May 17, 2014

THE SKED Season Finale Review: “Grimm”


In all ways but one, GRIMM had a highly enjoyable third season.  Its one significant flaw came when it tried to cultivate a deeper mythology than the events in Portland where it’s set.  That took the show away from its core characters, while the plot elements it used–mysterious keys, a puzzle map, a nobility of monsters, a vague plot to destroy humanity, a super-baby–felt second-hand, and the show was woefully unable to simulate any of the European locations where most of this storyline took place.

Happily, tonight’s Season 3 finale, written by series co-creators Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt and directed by Norberto Barba, kept things much closer to home.  It concentrated on two of Grimm‘s strongest aspects:  huggable Wesen couple Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner), whose wedding was the season’s terminus, and ever-troublemaking witch Adalind (Claire Coffee), who spent much of the season in “Europe,” but came home long enough to create havoc before she boarded her plane back (in the futile hope that she’s about to have her super-baby returned to her).

The riskiest move Grimm made this season was introducing an important new character (recurring for now, although we’ll see about Season 4), the tough street-teen Grimm Trubel–pronounced oh-so-cutely as “Trouble” because she’s such a handful (Jacqueline Toboni), who was taken in as a protege Grimm by the show’s hero, homicide Detective and Grimm Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) and his girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch).  That’s the kind of addition that can lead to the jumping of sharks, if it plays as a desperation ploy to lure in younger viewers, but Toboni’s brought a different kind of energy to the show that’s worked so far, and tonight’s finale made clear that her presence isn’t superfluous.  Adalind’s evil plot, it turned out, mandated by the evil royal Wesen, was to drink a potion that turned her into a duplicate of Juliette, and then seduce Nick, which had the effect of stripping Nick of his Grimm powers. (It didn’t make the real Juliette very happy, either.)   There was, briefly, an antidote, but it was lost when Trubel walked into Monroe and Rosalee’s wedding and caused a riot as all the guests realized she was a Grimm.  Meanwhile, Nick’s Wesen Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz), who knew how to make the antidote, has been shot by a Wesen FBI agent in the employ of the royals (who was quite bloodily decapitated by Trubel)–but anyway, the long and short of it is that we’ll come back for Season 4 with Trubel as the only functioning Grimm in town.

The whole episode was tautly constructed, with room for some wedding-related humor and sentiment, the effective gradual reveal of just what Adalind was doing, and a careful build to the moment when Trubel was going to walk into that chapel full of Wesen.  There was even a callback to one of the semi-loose ends of the season, as Nick’s colleague Sergeant Wu (Reggie Lee), who had earlier discovered the existence of Wesen but then believed himself to have had a mental break, has now found Nick’s book with its descriptions and drawings of Wesen.

Over its 3 seasons, Grimm has become increasingly smart about the way it uses its cast.  Giuntoli has lightened up, and the show is structured much more as an ensemble.  Tonight Tullock, like Nina Dobrev and of course Tatiana Maslany before her, got to play her character as impersonated by somebody else, which was a fun piece of work, since Juliette is normally one of the show’s most straight-down-the-middle characters.  Giuntoli, for his part, will have the chance to ring some changes on a de-Grimmed Nick next season.

Grimm has never become the breakout hit that NBC hoped it would be, but it’s made a comfortable ratings home on Fridays, where expectations are lower, and if anything it should be helped next season by being paired with the new fantasy-adventure Constantine, which looks considerably more commercial than this season’s Dracula and Hannibal.  (The latter will return at some point in midseason.)  While NBC’s other genre attempts like Revolution and Believe have imploded, Grimm has impressed with its ability to recognize its strengths and build on them.  Season 4 has plenty of promise.


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."