Review of the Grimm two-part midseason finale
Grimm, Season 3, Episode 7, “Cold Blooded”
Written by Thomas Ian Griffith
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Grimm, Season 3, Episode 8, “Twelve Days of Krampus”
Written by Dan E. Fesman
Directed by Tawnia McKiernan
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC
This week, on Grimm: Wu faces his fears, Capt. Renard’s family is less than welcoming, and Juliette helps spread some Christmas cheer
Grimm gets a much-hyped two-part sendoff this week; unfortunately, the buzz winds up hampering the mood, sending the show off to hiatus with more of a pleasant smile than the bang many were likely hoping for. “Cold Blooded”, which is Grimm’s answer to the resilient legend of alligators roaming the sewers, is entertaining enough, but it’s rather disposable. As yet another Grimm standalone, this wouldn’t be particularly notable. As one half of the exciting two-part fall finale, it’s decidedly less satisfying. The concept is cheeky and there are a few nice touches, particularly the much overdue featuring of Wu, who’s been quietly competent and likeable in the background all year, but on the whole, it’s one of the less memorable installments in quite a while.
Speaking of the Sergeant, Reggie Lee’s Wu has long been an example of the series’ particular strengths. Just as Grimm has set itself apart by showing little interest for overwrought relationship dramatics, opting to make its couples two of the more stable and honest in current genre television, with Wu it has prioritized character from the start. The current network procedurals are filled with bland (or obnoxiously quirky) supporting character police officers who seemingly only exist to occasionally endanger or save the leads. Not so with Wu, who is constantly portrayed as a capable and dutiful officer, able to confidently organize his fellow officers and take charge or step back and assist Nick and Hank (and provide the occasional comic relief). With the increased presence of Juliette, the focus on Adalind and the Royal families, and an the additional time carved out for Monroe and Rosalee relationship scenes, Wu has been relegated to the sidelines more than in the past, and it’s a shame. Hopefully the series will make more use of both Lee and Wu’s abilities in the coming year.
Despite its fun scenes with Wu, “Cold Blooded” is somewhat of a disappointment. The Royal Family drama has yet to pay off and surprisingly, the addition of Alexis Denisof this week does little to help that. Denisof, who created one of the most nuanced and well-executed characters/character arcs in genre television with Wesley Windham-Price on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, makes a less-than-stellar first impression as Viktor and while it’s nice to see Capt. Renard get more to do, his excursion to Europe feels utterly disconnected from the goings on in Portland. The continuing progression of Nick from cuddly cop to something far more reminiscent of his ancestors is nicely handled here, but with the episode so split between these two storylines and even geographic regions, neither gets the focus it needs.
“Twelve Days of Krampus” is more successful and had it aired on its own, it would have made an incredibly entertaining, light-hearted and Christmassy midseason send-off. Making it a Part Two, however, is incredibly distracting, as the meat of the story is unrelated to Part One and this adds implied import to the goings on that make the episode’s largely consequence-free conflict feel rather slight. Krampus is a fantastic myth for the show to take on and Derek Mears managed to pull a belly laugh out of this reviewer with his hilarious and menacing reading of, “Oh, you’ve been naughty”, but taking the death toll away out of the story robs Krampus of his teeth.
Monroe and Rosalee’s first Christmas is fun though, as is their quasi-Gift of the Magi (he sacrifices Christmas for her, she confronts her trauma for him) and it’s nice to see Bud pop back up. Plus the whole notion of tying werewolf mythology in to Krampus is clever and works nicely with Nick’s growing darkness (anyone else expecting a none-too-pleasant future for the unwitting Wesen of the week?). A more focused Krampus episode without the Familial distractions would have been nice, but on the whole, the second installment of the week works well and is an appropriately sweet send-off for a show as family-friendly (not a bad word, despite what so many seem to think) as Grimm. The season has worked pretty well thus far, with certain episodes standing out more than others. Hopefully the series will come back more focused but just as committed to character in the new year.
What did you think of these episodes? Which did you prefer? Think we should have had a more gruesome Krampus, or did the light tone work for you? Any predictions for what’s to come next? Post your thoughts below!