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“Blond Ambition” ends Grimm’s third season atypically, without the now expected “To Be Continued” “Witty Phrase” title cards. Instead of the cliffhangers of the previous finales, we leave Nick and crew in a holding pattern: Capt. Renard is on his way to the hospital and a lengthy recovery, Monroe and Rosalee are presumably off to their wedding reception and honeymoon, and Nick’s no longer a Grimm. Unlike last year’s zombie infection, there’s no ticking clock—it’s likely when we return for season four, Nick may have spent the summer as a normie, make that Kehrseite-Schlich-Kennen. The only lingering, time-sensitive question is Adalind. How long will it take her to realize that Viktor doesn’t have baby Diana?
In its first two seasons, Grimm fell neatly into the modern network procedural form, starting and ending a given season with heavily serialized episodes (and maybe throwing another couple in around mid-season) while keeping to standalones the rest of the time. This season, however, the show has experimented with far greater serialization, thanks to Adalind’s weekly adventures in Europe earlier in the year. For the most part, this experiment backfired, with too much time given to an underdeveloped arc.
Grimm continues to have fun with new character Teresa (sorry, “Trubel” is too precious by half. Good effort, Grimm, but this viewer’s not giving you that one). This week’s episode focuses in on the young Grimm, showing her next day with Nick and co. as she gets her bearings and, as this is a procedural, becomes entangled in the case of the week. Jacqueline Toboni remains a promising addition to the cast, though much less is asked of her this week than in her more memorable introductory episode, and it’s nice to see Monroe, Rosalee, and Juliette deal with a new and unpredictable Grimm for once, rather than Wesen.
Grimm continues its strong run this week, picking up right where the recent two-parter left off. Nick’s mom may be on the lam, with Adalind and Capt. Renard’s daughter Diana in tow, but the pace doesn’t let up one bit as Adalind reacts to the loss of her daughter and a new player, Teresa (make that “Trubel”), blows into town in a big way. Adding such a significant new element right as Adalind’s storyline transitions is a surprise, but it works well and helps provide an extra push of momentum for the final stretch of the season.
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.
Grimm continues its recent streak of entertaining, thoughtful episodes with “The Show Must Go On”, a mostly standalone episode that explores a new corner of the Wesen world, the sideshow. Adalind continues her flight from the clutches of Prince Viktor, who is improving as an antagonist but needs a slight tweak up into cackling villain mode to become truly memorable, and talk resumes of the coming Monroe/Rosalee wedding, but for the most part, this week’s episode explores the seedy underbelly of On-Demand woging.
Grimm explores folk lore and legend on a weekly basis, but this week they go further, adding religion to the mix with the revelation that the Ancient Egyptian gods were Wesen. It’s a fun idea and one that works well for the show, particularly when contrasted with the little we’ve seen of the Wesen community. There’s the spice shop and a few other Wesen-friendly (or Wesen-only) businesses and establishments, and of course the Wesen street gangs introduced this season, but on the whole, the Wesen we’ve meet over the course of the series have been more or less in hiding, passing as human and doing their best to avoid detection.
It’s taken three seasons, but this week Grimm finally gives Sgt. Wu, and Reggie Lee, the chance to shine. Given how (comparatively) swimmingly both Hank and Juliette’s transitions went from Kehrseite (human) to Kehrseite-Schlich-Kennen (human who knows about Wesen), it seemed likely Wu wouldn’t get off so easily, but hopefully this is not the last we’ve seen of the good Sergeant. Reggie Lee has long been an asset to the show, bringing depth and interest to what could easily have become a forgettable background player; it would be a shame to lose him. While it’s starting to get a bit ridiculous that everyone in Nick’s life is in on things, and down to fight the good fight, other genre shows have managed this large of an in-the-know ensemble in the past and it’ll be interesting to see how Grimm addresses this.
When we last left Grimm, all hell was about to break loose, with Rosalee having run out of new fiancé Monroe’s house and his parents attacking a just-arrived Nick. This week we pick up where we left off, with the parents Monroe fuming, Nick on the defensive, and Rosalee crying alone at the spice shop. However after this tremendous buildup, and an Olympics-inspired month-long hiatus, “Revelation” is a significant let-down. The episode is split between two main storylines: Nick/Juliette, Monroe/Rosalee, and Monroe’s parents in Portland, and Adalind and co. in Vienna; unfortunately, only one of these works, and it’s not the one most would expect.
