Saturday, April 1, 2017

NBC's "Grimm": thoughts on the season finale

After five and a half seasons, NBC's "Grimm" came to an end last night, in an episode titled appropriately "The End." I've watched every episode, from the somewhat lackluster first season, to the peaks of the third and fourth seasons, and to the very end. I did so in part because this was one of the few TV shows filmed and set in Portland, so I felt a sense of geographic loyalty. But I also enjoy these sorts of action/suspense/serialized shows, and "Grimm" did become more serialized after the first season's "wesen of the week" format.


I have to admit, the show's mythology has frequently gotten confusing for me. I remember something about lost keys, and some group of wesen including a police detective calling themselves Black Claw, and the cute but creepy Diana (daughter of hexenbeast Adalind and zauberbiest Sean Renard). But in the end - I mean that literally, as in "The End" - it came down to a Terminator-like evil entity called Zerstorer tracking down Nick Burkhardt and his gang. In fact, in the penultimate episode, Zerstorer already killed Nick's detective partner Hank and the reliable Sgt. Wu(!).

When "The End" starts, Nick is dealing with the death of his two closest police colleagues (plus a whole bunch of other cops, since this slaughter took place in a police precinct in a scene reminiscent of the "I'll be back" set piece in The Terminator; in fact, Zerstorer appears in our world naked, much like the T-1000 did). After he regroups with his remaining friends in Rosalee and Monroe's spice shop, they come up with a plan to make a super-potion requiring the unlikely combination of Grimm, hexenbeast, and wesen blood. They split up to meet at the wood house where Nick's adventures began six years ago, but not before Zerstorer catches Nick and Eve in the spice shop. Zerstorer uses some Force-like power to make Eve stab herself fatally. (That was an entirely predictable death, given the need to resolve the Nick-Adalind-Eve triangle.) Once again, Zerstorer does not kill Nick, and once again, Nick can't use that magical wood stick to revive his fallen friend.

Nick catches up to the others at the wood house, and Zerstorer shows up. Cute/creepy Diana lets them know that Zerstorer can track Nick by the wood stick, since Zerstorer's staff is made from the same piece of wood. And sure enough, Zerstorer shows up and kills Renard (also expected), Rosalee (! - not expected), and Monroe (!! - super unexpected). That leaves Trubel, who dies when Zerstorer uses his stick to strangle her. And so Nick is left alone, and Diana and her half-brother Kelly (Nick's son with Adalind) are ready to go off and be a family with Zerstorer. Nick is devastated by the loss of all of his friends.

Zerstorer says that it doesn't have to be this way. He offers to bring Nick's friends back to life, in exchange for the stick. (As suspected, Zerstorer can't kill Nick so long as he has the stick.) To prove that he can do this, Zerstorer touches Trubel with his stick, and she gasps deep breathes as she is revived. Nick is ready to make the trade, but Trubel tells him not to, that it will be the end of the world, and she grabs the stick from Nick and runs into the woods. Nick chases her down, and they fight for the stick.

I've always figured that Trubel would beat Nick in a fight, because she seemed tougher and more street smart. But when it mattered, Nick gets the best of her. He heads back to give up the stick, but before he can, he's met by his mother Kelly and aunt Marie - both deceased (Kelly was killed at the end of season 3, and Marie in the second episode). [As a side note, I forgot that Marie was played by Kate Burton - more famous as the ultra-conservative ex-VP on "Scandal."] The two women ghosts(?) tell Nick that he can beat Zerstorer, and that the power of Grimms has lain in their bloodline. They accompany him, and Trubel catches up, and the four Grimms attack Zerstorer. For once, when there is an n-on-1 fight, the side with n attacks from multiple angles, instead of lining up one at a time. Nick delivers the killing blow with Zerstorer's stick. The ghost women disappear, and Trubel - who never saw them - remarks that she can't believe the two of them beat Zerstorer.

That would have been a pretty good ending. Good prevails in the end, but at a heavy cost.

Unfortunately, that is not how the show ended. Zerstorer's body turned to dust, which began to swirl and coalesce into a magical portal, which Nick got sucked into ... reappearing back at his house, surrounded by the rest of the gang minus Trubel, who rushed in through the front door a few moments later. Everyone has been revived, and no one else is aware of the climactic fights except cute/creepy Diana. Nick hugs everyone ecstatically, and in a final coda set 20 years later, we see that Adalind's kids Kelly (with Nick) and Diana (with Renard) are in the trailer, getting ready to hunt wesen.

1) I guess this means the door is open to "Grimm: The Next Generation" whenever NBC runs out of ideas.

2) Maybe I'm just not into happy endings, but this really was pretty unsatisfying. In the end, there was no resolution to the Nick-Adalind-Eve triangle, though I suppose we can infer from Diana's observation that Eve was still a hexenbiest (as opposed to the death storyline where she lost her hexenbeast powers when she returned from the other dimension) that Eve is still a bit odd, and content with her new life.

3) Zerstorer is dispatched, and Black Claw too (based on Trubel's one-line report), but there are still wild wesen in Portland, right? So this really isn't a climactic ending; it could've been a regular season finale. (Or more likely the season opening, following a cliffhanger.)

4) For some reason, the coda reminded me of the not-so-good but kind of entertaining Jeremy Renner movie Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

No comments:

Post a Comment