinged Juliette story, they introduced Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Nick’s kick-ass Grimm mother, whose character, while only around for a couple of episodes, is still alive, so available to recur later in the season.  Nick filling in his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) on the supernatural goings-on in Portland allowed Hank to be less thick-headed than he’d seemed in Season 1, and although logistical problems have apparently prevented Bree Turner from being in many episodes this season, her character’s romance with Monroe has been charming.

Grimm still has its limitations.  The plotting, on an episodic basis, is often weak (in this episode, bubble-headed Juliette had no suspicions whatsoever about why Adalind would be interrogating her about Nick’s aunt’s trailer, and blithely blabbed everything she knew), and the weekly creature stories are mostly routine and predictable, not to mention held back by the show’s very restricted CG budget.  Giuntoli isn’t the most expressive actor in the world, and as the rest of the cast has been given more to do, he sometimes fades into the background of his own show.  But the series has generally been moving in the right direction.

Grimm has given NBC very solid numbers for Friday nights (a try-out on better-watched Mondays didn’t accomplish much), and while less successful than Revolution, unlike that show it’s been holding steady–in fact its recent ratings have been a bit higher than they were trending last spring.  Considering NBC’s travails, it’s a safe bet for renewal, and this season offers hope that it will continue to be worth watching.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."