Grimm heads off into an Olympics-necessitated month-long hiatus this week with a strong first half of a presumed two-parter, with significant progress on both character and plot fronts and a couple entertaining cliffhangers. The case of the week is interesting and appropriately gruesome, with a new berserker Wesen hunting down “worthy” victims and scalping them in an attempt to gain their power, but wisely most of this subplot is held for part two, allowing Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt to focus instead on Adalind’s continuing saga in Vienna as well as some dramatic developments closer to home.
Grimm is back to its usual breakdown of serial and standalone this week, as Nick and Hank investigate their case of the week while Adalind gets up to some mischief abroad and Rosalee and Monroe take their turn filling the romantic subplot quota. The procedural scenes benefit from some notable guest stars, including genre and TV-fan favorites Emily Rios (Breaking Bad, The Bridge) and Kirk Acevedo (Fringe, The Walking Dead), and it’s surprising how refreshing it is to see Nick and Hank work a case that at least initially appears odd, rather than specifically Wesen-related. The Wesen of the week, manticores and a steinadler, are interesting and creative and in a rarity, writer Rob Wright and director Rashaad Ernesto Green manage to surprise viewers with the solution to the case. Grimm only occasionally manages to do this, often revealing Wesen perpetrators early on so the audience can spend time with them as they elude capture, and it’s nice to have a mystery element added in here.
Grimm thankfully takes a week off from its European drama with “Eyes of the Beholder”, an entertaining installment that improves significantly upon last week’s “Red Menace” by focusing on only two storylines. This week’s episode wisely moves Adalind offscreen and keeps Capt. Renard and Sgt. Wu on the sidelines, giving them a few entertaining moments, but allowing the audience to spend enough time with its new(ish) characters, like Hank’s love interest, Zuri, and Juliette’s former roommate, Alicia, that we actually care what happens to them.
After last week’s delightfully straightforward fallout to the email from Nick’s mom, “Stories We Tell Our Young” gives viewers another episode that refreshingly bucks procedural conventions. When Nick and Hank look to be dealing with the closest thing the Wesen world has to demon possession, the answer to the bizarre phenomena they witness is unsurprisingly found in science, thanks to Juliette. Rather than Star Trek the explanation though, writer Michael Duggan adds complexity, starting with the basics and layering on scientific specifics. We don’t get a load of technobabble from Juliette which is then pared down so the simple folk can understand, she guides Nick and co. through the jargon, speaking to her audience rather than at them.
Grimm has had a lot of fun with folk tales and legends over the past three seasons, attributing the stuff of our childhood bedtime stories to various Wesen. This week they do something different, implying that the monster (ish) of the week may be something else entirely. It’s the first step the series has made towards branching out into other supernatural threats and mysteries and for the most part, it works. With the Portland Scoobies coming together into an increasingly cohesive and efficient unit (great to see Juliette fully onboard), throwing in new elements that aren’t in Nick’s ever-useful tomes makes sense and while the show doesn’t seem ready to commit fully to such a different approach, the occasional detour out of Wesen-land should help keep things fresh.
While Grimm is rooted in fairy tales, this week’s episode is the first to seemingly take direct inspiration from a modern classic, The Little Mermaid. Usually the show takes a particular myth or folk tale as a jumping off point before going in a new direction, but “One Night Stand” is a break from this, providing direct parallels to several of the beloved film’s key elements. Elly, our main Nyad protagonist, loves Jake from afar and saves him from drowning, pulling him onto the land and resuscitating him. She stares lovingly at him as he blearily opens his eyes, not sure what he’s seeing, and then jumps back into the water once he’s awake. Jake then spends much of the episode trying to understand what happened to him and find this woman who, being deaf, cannot speak to him. The antagonists as well as many of the specifics may differ, but there are too many similarities for this to be intended as anything other than Grimm does The Little Mermaid, a format Once Upon a Time has built much of its show around.