TV Review: Grimm

Grimm is easily one of my favorite shows. Running for six seasons (or five and a half, considering the last season was only half as long as the rest) and concluding earlier this year, it delivered stories of men, monsters, mysteries, cultures, quests, and conspiracies, among other things. It was a thrilling ride and I loved it. πŸ™‚

The story mostly centers around Nick Burkhardt as his friends/family. As a homicide detective for the Portland Police Department, Nick solves murder mysteries on a daily basis, bringing killers to justice and protecting the innocent. However, when he discovers that he has an unusual ability, to see something inside people that normal people can’t see, he learns that there is much more to the world than he ever knew. There are people, normal, everyday people, who are something more than just human, as if there’s something of an animal to them. They can change into it at will, and they have strong instincts which influence their behavior, and long cultural traditions. These are the wesen, and Nick is a Grimm, capable of seeing what they are.

“And possibly spoilers!”

Historically, Grimms have been the bogeyman’s bogeyman. Normal humans have encountered wesen all throughout history, and they have inspired many stories about terrifying monsters. Some of that is warranted, as people have most certainly been killed by the wesen, who possess greater strength and ferocity than most humans, and various natural weapons to boot, like teeth, claws, acids, etc. But Grimms have a long record of not differentiating between guilty and innocent wesen, or even between aggressive and peaceful wesen, they’ve just slaughtered them all, entire populations. There aren’t many Grimms around anymore either, as they, too, have been hunted by their enemies, but they still command a terrible reputation which follows their descendants to this day.

Nick, however, is pretty much just a normal guy, albeit a normal guy with skills and the resources of Portland PD behind him, dropped into the middle of an exceedingly weird, and exceptionally dangerous, situation. He is different from the Grimms who have come before, having never been indoctrinated like them. He is a servant of justice, with no interest in killing anyone unless it’s to protect someone else, and he often protects wesen just as willingly as he protects anyone else. Thus, he becomes a force for change, and coexistence, in his corner of this hidden community, bridging the gap between human, wesen, and Grimm.

Alongside Nick are his close friends and allies. At the precinct, he has Hank, Wu, and Sean Renard, his partner, a fellow officer, and his captain, respectively. Within the wesen community, he has Monroe, Rosalee, and Bud, being based on the Big Bad Wolf, a fox, and a beaver, respectively. And at home he has his girlfriend Juliette, a veterinarian with surprising fighting spirit and resourcefulness. There are others who come and go at times, including the oft-adversary witch Adalind, a mercenary named Meisner, Nick’s own mother, and, my personal favorite, Trubel, a young Grimm woman whom Nick takes under his wing. And, in due time, there is Diana, a very young girl of great and formidable power.

As Nick and his friends battle homicidal wesen each week, they also find themselves frequently at odds with other deadly powers, organizations which are not accustomed to being unable to do anything they want and get away with it. There are the Reapers of the Grimms, an order dedicated to wiping the Grimms out early in the series, but they apparently take the hint after Nick destroys two of them simultaneously and they leave him alone after that. There’s the Wesenrein, a wesen hate group devoted to enforcing rigid traditions, including the separation of human, Grimm, and the various kinds of wesen from each other. There is the Verrat, which are an armed organization of wesen enforcers for seven mysterious families who rule the world from the shadows, the Royals. The Royals are the primary recurring antagonists for much of the first several seasons, though they eventually just fade away and aren’t mentioned again with the rise of a later adversary, Black Claw, a worldwide wesen terrorist organization, which is built up as something substantial before apparently just getting annihilated.

The enemies of these groups tend to be more friendly, or at least tolerant, towards Nick and his friends. The Resistance, as the name suggests, is an underground rebellion against the Royals, and contact with Nick is limited but they do influence each other. The Wesen Council stands in charge of their community, and they sometimes clash with Nick and sometimes work with him, though there are intimations that there are connections between them and Wesenrein. And Hadrian’s Wall, or HW, is a secret army within the government that comes to prominence most especially as they combat Black Claw, and they and Nick form a fairly strong alliance as they fight shoulder to shoulder.

