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Grimm, Eps. 3.17-18: An energetic, entertainingly self-aware two-parter

Grimm, Eps. 3.17-18: An energetic, entertainingly self-aware two-parter

Grimm S03E17 promo image

Grimm, Season 3, Episode 17, “Synchronicity”
Written by Michael Duggan (Story) and Michael Golamco (Story, Teleplay)
Directed by David Soloman

Season 3, Episode 18, “The Law of Sacrifice”
Written by Michael Duggan (Story, Teleplay) and Michael Golamco (Story)
Directed by Terrence O’Hara
Airs Fridays at 9pm EST on NBC

The past two weeks, on Grimm: Momma Burkhardt is back, Juliette is awesome, and Adalind’s gonna deal some damage

Grimm has long been a series that distinguishes itself with its portrayals of nuanced, independent, and yes, strong (physically, mentally, and morally) women. In “Synchronicity” and “The Law of Sacrifice”, the women take center stage once again and give viewers two of the season’s most engaging and entertaining episodes. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio made an impression in season two but has been wisely kept among the guest cast, popping in here for only the second time; the show is already struggling with its large cast and fun as Nick’s mom may be, there are regular characters who need the time more. Bringing her back now, and for apparently only two episodes, gives needed weight to the Adalind’s baby storyline and a personal touch to the action setpieces along the way without bogging down the entire end of the season in the still underwhelming Royals/Resistance drama.

As in season two, Mastrantonio is a lot of fun in the role, continuing her good rapport with David Giuntoli and sliding in easily with the rest of the ensemble. The heightened stakes of the situation also help Adalind, whose storyline flagged during much of the early part of the season, not helped by the decision to mete it out on a close to weekly basis. It’s hard not to sympathize with a mother forced to go on the run to protect her baby and pairing this sentiment with Adalind’s history, particularly with our leads, works well. Claire Coffee demonstrates some nice range in these episodes and reminds viewers who’d disconnected with her while she was in Vienna why we had once been so invested in her as a baddie.

Grimm S03E18 promo imageThe standout, however, is once again Juliette, whose confrontation with Adalind is as entertaining and loaded as fans could’ve hoped for. Bitsie Tulloch is great in this scene, radiating strength and righteous fury as she assesses the situation. The scene is also a wonderful demonstration of the power of language- Juliette never swears and rarely even raises her voice, so when she calls Adalind a bitch it packs a satisfying wallop. Juliette is also the first to accept that Adalind will need to stay, demonstrating her practicality and maturity. She’s actually in danger of becoming too perfect, an amalgam of likable traits and loyalty to Nick, but thanks to Tulloch’s performance, Juliette feels realistic and grounded.

Also entertainingly grounded are the various phone calls and interactions between the group about Adalind. The writers are well aware that bringing Adalind into the fold in any capacity will require a lot of justification and they do this by leaning heavily on the comedy of the show’s already-ridiculous history. By the time Adalind and Sean are discussing their previous familial romantic entanglements, the show has built up enough good will that the audience will go along with pretty much whatever the writers have up their sleeves. Monroe and Rosalee also get a few laughs these weeks and a late episode 18 appearance from Sgt. Wu reminds us that while all of this espionage is taking place, the rest of the world is happily continuing about their day. The solution may be painfully convenient, down to the baby liking Mastrantonio, but it’s effective- a show like Grimm does not need a baby hovering in the background, no matter how cool its pink Magneto eyes are.

With the Grimm team united, Nick’s mom back on the road, and Adalind likely on the warpath, the stage is set for a memorable and streamlined end of the season. It seems a bit too much to hope that next week’s episode will live up to the bubbly energy of “Synchronicity” and “The Law of Sacrifice”, but with only a handful remaining, we can at least hope that these episodes will give the show the push it needs to kick into a new, higher gear in time for the finale.

Kate Kulzick