SPOILERS FOR SEASON 3 of GRIMM await.
Tonight, the third season of GRIMM reaches its conclusion, with Monroe and Rosalee’s wedding and the promise of some tragic event, along with some sort of conclusion with the craziness revolving around Prince Viktor, Adalind and her baby, the three (!!) Grimm’s, and probably some Wesen racism. Best of all, Bud (Danny Bruno) is definitely going to make an appearance, because there’s no way in hell he isn’t one of Monroe’s groomsmen.
While weddings and pregnancies are the most overused plot points in all of popular culture, there’s no arguing the fact that over the second half of season 3, GRIMM has hit its stride. Its had flashes of brilliance in the past, but normally hemmed frustratingly close to its Wesen-of-the-week formula. While most GRIMM fans have likely been in on the secret that GRIMM had suddenly turned into a consistently great show, I was out of the loop until last week.
Each previous season had finished on a high note, because we learn how good the show can be when it releases the shackles and actually dives into its mythology and its characters, rather than relying on a boring monster one-shot episode. But this third season, I was in danger of never getting to that point. I watch a lot of TV, and GRIMM was just falling by the way side. I had been stuck on episode 13 (“Revelation”) for months, and was tired of Adalind’s pregnancy and the vague snippets of Austria and the Verrat we’d get, most of the plot coming to us via a phonecall to Renard at the precinct (snore), upset that Alexis Denisof wasn’t getting any screentime, and still had the sour taste of zombie Nick in my mouth (which is an unfortunate way to end a sentence).
Then, blessed with the need for procrastination, I binged the most recent nine episodes in short order. Bingeing helps most shows, so that likely had a lot to do with the fact that I found myself loving GRIMM during the latter half of its third season. But that wasn’t just it. All of a sudden, it was banking on its potential, trusting its cast, and letting the audience in on the fun.
I would say the first four episodes were primarily Wesen of the week stories, but they didn’t feel as boring as before. The binge factor and the layover helped, since it had been awhile since I had been hanging out in this Portland Hellmouth, and instead of watching one procedural episode a week and that was that, I could fly by and get to the good stuff. But thankfully, even in these Wesen of the week episodes, more and more of the plot had to do with Adalind and her newborn, as she escaped from the Verrat with the Resistance, an active player in her fate. Plus Nick’s Mom came back, and in the brilliant “Nobody Knows The Trubel I’ve Seen,” GRIMM plays our expectations against us, subverting its tired and true formula, by making a seeming victim turn out not only to be the killer, but a misunderstood Grimm, fending off vicious Wesen attacks. While her name couldn’t be any worse (TRUBEL?!), Jacqueline Toboni has injected an entirely different energy to the show. She has a unique look and an awesome story. Jacqueline was discovered by creator and EP Jim Kouf when he came to speak to her screenwriting class at the University of Michigan, and gifted with the knowledge that a major female GRIMM role was coming, she sent in a taped reading that floored NBC. Lucky woman.
There are still some groan worthy moments. You get the sense that even Monroe and Rosalee, the nicest couple on the planet, are tired of Nick’s house calls and expectation that they will drop everything and help a brother out. Of course, nobody else has real lives that matter outside of their importance to Nick, right? I have no problem with that, since this is TV, but since Nick’s still somehow a cop, and Monroe and Rosalee have their shop, and are putting their necks on the line for no real reason except out of moral fortitude, I wish they’d just drop the pretense. This is Nick’s Scooby Gang, and protecting Portland IS their lives. They need to make that choice, and verbalize it, so we don’t feel guilty/weird that Nick’s always dragging them away from clock making or whatever. I have a feeling that moment is going to come during their wedding, when Monroe and Rosalee realize their lives will always be about fighting the good fight. I also think a death might occur in the finale that makes this choice for them, though I hope it isn’t either one of them, since they’re too darn precious, and probably the two most invaluable members to the ensemble.
I also can’t believe that Nick and company were willing to let Wu go crazy rather than let him on the Wesen secret. What dickheads. I want Wu to uncover the truth, and turn bad, or turn on them, because he deserves some resentment. That said, I’d rather just have Wu and his sarcasm in on the joke, and join the Portland Scooby’s.
But you get the sense that consequences are coming, as Nick and company have made some hard choices, and they aren’t necessarily the correct ones. We’re about to see the cost of giving Adalind’s baby to Nick’s Mom, and implicating the Verrat in the process, and lying to Adalind, who was so crushed, vulnerable and a potential ally until they STOLE HER CHILD (who’s admittedly Damien from THE OMEN).
Just the fact that I’m speculating about future events proves how much more esteem I put in GRIMM than I once did. I started GRIMM because I originally had to recap for it. By the end of the first season, I was decently hooked, but for the most part, I was kind of just going through the motions, keeping on just because I like to finish shows I start. I wasn’t attached to any of the characters beyond Monroe and Rosalee. It’s kind of like how I feel about ONCE UPON A TIME (which also had a resurgence in the latter half of season 3).
But now, I actually really like Nick. Before, he was one of the most boring leading men on television. They’ve added humor and edge to his character and really let David Giuntoli breathe. He’s a badass, and isn’t pussy footing around silly things like rules any more. Even when we think we know Captain Renard, we know shit. Adalind has always been one of the best scene stealing characters on the show, and now she’s been woven into the very framework of the show, with her arc intertwined with GRIMM’s future, since her child appears to be the chosen one of some sort.
Juliette previously had no place on the show, and was almost a laughable part of the puzzle, but since she’s learned about Nick and the truth, she’s been a far more active member of the cast, and I totally like her now. She’s steadfastly loyal, smart, brave, and sticking with Nick despite the danger. Which is exactly why I’m predicting she dies in the season finale tonight, since heroes never get the woman and I just think that GRIMM is about to have that Jenny Calendar moment, where we realize SHIT IS FOR REAL, and Nick has to live with the consequences. It’s the Gwen Stacy principle, and it’s never going away. I rather liked that the leading character on the show started out in a monogamous, happy relationship, something that rarely happens unless it’s a family sitcom, but until this third season, they couldn’t figure out how to use Juliette without using magic or stupidity to muck up their relationship, since static happiness is boring. I don’t want Juliette to die right when I finally like her, and appreciate her, but that’s how it goes on a show on the periphery of the Whedonverse (Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt are BUFFY/ANGEL alums). Either that, or Nick’s Mom dies, because three Grimm’s is way too many Grimm’s. Or Hank dies, because he doesn’t really add anything to the show anymore, I’m sorry to say.
I don’t know if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I bought into GRIMM completely, and that I believe that it’s renaissance is a trend, and not just the end-of-season fireworks, but it’s a combination of when unsung hero Sebastien (Christian Lagadec) sacrificed himself for Meisner, Adalind and her baby and I actually gave a shit, or when Trubel was introduced and quickly ushered into the fold, further enlarging the mythology, or how in “The Inheritance” (one of my favorite GRIMM eps ever), TWO episodes after they introduced a third GRIMM to the world, we see there’s a fourth one, dying, trying to get a key into Nick’s hands, the mythos and central mystery actually gripping me.
I’m excited for tonight’s finale, I hope GRIMM is for real, because it really does have a sparkle of that BUFFY flavor when it’s on, and it’s been on for awhile now. Judging by the finale’s title “Blond Ambition,” Adalind is gonna get some revenge, and I think it’ll go a long way in determining how serious Jim Kouf, David Greenwalt and company are taking this show going forward.