So, we have a fairly complex world with a lot of moving parts and a story that shifts from one conflict to another. Secret organizations and an entire unseen community within the human race, the monsters that lurk in the night come to life. The enemies and horrors that Nick and his friends face are numerous, varied, and often terrifying to behold as they touch on basic human fears and desires. Nick is entering an entire new world even as he learns about his family’s legacy, and an ancient quest dating back to the Crusades and beyond, all of it culminating in a final confrontation with an ancient evil.

Yet, despite all of that, the true meat of the show, what I love most about it, is the people. These are human people, with passions and fears and desires, and their own strengths and weaknesses. They laugh, they cry, they fight, they love, they get married, they have kids, they put everything on the line for each other. I loved every minute, watching them develop. Speaking of, Monroe and Rosalee are absolutely one of my favorite couples ever on television.

And can you say, β€œstrong female characters?” Joss Whedon would be proud. πŸ™‚

The story itself, throughout the entire series, definitely needed some refinement, as previous villains and other characters sometimes simply stop appearing, they repeated a few plots more than once, and the finale was all over the place, and could they please have stopped taking Trubel away all the time?! But the characters, and the themes they promoted, of tolerance, understanding, forgiveness, personal redemption, and making a better world starting with ourselves, I loved all of that. And I loved how they delved into so many cultures, languages, and histories from all over the world too, drawing on a multitude of old stories to create their wesen and other supernatural creatures, it made their world feel as rich and lived in as our own. Even the story, overarching flaws notwithstanding, was generally fantastic to watch.

So, yes, Grimm is definitely one of my favorites. πŸ™‚

It is not for the faint of heart, and deals with horrific things. The material can be very dark and there are images most definitely not intended for children. (I’d give it a PG-13-ish rating, personally) If you’ve no problem with any of that, than you’d probably love this show. It’s excellent for marathoning in October, right around Halloween! πŸ˜€

Rating: 9 stars out of 10.

Grade: solid A.

This entry was posted in Tuesday Review, TV Shows and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to TV Review: Grimm

  1. I’m still behind with this show (haven’t seen the last two seasons yet), but it’s always been great fun. It was actually Monroe that sold me on it as both me and my aprtner thought that he was great from the first time we saw him. In a way, it’s a shame that it’s ended, but at the same time, it’s probably better that way than having it outstay its welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. swanpride says:

    I loved the first seasons of the show, but while I eventually watched it through, I positively hated the last seasons. They forget what the show was originally about (reinterpretations of fairy tales, and honestly, this is to this day the best episodes, whenever they managed to do a creative spin on one, showing why those are still relevant) and turned it into a run of the mill chose one show. They basically went too big, the show was always the strongest when it focussed on Nick and his relationship to the Wesen community, and at its weakest whenever it did the whole world-ending stuff which the show honestly didn’t need.
    In addition, no matter how many great female characters are in the show, that doesn’t change the underlying sexism in the show, especially in the treatment of Juliet, and it general cavalier attitude to rape. It’s the main reason why Rosalee didn’t get an article. I always wanted to, but I just couldn’t recommend a show which is so toxic overall.


    • Merlin says:

      …ok, I can see where you’re coming from for the most part, especially about fairy tales, but… sexism? Really? I have no idea what you’re referring to.


