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. 🙂
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.
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, “strong female characters?” Joss Whedon would be proud. 🙂
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.
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! 😀
Rating: 9 stars out of 10.
Grade: solid A.