      • swanpride says:

        Let’s recap Juliette’s story-arc: She spends a whole season being left in the dark and in danger, because Nick isn’t ready to tell her what is going on. When he finally does it is already too late and she ends up in a coma and then with amnesia. But she still tries to live with a guy she doesn’t even know anymore in the same house (don’t let me got on about Nick sleeping on the sofa in such a big house which, surprise, surprise, has a guest room in later episodes, just so that the show can portray him as the poor victim). Then the whole magical connection with Renard happens and not only does Nick act as if she is cheating on him (she doesn’t even remember him at this point!!!!), but when he figures out who Renard is his great solution is to leave her alone with Renard (and I am ready to bet that the near rape which followed only stayed a near rape because the fandom was going on about the show better not going there before the hiatus). Anyway, Juliette gets her memory back and it actually looks as if the show starts to treat her like a character and not some sort of drama prop. And in a way, the brief period in season 3 when Team Grimm is working together is the most fun, especially when Juliette and Rosalee are doing research together. But then they decide to do the whole “Juliette participates in a ritual so that Nick gets his power back” story, which ends with her turning into a Hexenbiest and the show vilifying her at every turn to a degree that even the characters keep going on about how unforgivable her actions are. Again, her actions are the consequence of a ritual she underwent so that Nick could get his abilities back, she is not under full control of herself. And the big solution to this is to kill her, torture her off-screen so that she gets a new personality and, to add insult to injury, eventually embraces said new personality.

        If you see the whole story from the perspective of Juliet, it is the story of a women who is constantly robbed of her agency, gives up everything she is for her supposedly heroic boyfriend, is stripped of her personality and then the audience is supposed to celebrate her change if for no other reason that it will allow said boyfriend to have a happily ever after with his RAPIST!!! Which is another thing…sexism isn’t not just about portraying females badly, it is also about different genders being hold to a different standard. There are multiple incidences in the show which show male characters being raped (usually by Adalind) and yet at no point is the fact even treated like rape.

        Especially past season 3 the show is unfortunate implications central.


      • Merlin says:

        You make some good points, and points which I had not thought of before. Though, first question, you mentioned Rosalee earlier, why?

        Now, addressing Juliette:
        How does Juliette react in the first season, when Nick tells her the truth? And how does she react in the second season, when she learns the truth from several of her friends after being eased into it for several episodes?
        I do agree she was a bit of a prop in the first season.
        There was a guest room, yes, but I can certainly see the reasoning behind him living on the couch instead, as having a complete stranger who goes on about loving you even in the same house, let alone in the same room, would freak pretty much anyone out, so he gives her as much space as possible while still staying there.
        I don’t recall how Nick reacted (must rewatch that section), or anything about him knowingly leaving Juliette with Renard, but I do recall Juliette acting as if Nick cheated on her when Adalind impersonated her.
        I also recall that Juliette went on a tear, nearly killed Monroe, lured Nick’s mother to her death, and nearly killed him too. I’d call that a bit much, and it’s hardly just the result of her transformation.
        Still, they were definitely reaching with Juliette being turned into Eve.

        I do agree about holding both genders to the same standards of behavior, though Nick did get back at Adalind for what she did to Hank by taking away her powers.

        And the whole mortal-enemies-become-lovers thing is a bit ridiculous in most any story. I was rather surprised when an interview with the producers asked about the possibility of Nick and Adalind getting together before it happened.


      • swanpride says:

        I don’t know if you ever read my blog, but I tend to honor well-written female characters on it…Rosalee was on the list (I usually only honour one character per show). But I really couldn’t bring myself to honor a show which has so many underlying problems when it comes to gender portrayal.

        And yes, Juliette did all this, but Juliette did this because the writers decided that she should do this…the change made little sense from the get go, Hexenbiest or not, but it above all happened so that the audience could hate Juliette as much as it wanted. To be honest, I didn’t even GET to that point originally. I had already stopped watching when Juliette burned down the trailer, because I really couldn’t stand her being used as a punching bag of the writers anymore.

        Most enemies becoming lovers stories, as ridiculous as they are, don’t involve said enemy RAPING the hero. Not to mention that Adalind tried to kill Aunt Marie and was largely responsible for Juliette’s fate.


  3. Pingback: Harry’s Love Life: The Significance of Sex in the Dresden Files and in Urban Fantasy | Merlin's Musings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s